Providenciales or Grand Turk: Which Turks & Caicos Island is Right for Your Caribbean Vacation?

Providenciales or Grand Turk: Which Turks & Caicos Island is Right for Your Caribbean Vacation?

Your bags are all but packed and you’re oh-so-ready to go, but there’s still one thing left to do: make the Big Decision about which Turks and Caicos island to choose for your Caribbean vacation. Photos and travel guides only get you so far: How do you really know whether you’d be happier on touristy Providenciales (Provo) or on colonial Grand Turk?

The Turks and Caicos: The Best of the Caribbean Islands

The splendor and exoticism of the Turks and Caicos is unparalleled, earning our island nation dozens of accolades and worldwide recognition. So in lieu of extolling our seaside splendor in 80 different ways, we’ll let the planet’s foremost travel experts do it for us:

  • Condé Nast Traveler ranks Turks and Caicos in the Top 10 Islands in the Caribbean & Atlantic, thanks to its “exquisitely clean and unspoiled” beaches, “crystal blue waters,” and “white powder sand.”
  • U.S. News thinks Turks & Caicos is one of the 16 best places to visit in the Caribbean, raving about “some of the most stunning white beaches of the Caribbean.”
  • Robert Reid, of CNN and Lonely Planet, calls Grand Turk’s Cockburn Town one of the eight best towns in the Caribbean, citing our old-world charm, especially the island’s “colorful colonial buildings on narrow streets that still see donkey carts.”
  • Grand Turk is consistently rated as one of the world’s top 10 dive sites, due in large part to our spectacular coral reef, the third-largest in the world. It plunges to 7,000 feet and shelters blacktip reef sharks, green sea turtles, hawksbill turtles, humpback whale, pilot whales, whale sharks, manta rays, reef sharks, and other exotic marine life.

Caribbean Island Showdown: Grand Turk vs. Providenciales

Most visitors to the Turks and Caicos stay either on Provo, the nation’s tourism hub, or Grand Turk, the historical and political center of our archipelago. In many ways, Provo and Grand Turk are like night and day ­— a land of two worlds, one housed on the modern and bustling Providenciales, and the old-world other rooted firmly on colonial Grand Turk.

So how do you choose? Well, you should know that both Grand Turk and Provo are beautiful and lush, rimmed by sun-bleached sands — several counted among the best beaches in the world — and surrounded by the aquamarine Caribbean. But each island has its own, distinct personality and flair, making it easy to identify which is right for you:

Vacation on Provo if:


  • You love being a tourist: Providenciales is, by far, the most developed island in the Turks and Caicos. That means plenty of options for dining and shopping, but be aware that Provo’s tourist appeal can mean lots and lots (and lots) of crowds.
  • You prefer all-inclusive vacations: Provo’s mega-resorts are the only place in the archipelago to book an all-inclusive Caribbean resort vacation. You’ll find the world’s best brands on Providenciales, including Beaches, Club Med, Gansevoort, Regent Palms, Grace Bay Club, Ocean Club, Windsong, and more.
  • You don’t mind sharing the [gorgeous!] beach: Grace Bay Beach is consistently ranked as one of the Caribbean’s most beautiful beaches. But like most things on Provo, you’ll have to share these spectacular sands with throngs of tourists.
  • You can’t wait to book water tours: Provo’s water sports are legendary, and there are dozens of tour outfitters that’ll book you on fishing, kite boarding, parasailing, wake boarding, wake surfing, jet skiing and other paid extras.

Choose Grand Turk if:


  • You yearn to get away from it all: If you seek a balance of quiet and convenience, Grand Turk is the best choice. While the island boasts all the basics, like guided tours, grocery stores, and a handful of restaurants, it’s definitely the Caribbean few tourists rarely see.
  • You’re on your honeymoon: Grand Turk is awesomely secluded — look up and down the beach, and you’ll probably be the only one in sight. As Caribbean honeymoon spots go, there’s nothing more romantic than having a sparkling sea and white-sand beach all to yourselves.
  • You find colonial history charming: There’s the Caribbean and then there’s Hemingway’s Caribbean — and Grand Turk is the latter. Choose Grand Turk if you’re charmed by pastel-hued clapboard, whitewashed porches, and seaside cafés.
  • You love living like a local: If you like to dip into local flavor while you vacation, Grand Turk is perfect. Walk down the sand to the oceanfront fish market, stroll through colonial streets, rent a local villa … relax and slow down until you’re happily living on island time.
  • You’re passionate about snorkeling or scuba diving: Grand Turk is consistently rated one of the Top 10 dive sites in the world, thanks to our barrier reef 200 yards off shore– the third largest in the world. Go from 35 feet to 7000 feet just a 3 minute boat ride from our beach! Enough said.
  • You love adventure: We have whale watching, swimming with stingrays, thrilling boating and, if you want some manmade adventure, the Grand Turk Cruise Center, including its exhilarating FlowRider surf pool.
  • You don’t mind island-hopping: To get to Grand Turk, you must board a puddle-jumper for a short 20 minute flight from Provo.

Call us biased, but we think Grand Turk is the best island in the Caribbean. We searched and searched, and after falling in love with the Turks and Caicos, we finally settled on our tiny sliver of this quiet island paradise. It may not be the most-visited or most-talked-about Caribbean island, but that’s what makes it great: Privacy. Seclusion. Peace. Grand Turk is romance, is a sanctuary, is a Caribbean escape you don’t have to share.

Tempted? Join the club! (We’re completely enamored of our tiny utopia.) Get in touch – we’re happy to answer any questions – or book our Grand Turk vacation rental today.

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