Tuesday, October 31, 2023

[PROVIDENCIALES] Island Hopping and Parasailing


I’m going to Turks & Caicos. What the heck is Turks & Caicos? Well, you know how European powers of old went on a mad scramble for islands in the Caribbean once upon a time? Turks & Caicos is one of what we call nowadays a British Overseas Territory. Just like the neighboring British Virgin Islands which we visited last year, Turks & Caicos also uses the US dollar as its currency and will allow you to get in if you hold a valid tourist visa or residence permit for the UK, Canada or the US.


jetBlue flies to Providenciales airport from JFK. United flies from Newark. The cost of airfare can go down to as low as $100 one way if booked early. I got mine on jetBlue for $130. For the return trip to Newark, I was able to use my United miles and only ended up paying around $80 for the taxes, which is already a good deal. Since I took advantage of Luggagehero’s services in New Jersey and stashed my check-in baggage there, I only had a backpack for carry-on. All good, no need to check in anything!


But then again, I was only on the islands for what? Three days? I don’t recommend staying any longer than a week unless you want an in depth coverage of all the islands they have to offer. After all, Turks & Caicos is expensive AF. I was forewarned by one too many Reddit forums about the price but I always had this thought that they were exaggerating. Well, they weren’t. By the way, the time zone is similar to New York’s so there is no time change involved. The trip is around three hours and a half.


Providenciales is fondly called Provo by the locals, and Provo doesn't really have any public transpo available. Perhaps the locals know something but I no longer bothered to ask. Getting to and from the airport is done via taxi. You can book it right after you exit the terminal. Just tell them where you are headed to. Or you can do it like I did by booking your return airport transfers on Viator. I ended up with Provo Connections which charged me $40 roundtrip, which is probably the cheapest you can find.


Accommodations are another issue since hotels do not dip below $150. In this case I relied on Airbnb and found a fairly new listing managed by a Korean. The area is at Venetian Road Settlement and around 20 minutes walking distance from Bight Park Beach where your beach activities organizer can pick you up with their boats. I ended up paying around $120 a night, which I already consider a steal. It was basically a row of 1 BR apartments with its own mini kitchen and living room.


Most people who visit Provo rent a car to get rid of the mobility issue. In my case, I decided to just walk everywhere because I haven’t driven a car in the last 10 years. Since both of my beach activities involved pick up at Bight Beach Park anyway, that just meant 20 minutes of walking each way, which wasn’t bad. Just apply a lot of sunblock and bring an umbrella with you. The locals and tourists in their cars did look at me weirdly, though, like I was crazy for walking around or something. Oh well, to each his own.


I settled for just two activities for each day that I was on the island. For the first day, I ended up with Island Vibe Tours for their Turtle Cove/Half Moon Bay tour which was a four-hour boat tour from 13:30 to 17:30. Turtle Cove was all about snorkeling, which I decided to pass up on because my legs were not cooperating. And so I took the opportunity to sunbathe on my own on the roof deck while everyone was away.


After that, we headed to Half Moon Bay which connects to Iguana Island. True enough, an iguana convention was taking place when we docked. If reptiles are not your thing, Half Moon Bay also offers a white sand beach on the other side. After this, we sailed for a bit and ended up in an open water area where we just took advantage of the boat’s waterslide and springboard. In the end, I ended up having fun with everyone after being a tropical Grinch for three hours or so.


The next and last day was spent Parasailing. It was the first time I did it and I did not expect it to be oh so freaking calm up there. The experience itself lasted just half an hour; the time on air was probably just 15 minutes or so. I was the last person that day and the beach was almost empty, which added to the overall tranquil vibes of the day. I ended up coughing up around $200 total for both activities, which is kind of steep but hey, I don’t do this often anyway. Maybe I should?

[PROVIDENCIALES] Island Hopping and Parasailing

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