Trying to figure out exactly where to stay in Turks and Caicos is a lot easier than you might initially assume. Yes, there are a few islands to choose from and quite a few attractions on all of them, which makes the decision a bit more difficult.
However, there’s a handful of truly popular spots, and almost everyone gravitates to them. But don’t get overwhelmed; we’ll cover each and every one of them in detail below.
Where to Stay in Turks and Caicos
Turks and Caicos is the name of an archipelago that’s known for being a very popular tourist destination. The main reason why are the miles and miles of beautiful white sand beaches that essentially cover the entire coast of all of the islands.
The islands are also known for the perfect weather that surrounds them almost all year round. This, along with the great location, makes Turks and Caicos a great vacation destination regardless of the season, and many people take advantage of this to have a hot and sandy Christmas.
In short, the archipelago is the definition of a tropical paradise. Think amazing coral reefs and sea life, a wide variety of water sports from jet skiing to kayaking, and simply unmatched beaches.
Regardless of your interests, you’ll have to try really hard not to enjoy your vacation down on the Turks. That being said, even though there are beautiful beaches everywhere, deciding where to stay in Turks and Caicos can be difficult if you don’t know the islands and the attractions.
That’s why we’re here to tell you about the most important sights that you must know about when planning your vacation.
Turks and Caicos’s 4 Best Areas
There are a few notable regions on these islands and many resorts that you can find in the middle of nowhere. However, when it comes to the most popular vacation destinations and the best hotels that you can find, we’re confident in saying that you can’t do any better than the following spots:
- Cockburn: The capital city of the islands and their nightlife hub
- The Bight Settlement: Great seaside sports and activities
- Grace Bay: Home of the largest number of luxury hotels, resorts, restaurants, and bars
- Leeward Settlement: The most wallet-friendly place
Turks and Caicos’s Best Areas and Hotels
The islands that comprise Turks and Caicos are actually quite large. The “problem” is that a lot of that terrain is mostly walking paths or greenery. This is a great thing if you’re into hiking or if you want to enjoy the beauty of the landscape.
However, if you’re looking to find a restaurant or a hotel, it can be pretty difficult sometimes unless you know exactly where you’re going. There are heavily populated areas that have many attractions and draw in a multitude of tourists on a daily basis.
On the other hand, the less populated destinations offer a lot more peace and quiet but fewer hotels and bars to choose from.
If you’re planning to go on vacation in Turks and Caicos, then you’ll need to decide ahead of time if you’d prefer to stay in a busier area that has more attractions or go somewhere more secluded and quiet.
We’d also suggest picking a destination that fits your budget. We’ve done our best to outline some of the best cheap, middle-of-the-road, and expensive hotels and resorts, so you’ll be able to find just the right fit.
Cockburn is the capital city of Turks and Caicos, and the city is big enough to encompass most of Grand Turk Island. The city has plenty of cafes, restaurants, pubs, and bars.
Simply put, it’s the perfect location for anyone that wants to check out the nightlife scene on the islands. There are plenty of bars that you can check out where you’ll usually be able to find a live stage performance as well as cocktail lounges where you can try some fun drinks.
There are also a lot of restaurants in this area with exotic menus. If you’re in the mood for some Mediterranean or Italian, you’ll also be able to find it; there’s a ton of variety!
The city is also interesting on an architectural level. Since it was built all the way back in 1681, you can still find many buildings that have a Bermudian vibe from when they were constructed in the colonial era.
The biggest problem with the city is that most of the restaurants and bars that you find are a little bit pricey. It’s not like the drinks are double the price of other bars on the islands, but they’re still expensive enough to poke a hole in your wallet if you’re not paying attention.
Things to Do
- Explore the city and find all of the different bars and pubs that you can sit down in and maybe map out a path for a pub crawl later that night.
- Check out the Cockburn Geological museum if you want to see some interesting minerals and shells that were dug up on the island.
- Explore the island and check out all of the small cities that are scattered around, as well as the popular landmarks like the Cockburn lighthouse that’s called Woodman Light.
Where to Eat
- Sandbar Restaurant is a simple beachside restaurant where you can grab a quick bite to eat.
- Kitty’s Pizza Place is where you go if you’re in the mood for a slice of pepperoni.
- The Arches Bakery has some great pastries that you can try.
Cockburn Budget Hotels
- Seasongs is an apartment that comes with a single bedroom and bathroom, a flat-screen TV, and free wifi.
- Turks Head Inne is about a 20-minute walk from the beach, so it’s not really sea-adjacent, but the reasonable price and bike hire option at the front desk sort of make up for it.
Cockburn Mid-Range Hotels
- Osprey Beach Hotel provides all of the guests with an on-site restaurant that they can use, an AC unit and cable TV in every room, and free wifi throughout the property.
- Colwin’s Place comes with a fully-equipped kitchen, a single bedroom, and a sitting room, as well as a garden where you can sit and enjoy the scenery.
Cockburn Luxury Hotels
- Entire Beachfront Residential Home-Private Beach comes with four bedrooms but only one bathroom, which means you and your friends and family will have plenty of space, but there might be a fight for the toilet in the morning.
- Corktree Beach House is a large 223-square meter property that comes with a flat-screen satellite TV, a fully-equipped kitchen, a terrace with a garden view, and free wifi throughout the property.
2. The Bight Settlement
If you’re not much of a diver or a swimmer and would prefer to spend your days lounging around, then you can’t do better than the Bight Settlement.
The beaches here are known for the many bars that can provide you with some shade and a place to get a cool drink and escape the heat. You also have volleyball courts, where you can take advantage of the soft sand and play to your heart’s content.
The Bight Settlement is not without its watersports, though — jet ski rentals, water skiing lessons, and other fun water-based activities are plentiful. The Bight Settlement is also located really close to Grace Bay, and both of these locations are known as the key vacation destinations on the islands.
This means that there’s no shortage of great accommodation options and restaurants. While Bight Settlement is a popular destination with families due to the beaches, there really isn’t much else to see here.
There are a few shops and beach-front bars, but the main draw of this area is the crystal clear water and the lounge chairs that you can rent out if you want a tan.
Things to Do
- Try your hand at kayaking, water skiing, wave boarding, or any of the other dozen or so water sports that you can try out in this area.
- Go to the nearby town of Provo and get some ponies if you want to try riding off into the sunset on the beach.
- Get some scuba lessons and check out the underwater sea life that you’ll be able to spot around Bight Reef or Turtle Bay.
Where to Eat
- Kin Khao Thai restaurant is where you go if you want to try some authentic Asian dishes.
- Bay Bistro offers a simple menu and a great view of the beach.
- Le Petit Chateau is the place to go for any French cuisine enthusiasts.
The Bight Settlement Budget Hotels
- Zenza Boutique Hotel comes with a flat-screen TV and free wifi in every room, an outdoor pool that guests can use, and free parking.
- Windsong on the Reef has an on-site cafe where you can get a drink and a meal, and it comes with a flat-screen TV and free wifi in every room.
The Bight Settlement Mid-Range Hotels
- Seascape Hotel has a flat-screen TV and an AC unit in every room, an outdoor swimming pool, and free parking for all of the guests.
- West Bay Club comes with free wifi, a flat-screen TV, and an AC unit in every room, and you also get a full kitchen with a microwave.
The Bight Settlement Luxury Hotels
- Alexandra Resort comes with tennis courts, a water trampoline, snorkeling gear, kayaks, stand-up paddle boards, and sailboats that you can use, as well as an in-house restaurant with a large international menu and a few poolside bars for when you want a drink.
- Hotel La Vista Azul provides you with free wifi throughout the property, two rooftop hot tubs with a fantastic view, four outdoor pools that guests can use, and you also get a 42-inch plasma TV in every room.
3. Grace Bay
Like all of the islands that make up Turks and Caicos, Grace Bay has some pretty fantastic beaches that you can visit. However, while you can still do a bit of sunbathing or go for a swim, the best thing to do in these waters is dive underneath.
There are more than a few scuba diving tours that provide all of the necessary equipment and guidance, enabling you to see the beautiful underwater world.
Not only is the underwater scenery spectacular, but scuba diving itself is also a very fun and relaxing activity, and there’s no better place to do it than in Grace Bay. Simply put, Grace Bay itself is a great vacation spot in general.
The beaches make this a very popular destination, so you won’t struggle to find all sorts of accommodation options, restaurants, bars, and even shops.
That being said, if you intend to have an upscale vacation, be prepared to pay an arm and a leg. The luxury resorts and locales might just break the bank. You’ll still be able to stay here in a more frugal manner, but that might just mean avoiding the nights out.
Things to Do
- Put on your scuba gear and visit the famous 14-mine barrier reef, where you can see some beautiful sights.
- Go to the Princess Alexandra National Park and check out the vast array of bird and marine life that call this place their home.
- You might like to book a sunset cruise that takes you past some of the most scenic views on the island while you enjoy a drink on the deck.
Where to Eat
- Infiniti Restaurant & Raw Bar is a chic beach-side eatery with a diverse menu.
- Cabana Bar is where you go if you want a nice cold drink to fight against the heat.
- Hemingway’s on the Beach is a simple restaurant with a great catch-of-the-day menu.
Grace Bay Budget Hotels
- The Tides, Grace Bay comes with an AC unit and a flat-screen TV in every room, as well as an outdoor swimming pool and free parking.
- The Sands at Grace Bay has free wifi in all of the rooms, you can choose between a full kitchen or a kitchenette when you’re picking out rooms, and you also have an on-site restaurant that you can visit if you don’t feel like cooking.
Grace Bay Mid-Range Hotels
- The Palms Turks and Caicos has a fitness center with its very own personal trainer, two in-house restaurants that you can choose from, as well as a spa and wellness center that you can take advantage of.
- Grace Bay Club gives guests access to three outdoor pools, a private beach area, and a full spa with fitness and wellness treatments.
Grace Bay Luxury Hotels
- The Somerset on Grace Bay provides all of the guests with access to a full spa and fitness center, comes with a free continental breakfast each morning, and there’s also a kids club where your children can play.
- Blue Haven Resort covers the cost of any meals and drinks that you might order in the price of the room itself, and it also provides all of the guests with access to a private beach region, several outdoor pools, and a spa with massage treatment services.
4. The Leeward Settlement
The Leeward Settlement is a great vacation spot if you’re looking for a place on the islands where you can have a decent vacation on the cheap. As with every island of the archipelago, the beaches in Leeward are just as breathtaking.
The fact that the hotels and restaurants in this area aren’t as obscenely priced as in a lot of the other regions is a definite plus. There are still luxury hotels in this area, but most of the activities won’t cost as much money.
Everything from the scuba lessons to the kayak rentals and even the drinks at the beach-side bars is quite a bit cheaper than in places like Cockburn or Grace Bay.
Additionally, despite having as many great beaches as the Bight Settlement, this area of the islands doesn’t draw in as many tourists.
This means that you won’t need to worry about restaurants or bars being crowded or there being too many noisy people on the beach. On the other hand, the main reason why the Leeward Settlement is “empty” is that there’s not much to do here.
Yes, this is a better destination for anyone traveling on a budget, but that still doesn’t solve the problem of boredom at night. If you want to enjoy some peace and quiet, then this is the place for you, but otherwise, you’re not going to get much out of it.
Things to Do
- One of the more popular tours that you can take in this area of the islands is the one that takes you to an iguana farm where you can view these animals from up close.
- Book a cruise and participate in some on-deck fun as the ship takes you all the way around the islands.
- Take a towel, an umbrella, and a pair of sunglasses, and head down to the beach to spend a day out in the sun and water.
Where to Eat
- Salt Pizzeria Napoletana is a great place to go if you want to grab a slice of pizza.
- Fire & Ice restaurant is a chic place with a large selection of seafood meals.
- Froggies Meals on Wheels is a great place to get some quick takeout.
Leeward Settlement Budget Hotels
- Energize at Solar Kite Studio is an incredibly cheap small apartment that comes with a single bedroom and bathroom, a flat-screen TV, and a fully-equipped kitchen.
- Sunset Point Oceanfront Villa comes with free wifi, a full garden, a fully-equipped kitchen, and an outside pool.
Leeward Settlement Mid-Range Hotels
- Oceanview Private, Gated Home comes with a garden and a terrace where you can sit and enjoy the view, a living room with a flat-screen Tv and AC unit, and an outside pool.
Leeward Settlement Luxury Hotels
- The Atrium Resort comes with a fully-equipped fitness center that guests can use, an outdoor heated pool and hot tub, satellite TV and an AC unit in every room, and a full-service on-site spa with massage treatments.
- Blue Haven Resort has an in-house restaurant with a pretty impressive menu, a standard bar and a pool-side bar depending on whether you want to sit or swim with your drink, and even a full spa and wellness center.
So, Where Should You Stay in Turks and Caicos?
You might have noticed that we mentioned the beaches on Turks and Caicos quite a few times. That’s because they’re undeniably the main reason why most people come to the islands in the first place.
For that reason, we’d recommend not picking your destination based on the beaches themselves since you’ll be able to enjoy the sun, sand, and surf regardless of where you are.
If you’re after the nightlife scene on the islands, then your best bet would be to go to Cockburn since that’s where most of the best bars and restaurants can be found.
On the other hand, if you’d prefer to have more fun during the daytime and want to try out some water sports or just swim in the crystal clear waters, then the Bight Settlement is the place for you.
Grace Bay is also close by, and it comes with even more luxury hotels and resorts, restaurants, and bars that you can enjoy, at least if you have the money.
And finally, the Leeward Settlement is your best bet if you want to try out the famous Turks and Caicos beaches without having to break the bank on your vacation. Happy travels!