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First Visit Trip Report: 04-10 NOV 2018

Maryland
Level Contributor
38 posts
7 reviews
First Visit Trip Report: 04-10 NOV 2018

We just returned from our first vacation to Provo and thoroughly enjoyed our trip! Truthfully TCI was never on our radar until this year when, in seeking out a moderately priced Caribbean vacation that fared better in the 2017 hurricane season, we found there were good reward tickets available through AA and a nice selection of moderately priced accommodations. I have to say we are glad things worked out as they did! A quick review:

Flights: Reward tickets on AA. We arrived at around 3:00 pm on Sunday and from the time we landed until we drove away in our rental car was 51 minutes. If I’m able to clear customs/immigration, retrieve luggage and get my rental car anywhere in under an hour I will not be complaining!

Car: Alamo was the best price I found ($177 for 6 days) and service was fine. Desk was right at the airport and we were taken up the hill across the street (I believe this is where Grace Bay has their cars as well?) to get our car. We would not hesitate to rent from them again. At first we were not going to rent a car to save on cost but we realized as our trip was approaching that we much prefer the freedom a car gives us and we would definitely have felt too restricted without it.

Accommodations: Royal West Indies proved to be a good choice for us. We booked a Botanical Studio through Val at Turks and Caicos Reservations and were thrilled when we were told at the front desk we would be staying in an Ocean View. We had a lovely ‘peekaboo’ view of the water from our second-floor studio. We were extremely impressed with the maintenance of the grounds and facilities. The gardens were almost constantly being tended to and the pools were kept very clean. Our room was in good condition and clean. The décor could perhaps use a bit of updating but nothing that was a big deal. We also felt extremely safe at the resort (as well as where all we ventured on the island).

Restaurants: We frequently travel to St. Barth so we thought we would be prepared for the food costs but we were still surprised! We hit many restaurants and spent right at $1200 for our 6-night stay. We ate at Lemon 2 Go (good lattes and breakfast sandwiches), Turkberry (lattes and customized donuts) and Pelican Bay for breakfast. For lunch we enjoyed the views from both Da Conch Shack and Somewhere and found our meals to be good as well. Also, we had good fish tacos and conch fritters at Pelican Bay. Casual dinners at Jack’s Fountain, Turk’s Kebab (loved the falafels and gyros!) and El Catador (good tapas and we enjoyed chatting with local business and property owners at the bar. They even made a batch of sangria just for me! Only complaint would be that there really isn’t any atmosphere inside-more sports bar with televisions and a gaming table). For our nicer meals we dined at Via Veneto (Chef’s Special Tasting menu was a good value but a lot of food! All four courses were good especially our snapper main and pear chocolate cake dessert.), Coco Bistro (most beautiful setting and a delicious meal. My mahi was amazing), and Le Bouchon (enjoyed the location and fantastic main courses of red snapper and scallops with risotto). We had hoped to dine at Grace's Cottage, Bugaloo's and Caicos Bakery but all were closed during our visit.

Beaches: Staying on Grace Bay we loved the convenience of a short walk to lounges from our room and we took advantage of the complimentary Hobie Cats. We also drove to Sapodilla and Pelican Beach and enjoyed having less crowds. We tried on two separate occasions to find the public access to Taylor Bay but were unsuccessful. We located the old main public entrance that is now gated but could not find another access point.

Fitness: I was thrilled to find I could get in my usual three barre classes a week at the Exhale Spa at the Gansevoort. They have a lovely facility in an outdoor pavilion and surprisingly the cost is $30/class which is the same as you will find at any large city in the US. Classes are held Mon, Wed, Fri, and Sun at 9:00 am. Just arrive about 15 before class and pay at the spa.

Sunset Sail: We did a two-hour sail on Friday evening with Sun Charters and it was a great way to end our vacation. The owner David and his crew are wonderful and provide a nice low-key evening sailing with rum punch and a light snack of chips/salsa at $40/person. We can’t recommend this enough!

Shopping: My husband forgot his sunglasses so we headed to Blue Surf Shop to pick up a new pair. Good selection and service. I also love my purchase of one of the Grace Bay sand necklaces in sterling silver from The Wellington Collection as well as a lovely conch shell Christmas ornament. The majority of the collection is surgical stainless steel so selections in silver are limited but lovely.

Final Thoughts: We loved our vacation to Provo plan to return with our children. St. Barth is still our favorite island paradise but Provo has locked in second place. The islands are quite different but we can appreciate what makes them each special. While we love the soft sand and beautiful turquoise water in Provo we actually prefer the smaller coves on St. Barth with fewer people. We also find the service overall to be better and more consistent on St. Barth. We do enjoy the walkability of Grace Bay and the friendly atmosphere we found throughout much of the island. Also, you can have a wonderful vacation on Provo with a moderate budget which I don't think is well known. Reasonable rental cars and accommodations can be found though food will still be high if you enjoy dining out.

13 replies to this topic
Raleigh, NC
Destination Expert
for Turks and Caicos, Providenciales, Grace Bay
Level Contributor
3,742 posts
307 reviews
1. Re: First Visit Trip Report: 04-10 NOV 2018

Thanks for your first time trip report! Enjoyed reading about your comparisons of Provo to St. Barts. Le Bouchon and Coco Bistro are 2 of our top favorites. Also like VV.

Glad you enjoyed GB and Provo.

Thanks for sharing.

Finger Lakes Wine...
Level Contributor
8,979 posts
44 reviews
2. Re: First Visit Trip Report: 04-10 NOV 2018

I enjoy reading first timer trip reports and their impressions of the island.

Glad you enjoyed your trip.

Mike

Staten Island, New...
Destination Expert
for Providenciales, Turks and Caicos
Level Contributor
13,461 posts
51 reviews
3. Re: First Visit Trip Report: 04-10 NOV 2018

Thanks for the report.

I’m a little confused tho. $200 a day for food sounds about right. Did you think it was too much or too little.

Maryland
Level Contributor
38 posts
7 reviews
4. Re: First Visit Trip Report: 04-10 NOV 2018

Ziggy, we definitely thought food was higher. We only came in at $200/day because we picked up groceries at Graceway Gourmet for 3 breakfasts, 3 lunches and snacks. Also, we tend to share starters and desserts at dinner because I can't eat a 3 full courses so that helped with overall dinner costs. We also opted to order one glass of wine each rather than a bottle which would have drastically increased our costs.

We're used to being able to head to the bakery in St. Barth and get breakfast for around 10 Euro and in Provo we paid twice that for coffee/pastries at Lemon 2 Go. Granted not a totally fair comparison as the Caicos Bakery was closed so not sure what we would have paid there. Also, in SBH we take advantage of lunch specials priced around 12-15 Euro/person that often includes dessert/beverages and service/gratuity where our least expensive meal in Provo was $48 for 2 gyros, an order of falafel and 2 beverages at Turks Kebab. As a whole we can usually dine for around $1000 USD/week in St. Barth when everything is said and done and that is with 2-3 nicer dinners at places like Eden Rock and Le Toiny and purchasing bottles of wine. Also, in the low season you can typically find some nice prix fixe dinner menus as well.

Staten Island, New...
Destination Expert
for Providenciales, Turks and Caicos
Level Contributor
13,461 posts
51 reviews
5. Re: First Visit Trip Report: 04-10 NOV 2018

Got ya! Thanks for explaining.

I’ve never been to St Barth’s so can’t compare. Compared to something like Anguilla however Provo seamed cheap. Ultimately some of it depends on the places you choose and how well you know the island. You can have lunch for less than $20 for two at places like Delicious Dishes for example. I feed my family of 4 at Sweet T’s for $8.

The problem is availability. You are not exactly surrounded by these cheap options at your resort. You need to seek them out.

Rhode Island
Level Contributor
107 posts
29 reviews
6. Re: First Visit Trip Report: 04-10 NOV 2018

I really enjoyed your report! I agree - you can make Provo work at many different budget levels. Curious about your Taylor Bay comment - we went on 10/25/18 and the gate frame was there but there was no gate. We were able to park on Ocean Point Drive just before the gate/walkway to the beach and accessed the beach with no problem. The sunset sail sounds really fun. Thanks for the report!

Maryland
Level Contributor
38 posts
7 reviews
7. Re: First Visit Trip Report: 04-10 NOV 2018

Ziggy, I figured that was probably part of it-not knowing the island well enough to seek out some other options. There is always next time!

Theojohn, I wish I had taken a picture but I did notice after the fact that the gate we encountered is actually posted on the Taylor Bay TripAdvisor page (15th photo). We did head in on Ocean Point and actually checked the other nearby road (Sunset) as well. Based on directions from locals we thought we had found the right spot but I just don't know. There must be another spot but we had no luck in finding it!

state college
Level Contributor
275 posts
28 reviews
8. Re: First Visit Trip Report: 04-10 NOV 2018

Thanks so much for taking the time to write such a detailed report. It was fun to learn about more places to add to our dining lists when we return and I also enjoyed reading your comparisons to St. Barth.

So sorry you didn't have luck finding Taylor Bay, but at least you did visit some other rather private beaches/areas :)

Charlotte, North...
Level Contributor
578 posts
10 reviews
9. Re: First Visit Trip Report: 04-10 NOV 2018

Great trip report! Thank you for sharing and pointing out that it is possible to vacation in Provo within a variety of price points! We are also using airline reward tickets and staying at RWI soon for a very reasonably priced vacation - and yes, we will spend it on dinners but it’s possible not to.

Pennsylvania
Destination Expert
for Turks and Caicos
Level Contributor
7,500 posts
93 reviews
10. Re: First Visit Trip Report: 04-10 NOV 2018

Redgt,

Thank you for sharing. Enjoyed reading your TR. sounds like you had a wonderful time. Kudos to Val and team, and upgrading you to an ocean peekaboo view 🤗 we just booked our trip with them. Great company. One of our favorites for lunch is Turks Kebab too. Great prices. We also use award miles for our flights.

Thanks for sharing

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