Planning The Perfect Romantic Getaway to Turks & Caicos

Planning The Perfect Romantic Getaway to Turks & Caicos

The holidays are long over, but we've only just entered winter getaway season. Whether you're strategizing an unforgettable Valentine's Day or simply looking for a long weekend away from the cold, the azure archipelago of Turks & Caicos, with its five-star beaches and luxurious accommodations, offers an effortless escape from the winter doldrums. A short flight from most major cities, and with COVID restrictions now lifted, it's never been easier to go from frigid weather to poolside cocktails in hours.

Long a secluded hideaway for the upper crust and well-connected, Turks & Caicos is known for its laid-back pace of life and tranquil, wave-free waters. The most famous beaches are along Grace Bay, which boasts miles of secluded white velvet sand, unspoiled natural reefs, and many elegant hideaways for a sunset aperitif.

Clam Shell Beach-The Palms Turks CaicosClam Shell Beach-The Palms Turks Caicos

A permanent home to the Caribbean Food & Wine Festival, the heralded annual tropical celebration of all things gastro, each year, the world's top-tier culinary masters dock at the island's shores for tastings, mingling and elevated fine dining. But Turks & Caicos is also known for its many spa and wellness offerings. On Valentine's Day, visitors can go beyond the typical with unique offerings like "moon bathing" at the Palms' 25,000-sq-ft spa or take advantage of the area's many sunset sailing and snorkeling experiences. Also occuring around the special day is the Valentine's Day Cup, a famous annual sailboat race at the tranquil Bambarra Beach, which brings together nautical enthusiasts of all stripes for competitions and beach-side partying.

But for those looking for the ultimate in seclusion to celebrate their love, private villas, and even entire islands are available to rent or purchase, some accessible only by sand buggy and hidden among the coconut groves.

Getting there

Nothing is relaxing or romantic about rushing to make a connecting flight. Luckily, Jetblue offers direct routes to Turks & Caicos from most major American cities. One note before you touch down in the capital of Provinciales: securing private transportation at the airport can be difficult, so make reservations if your hotel doesn't offer a shuttle service by booking a car or jet in advance.

wymara resort and villasWymara Resort and Villas

Where to stay

There are numerous flashy resorts along Grace Bay. But, for true romance, book an intimate stay at the Wymara Resort and Villas, which recently unveiled its hillside Meditteranean-style villas complete with ocean views, private plunge pools and beach entrances, and intimate lounge areas. The property has also gained acclaim as a culinary hotspot with the renovation of its acclaimed Indigo restaurant, which under chef Andrew Mirosch has earned a reputation for sourcing fresh ingredients–no small feat for an island without traditional agriculture–for dishes such as spiny Caribbean lobster flavored with Bambara rum or the Cajun-spiced breaded cauliflower steak. (The restaurant is one of the few in the Caribbean to promote an extensive gluten-free, vegan, and vegetarian menu.) For Valentine's Day, visit the Spa at Wymara for a calming wrap, or spoil your beloved with a Couples Romance candlelit package, which includes a romantic dinner on the sands before capping off the night with champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries. During the day, swim over to the nearby reefs of Princess Alexandra National Park to mingle with colorful coral and parrotfish in this lush, protected marine area.

Perhaps you're looking to get in the mix or are traveling with companions. In that case, Seven Stars Resort boasts a vibrant nightlife and world-class hospitality, perfect for reunions and unforgettable evenings. At the award-winning flagship restaurant Seven, Executive Chef Edward Gallardo's culinary team fuses organic, sustainably-grown ingredients with cutting-edge culinary techniques. For lighter fare with a view, The Deck is ideal for drinks overlooking Grace Bay. The destination also offers one of the most extensive wine collections in the Caribbean with over 2,500 international varietals, many by renowned vintners and some exclusive to the resort. In addition, true oenophiles can book a private dinner at The Tasting Room, which offers a five-course tasting menu with bespoke sommelier pairings. Seven Stars will also collaborate with chef Amanda Freitag this spring to open The Farm restaurant. This groundbreaking on-site, self-managed hydroponic container farm will help move the resort towards complete farm-to-table sustainability.

But Seven Stars’ allure is much more than its gastro offerings. Spend an afternoon lounging by Turks & Caicos' only heated saltwater pool, rent a kayak and explore the bay, or gather your party for a game of pickleball on the luxuriously-paved ocean-sprayed courts. For the romantic-minded, melt into a hot stone massage at The Spa or prepare to renew your vows at the on-premise salon offering Christophe Robin hair treatments and complete pampering services.

Shore ClubShore Club

If you seek to venture beyond the Grace Bay area, explore the wilder side of Turks & Caicos at The Shore Club, the only development on Long Bay Beach. In addition to globally-inspired dining venues and secluded villas, the resort is an architectural marvel, incorporating local design elements like island limestone, reclaimed coral, and hand-painted tile as building materials. At the Sui-Ren restaurant, Peruvian and Asian concepts meld while diners enjoy a traditional outdoor courtyard enhanced by the soothing sounds of a Japanese fountain.

What to do

Turks & Caicos is elevated for its azure fringed beaches, but repeat travelers know the area is ideal for exploring one of the Caribbean's most vibrant undersea ecosystems. For example, February is perfect for observing the majestic humpback whales' migration from the northern Atlantic to the warm waters of the Caribbean along Salt Cay and Grand Turk islands. Meanwhile, the uninhibited Gibbs Cay is home to Turks & Caicos' native stingray population, and the lush Mangrove Caye is ideal for spotting turtles and small sharks. But no snorkeler should miss the Grand Turk Wall –a coral shelf named for its dramatic drops and tended to by a colorful assortment of angelfish, snappers, and barracuda.

Above water, discover Pirate Cove, where shipwrecked pirates sheltered in the 17th and 18th centuries, and today you can explore artifacts and engravings. For the adventure-minded, Mudjin Harbour in Middle Caicos is known for its extensive walking trails and The Conch Bar Caves, an above-ground cave system best explored by lantern. Meanwhile, neighboring spots like Big Water Cay, Fort George, and Iguana Island offer ideal destinations for oceanside picnicking and casual strolls. But if your idea of relaxation is getting a few rounds in, visit the bush-lined Provo Golf Club, Turks & Caicos' premiere 18-hole golf course. Ranked among the top golf courses in the Caribbean, take a swing while sharing a rousing game with visiting egrets and migratory flamingos as the gentle Caribbean breezes cool you.

Regardless of how you choose to relax on Turks & Caicos, January through April is the sunniest, most inviting time to visit the islands. So whether you're seeking to commune with a loved one or simply the local flora and fauna, now is the time to book that flight.