Without question, the great draw to the Turks and Caicos — most notably the main island of Provo — is the beaches, white bands of refined toe-warming pleasure. But if you glance offshore, you will spot corresponding white ribbons that indicate the great reefs that make possible the calm, crystalline waters that lap at the shore. This fortuitous combination of reefs and bays offers a wide range of appealing water activities — aside from the elemental pleasure of immersing yourself in the warm embrace of the sea. Because these waters are relatively calm, they allow for kayaking, which is a great way to explore and — on Grace Bay — to hop over to another resort for lunch. With prevailing breezes almost constant, the conditions are also ideal for sailing, windsurfing and parasailing. The large reef formations and the clarity of the water also create terrific snorkeling and diving opportunities, which are enhanced by Princess Alexandra National Park, whose boundaries include large sections of marine territory in which all fishing, commercial and sport, is banned.
For snorkelers in particular, Provo has two clearly delineated trails, one at Smith’s Reef, the other at Bight Reef — both easily accessible — that take you through a fairyland of reef formations that are very close to the surface and abound in brilliantly colored fish. For divers, the must-see sight is the great wall off Grand Turk Island, covered in coral and home to an amazing array of animals. Those who enjoy fishing will find several ways to indulge their interest. The shallows around Provo provide excellent bonefishing, while the ocean beyond the reefs has game fish that include marlin, sailfish, mahi-mahi, wahoo and tuna. Between February and April, those who love whales will have ample chances to see Atlantic humpbacks as they pass Provo on their annual migration from the cold waters of the North Atlantic to their warm-water breeding grounds off the Dominican Republic. The best way to take part in any of these activities is to check with the concierges at the properties we recommend in the Turks and Caicos: Amanyara, Grace Bay Club and The Meridian Club on Pine Cay.