Beach Vacation: Grace Bay in Turks and Caicos
Widely recognized as one of the most spectacular beaches in the world, Grace Bay Beach is located on the northern coast of Providenciales on the Turks and Caicos Islands. Voted the number one beach in the world in 2011 by Trip Advisor, because of the stunning white sandy beach. While technically this dream beach vacation spot might be located in the Atlantic, it feels more like the Caribbean at its best.
Everyone loves Grace Bay in Provo, the local nickname for Providenciales. Often described as over 12 miles long, it is really a bit more than 3. This award winning beach is the synonymous with the Turks and Caicos Islands. Pristine is a tremendously overused adjective for beaches around the world. Not here. It is the correct word. Right now, Grace Bay is the World Travel Awards’ World’s Leading Beach Destination, and Trip Advisor’s 2nd best beach in the world.
On this section of Provo, you can find almost all of the resorts in addition to most of the watersports activities. As advertised, the beach is “consistently excellent”. Grace Bay Beach is shielded from the Atlantic by a barrier reef a mile out. The conditions are perfect: clean water and white sands with no pollution, seaweed or rocks. Grace Bay Beach is within the Princess Alexandra National Park.
Where is Grace Bay Beach? 21°80′N 72°17′W
The coastal and marine park is more than 6500 acres with most of the watersports in the area taking place here. Situated on the north coast of Providenciales Island, the Princess Alexandra National Park was declared a national park as recently as 1992. Most beach vacations and resort time takes place within its confines. Power boats have a 15mph speed limit, which is not strictly adhered to.
Grace Bay – Best Beach in the World
Be careful in the water as the small watercraft operators do not have much regard for safety. The main danger swimmers have to be concerned with is getting run over by a power boat pulling a banana. So while you need to keep your guard up a bit while you are in the water, you can relax on shore.
Greet everybody with Good Morning, Afternoon or Evening without exception
You do not need to worry about crime. With one of the lowest crime rates and highest crime solved rates in the Caribbean, Turks and Caicos is just a nice place. Its that simple.
The Origin of the Name Grace Bay
Named after Grace Jane Hutchings, this Grace Bay Beach is a wonderful tribute. The wife of the Commissioner of Turks and Caicos in 1933 and 1934, apparently she left quite an impression to have a place like this named after her.
While the water is tremendous to float and play around in, Grace Bay is not a great spot to snorkel. There is nothing within easy access from the shore. Sporadically, the barrier reef just off the beach is spectacular. However, the conditions need to be perfect and it can only be accessed by boat. It is a bit too far to swim to from Grace Bay Beach. On the inside of the reef, the water can be considered safe.
Provo, Turks and Caicos Beach Vacations
The location of the Turks and Caicos plus its geology has led to it being one of the greatest beach spots. The sands that bless the shoreline of Grace Bay Beach are composed of corals and broken shells which result in the various hues. The beaches here are almost entirely the result of coral naturally decomposing from local reefs. The reefs break down thanks to the parrotfish and his natural feeding actions.
“Our beaches and signature turquoise water are due to several factors; the white marine limestone foundation of the islands, a healthy barrier reef system, the lack of rivers, streams and any significant runoff, and the lack in the islands of harder rock. Our islands are generally quite small as well, so there’s very little soil sediment to cloud the ocean water.”
The Turks and Caicos Islands are a British Overseas Territory. Provo is 38 square miles and is in the northwest Caicos Islands. As of the 2012 census, the population was a bit under 25,000. All told there are 40 islands in the Turks and Caicos islands, of which only 12 are inhabited. Its about 575 miles from Florida and less than 100 from Hispaniola (the Dominican Republic and Haiti).
Compared to some of the other best Caribbean beach spots, it is arid. It is still a tropical climate of course, but there is less rainfall than on the other islands. Summers are hot and winters are pleasant. The water temperature is perfect as well. There are no surprises. As the popularity of Grace Bay beach increases, other equally stunning locations will spring up, like Cuba’s playa Ancon.
Don’t miss a chance to visit Grace Bay Beach
Beach vacations here will hopefully include some of the world class diving readily available. If you make it out on the water, keep your eyes peeled for humpback whales as they migrate through. If diving isn’t your thing, chartering a boat can add a bit of additional adventure.
I need to thank Jaime, an old friend of my family, for sharing these pictures. When Jaime wasn’t spending her summers in Spring Lake, she was up in the big city enjoying the bright lights. I can only imagine the stories…Thank you so very much.