***Yes, the photo above is actually of the ocean, it is not a pool! It is that clear.
Well, we are back from our dreamy vacation and settling into the grind and cold weather once again! For our trip pictures, I will be posting them in a few different installments, as I feel that the resort we stayed at, Seven Stars Grace Bay, deserves a whole review post- it was wonderful. But I will give an overview of our trip and what we enjoyed about it, and then a few things we would change for next time.
To & From:
We left Boise Saturday evening and flew to Portland where we got on a red-eye (my first ever- not as glamorous as I always imagined) to Atlanta. We landed in Atlanta at 6ish in the morning, where we had a few hours to layover and eat breakfast before we caught our flight to Providenciales, Turks and Caicos. I will say that the flight to T&C was an experience in itself; Flying over the Bahamas was incredibly beautiful- make sure to snag a window seat! Going through customs once we got there was so simple (a little bit of a wait, but a painless experience). We brought some snack food in our bags since we knew food would be extremely expensive (more on that later) so we thought we may have to declare and pay a small fee but once we got to the declarations line, the officer asked why we were declaring and since it was only snacks he just waved us on through!
Now, getting home was a little more painful. We flew from Providenciales to JFK- we thought landing in JFK’s international terminal would be a fun experience where my plane-loving hubby would get to oogle the double-decker airplanes coming from overseas. While we did get to see some cool aircrafts, we ended up missing our connection because of the TSA line. Not because of waiting in customs and immigrations, but yes, because of TSA who felt the need to only open one scanner (and leave two just vacant) for a room full of international travelers. We definitely were embarrassed to hear what some of the foreigners were saying about our government run programs, but hey, we had to agree! So for next time, I would say to return through Atlanta, just since JFK is such a huge hub of international travel so waiting in lines will probably always be a hassle.
Our resort was located right on Grace Bay Beach, ranked one of the world’s BEST beaches, so honestly we didn’t really need to taxi around much! At first we thought about renting a car because we thought the $33 each way taxi-fare to the airport seemed steep, especially if we needed to taxi any where else (Conch Farms, other side of the island, etc.) but we were so thankful we didn’t rent a car. Why? Because driving on the left side of the road doesn’t seem like an easy adjustment when you are ingrained to drive on the right. And also, gas prices were astronomical! We didn’t even think about that as a problem, but once we passed a gas station we were feeling so smart. Gas was over $5 a gallon! Also, there was a grocery store a block away from the resort so we walked over on the first day and loaded up with water and more snack food, as we decided to only eat out for dinner. Which brings me to the next point…
Eating out is quite spendy- an average meal costs around $100 for 2 people, so we decided lunch would be snack food in our kitchenette (crackers, hummus, cheese, yogurt, fruits, veggies). The first thing we did after settling into the hotel was to take a quick walk to the grocery store (a block down the street in front of the resort) where we spent about $65 for bottled water and lunch food for the 5 days we were there- quite a steal actually! We did notice that granola bars were very over priced at the grocery store, so we were glad we through in a few to our suitcases for beach snacks. For breakfast, our resort had the most luxurious spread of foods at their continental breakfast, which was included with the stay- so we got off pretty decently for food. Eating out is always fun, though, and it’s a great way to experience the local atmosphere, so we did our share. When eating out, I knew we would be ordering bottled water, but I didn’t expect it to be $10 for a large bottle for the two of us to share! Not a huge deal, but just something I didn’t even think of.
Since our resort was on Grace Bay, we spent most of our time laying on the beach or walking up and down the beach! The water was gorgeous- so clear and warm. I am still dreaming of it! Honestly, I kept saying to Chase that it was like swimming in a pool with a sandy bottom- that’s how clear it was. Even when the water was well over 5 ft deep, we could still see the bottom and make out the shells and fish. Two days of our stay produced quite large waves at the beach, which the locals were saying was extremely unusual. It made for not so great water to snorkel or kayak in, but watching the waves and playing in them was loads of fun! When we weren’t on the beach, we did walk around some touristy shops that were all within a few blocks of the resort. The resort did have a lot of excursion options, but being pregnant kind of limited what we could do! There’s horseback riding on the beach, scuba diving, parasailing- you name it. We thought it may be fun to do a little tour of the island (apparently pretty much any taxi driver will give you one), but the concierge desk didn’t seem all that impressed with it- I’m sure coming from Idaho it would have been neat though, so maybe next time!
All in all, we had a wonderful time enjoying the sun and sand. Turks and Caicos is a great option for anyone who wants a luxurious beach vacation. And traveling there is incredibly simple even for the less cultured crowd, as they speak english and use the US dollar! I will definitely be doing a review on where we stayed and where we ate, as all were incredible.
Have a good Wednesday!