Exploring the island of Providenciales
Turks and Caicos is a safe place and easy to get around. Exploring Turks and Caicos is great. Safety and easy to get around are the two main reasons why we do not mind hopping in a car and exploring the island.
I will have to admit it did take us a while to decide to rent a car and hit the road. It has always been just the two of us. We have never been scared but rather scared of driving on the opposite side of the road. We have heard horror stories from people having wrecks in the Caribbean. I think that is the only thing that really ever held us back.
This past year, we had the in-laws and a couple go with us to Turks and Caicos. We thought this would be the perfect time to rent a car. For some reason, we just felt more comfortable having others with us.
I have to say, getting around the island is so easy and any fears we had were put to rest. We already pretty much knew our way around the island. Yet, we just always walked or took a taxi.
Now that we have rented a car, we highly suggest it. You do not have to rent one for every day. However, at least one day so that you can just get out and explore. You will see way more than if you were to just take a taxi.
Renting a Van
During this trip we were staying at the Royal West Indies. So, my husband walked to the closest car rental shop and got prices. We had a group of six so it was important that we get a vehicle large enough to accommodate the six of us. This car rental shop is no longer in business.
This particular rental company only had one van available. It was a RHD Nissan from the Stone Age. When my husband pulled up in the parking lot in this old thing we all got a big laugh. I mean, to say it was a hoopty would be an understatement.
We could have easily complained about the looks of it, the smell of the inside, and the air conditioner that that didn’t really work. But, we are not complainers so we took it and had fun with it. We had lots of laughs in this old thing. It was quite entertaining.
We spent about 30 minutes taking pictures with this old thing. After many jokes and laughs we hopped in and our adventure started.
Exploring Turks and Caicos
Provo is quite easy to get around. There is one main highway that splits the center of the island. This highway is Leeward Highway. This road will pretty much take you anywhere you want to go. The island is so small that if you do get lost, it is not hard to get back on track.
After everyone was in the van and we were on our way, we decided to stop and rent snorkel equipment for the day. We rented from Dive Provo located in the Ports of Call. There are many places on the island that you can snorkel so we wanted to make sure we were prepared. The snorkel equipment was cheap at under $25 for the day.
Next stop was for gas. Gas was $5.50 per gallon. We got a huge laugh at the gas station. We pulled up and there was no one in sight. So, my husband hopped out and started pumping gas. As soon as he started pumping the guy walks up and tells him that he will take over.
When we was finished pumping the gas my husband paid him. He stuck the money in his front pocket and walked over to his car, hopped in, and left. We were all laughing and were like “oh my gosh,” some random person just pumped our gas and took our money. He was the only person around so we went off on our way.
The next day we ended up seeing this guy at the gas station again so we then found out he works there. They just operate a little differently than we do.
Our first stop after the gas station was as the reef at the Coral Gardens. We got our things together and got out of the van. After walking to the beach we realized the winds were up which caused the water to be too rough. We didn’t want to risk our safety in that water.
By the way, this particular week is the week that hurricane Joaquin decided to show up. We dealt with high winds and the very abnormal choppy waters all week.
Next, we were in search of Sapodilla Bay. It was kind of hard to get to because there weren’t any signs letting you know exactly how to get there. You could see it, but there wasn’t a clear public parking area to utilize.
From Grace Bay get on Leeward HWY and head west. Next you will turn left on South Dock Road. South Dock Road is at the Round About past Do it Center. Follow South Dock Road all the way until the Police Station. Turn right at the Police Station (Chalk Sound Drive) and follow Chalk Sound Drive to Harbor Gates. You will Park on the street in front of the villas and enter through the pathway between them or after you turn on Chalk Sound Drive go 1/8 mile and turn left onto a dirt road and follow the end.
Near this area is an old shipwreck that you can snorkel around. The water is clear and shallow for as far as you can see out. We attempted snorkeling here and did a little exploring. Yet, again, the water was so rough that day that we were scared to stay out too long. There is not much marine life here so you are pretty much just swimming and enjoying the beach.
Next Stop Lunch
We decided to each Lunch at Shark Bite in the Turtle Cove Area. The food was good and the scenery was great. We ate lunch out on the deck and enjoyed the views of the marina. When we are on vacation we are never in a hurry.
We always joke that it’s a good thing that we are not in a hurry because most places as we say are on “island time.” You cannot go to most places and expect to be in and out like many places in the US. Lunch at shark bite took about two hours. The service was slow, obviously.
We enjoyed the chips and salsa for our appetizer and we split the hamburger and onion rings for lunch. Everything was good. We really had no complaints. The proportions were large and we were full when we left. Once we were finished eating, we hopped back in the van and continued our exploring.
Long Bay Beach
Long Bay Beach is typically one of the windiest places on the island. Also, the water is known for not being as calm in this area. It is where the kite surfers go.
I am pretty sure we took the longest route ever to get to Long Bay. The roads were unpaved and super rough. There were pot holes everywhere. We felt sure our old hoopty van might just fall apart on these roads.
However, we got to enjoy the wonderful villas along the way. The villas and housing along this area is beautiful. After driving for what seemed like forever, we made it to a path that lead right down to the beach.
After searching for calm waters the entire day, we finally found some. We found it at the place that was typically not as calm as Grace Bay. The water that day was calm and clear. It was not as pretty and clear as Grace Bay Beach on a normal day, but it was pretty. I do suggest going and seeing it. It is peaceful there.
Again, there was not a lot of marine life here. We just enjoyed sitting in the shallow waters and collected several conch shells to bring home. We did find a small starfish which is always fun.
Our Last Stop
After leaving Long Bay, we stopped at The Wine Cellar. It was a nice store that featured wine, beer, and liquor. The prices here are cheaper than what you find at the grocery store and the owner is really nice.
After leaving here we headed back to our room. We had reservations at our favorite restaurant on the island – Coco Bistro. We all got ready and headed back out for our dinner reservations. I must say, we had the fanciest car in the parking lot – NOT.
Over dinner we discussed our day that was full of laughs and memories. We also enjoyed yet another wonderful meal at Coco Bistro. This was our guests first time to eat here and they were not disappointed. We celebrated two birthdays that night and had a great time.
At the end of our car rental trip, we split $82 three ways. I would say that makes a pretty cheap day.
Life is always about making memories and making the most of every situation. We sure had the time of our life in that old van. We still talk about it today. Yet, we do suggest Grace Bay Car Rentals for your next car rental!