Turks and Caicos Weather in October

27th September 2017 4:51 pm

While weather is constantly changing, the Turks and Caicos weather in October generally begins to improve during this time as the hurricane season begins to wind down. While it’s not uncommon for some Turks and Caicos to close their shops and go on their own holidays in September while TCI tourism is low, October is when everyone gets back revitalized and ready to entertain visitors and tourists.

Turks and Caicos Weather in October

While localized weather patterns can’t be predicted long term with accuracy, the Turks and Caicos temperatures in October tends to average between 25°C and 28°C (or 84°F and 77°F respectively).

Officially, October is still a part of the hurricane season (from June 1 to November 30), so there’s always a level of unpredictability and the need to be flexible with your plans. Even if hurricanes don’t make landfall on the islands, nearby hurricanes can disrupt air travel and create storm surges and flooding around the coast.

On a TripAdvisor forum, one frequent TCI visitor notes:

“We have gone to TCI about 15 times in late September or early October over the past 20 years, and until last year [in 2015], always had great weather with no tropical storm problems. Last year in early October, [Hurricane Joaquin] stopped almost all beach activities for five days. All other [previous] visits, we have had excellent weather: sunny, hot, light winds, pleasant nights. There may be an occasional thunderstorm, but they don’t last long and most of them are in the evening. Based on our experience, I would definitely be glad to return in October.”

You should always pay attention to and monitor weather reports regardless of when you visit. While hurricane season is nearing its end around this time, it’s still nice to be forewarned of any rain!

Turks and Caicos in October

The Turks and Caicos is a year round destination, but October is typically categorized as an off-peak travel month (with November through December considered peak travel). This means if you look carefully and don’t mind the chance of rain, you can find great Turks and Caicos resort deals.

Some people actually believe October is one of the best times to visit the Turks and Caicos because of fewer crowds and better prices.

Mosquitos

Be mindful that rainfall may temporarily increase mosquito nuisance. The Turks and Caicos are in the natural habitable range of mosquitos and there can be more mosquitos for a few weeks after particularly heavy rains.

Fortunately, tourist areas like Providenciales usually see far fewer mosquitoes as these areas are well maintained with minimal places for stagnant water to linger. Areas that are in the path of eastern trade winds also keep mosquito presence to a minimum.

Grand Turk and Salt Cay also have less serious mosquito problems because these islands lack dense vegetation and there aren’t many natural sites that collect rainwater or form pools. They also experience breezes that disrupt mosquito activity.

However, North and Middle Caicos, Parrot Cay, and Pine Cay, have many sites that are ideal mosquito spawning sites and tourists can experience severe mosquito exposure after heavy rains.

Activities on TCI

Turks and Caicos in October is great if you love hanging out in or on the water. The ocean is frequently described to be at a comfortable, “bathtub warm” temperature with calm conditions. This is a great time for visitors because there are such few travellers at this time. If you go to the Turks and Caicos in October, you’ll practically be first in line for any activity or restaurant.

Stand Up Paddleboarding

The waters around Turks and Caicos are warm year round and can be exceptionally calm on the shallow beaches. This makes stand up paddleboarding a great activity for families, kids, or people who want a more relaxed activity.

Some special tours using paddleboards include eco-tours you can take to see delicate ecosystems supporting nesting birds. Or, you can skim over clear waters near reefs and see vibrantly colored marine life right beneath your board.

Kayaking

Kayaking is great to explore beaches, shallow channels, tidal creeks, and around the cays. It’s a quiet and non-intrusive way to get close up pictures of wildlife like iguanas and birds.

Like paddleboarding, you can embark on kayak eco-tours that let you explore the Turks and Caicos’ natural beauty.

Stand up paddleboarding and kayaking can be interesting during this time as rain can raise the water level enough for you to explore areas that are typically unavailable during the rest of the year. The downside is that because of the unpredictable weather, you might have to hold off on water activities until a tropical storm or hurricane has subsided.

Snorkeling and Diving

If the sea is calm enough, snorkeling and diving are great activities to do when you’re in the Turks and Caicos during October. You won’t have to be crowded with other travelling divers or get kicked in the head while snorkeling at a busy location. You’ll have the sites to yourself!

Explore and enjoy the serenity of the natural reefs by yourself. There won’t be other people to kick up the sand or scare away the fish and you can truly see what these natural environments are like as they truly are.

In fact, there are snorkeling tours that will take you out to several snorkel sites. Knowledgeable guides can help you identify the hundreds of different fish and describe the important coral reef ecology.

If you’re more comfortable with deep waters, diving is an excellent October activity. You can descend and scale walls that are dozens of feet to over 100 feet that are overflowing with life.

Events

TCI Amateur Open

The Provo Golf & Country Club frequently hosts the annual TCI Amateur Open in November, which has been a mainstay event for the past 50 years. It’s a three-day tournament that attracts a mix of local and international golfers and spectators, with both men and women trophies awarded in various age brackets.

 


Filed under: Activities, Weather

Hurricane Maria and the Turks and Caicos

20th September 2017 10:56 am

Historically, Turks and Caicos have been extremely lucky with hurricanes slipping by with minimal damage, but the Turks and Caicos just isn’t getting a break this hurricane season. Shortly after facing the full strength of Hurricane Irma, it looks like we need to prepare for Category 4 Hurricane Maria.

Turks and Caicos in Hurricane Maria’s Path?

As of September 19, the National Weather Service forecasts that Hurricane Maria (a Category 4 hurricane) “is expected to come close to the Turks and Caicos… which is under a hurricane watch.”

The Turks and Caicos Islands Airports Authority announced on its Facebook page today that there “will be temporary suspension of flight operations on Wednesday, September 20th, 2017 at 8:00 pm local time.”

The press release continued that “suspension of flight operations will affect all airports including; Providenciales, Grand Turk, North Caicos, South Caicos and Salt Cay airports.”

Paul Wilkerson, a meteorologist with more than 20 years of forecasting experience, noted on his Facebook page, that as of the most recent data (September 19), “the hurricane will track to the NE of the [TCI]. If it continues west for a long period of time, it will possibly be closer or over TCI.”

According to current forecasts, Grand Turk will see the closest approach of the hurricane while Providenciales and West Caicos experiencing the least affects which is where we are based. Luckily work can continue on re-building the office and getting ready for the season ahead. 

 

Estimated Timing for Hurricane Impacts:

  • Grand Turk and Salt Cay: Thursday evening after 8 pm
  • South and Middle Caicos: Thursday evening after 9 pm
  • North Caicos: Thursday after 9 pm
  • Providenciales: Thursday after 10 pm
  • West Caicos: Thursday after midnight

Storm Surge Warning:

Wilkerson believes that storm surges will most likely occur on all north facing shores. Grace Bay has already seen large amounts of erosion damage caused by Hurricane Irma’s surges and wave action but as seen with Irma the Wall helped protect the Islands from this surge, and this storm is passing farther north of us.

Estimated Rainfall:

  • Grand Turk: 8-12″
  • South, Middle, and North Caicos: 6-10″
  • Providenciales: 6-8″
  • West Caicos: 4-6″

Maria will in no way be as dramatic as Irma for the Islands, but again this show of power and dominance from nature makes us all feel more humble.

We’ll try to keep you updated on our blog and on our Facebook page, but feel free to contact us if you have any questions or comments.


Filed under: Hurricane

Hurricane IRMA – 14th September

14th September 2017 11:02 am

“Before and after’ These two stunning images, taken by astronaut, Randy Bresnik @astrokomrade showing the Turks & Caicos Islands before and after Irma’s passing have been doing the rounds but with out any real explanation. They don’t of course show the devastation on the ground but they do show another side to her power.

To get a sense of scale, the 90 mile wide archipelago is separated by the Turks passage with the Caicos Islands (West, Provo, North, Middle, East and South) on the left and the Turks Islands (Grand Turk and Salt Cay) to the right. Irma was 400-600 miles wide!

 

Moving from East to West, Irma’s 30-mile wide eye passed directly over the Ambergris Cays (long finger of sand at the bottom) across the full width of the shallow Caicos Banks. What in all likelihood spared #turksandcaicos from certain Barbudian like disaster, was the fact that #hurricaneirma passed about 25 miles south of the islands as she left the Ambergris Cays and moved into deep water right along the very edge of the banks.

If you look closely the scouring / erosion along that southern bank is astounding. 100+ mph North winds, circulating counter clockwise in Irma’s Northwestern quadrant probably almost blew these shallow waters right off the banks! While her feared surge attacked the sides, never reaching land. It’s hard to even imagine what scenes there must have been. Utter chaos.

Meanwhile the light blue strands arced and laced north and west of the islands in the ocean, is actually sand and sediment in suspension. Blasted off beaches and forced between the islands and cays, these particles reflect Irma’s westward movement and over the next few months will sink and settle across the deep ocean as well as the reef.

While the human impact remains at the forefront of our attention, it is going to be fascinating to see what physical changes Irma’s immense power has wrought on the natural habitats of our land and seascapes.

The last time lapse courtesy of @noaasatellites reveals Irma’s incredible march through the Caribbean just before she made Turks and Caicos landfall. Notice all the lightning storms as seen at night. #tcistrong #madeofocean @ Turks and Caicos Islands


Filed under: Hurricane Irma

Hurricane Irma – September 2017

13th September 2017 7:36 am

As the Atlantic’s largest storm on record, Hurricane Irma, has finally relinquished her power in the continental USA. It is worth bearing mind she had travelled 3700+ miles across the entire width of the ocean, gathering strength day by day from the hot tropical water’s between the Cape Verde Islands, off West Africa to the Leeward Islands of the Caribbean, while continuing through the Bahamian archipelago and on into the Florida’s Gulf coast. An immense journey rivalled only by her immense destruction as she made landfall on September 5th on the tiny islands of Barbuda, St Martin and the BVI – horrifying and awesome in every sense, mother nature raw and uncut.

Storm Signals

In truth Irma had signalled her intent and sent an ominous sign westward from the moment many days before when, still in her infancy, she doubled in size over night. Our waters around the Turks & Caicos Islands had also delivered less than subtle signs that this might well be an active hurricane season. After all diving without wetsuits mid winter was not usual by any means. Rising water temperatures early in our calendar year is always a sure sign that should a storm form, they would have lots of latent energy to feed on.

Category 5 Hurricane

As Irma bore down on the Caribbean, that heat would be pivotal in sustaining 185mph winds to categorise her as a monster category 5 hurricane with 20’+ storm surges. Frightening to say the least. With all eyes pinned to NASA’s and NOAA’s satellite imagery, the world and us could follow in real time, this beast as she unleashed untamed hurricane force winds across those Leeward islands, with all projections clearly indicating that we, the Turks and Caicos, were next in line.

Hurricane Family

Not everyone, can run from impending doom, the islands certainly are not able do so and neither could the majority of residents. With Hurricane warnings already in full effect, houses battened down, boats pulled out of the water, businesses closed, food and water stocks sold out, all that could be done was wait and see. With the 2008 hurricanes Ike and Hannah still fresh in the memory, very few here had experienced a cat 5 storm. The last really big hurricane of 1960, Donna, was almost from another time, pre social media, pre instant news, almost pre memory for most people. A myth. She though had the power to split islands in half and reshape them in her fashion.

Irma Hits Turks and Caicos

As Irma’s first winds began to be felt on Grand Turk, collectively TCI began to fear the worst. Impending and inevitable power and communication cuts only added to rising tensions.

With Salt Cay, like Middle Caicos already evacuated, the eye wall passed close enough to sadly leave both Grand Turk and South Caicos devastated and cut off from the rest of the country. Very little news has been forthcoming save for no lives lost, although numerous local boats have made trips to bring much needed supplies and check on their loved ones.

Passing over Ambergris Cay to the West, Irma’s track had her spinning due south of Provo. Only sporadic texts here and there, kept those on the ground in the loop as to Irma’s whereabouts, until they too, ceased. With night falling and winds and rain increasing, all that was left was hope and prayer.

IRMA TURKS AND CAICOS

New Dawn

As dawn broke, and with Irma moving westwards over the horizon, her carnage was laid bare. Power poles, trees, houses, roofs and sand were strewn here, there and everywhere. It was clear that no one was left untouched. That said; many of us have gotten off lightly with what essentially amounts to minor damages, while others have been less fortunate in losing their houses, their roofs or their whole business. Irma’s southern track 25 miles south of the islands spared Provo from the destruction meted out on the Leeward Islands. All the sturdier buildings in Grace Bay, the airport and the commercial docks seem to have survived, which bodes well for next season. Digicel, Flow, Fortis and the Water Company are working tirelessly to bring back utilities and communication as communities are figuring out ways to clean up and rebuild.

Islands are Open

As for Big Blue, our team is safe and sound. Disconnected and disoriented, yes, but focused and determined to put this behind us and make next season epic. Our boats are safe. Our gear is safe. Our office, however, may look a little different next time you see it. We will fix her.

It will take some time but the message is that we, like the rest of the island, will be ready for next season. We have to be. We have time on our hands and thankfully no one was hurt. What will be interesting is to see what changes Irma has wrought on our seascape, above and below the waters. No doubt she has cleared out the deadwood and with that she has perhaps ushered in the new birth.

Bottom line – it could have been worse. All your kind and wonderful messages, thoughts and prayers obviously worked. Thank you.

See you all soon.

One Love

Team BB


Filed under: Hurricane Irma

Hurricane IRMA – 8th September

8th September 2017 11:00 am

‘The other side’. Thank you one and all, near and far, for all your wonderful heartfelt messages. Beautiful.

The main thing is we’re safe. Battered and bruised but safe. It’s hard to put into words what just happened. Nightfall brought with it Irma’s onslaught, power lost and communications down. Darkness in more ways than one. Noise unlike anything imaginable.

These images from space are unbelievable. With Irma the Giant now cutting a destructive swathe through the Bahamas as she marches towards Florida, we can perhaps count ourselves lucky. Lucky because the Caicos Banks protected us from the storm surge. Lucky because not everyone got off so lightly. Lucky, because we know what havoc she wrought down south and lucky because we know it’s going to be really bad for our northern neighbours. 

Our boats are fine, the office a little trashed. Look closely at images 2,3,4 & 5 and you will see how close Irma’s eye came to the #turksandcaicos – the north wall was only about 18 miles away, sparing us from the full force of 165+ mph winds. That’s not to say major 100-mile hour winds have not devastated large portions of the Islands, especially those less fortunate than us who don’t have concrete homes and solid roofs. The news from areas in Five Cays, Blue Hills and Downtown doesn’t sound good. Our Grand Turk and South Caicos cousins took the full brunt. We don’t have much news yet.The full impact of Irma will likely take days to be revealed.

So while we take stock on our predicament, we are also keeping one wary eye on Jose, who is about to ravage the Leeward Islands with another hammer blow. The lasting effects of these September storms will live long in the memory but it’s not over yet. Irma is heading into dense low-lying coastal populations of the Northern Bahamas and Florida while she batters Cuba on the way.

Our thoughts turn north as we hold our breath for the inevitable heartbreaking destruction Mother Nature will render. Nature is telling us something. Whether we listen or not is inconsequential to her. She will address the imbalance as she always does one way or another. One love  #hurricaneirma #madeofocean @noaasatellites @ Turks and Caicos Islands


Filed under: Hurricane Irma

Hurricane IRMA – 7th September – evening

7th September 2017 10:58 am

‘Crunch time’. The next 24 hours are gonna be intense. Adrenaline, anxiety, fear, dread, hope… plenty hope. Imaginations running wild. At some point we’ll lose connection with the outside world and with it a sense of where Irma is in relation to us. The unknown. That’s the scary part. From what our brothers and sisters down south have just been through, we really hope #turksandcaicos doesn’t see the eye of Irma. It’s going to be a long long night. Noises and sounds from another world. With all your thoughts, prayers and best wishes, we’ll get through this one way or another – we have zero say in the matter. Can’t help but wonder what hurricanes were like before the internet and weather forecasts….. We’ll see you on the other side. TCI people. Be safe. One love. Over and out. #hurricaneirma #madeofocean #ocean @noaasatellites #barbuda#stmartin #bvi #usvirginislands #peurtorico #dominicanrepublic #haiti#bahamas #florida @ Turks and Caicos Islands


Filed under: Hurricane Irma

Hurricane IRMA – 7th September

10:58 am

Irma has our undivided attention. These stunning satellite images from @noaasatellites are spellbinding. Mother Nature is AWESOME. She rules. Living and working in, on and under the water – we know this to be true. The power of the ocean is as devastating as she is beautiful. Our boats are out and tied down. Boards are are up. The BB team like everyone else, on Island have had all hands on deck. There comes a point when we can do no more but hunker down and pray for the best while expecting the worst. Everything is at stake. We are all in this together. Stay strong, stay safe TCI!

Thank you for all the wonderful thoughts and messages near and far.

Respect 👊🏽🙏🏽👊🏽and one love 💙

#turksandcaicos #madeofocean #ocean #hurricaneirma #barbuda #antigua #britishvirginislands #usvirginislands #puertorico #dominicanrepublic #haiti #bahamas #florida #cuba @ Turks and Caicos Island


Filed under: Hurricane Irma

Getting the Best Private Turks and Caicos Villas

6:15 pm

Staying at any of the glitzy and ultra luxurious Turks and Caicos resorts is often perceived as the ultimate travel goal of Caribbean tourists, but these resorts don’t come cheap. Five-star spa treatments, chef-style kitchens, and high-tech furnishings come with a price.

But then again, you really don’t need all that to have a trip of a lifetime. There are plenty of private Turks and Caicos villas that offer similar perks without the price tag. You might miss out on some conveniences like nightly turndown service. However, you’ll save a lot of money while experiencing the Caribbean in a more private and intimate setting with your family and friends than you would at the Turks and Caicos resorts that accommodates hundreds of families.

Also, you’ll most likely be enjoying the majority of your time outside, so all the extravagances of the resorts might not be a priority.

Here are five sites you can use to rent a private Turks and Caicos villa on Providenciales that accommodates up to six guests.

1) Airbnb

Airbnb is one of the largest and most recent disrupters of the travel industry. The site has made it easier than ever to connect homeowners to renters. Many of the Turks and Caicos villas listed on Airbnb are single-family houses.

In addition to being much more affordable than the resorts, some Airbnb listings offer comparable amenities including:

Several Airbnb listings are incredibly popular and consistently earn top marks and reviews from previous visitors.

2) VRBO

VRBO, or Vacation Rentals By Owner, has been around for a long time (since 2006!) and is considered a pioneer of the online vacation rental industry.

VRBO has a huge listing and Providenciales alone has more than 300 listings for private villas. Like the Airbnb listings, VRBO’s Turks and Caicos villas come with amazing amenities that are just as good as the resorts. These can include:

 

3) HomeAway

HomeAway is a global vacation rental listing company with more than 1 million listings worldwide. Interestingly, while VRBO and HomeAway have the same parent company, the listings aren’t always the same, so it’s worth checking both sites.

4) FlipKey

FlipKey was acquired by TripAdvisor in 2008 and gives a more unique approach to browsing vacation rentals. You can easily browse listings based on certain parameters such as low-cost, family-friendly, luxury, or even by the type of trip you’re hoping to embark on. This is great for when you search for a Turks and Caicos villa and are interested in activities like SCUBA diving, snorkeling, or stand up paddleboarding.

5) VayStays

If you are dead set on the Caribbean resort experience, but don’t want to pay the fees, then VayStays is a great site. It features luxury properties around the world including the Caribbean, where you can find private Turks and Caicos villas.

However, because of their niche, you’ll find fewer listings. But what you do find will be an amazing experience. You’ll discover ultra-luxe villas that have:

 

However, be prepared to pay for the special treatment.

 


Filed under: Accommodation

How to Plan a Turks and Caicos Vacation on A Budget

6th September 2017 9:37 am

The Turks and Caicos is beautiful exotic destination filled with luxury resorts and gorgeous Caribbean beaches. All that comes with a price. In fact, Turks and Caicos probably only comes up on your radar when you hear of celebrities and high level executives of Fortune 500 companies vacationing, getting married, honeymooning, or having second (or third, or fourth) homes here.

This doesn’t mean that planning a Turks and Caicos vacation for you and your family means exorbitant prices. It is possible plan a Turks and Caicos trip on a budget. Here are some ways you can do that:

Go During Off-Peak Travel Times

Peak travel times for Turks and Caicos is usually from December to April. It’s high season and hotels and airfare usually hike up the prices around this time, so going during off-peak times can help you save hundreds.

Turks and Caicos Hotels and Resorts

Room rates of Turks and Caicos resort tend to drop right after Easter holiday and spring break. If you’re dead set on experiencing a luxe hotel, it’s always a good idea to check a five-star resort’s website to see if they’re offering any deals or promotions.

Otherwise, there are plenty of Turks and Caicos resorts on Providenciales that are further from Grace Bay Beach or on other parts of the island that can have more competitive pricing. And it’s not like Providenciales is huge. Even at the furthest point from Grace Bay Beach, it’s just a short bus ride or drive to the sandy paradise.

You can also check travel aggregate sites like Kayak, Hotels.com, or Expedia.com to get a ballpark of the prices available to you. Just be careful because not all aggregate sites listed prices reflect all charges, such as resort or tourism fees.

Don’t forget about Airbnb either. “Second homes” can help their owners earn cash when the homes aren’t in use, so many homeowners make their properties available to travellers. Airbnb has a strong presence in Turks and Caicos and it’s quite possible that you can find a private house, villa, or bungalow for your entire travelling party.

Important Note:

It is almost always more expensive to purchase a resort package that includes a room, meal plan, drinks, and activities than just getting a room. Many resorts will try to woo you with special offers like unlimited drinks, but it will take a very strong constitution to make that worthwhile. Instead, just get the room and pay as you go.

Airfare to Turks and Caicos

The same strategy of searching for hotels applies to airfare. When you look for flights for the off-season, you’ll discover plenty of great deals.

Again, always take a look at the company’s website before examining prices on travel aggregate sites. For example, JetBlue is a low-cost carrier that frequently has promotions to Turks and Caicos.

Travel Packages

Keep an eye out for travel packages that includes airfare and hotels. While some can be expensive, others can be a real steal. You can find these on hotel or airline sites. Some good packages can even be found on sites you might not expect, like Costco.

If you do find one that seems interesting, always try to see if your own but similar package.

Important Note:

Read the fine print and know about any limitations or travel blackout dates.

Turks and Caicos Food

Naturally, Providenciales is a huge tourist attraction and you can expect many restauranteers to open fine dining establishments for the rich and famous. However, the Turks and Caicos also has a vibrant local culture, and that includes food.

Plan to eat at off-beachfront restaurants and try local Caribbean fare. For example, the local Jamaican expat community is known for enjoying the filling (and affordable) lunch of “patty and coco bread,” which can be had at Patty Place at a cost of $3.15 and $2.30.

If you’re staying at a place that has its own kitchen, try making your own food using the local ingredients.

Turks and Caicos Activities

There are a lot of cheap things to do in Turks and Caicos. Conch is the Turks and Caicos’ biggest export and the only commercial conch farm in the world can be found on Providenciales. Admission is less than $15 for an adult and less than $8 for a child.

Another cheap activity is to just enjoy the beach. Aside from sun block lotion, it costs nothing to enjoy the gorgeous beaches of the Turks and Caicos.

However, if you’re the type to save on other aspects of your vacation so you can enjoy the activities of the destination, then there are plenty of things to do in the Turks and Caicos—with the added benefit that they don’t even have to be very pricy.

Big Blue Unlimited has several activities designed to help you enjoy the Turks and Caicos on a budget. Activities like snorkeling, stand up paddleboarding, and kayaking are great activities for vacationers who want to be budget conscious.

Plan it Yourself and Avoid Travel Agents

One of the biggest strategies to make a getaway affordable is to avoid travel agents. When you work with travel agents, you are paying for convenience. Everything a travel agent can get you, you can get yourself. It just requires more time and effort when you research.
If you’re ready to plan your trip, talk to us and we’ll help you create a memorable, but affordable Turks and Caicos vacation.


Filed under: Accommodation, Travel