Ahh, Turks and Caicos. Tied with Bahamas as my favourite Caribbean destination, this port never fails to disappoint.
If you are fortunate enough to be on a cruise on the northern route that stops at Grand Turk, you are in for a treat!
As Grand Turk was one of those destinations that required no planning and no extra money for a great experience, it rocketed to #1 on my cruise port list.
How easy is it exactly?
You will walk off the ship, and only a hop, skip and jump away you will find all you could ever need to a relaxing and fun day in Grand Turk. Your cruise line will also offer excursions if this is of interest to you, but there will be no option of local excursions on the island once you arrive.
Turks and Caicos has a bit of a scathing history, with frequent power struggles between Bermuda and the Bahamas, slaves enduring difficult conditions raking salt, and even talks of becoming a province of Canada as recent as 2004.
When you get off the ship, there will be basically two options. After you pass through the shops at the cruise ship center, you can either head to Margaritaville or head straight to the beach.
You will not need a taxi or any other mode of transportation. With the pier less than 400 feet away, the cruise ship is so close that you could go back for lunch if you wanted.
First up: Margaritaville
If you haven’t made it to a Margaritaville yet, you have got to put it on your bucket list. True to Jimmy Buffett’s idea of paradise, the sun is hot, the beers are cold, and your worries are miles away.
The Margaritaville in Grand Turk is the largest in the Caribbean. There are pools, a swim-up bar, a restaurant and a store for all your branded merchandise.
Margaritaville prides itself on offering an endless entertainment experience with island parties and Jimmy Buffett- themed everything. Volcano nachos? Cheeseburger in paradise? You could spend the whole day lookin’ for that lost shaker of salt!
If you’re not drooling yet, be sure to check out their website for the Grand Turk location, and let me know what you decide to order when you’re there.
Next: Sunray Beach
The water at this beach is some of the clearest water that I have seen in the Caribbean. It is perfectly calm and great for swimming as it gets deep fast.
The beach will be busy with cruise guests, so if you are eager for a more idyllic setting, head north to a more quiet area. There will be fewer people the farther away you head from the pier.
Loungers are complimentary for cruise guests, so settle in and enjoy!
A walk on every beach is a requirement in my books, and Sunray Beach is no exception. Take a casual hike north to Jack’s Shack, a beachfront bar located just over a kilometer from the cruise center. They also offer a mix of Caribbean-inspired dishes if you wish to go for lunch.
Or maybe…a bit of both?
Personally, we like to try all the activities. Our itinerary tends to be the opposite of everyone elses’- we head to Margaritaville first to try the FlowRider and have a tropical drink, THEN relax on the beach when the masses arrive later in the day because…it’s five o’clock somewhere!
There is no charge for either spot, so the only money required is if you decided to buy something onshore.
If you are looking for shopping at this cruise port, the only options will be the duty-free shops in the cruise center unless you decide to head to Cockburn Town, which is just less than 5 kilometers away.
I traveled here in 2010. As always, be sure to check your country’s travel advisories before booking any trips or excursions. You can check out the Canadian opinion here.