For many visitors to Turks and Caicos, the number one sight they want to see is world-famous Grace Bay Beach. Just take one step onto its shoreline and it’s easy to see why this 3-mile stretch of coast is such a popular vacation destination.
The white, powdery sand and crystal clear water in magnificent shades of turquoise make this one of the most breathtaking and scenic beach destinations anywhere on the globe. The water is pristine and clean, and free of seaweed, debris, rocks and pollution. About a mile from the shoreline is the world’s third largest coral reef, which is not only a spectacular sight to take in, but also deters ocean swells and provides beach-goers with the calm, warm waters Grace Bay Beach is known for.
It’s no wonder why Grace Bay Beach was named the number one beach in the world in the 2016 TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice Awards. Word is getting out about this spectacular destination. Still, Grace Bay Beach remains uncrowded and pristine — even while attracting over a million tourists each year.
But not only is Grace Bay Beach a beautiful destination, it’s truly a luxury retreat. If you want to spoil yourself and be pampered, this is the place to do it. Grace Bay Beach’s coastline is studded with posh hotels, resorts, vacation villas, spas, exclusive shops, boutiques and restaurants catering to virtually every taste.
Many of Providenciales’ top resorts are situated on Grace Bay Beach, including Alexandra Resort, Beaches Turks and Caicos Resort Village and Spa, Club Med, Coral Gardens, Grace Bay Club, Le Vele, Seven Stars Resort and Spa, The Palms Turks and Caicos, The Somerset on Grace Bay, The Tuscany on Grace Bay, The Venetian on Grace Bay, and Villa Renaissance. These are some of the finest resorts in all of the Caribbean.
Of course, many people are drawn to this area to enjoy the relatively untouched natural setting and the indigenous wildlife. Grace Bay Beach is part of the Princess Alexandra Land and Sea National Park, one of Turks and Caicos’ most popular tourist attractions. Comprising 6,532 acres (2,643 hectares), this coastal and marine national park includes a barrier reef and two small cays off the northeastern end of the island. The park is a protected area and is home to a large marine and wildlife population including bottlenose dolphins, iguanas, osprey, pelicans, herons, terns, turtles and many species of reef fish.
Princess Alexandra National Park has a nature reserve within its boundaries, which contains an iguana sanctuary (“Iguana Island”) on Little Water Cay; the rock formations of Bird Cay, Lizard Cay and Sinking Cay; and the wetlands of Mangrove Cay and Donna Cay.
The park also offers convenient access to some of Provo’s best beaches and coral reefs. Included within the boundaries of Princess Alexandra National Park are Bight Beach (to the west of Grace Bay Beach), Bight Reef (also known as White House Reef), Smith’s Reef and Leeward Beach (to the east of Grace Bay Beach) and the northern barrier reef of Provo.
It all sounds like paradise. But where exactly is this special place? Grace Bay Beach is located in Turks and Caicos, on the north shore of the island of Providenciales (Provo). Turks and Caicos is a group of islands located just below the Bahamian archipelago, and directly east of Cuba and the island of Hispaniola (Dominican Republic and Haiti).
So what’s the best way to get to Grace Bay Beach? First you need to get to Turks and Caicos, and that’s easy. Many North American cities have direct daily flights to Providenciales International Airport. This includes Miami, Atlanta, New York and Toronto. Upon arrival in Provo, you have a number of options for getting to Grace Bay Beach.
If you are staying at a resort in Grace Bay, many of these resorts offer a shuttle service to and from the airport. As you exit the airport, hotel and resort representatives will be waiting just outside the baggage claim area, and they will drive you to their establishments. Alternatively, there are always plenty of taxis available; fares are generally around $30 to $35 one-way (without a tip), per couple, to travel from the airport to most Grace Bay Beach resorts.
Many people do rent a car to drive while they’re on the islands. Three major U.S.-based car-rental agencies operate a franchise in the Turks and Caicos Islands: Budget, Avis, and Herz (under the affiliate name, Mystique Car Rental). There are also several locally-based car rental agencies on Provo. It’s usually around a 20-minute drive from Providenciales International Airport to Grace Bay Beach.
But not all visitors to Grace Bay Beach stay at a hotel or resort right in Grace Bay. Some people come to Grace Bay Beach just for the day or an afternoon, as they may have accommodations in another part of Provo. If that’s what you decide to do, you’ll find it hassle-free. Grace Bay is a public beach with nine main access points (in addition to any resort entrances). There is free parking available by these public entrances.
As was already noted, many visitors travel to Grace Bay Beach to see nature in its pure and undisturbed state. Certainly a lot of people come to Grace Bay Beach to just relax, unwind, soak up the sun and enjoy the tranquil setting. However, this incredible beach is also a popular destination for any number of water sports and activities. You have your choice of going swimming, tubing, stand-up paddle boarding, para-sailing, wind surfing, kayaking, water or jet skiing, boating or sailing, or scuba diving, snorkeling, free diving or snuba diving (a mix between diving and snorkeling) at nearby Bight and Smith’s Reefs.
Be advised that both fishing and collecting conch or lobster are illegal within Princess Alexandra National Park, and violators may be punished by steep fines and/or imprisonment. But that doesn’t mean you can’t go fishing on your Grace Bay Beach vacation. You just need to sign up for a “legal” sport fishing excursion with one of the many charter boat operators who operate outside the boundaries of Princes Alexandra National Park. No matter whether you are interested in bonefishing, bottom-reef fishing or deep-sea fishing, either for 3 or 4 hours or an all-day trip, there are plenty of tours to choose from.
So what are you waiting for? Plan your Grace Bay Beach getaway today! Whether you simply want to enjoy the scenery, escape the rat race for a few days, catch a glimpse of a dolphin in the ocean, or experience an action-packed fishing or diving adventure, there is something for everyone here in paradise.
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