Turks & Caicos
Those who claim that the UK suffers from a lack of sunshine have never been to Turks & Caicos – this sweep of 40 islands has been a part of Britain for more than 200 years, although its Blighty-based provenance is all but masked by its Caribbean climate and philosophy. In the heady days when pirates and smugglers stashed contraband in its palm-fronded coves, Turks & Caicos was renowned for exporting salt and cotton, but, today, it’s famed for importing honeymooners, scuba freaks and those who simply want to admire a spellbinding tropical vision from the comfort of an ivory-sanded beach. If you are able to tear your eyes away from the sublime ocean view, you’ll find that ‘TCI’, as the in-crowd know it, has a life beyond the scenery. Donkeys roam the salt ponds, flamingos flock to nibble from the shallow waters around its shores, and its inhabitants exude an easy-going friendliness, calling themselves, poetically enough, ‘Belongers’.
When to go
The main draw to the islands is the year-round good weather. High season runs from January through to March, and off-season rates can be as much as 40 per cent less. Avoid June to October, though, unless you like sunbathing during hurricane season.
PlanesThe islands’ main international hub is on Providenciales, which is well-served with regular flights from the UK, the US and Canada. There are smaller (by which we mean ‘tiny’) airports dotted elsewhere around the archipelago.
TrainsThere is no rail network in the Turks & Caicos.
AutomobilesIf you want to get a real feel for the islands, then hiring a car is absolutely essential. Make sure you ask for one with air-conditioning. Taxis, however, are inexpensive and plentiful.