Experiences > Things: That’s how we roll when it comes to celebrating special occasions, and anniversaries are no exception. This year we decided to celebrate island-style in Turks and Caicos. After a year of travel restrictions and social distancing mandates, it was just what the doctor ordered. Let’s jump right in!
Where to Stay
Picking a place to stay is probably the hardest part of planning a trip to Turks and Caicos. There are so many gorgeous properties to choose from that it can be a bit overwhelming. Let me help you out by making it simple – stay at Wymara Resort. I’m finding words inadequate to fully articulate my love for this place. Everything from the service, to the property, to the food and amenities, were exceptional.
A vacation is simply not a vacation without good food! Breakfast is complimentary and served daily at Stelle. All the American breakfast classics you can think of are on the menu but my favorites were the veggie omelette and homemade banana cake. For lunch you can sit down at the beachside restaurant, Zest, for casual bites and cocktails or have it delivered to your lounge chair while you sunbathe next to the pool or even on the beach. My poolside favorites were the fish sandwich and chicken fajitas. For dinner, the chef serves Caribbean inspired cuisine at the fine dining restaurant, Stelle. It’s situated right next to the pool so if you grab a seat outside there’s still quite the view (seriously the Wymara pool is a vision). I highly recommend the lychee martini, pan seared salmon, and warm toffee pudding – SO delicious! We went on a Thursday night and did not need reservations, but if you’d like to be safe you can always reserve your table with the concierge or on OpenTable.
The service at Wymara is top notch. When we arrived we were greeted with cool towels and cocktails and I don’t think we lifted a finger from the moment we stepped foot onto the resort. Every single staff member was knowledgeable and incredibly accommodating. From the concierge helping us get a spot at one of the most popular restaurants on the island, to the pool and beach staff ensuring we never had to ask for a drink, to the housekeeping who cleaned and organized our room twice daily so that when we came in we felt relaxed and at home – every bit of the service was exceptional. I mean exceptional to the point I was like “I’m not worthy of this level of service.”
The property is why I initially started exploring the possibility of staying at Wymara. I didn’t think it was possible, but pictures do not do this place justice. Every little corner is just stunning beyond belief. The design is incredibly well done and every gorgeous sightline really just amplifies the overall *ahhhhhh* feeling you have every time you breathe in that Turks air.
We stayed in the Oceanfront One Bedroom Suite and it was absolutely perfect. All of the rooms were just recently renovated which was a huge plus. The decor is modern, sophisticated, and inviting. Our suite was spotless and extremely well equipped. We had a full kitchen with professional grade appliances – we never used them but would have if we stayed longer. I always like the option of being able to whip up a quick midday snack or reheat a meal from the night before. There was also a dining area and a massive living space. The living room opens up to a gorgeous terrace overlooking Grace Bay Beach with seating for dining and lounging.
The bedroom had a ridiculously comfortable king sized bed, soaking tub with views to the ocean, and a walk in closet – this is what dreams are made of. The bathroom had large vanity with double faucets, a separate water closet, and a huge rain shower. Everything about this room was just over the top perfection. Oh and did I mention that at the press of a button you could pull up the blackout shades to reveal the view of the beach. Pure bliss I tell you!
What to Do
I’m a beach girl through and through so we spent a lot of time on the beach. Wymara is situated on the west end of Grace Bay, which is consistently named on of the Most Beautiful Beaches in the World. Paddleboards, snorkel gear, and sailing catamarans are all available to guests of the property. The weather was unseasonably windy while we were there so we didn’t end up taking advantage of these perks but we did get to experience more of the pool and I’m so glad that we did – the pool at Wymara is pure art. There’s a fully equipped gym and full-service spa on the property as well. If you’re staying for longer you may explore the idea of doing a few excursions off the property. Snorkeling, fishing, parasailing and private charters seemed to be popular choices among the guests.
What to Wear
Picking out vacation looks is one of my favorite parts about planning for a trip. I’m rounding up my dinner looks and beach/pool looks below:
Dinner Night One: I really feel like a palm print has to make an appearance on any tropical vacation. This top was so perfect paired with a white satin asymmetrical midi skirt and strappy nude sandals. The top definitely runs small – I got an XS and couldn’t wear a bra or else it wouldn’t have zipped. The skirt also runs a tad small. I opted for the Small so that I would be comfortable and not have to worry about busting a zipper at dinner, lol.
Beach Outfit Day One: Is there anything more chic than a black swimsuit? I didn’t think so! This one is actually two separate pieces. The top is a tie front bra style from Abercrombie and the bottoms are a high leg cheeky cut from ASOS. Both pieces are super affordable and pair really well together but the great thing is you can easily mix and match to choose styles and cuts that fit your style and body type! Wearing XS top and US 4 in bottoms.
Dinner Night Two: I wanted something casual and comfortable to match the dinner vibe so of course I grabbed my ASOS linen blend pants. Seriously they go with everything. I love this subtle statement top too! It’s under $100 and such a fun vacation piece. Wearing US 4 in pants and XS in top.
Beach Outfit Day Two: Oh my goodness this suit! I found Jade Swim when looking to actively support black owned female entrepreneurs and I’m so glad I did. The quality and fit on this one is well worth the price and will last forever. I love the classic cut and style, but the color and metallic sheen give it a very new and now feel. Wearing an XS in top and bottom.
Dinner Night Three: The maxi dress that blew up my DMs and had me stopping to acknowledge random strangers. Seriously I think I had six different people stop me at dinner to compliment me on this dress. It really is so gorgeous in person but the material definitely caught me off guard. Remember in elementary school how you’d get in a circle and run under a parachute? Well the material feels a lot like that parachute. I ended up renting this one because purchasing was fairly pricey but I was able to find a lot of similar colorful colorblock options at all price points! Wearing an XSR.
Beach Outfit Day Three: This L*Space top and bottom are so flattering and the style is classic so you can re-wear year after year. I love the neutral shade of this one and the unique bra style top. The bottoms are fairly cheeky, but there are plenty of more full coverage options that match the top available! Wearing an XS top and S bottom
Travel Outfit: Comfy and cool linen blend pants + stretchy and cute white top make for the ultimate brunch to plane outfit or vice versa! I wear a US 4 in these ASOS pants and an XS in this ASTR The Label white shirt.
Where to Eat
For breakfast and lunch we ate at Wymara to take advantage of the complimentary breakfast and to maximize our time at the pool and beach. If you do want to eat breakfast or lunch off property, just ask the concierge or any of the staff for recommendations! For dinner, we ventured out on two nights. The first night we went to Da Conch Shack, a laidback, beachside restaurant just 10 minutes from Wymara. We made a same day reservation just in case but I don’t think we really needed it. The food was really solid for beach bar type of food, but the real star was the atmosphere – bistro lights, island tunes, waves crashing, wind blowing, pink and blue hued decor all make Da Conch Shack this sort of idyllic casual island spot. After dinner and a few cocktails the dance floor came alive and everyone on the beach joined in on the party – such a fun night! The second night we managed to get a table at the popular Coco Bistro in Grace Bay. We had luck and great service on our side because the Wymara concierge was able to get us in same day! Dining tables are nestled under a canopy of gigantic palm trees and bistro lights so the mood is *vibey*. The food was absolutely delicious. To start we had the 12 Hr pork shoulder tacos, shrimp and avocado spring rolls, and spicy caesar salad all were amazing. The real star of the meal for me was the West Indian style shrimp curry. I am not a super adventurous eater so this seemed a little too far gone for me based on the description, but the waiter convinced me otherwise when he brought over a small taste of their curry. The rest was history – hands down one of the best meals I’ve ever had! We ended the night with the chocolate and banana bread pudding, another fabulous dish.
Taxi is the easiest and most convenient way to get around the island. We never waited more than 5 minutes for a driver and were able to get most places for about $20/ride.
Things to Consider
Getting to Turks and Caicos is not as difficult as it seems *if you know the inside scoop*. Luckily I’ve gone through the worst of it for you, so your experience will be much more seamless 🙂 First things first (as of 5/20/2021) you need to get a travel authorization. In order to complete your application you need 2 things: 1) Negative COVID-19 PCR Test dated 5 days or less from the date of arrival, and 2) health insurance that covers COVID-19.
For the COVID-19 Test, make sure to get a PCR Lab Test. These are readily available from places like Walgreens, CVS, etc. I suggest setting your appointment for 5 days prior to arrival (i.e. If your scheduled arrival is Thursday, make an appointment for the Saturday prior).
For health insurance you need a policy that covers COVID-19. Most standard insurance policies do not cover pandemic outbreaks, so you will need to procure it from a 3rd party provider – we used Aura Insurance.
Once you get your insurance and you have your negative test results you’re ready to apply for travel authorization. You will be prompted to upload your test results and insurance certification. Here are a few tips to ensure smooth and quick processing of your authorization:
- Use a computer to apply – We used mobile and tablet to apply and the file uploads failed without notification. Let’s just say this created a lot of unnecessary stress and worry pre-trip so avoid that by just using a desktop or laptop
- Upload lab results (not the “easy read” version) of your COVID-19 Test
- Upload all insurance policy documents (not just the cover letter or voucher)
Once you’re approved, save your Travel Authorization and COVID-19 Test Results to your mobile device. Additionally, print both documents and bring to the airport for flight check-in (more on this later).
As you may have already noticed or experienced, airport traffic has spiked significantly since the beginning of the pandemic. It’s best to allow yourself at least 2 hours at the airport for international travel. Seriously, a FULL 2 hours. Security lines are ridiculously long, airlines are understaffed, there are way more hoops to jump through now, so do yourself a favor and reduce stress by showing up 2+ hours in advance of takeoff. On this same note, present printed travel docs (Negative COVID Test results and Travel Authorization) to make it easier of the airline staff. Pinch zooming on an iPhone is not ideal when the lines are wrapped around and you’re trying to make a tight flight! I’ll spare you the boring details but let’s just say I almost didn’t make my first flight because I thought an hour and 15 would be plenty of time.
Returning to the US
You are required to present a negative COVID-19 test result taken 3 days or less from the return date to enter back into the US. If you are staying at Wymara, the property offers free testing daily to make your return as easy as possible. The tests administered on the resort are acceptable tests for re-entry to the US.
For the most part we charged everything to the room to make things easier and reduce cash we needed on hand. It is nice to have cash for staff tips on services that are free of charge (i.e. tipping the beach staff that sets up the chairs and refuels your water, housekeeping, etc). Cash is required for taxi rides.
Oh my gosh that was a lot of information! Hopefully it was helpful and not overwhelming. Let me know how else I can help or if you have any other questions about our trip to Turks and Caicos!