TCI, the Turks and Caicos Islands

Everyone’s heard of the Bahamas, but not really the Turks and Caicos, but its basically the same place, geographically. We flew over the Florida keys and the Bahemian islands to land in Providenciales, also too long and complicated to say, so its just Provo and TCI from now on. I was confused about how to refer to a local… i accidentally asked twice if a local was ‘Turkish and caico…ish?” but they were shocked and appalled that I could ever mistake an ‘islander’ (the correct term to refer to a local) for a Turk. Obviously I wasnt doing that, but it was a problem of linguistics… and Katrin speak.

Grace Bay, 14 miles of perfect beach

Grace Bay, 14 miles of perfect beach

It’s called the Turks and Caicos because one of the islands is named Grand Turk. Then theres North, Middle and South Caicos, but no north or West. Provo is kind of the west Caicos, and the biggest island, and finally Salt Cay. All of them have tourism, based mostly around fishing and resorts, but then theres also the migration of humpack whales and a friendly dolphin named Jojo that alot of people come to see.

so this is what conch looks like!

so this is what conch looks like!

These islands are somehwere, yet nowhere, since they’re a British territory inhabited by alot of Haitian, Dominican and Bahemian workers. The official currency is the US dollar and the international phone code is +1, but British passports are given out simultaneously with the TCI passprt. The way the islanders speak isnt quite with a Caribbean or American or British accent, but something inbetween all three. Very very few people live here, only 32,000 (a tenth of the Bahamas or Iceland), but thousands visit. And I dont blame them…. its kind of a magical, post-card place hidden away to the secrecy of the few who know the place, and always return. People own time shares or homes that they return to year after year, andall the locals know them by name.

sunset in paradise

sunset in paradise

I didn’t know very much before coming here either. I mean I knew where it was but not what was there. To my surprise, there were still couchsurfers here, and at the last minute a host actually found me. Turns out he knew everyone and hooked me up with everything I’d ever want from an island get away – boating, snorkeling, conch diving, para-sailing and a lot, a LOT of rum punch. And thank God for him and all he did, because as it also turns out, TCI is probably the most expensive Caribbean island I’ve ever been to after St. Barth’s. If Cancun is for students on spring break, TCI is for families and the rich and famous any time of year. It’s kind of like  a smaller, more intimate, adult, exclusive and expensive Cancun, where older and younger siblings play together, teenagers and parents get along, and couples never fight. Everyone seemed to be smiling at me smiling at them, all in the common knowledge that we were the lucky ones who had found this paradise.

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