Trip review written by ttewks1 on January 16, 2016
South Caicos, AKA “The Big South” was the most developed Island in the Turks and Caicos when the Queen of England came to visit in February 1966. To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Queen’s visit to South Caicos we made the journey from Providenciales to South Caicos to experience the island as it stands today. Many parts of the island remain unblemished invoking images of the days of when pirates ruled these seas. This is the Caribbean untouched, the way it used to be…..
The journey began in the usual “Island Time” method. Us, having a casual beer in the bar at the airport in Providenciales awaiting our short flight to South Caicos, thinking we had 30+ minutes to kill……when we heard the announcement that our flight was leaving! We hustled through the gate and onto the plane, being told that the pilot was “ready to go”. With all passengers now on board and the 8 seater, 3/8’s full (you do the math) thinking, yes — this will be special.
For accommodations we stayed at the brand new East Bay Resort. With the resort’s grand opening less than a week away, we joined them to experience a “soft” opening of the resort. Well….. when a twenty five minute flight departs twenty five minutes early (again you can do the math) you can only imagine when we actually arrived on South Caicos. No worries mon, the friendly folks from East Bay Resort were already there to greet us and whisked us away to the new Jewel of the Turks and Caicos Islands, and indeed, the Caribbean!
We were escorted from the airport to our suite in a matter of minutes and were on our beautiful oceanfront deck enjoying a cocktail as the sun began to set to the west over the azure waters. East Bay Resort features every accommodation possible, from fully equipped studios to four bedroom penthouse suites boasting panoramic views and fifteen foot vaulted ceilings. Even
better, every suite at the resort is oceanfront with amazing views over the resort’s well landscaped grounds, pool, beach and the electric blue ocean.
Our suite had a full kitchen, washer/dryer and a King bed to die for, soft cotton bed linens coupled with plenty of luxurious pillows. Being fully content we drifted quickly off to sleep.
We awoke to a beautiful sunrise and a fabulous breakfast prepared by the executive chef and his always affable sous chef. We enjoyed fresh breads, eggs, bacon, coffee and an amazing dim sum vegetable dumplings that was off the charts.
Water sports will be the house specialty………kite boarding, kayaking, swimming, windsurfing, snorkeling, SUP, diving, boating, sail kayaks..…… all at your doorstep. Please change to The Resort also offers a fully equipped Dive Shop.
We soon headed out to snorkel and explore the local cays and reefs with the resort’s Dive Master, we were joined by the dynamic duo from The Expeditioners, the famed global travel explorers and kite boarding enthusiasts. They planned to be based out of South Caicos as the constant trade winds create a world class kite boarding Mecca. A short 10 minute boat ride and we arrived at the first snorkel destination, a pristine coral reef maintained by the South Caicos School of Field Studies sponsored by Boston University. From there we ventured to a deserted Isle, landing on a powder soft beach with abundant conch shells and iguanas. We christened the beach “Ralph’s Beach” named after our congenial Dive Master. From there we hiked up to the vista a short 5-10 minute walk and the view from the peak was absolutely spectacular with the deep dark blue of the Atlantic to the East and neon blue of Caicos Banks to the West.
We ventured further out, closer to the barrier reef where huge waves crashed in the (not so) distance. Through the pristine waters we saw Nurse Sharks, Eagle Rays, Conch, Sand Dollars and Starfish. Truly an eco-tour to remember.
Upon returning to the East Bay Resort and after a short rest break, we conferred with the ever present General Manger and he graciously set us up with a guide on a Jeep Eco-tour to explore the wild side of the Island……….
The journey began as soon as we exited the Resort property, turning right through old salt flats under the watchful eye of dozens of skeptical Pink Flamingoes standing guard over their ancient salt fields. The rocky road requires a four wheel drive vehicle preferably one with big tires and low torque to traverse the rocky inclines that led to one beautiful seascape after another. One of the highlights on the way to the northern tip of the Island is Bell Sound, its iridescent blue water competing with the sky above.
At the northern tip of the Island is the long ago deserted U.S. Coast Guard Loran-C station, originally commissioned in 1959 and officially decommissioned in 1981…. as new technology (read:GPS) made the Loran-C network obsolete. It’s now deserted barracks, rusting water tanks and downed radio tower dominate the land scape. (For the record this is NOT an official tourist destination as there are multiple dangers and risks to be aware of…….. we were there with an experienced guide.) That being said the views from the peak looking west through the multiple small Isles between South and East Caicos produce the most brilliant turquoise water anywhere in these Turks and Caicos Islands.
As we ventured back toward the resort our Eco-guide opted for the “short cut” thank God he was a life-long native and knew this island like the back of his hand. He promised that there was only one bad stretch which (evidentially) consisted of a forty-five degree traverse (again 4- wheel drive a must) ascending to a breathtaking view of the Atlantic to the East and a view over South Caicos to the West. We meandered back toward East Bay waving to multiple donkeys, horses, pink flamingos and the setting sun.
We quickly showered and readied for dinner, we had been invited to a neighboring suite where the aforementioned affable sous chef had prepared us dinner. The menu started with a delightful smoked trout balsamic salad followed by a quite tasty New Zealand rack of lamb that melted in your mouth, complimented with a truffle oil linguini and fresh vegetables. I am no foodie, but what can I say…..Wow!!! My wife will not touch rack of lamb when I cook it at home on the grill, yet tonight she went back for seconds…..just sayin’!!! Kudos to the Chefs!
After a full day we retired to our suite to check e-mail, review our photographs and drift peacefully off to sleep. Completely content knowing we have just experienced the Caribbean……the way it used to be…….
We awoke, packed and were treated to yet another spectacular sunrise and breakfast from our favorite sous chef. We were soon transported back to the airport for our 9:25am flight. We arrived at 8:55am and as I previously reported “Island Time” rules. It was the same pilot as before and once again we were informed “the pilot was ready to go”…..we touched down in Provo at 9:28am…….even I can do that math. Peace out, ttewks1