TURKS & CAICOS
WHY WE LOVE IT
- First off, Provo—one of the Caribbean’s up-and-coming islands, combining as much seclusion as you could ask for with swank resorts, a spot of nightlife and excellent dining.
- Chic-vacation central: dozen-mile Grace Bay Beach, celeb-magnet Parrot Cay, zen-cool Amanyara.
- More than 230 miles of perfect white sand, ace dive sites, deserted cays, spectacular sailing and friendly "belongers" (locals).
- Sights to see: historic Cockburn Town on Grand Turk; sleepy Salt Cay, with relics of a once-thriving salt industry; pristine West Caicos’ wildlife sanctuary; Provo’s conch farm.
- Jojo the Dolphin, the friendly Grace Bay bottlenose who’s been hanging with boats, divers, snorkelers and swimmers for years.
WHEN TO GO
High season is mid-December to April, so you’ll get the best deals in the summer months. These flat islands are hotter than most of their neighbors, but the constant easterly trade winds temper the torridity, and the humidity is relatively low.
WHAT TO PACK
Bathing suits, polarized sunglasses, sunblock, camera, U.S. passport, U.S. dollars (the island’s official currency) in small denominations, binoculars (if you're a birder). For evenings, "smart casual" clothing; a small number of the fancier restaurants request that men wear jackets at dinner.
WHAT TO BUY
Caribbean lobster oil, infused with local spiny lobsters; ceramic paw and bone jewelry from the Potcake Foundation (island dog rescue) at Greensleeves Gifts; local postage stamps (TCI Philatelic Bureaus on Grand Turk and the Salt Mills on Provo); teak furniture from Provo’s W.I.I.F. (they ship); local paintings by Dwight Outten and others.
The Turks & Caicos Islands Tourist Board (800-241-0824 in the U.S., 866-413-8875 in Canada; turksandcaicostourism.com) has a U.S. office in New York (60 East 42nd St., Suite 2817; 646-375-8830), as well as representatives in Chicago (708-720-9999), Miami (305-671-3414) and Canada (613-332-6472).
GETTING MARRIED IN TURKS AND CAICOS
Couples must be on the island for 48 hours before applying for a marriage license. As soon as you arrive, give your officiant your photo IDs and original birth certificates (or official copies). He or she will pass these documents along to the Registrar’s Office in Grand Turk or Providenciales. You’ll then need to submit an application, filling out a personal information form and providing notarized affidavits that you’re not already hitched. Widows/widowers must provide the death certificate, and if you’ve been divorced you need proof. The whole process usually takes two days and costs $120; you’ll need to leave notarized copies of all the documents with the registrar. For more information contact the Turks & Caicos Tourism Board at 649-946-4970.