Celebrating your newly minted relationship status deserves a bucket list honeymoon and Turks and Caicos is up for the challenge. As a British Overseas Territory that’s comprised of 40 islands and cays (eight of which are actually inhabited), living the simple life is easy here. Well, simple with a side of sophistication, when boutique hotels, gourmet restaurants, designer-filled stores, and one very famous beach are the norm. As are cocktails before noon and afternoons spent on the water. Here are six convincing reasons to make a Turks & Caicos honeymoon your newlywed getaway of choice.
1. Cheap and short flights
Near perfect 80 to 90-degree weather (save for a few rainy patches during hurricane season) makes Turks and Caicos a desirable year-round destination. And it doesn’t hurt that there are numerous nonstop flights from the South and East Coast, with durations averaging two to three and a half hours. West Coasters require a bit more travel time—about nine to 11 hours from LA, give or take. As for airfare, sweet spot months like April and May turn out a bevy of deals, yet tickets can usually be found in the $200-400 range, depending on where you’re flying from. That means plenty of Honeyfund left over for couples massages and romantic dinners on the beach. The islands see the highest influx of visitors December through April, but if you’re looking to escape to this tropical oasis you may want to avoid June-November—unless you’re cool with 1:1 time in your room during afternoon showers. Once you deplane, it’s a 15 to 20 minute ride to hotels and resorts from the airport in Providenciales (otherwise known as Provo to the locals), so you’ll be toes in the sand in no time.
2. Grace Bay Beach
There are throngs of islands that are worthy of a dream vacation and yet Turks and Caicos’ tranquil white sand beaches have our heart—Grace Bay in particular. Powdery soft to the touch and unspoiled, it rivals its distant blue-hued competitors in far-off places of the world and still always comes out on top.
3. No shortage of 5-star resorts—or epic houses to rent.
After Hurricanes Irma and Maria hit the islands two years ago (and two weeks apart), many hotels were forced to close and renovate. Now they’re not only reopen for business, they’re thriving and expanding. Seven Stars Resort & Spa, which is situated directly on Grace Bay Beach, recently completed a $12 million dollar refresh and is rolling out the red carpet for honeymooners. White-glove service, heated saltwater pools (one of which is adults-only), complimentary water sports, and roomy oceanfront accommodations with well-equipped kitchens, sprawling terraces, and four-poster beds made for sleeping in, are just a few of the perks. There’s also a world-class spa, beachside Champagne Shack, and award-winning restaurant, Seven. If dining by candlelight next to the sound of crashing waves is more your speed however, they’ll happily coordinate a VIP experience with a personal butler and customized playlist.
And if you’re in the mood for a secluded vacay, or are considering a buddymoon for and need an ample amount of space, Onefinestay is an upscale home-sharing alternative. Rent posh pads on Grace Bay and Sapodilla Bay Beach (like Villa Blanca, Villa Positano, and Beach Kandi) where you can holiday undisturbed. Located a few steps from the ocean in many cases, these major villas are fitted with spacious rooms and ensuites, tricked out with smart-tech touches, and serve as the ultimate honeymoon HQ for a private chef to cook for you and your guests.
4. Fresh island fare
Given Turks’ impressive roster of luxe hotels and resorts, it’s no surprise there’s a surplus of high-end restaurants and bars to satiate your palate. Menus are teeming with catch of the day dishes (like grouper, lionfish, tuna, snapper, and spiny lobster) and the islands’ signature delicacy, conch, prepared every way you can imagine. Although out of the way, The Restaurant at Amanyara is worth the trek and promises to be one of your favorite meals, for the dreamy setting alone, overlooking the property’s serene central pond and surrounding turquoise ocean. Their specials change daily and are always highlighted by organic fruits and veggies grown on onsite, in the aquaponic garden. Afterwards, sip “sundowners” under the thatched dome roof in the circular bar.
Over at The Palms, you’re greeted by the scent of exotic flowers as you enter the white columned lobby and your senses are only heightened from there. Ideal for leisurely lunches or long dinners that last all night, you have your pick of five dining areas and bars. We’re partial to L’Attitude Bar for craft cocktails and vintage rums and Parallel23—this Caribbean-fusion gem is a must when in Turks for the picturesque open-air dining room, extensive wine list, and land and sea favorites, like coconut-marinated conch ceviche, king crab risotto, and five-spice marinated lamb shank.
Date nights are done right at Sui-Ren at The Shore Club. Intimate and sexy, the ambiance is exactly what you’re looking for, fresh off the “I Dos.” With a Peruvian-Japanese approach to cooking, it’s unlike its resort community neighbors in terms of cuisine, so you can expect traditional anticuchos (Peruvian-style meats grilled over an open fire) and tiraditos (sashimi-ceviche hybrids) with lots of local flavor.
When you want a lively spot for drinks, head to Pink Bar at Wymara (the former Gansevoort Hotel in Turks). Day club vibes and a rosé theme is omnipresent, but the best time to visit is Sunday, for the live DJ spinning during sunset. They offer a wide selection of rosé wines and blush champagnes—plus tasty lite bites during “pink hour”—and if you end up staying well into the evening, Zest and Stelle are exceptional for dinner.
For a laid-back meal, Da Conch Shack is not to miss. It’s a regular on every “best beach bars in the world” list and arguably T&C’s premiere beach party, thanks to live music on Wednesdays and Sundays. Sample authentic conch fritters, conch chowder, conch salad, or jerk chicken and wings, and if you like it spicy, be sure to add a dash of their house hot sauce, PeppaJoy. Made from Scotch Bonnet peppers grown on a small farm in North Caicos, it’s a worthy souvenir to bring back from the ‘moon.
5. Boating excursions abound
There’s no shortage of crystal clear water in Turks and with this sort of maritime landscape comes unlimited reasons to spend the day on a boat. Parasailing, snorkeling, conch diving, uninhabited island and abandoned-ship exploring… The list goes on and on and the fact that most vessels in these part—from the modest catamarans to the mega luxury liners—come with rooftop slides (and a rum punch stocked bar) is an added plus. Just be sure to book half or full-day excursions with Island Vibes Tours, the #1 operator in the Turks & Caicos. Anyone with a dingy can wander up to your beach chair offering their services and their attractive “good deal” pricing, yet these guys are the trustworthy pros. They’ll pick you up at your resort, return you home safely, take all your Instagram pics, and even whip up a delish BBQ lunch above deck.
6. Wellness is a way of life
Hotels take fitness seriously, so the gyms are state-of-the-art, the beach body programs intense, and the post-workout pampering treatments even better. Try windsurfing, kiteboarding, or SUP (stand up paddle boarding) and if you happen to be a fitness-focused couple, you can even schedule a private session with Erika Bloom Pilates (Kerry Washington’s trainer has an outpost at Amanyara). Turks also makes a strong case for wellness retreats, due to its close proximity and stunning setting, so there are always yoga classes, meditative workshops, and al fresco massage moments to stumble upon—and take advantage of.
Originally Appeared on Brides