*Tap tap* Hello, is this thing on? I didn’t intend to neglect my poor blog for an entire year, but that whole “having a tiny human” thing kind of took over my life (no complaints though, she’s the absolute best!). But a couple of weeks ago, we took our very first Official Family Vacation as a family of three. Our destination? Beautiful Providenciales, Turks and Caicos.
Snorkeling is always at the top of the agenda when my husband and I head to tropical destinations. I knew that long snorkeling boat trips weren’t going to be doable with a baby who still naps twice a day, so I spent a lot of time trying to figure out the best shore snorkeling destinations in the Caribbean. I kept seeing Turks and Caicos come up and especially Bight Reef on Provo Island. We chose a hotel, Windsong Resort, that’s located right on that reef, in hopes of experiencing great snorkeling without having to leave our resort. We weren’t disappointed! We snorkeled every day with a nice assortment of tropical fish (including a lionfish, which I was very excited to see until I learned they’re an invasive species that’s damaging the reefs!) and sea turtles. On our last full day, I swam with a beautiful eagle ray, something that was a real thrill for me, as it’s long been on my snorkeling bucket list. In terms of the variety of marine life in the area, it’s definitely some of the best snorkeling I’ve ever experienced, and most days the ocean was calm enough that snorkeling was easy.
When we weren’t snorkeling, we enjoyed this beautiful stretch of Grace Bay Beach, and relaxed on our shaded balcony with a good book and the ocean breeze. We didn’t leave our resort except to eat — there was simply no need to, with such great snorkeling right there.
Speaking of eating, unfortunately I don’t have any enthusiastic restaurant recommendations to offer. When it comes to the food scene on Provo, my strongest memory is of paying incredibly high prices for very average food. Since we had a car and a full kitchen in our hotel room, we went to the grocery store to stock up on food and try to save some money (although I’m not sure how much we saved, because even at the grocery store prices were insane!). That said, we did have a few tasty restaurant dishes during our stay. I recommend the conch fritters at JoJo’s (the restaurant at our resort), the conch chowder at Mr. Grouper’s (despite the “chowder” name, the soup base is more like a lobster stew than a traditional New England calm chowder), the Tex Mex dishes (I had a quesadilla) made with local snapper at Somewhere Cafe, the fried conch basket at Las Brisas and the fried fish sandwich and plantains at Bay Bistro. (Do you detect a theme? I definitely recommend sticking to local seafood as much as possible.)
The latter two restaurants are also noteworthy for their view. Las Brisas is located on beautiful Chalk Sound, on the southwestern part of the island.
And Bay Bistro is at the Sibonne Beach Hotel, on a lovely stretch of Grace Bay. When we visited, the beach was really uncrowded and peaceful.
While there were some hiccups (especially the trip home, with flight delays and an exhausted baby), overall, it was a really successful and fun first family vacation!
PS. I’ve added a family travel category to this blog! I’m excited to add much more to this section in the years to come.