Grand Turk, Turks & Caicos
Grand Turk Island is the capital island of the Turks and Caicos archipelago located in the Atlantic Ocean. In my opinion, the white sand beaches and turquoise waters of the Turks & Caicos are the most beautiful I've ever seen. It is incredibly serene and the island truly is as tranquil as it appears. Grand Turk Island is also home to wild horses and donkeys! I've yet to see them, but locals say it's not uncommon for them to wander down the beach or near the water.
In Cockburn Town, the island's central capital, coastal Duke and Front streets are lined with old, Bermudian-style buildings. The Turks and Caicos National Museum has exhibits on the island’s history. Close to Governor’s Beach, in the south, cruise ships arrive at the Grand Turk Cruise Center, home to restaurants, shops and a swimming pool. The island’s west coast is part of the Columbus Landfall National Marine Park, where Christopher Columbus is believed to have first landed in the New World. Off the coast, scuba diving sites include shipwrecks, reefs and a dramatic underwater wall.
When you're in port ...
According to Carnival Cruise Lines, here are the top 10 things to do while in port:
First of all, when you arrive in port the first thing you'll see is a long, narrow beach that is peppered with lounge chairs. Fast forward an hour ... this is where most people that disembark will hang out for the day. Your initial visual of a 4,000 people shoved into a space made for 1,000 is accurate! So here are my recommendations:
If you're looking for a beach day, either choose an excursion that is offered from the cruise ship. Just be sure that it's not the beach excursion that is literally at the end of the pier.
Governor's Beach isn't that far down the beach and is a great destination to walk to. The only challenge is that you can't get there by beach due to construction that's been going on for years (and a shipwreck). My suggestion is to take a taxi to the beach and then plan on walking back to the pier (about a mile). It's very difficult to get a taxi to return since the beach is isolated and unattended.
There is an outhouse, but no concessions. The photos I've included on this page are of Governor's Beach. It is unbelievably gorgeous and for the most part, rather private. You may have an excursion pull up to the beach via catamaran, but they only stay about 30 minutes and are pretty much requested to stay near the boat. This is also a great place to look for shells! If you do choose to go to this beach, the walk back is hot and dusty, and there are no sidewalks. So just be careful walking and be sure you know how to get back.
Photo: Amy Freshwater