Travel Destinations: Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos

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Grand Turk is the capital of the Caribbean island nation of Turks and Caicos. This island is not the lush green islands that you would expect to find in a Caribbean destination, but it does offer one of the best bargains in a vacation along with spectacular snorkelling and diving opportunities. This island is believed to be the first to be discovered by Columbus. The financial center of the island is the town of Cockburn Beach where you will find exceptional swimming and a historic waterfront.

The entire island of Grand Turk encompasses only 4.75 square miles and contains many historical buildings, such as the Turks Head Inn. Many of these buildings were constructed using wood and limestone and look very unique.

Getting There and Around the Island

There is an airport on Grand Turk serviced by seven daily flights from Provo. Most of the visitors to the island walk wherever they want to go, but there is taxi service. The cabs are usually waiting at the airport for the flights and your hotel can call one for you. You can also rent a car to use while you are visiting. Bicycle rentals are also available and make a cheap way of getting around the island.

Accommodations

Hotels add an extra 10% to 15% as a service charge and there is a 10% government tax added to your bill when you check out, so you must allow for this extra charge when you budget you funds for the accommodations you choose.

There are several expensive types of accommodations on Grand Turk, such as the townhouses of The Arches of Grand Turk Island. With just a short walk to the beaches, all bedrooms have either island or ocean views. These accommodations are perfectly suited for families or groups traveling together. The architectural style of Island House gives the impression of structures you will see in the Mediterranean. There are studios and one-bedroom suites to choose from in the location that is in close proximity to the town. This location is very popular with divers because of the location near to the fabulous diving reefs.

Dining

Enjoy traditional or international cuisine in the hotels of the island or in one of the restaurants in Cockburn Town. You will certainly not go away hungry with the large portions of food that you receive.

Activities

You will find some of the best scuba diving sites in the Caribbean when you visit Grand Turk. Dive at night because of the bioluminescence. Explore the wreck of the HMS Endymion just off Salt Cay, which sunk in a storm in 1790. Humpback whales can be seen playing offshore between January and March, which is the tourist season on the island. Even though tourists visit Grand Turk to enjoy the beaches and the diving opportunities, there are also activities for horseback riding, golfing and walking.

Around the Island

The only museum in Turks and Caicos is the Turks and Caicos Museum in Grand Turk. This 150-year old residence was constructed from timbers salvaged from shipwrecks. The majority of the displays in this museum deal with the archaeological excavations that have taken place here – the wreck of a Spanish slave ship carrying Arawak slaves that sank in 1530.

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