Friday, May 4, 2012

Where it almost never rains

Very much off the Caribbean’s beaten path, the Turks and Caicos islands offer paradisiacal seclusion, and unparalleled beauty. The weather is unbelievable, boasting an average of 350 sunny days a year; promising a vacation that will not get rained out. Development has not happened here in the same overwhelming pace as the rest of the Caribbean, and the feeling remains serene and authentic.

Many visitors catch local boats and hop from island to island, which is a really fun and relaxing way to see the sites. With many attractions that prominently feature the islands’ native treasures, like French Cay’s bird sanctuary, the underwater Columbus Landfall National Park, and the Caicos Conch Farm, there is a lot to experience. The Turks and Caicos islands are loved for their pristine waters, where aquatic sports, snorkeling and diving along one of the world’s longest reefs, and relaxing amid the peaceful beaches can be done with utmost pleasure. The color of the water is a crystal clear shade of aqua, and the beaches are never crowded, reasons these islands consistently make “best beaches in the world” lists consistently.

With this attitude of relaxation, and a setting made for indulgence, the best resorts in the Turks and Caicos Islands know how to please their guests. One of the most alluring is Amanyara. From Aman Resorts, whose international collection of resorts is limited to a distinct few, in select, stunning locations. Amanyara is gorgeous, and located on the island of Providenciales. It is comprised of pavilions, and the main entrance is through a large one that opens onto a glistening reflecting pool. The resort sits on a private, undeveloped stretch of coast that features rocky coves right on the heels of Northwest Point Marine National Park. Here you will find some of the world’s most incredible reef and wall diving. All at once it embraces the natural surroundings and offers a stunning model of luxury.
Grace Bay Club is a highly-esteemed Turks and Caicos resort, that offers a true Caribbean experience with a wide range of amenities. The elegance stretches to every detail, yet it is simple and understated with a comforting demeanor. With an adults-only hotel, villas that luxuriously accommodate families, and the opulent Estate Residences, which are beautiful, exclusive beach houses, the ‘home-away-from-home’ concept is sophisticated and luxurious. Grace Bay’s restaurants are also some of the best in the Turks and Caicos. Most notably is Anacona, Providenciale’s only gourmet restaurant that sits directly on the ocean.

Parrot Cay takes exclusivity to another level, as one of the Caribbean’s best private islands. 1,000 acres of protected natural landscape, a beach that stretches for a mile, and a holistic environment where every part of your being can be revitalized are the highlights here. From the cuisine, to the award-winning spa, the yoga retreats, and the access to enthralling water sports, Parrot Cay is both exciting and rejuvenating. Diving, kayaking, windsurfing, catamaran sailing, hiking, and mountain biking 
through the island’s trails allow guests to really savor the natural beauty of the Turks and Caicos.

Located to the southeast of the Bahamas, and only a 90-minute flight from Miami, this island chain is a world away from the throngs of tourists and hedonistic crowds you’ll find elsewhere. It’s quieter here, and it offers a glimpse into a time of long ago. The sleepy villages, unspoiled beaches are kind of a Caribbean fantasy, with wild donkeys roaming the grasslands, and the lazy pace of an entire region on island time.

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