Located just below the Bahamas, the Caribbean nation of Turks and Caicos is known for drawing celebrities from afar. “Extremely luxurious resorts on white powder beaches surrounded by turquoise waters make the destination the epitome of unparalleled luxury,” explains Christine Pike, Global Founder and CEO of KK Travels. As the name of the country suggests, the islands are divided into two groups of islands: Turkish Islands Grand Turk and Salt Cay to the east, and the largest Caicos Islands Providenciales Islands, North Caicos, Middle Caicos, East Caicos, South Caicos and West Caicos in the west. Half of Hollywood, from Providenciales to South Caicos, has called this destination home at one point or another – with celebrities like Donna Karan, Keith Richards, Gwyneth Paltrow, Prince in a star-studded Rolodex, and for good reason. A tour guide from Provo Tours says: “Thanks to the island’s shallow bays and cays, Turks and Caicos boasts some of the bluest waters in all of the Caribbean.
Unlike some neighboring islands like St. Barts or Nassau Paradise Island, Turks and Caicos makes up for what it lacks in nightlife with top-notch beaches, beach food and water sports. Here, the latter reigns supreme, and often the A-list crowd take to the open water on sunset sails, jet skis or snorkels to spot the island’s biggest celebrity, Jojo Dolphin – a wild Atlantic bottlenose dolphin. He is known for interacting freely with tourists. For a relatively small destination, they’ll be delighted to know that there’s plenty to see and do, as well as plenty of hotel and rental options to suit anyone looking for the full celebrity treatment. Here’s how to explore the Turks and Caicos Islands like a superstar.
Starting from Providenciales or Provo (as the locals call it), this island is the country’s third largest island and is the most popular for tourism – Grace Bay Beach being the biggest attraction. Grace Bay Beach has been voted the #1 Beach in the World by numerous publications, including the 2022 TripAdvisor’s Traveler’s Choice Award. In recent years, the beach has become a center for tourists and celebrities, thanks to its powder white sand and clear blue water, as well as an impressive array of 5-star entertainment and restaurants. Beyoncé, Drake and Michael Jordan have been known to enjoy walks on the beach as well as dine at Italian restaurant Casa Nonna at hotels like the Ritz Carlton or hit the on-site casino.
Blue Hills is one of the three original settlements on Providciales, one of the most beautiful coastal drives. Home to beautiful beaches and many conches, the island’s best reef snorkelling (called Smith’s Reef), the Rock House Hotel, conch shacks and a local horse riding center. In fact, a few years ago when Provo hosted the Turks and Caicos Music Festival, Alicia Keys went horseback riding on this beach, past the island’s most famous restaurant, Da Conch Shack. John Legend and Chrissy Teigen took their kids to eat here on a recent vacation, writing in an Instagram post, “Get the delicious whip, the dirty fries, and yes, the conch.”
Chalek Sound National Park
While Grace Bay Beach may be the most underrated, Chalk Sound National Park is arguably the most charming. Home to hundreds of tiny islands, an underwater cave, an underwater plane wreck, and Turks and Caicos rock iguanas, this secluded lagoon hosts some of the most vivid blue water you’ll ever see. You can explore the park on spectacular boat tours departing from the popular restaurant Las Brisas or by renting a car. In addition to the stunning million dollar homes you’ll pass by, you can feast your eyes on the beautiful beaches of Sapodilla Bay and Taylor Bay.
Next to the bay, you’re a short drive from Turkey’s flagship brewery, a long, winding Venetian road off the central Leeward Highway. This 4.7 mile route travels along the shores of Turtle Pond, Flamingo Lake and Juba Sound and ends at the eastern tip of the Turtle Tail Peninsula, where Prince’s former home is home to other famous villas such as Rihanna and Olivia Munn is on vacation.
Northwest Point Marine National Park
On the west coast of Providence Shales, at the edge of a 5,000-hectare nature and wildlife reserve, the island’s only resort has hosted celebrities including Amanyara, Will Smith, Brad Pitt, Victoria and David Beckman and LeBron. James to name a few. “From the Sanskrit words for ‘peace’ and ‘place,’ Amanyara borders the pristine reefs of Northwest Point Marine National Park,” explains Christine Pike. “Private guest cabins and villas tucked away on the beach, this secluded resort has a modern and quiet design, embracing the sights and sounds of the turquoise sea. Perfect for couples (or families) looking for relaxation and luxury in a secluded and beautifully zen-like atmosphere.
Long Bay Beach
Located on the southeast side of Providenciales, opposite Grace Bay, Long Bay Beach is home to three miles of beautiful windswept white-sand beaches. As one of the world’s top kiteboarding destinations, this beach attracts kiteboarders from all over the world, including lessons for beginners eager to learn. Even if they choose to stay on dry land, watching kiteboarders from the beach is peaceful. Especially if you’re staying at The Shore Club or one of the many luxury vacation villas visited by the likes of Queen Minaj and the Kardashians.
Just as recently as March, rappers Drake and Jack Harlow were spotted jet skiing on this beach. You can rent jet skis by the hour from local beach vendors and explore the bay’s abandoned shipwrecks, where visitors can climb atop a boat and jump into the crystal clear waters or stop at Captain Oak’s (floating) tiki. For a drink bar and some of the best grilled fish on the island – or should we say ocean.
“Just a ferry ride from the Provo airport,” says Pike, for those looking for a VIP vacation, “Parrot Caye is a great private island experience,” located between Providence Shales and North and Middle Caicos. In the middle of this thousand-acre island, you’ll find COMO Parro Cay Resort, a luxury resort with villas and private residences that have been home to celebrities like Keith Richards, Donna Karan and Christie Brinkley. These private residences are known to house other celebrities such as Nick Jonas, Justin Bieber and Angelina Jolie. Kai.
If the private islands, five-star resorts and over-the-top luxury don’t sell you on a visit, the warm and welcoming smiles from the locals will. Even the wildlife is friendly, as Jojo the dolphin roams the bays and cays – along with his partner and immediate heir, baby Dreamer. An unforgettable name given by an unforgettable island, makes for an unforgettable experience!