At the end of October, my sister and I went to Turks and Caicos to celebrate her 29th birthday. We stayed at the West Bay Club in Providenciales (Provo), the most developed of the Turks and Caicos’ eight inhabited islands.
Because we came during the off-season, our hotel was practically empty and our car rental was dirt cheap. The weirdest part was getting used to driving on the left side of the road. Instead of street lights, traffic’s regulated through roundabouts and speed bumps.
The food near the resorts were outrages. I think the most inexpensive place we ate at was Mango Reef for lunch. Our first day there, we had an early dinner at Zest in the Gansevoort Resort that was next door to ours. We split a burger that cost $25. Cocktails and appetizers started at a minimum of $15 and depending on where you went, a 15% service charge was included in the bill.
For majority of the trip, I stuck with water and even that had a price tag. Unless you went with tap water, which I opted out of. The price for beer and wine was similar to the Bay Area and if you like mixed drinks, I suggest budgeting for it because they’re expensive. Anywhere between $14 to $20.
I highly suggest getting a car rental because from what we heard and read online, taxis are expensive. Someone mentioned that no matter the distance, it could cost $25 one way. Our rental was $110 that I reserved from Auto Slash (off-season price, I assume). However, gas prices were above $5 and I’m not sure if our gas meter was broken, but it stayed on full the whole time. So I brought it back without filling it up and no questions were asked.
Other resorts do offer complimentary services but we wanted to go about on our own terms.
An Overview Of Our Trip
This was our hotel, The West Bay Club. Gorgeous right? The only downfall with going during the off-season is there’s lots of sargassum (a macroalgae) on the beaches. Workers were racking them up and placing them into bags on a daily basis.
This was the $25 burger we had at Zest with a $10 bottle of Fiji water.
On Thursday (day 2), we spent the day at Leeward Beach and it was the clearest water I’d ever seen.
After that, we had an early dinner at Mango Reef and went to Thursday Fish Fry at Bight Park. They had live music, food, and souvenirs. Not to mention a Halloween themed wedding.
Friday was my sister’s birthday, so we did something special. We took a boat cruise to Little Water Cay, also known as Iguana Island. We snorkeled, jumped off the diving board, and saw iguanas. It was a great way to start off her birthday.
When we got back to the hotel, we hung out at the pool until it was time to go to Coco Bistro. This was a popular spot that I found on Tripadvisor. We had drinks and delicious food, followed by hanging out at the Sand Bar.
Saturday was our last full day there. The highlight of our day was going to Da Conch Shack, seeing the sunset at Sapodilla Bay Beach and having dinner at The Somewhere Cafe and Lounge.
The Cost Of My Meals Per Day
To keep costs low, we shared majority of our meals and went out for either lunch or dinner.
Day 1: Early Dinner at Zest: $25 (we shared a burger with fries and beverages)
Day 2: Early Dinner at Mango Reef: $27.50 (burger with fries and a Turks Brewery beer)
Beer at Thursday Fish Fry: $7
Day 3: Lunch at Zest (day 3): $20
Birthday Dinner at Coco Bistro: $75
Birthday Drink for my sister at the SandBar: $16
Day 4: Lunch at The Plunge: $20 (we shared a pizza)
Rum Cake at Da Conch Shack: $6
Dinner at Somewhere Cafe and Lounge: $43
Is Turks and Caicos Affordable?
Depending on who you ask, everyone’s answer will be different. For me, the trip was expensive (especially for only 4.5 days) but worth it. My sister had a great birthday and it was the first time in years that we’d taken a vacation together.
When we were planning this trip, I let her know that I had a spending budget. The most expensive part was the flight and hotel. My sister has the Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card and after comparing packages on bookit versus what her credit card offered, booking with the hotel directly was the best option. Same thing applied for our flight.
We could have cut costs by staying in a cheaper hotel but based on reviews and photos, this was as nice as it was going to get without breaking the bank. Also, if you’re planning to get a car rental, airbnb has some great options and cheaper prices.
Here’s What I Spent
Car Rental: $55
Meals: $240 (budgeted for $300)
Island Vibes Tour: $122 (including $10 tip)
Bag Check-In: $25 (unfortunately, we had to check in our carry-ons on the way back)
Total estimated spendings: $1,774 (yowza!)
Even during the off-season, Turks and Caicos can be pretty pricey. We cut costs by sharing meals, bringing our own water to restaurants, and packing snacks for during the day. Gas is more than $5 per gallon and groceries are double the price compared to the Bay Area. A gentleman on our flight let us know that a gallon of milk is around $8.
I’m not saying to not come here because if you like tropical vacations, this place is beautiful. Lots of people spend their honeymoon and anniversary there. But I hope with being transparent about my expenses, you get an idea of how much things may cost.
Would you book a trip to Turks and Caicos? Why or why not?