For Carson's 4th Birthday we found some cheap tickets and jetted out to his 12th Country, Turks and Caicos. This time we decided to bring some of his friends and their moms along for some fun in the sun!
How to get to Turks and Caicos with Kids
I wasn’t sure where I wanted to take Carson for his birthday. Since we were traveling during the COVID pandemic, our choices were limited. I used Skyscanner to search for the cheapest flights from Dallas to “EVERYWHERE”.
Being that flights to Turks and Caicos are typically expensive, I knew I had to immediately purchase our tickets while they were cheaper then normal.
We flew American Airlines from DFW to MIA with an hour layover. Then we boarded our next flight, which was just 1 hour long to Providenciales, Turks and Caicos.
Traveling to Turks and Caicos with Kids during COVID
Traveling in the past used to be so easy. Book a flight, grab your passport, see if you need a visa and GO! Now that we are in the midst of a global pandemic, there are additional steps that must be taken in order to get your next passport stamp.
1. A Negative PCR COVID test is required 5 days prior to your departure date from an accredited lab (Ages 10+ only). I went to CVS and it was free through my insurance. CVS does self administered test. You pull up to the drive thru window and the technician guides you through administering the test.
2. Travel Health Insurance with COVID care and Medical Evacuation is required. I used Seven Corners Insurance. It was $25 total for both Carson and I.
3. Both documents MUST be uploaded onto the TCI Assured website 24 hours before your departure.
4. While on the website, you must also complete a health questionnaire. You will need to do the health questionnaire for children as well!
Once everything is uploaded, and your questionnaire is submitted, they will be verified.
5. Travelers are required to receive an authorization from the website in order to board the plane. It literally took 5 minutes for me to get my authorization email, but in some cases it can be longer.
***Although kids under 10 aren’t required to upload a COVID test, you MUST still fill out the online health questionnaire, and print off a Travel Authorization for EACH passenger.
6. PRINT OFF EVERYTHING!!!!!
Print your COVID RESULTS, your TRAVEL INSURANCE, and your TCI AUTHORIZATION!!!
YOU CAN NOT BOARD THE PLANE OR GET A BOARDING PASS WITHOUT THESE DOCUMENTS!
Some people had it on their phones, and it wouldn’t open or download the day of travel, so they were not able to board the flight.
While in the airport and on the plane both in America and Turks and Caicos, mask are required for ages 2 and up.
Once we arrived in Turks and got off the plane, we were required to sanitize our hands before walking into the airport. Then our temperature was checked, and we were required to sanitize again while going through customs. The agent will ask for the printed copy of your Travel Authorization, Health Insurance and COVID Results again before you can enter the country.
You must sanitize again before leaving the airport as well as before entering your taxi to take you to your lodging accommodation.
The COVID numbers are so low in some of these other countries, because of practices like this.
What we did in Turks and Caicos with Kids
Although Turks and Caicos is known for its crystal blue pristine waters and relaxation, there was actually a few things that kids will enjoy here are a few of them.
1. Boat Excursion: We used Island Vibes Tours for our boat excursion. Cost was $170 total for an adult and child. We went snorkeling, to Little Cay Island aka Iguana Island, seen JoJo the Dolphin multiple times, I dived of the top of the boat into the ocean and more. The total tour time is about 4 hours, so the kids definitely slept great that night (Mask are required to board the boat, but can be removed once on, you are also required to sanitize prior to boarding)
Lunch, drinks, and libations are included on this tour. They provided each passenger with a chicken, turkey or veggie wrap, some chips, they had water, rum punch, soda, and they even made Shirley temples for the kids.
This tour was amazing. The guides were very helpful with the kids, the held them to help us get on and off the boat, they even dropped us at the beach right in front of our villa so that we didn’t have to walk.
2. The Under Sea Explorer: Since the kids weren’t too keen of snorkeling because the water was a little salty, we wanted to do something where they could see all of the beauty of life under the sea with out them getting wet. So we booked a submarine tour with Caicos Tours.
Due to Covid, we paid a little extra to book a private tour so that we had more space and felt more comfortable. Cost for the private tour was $450 total for 3 adults and 3 kids which we split 3 ways.
The ride was about and hour long and we were able to learn about and see turtles, fish, reefs, etc
Mask are required to enter the boat but can be removed once on. You are also required to sanitize before boarding.
3. Visit Iguana Island: Iguana Island also known as “Little Cay” is one of the must-see places while in Turks. Especially if your kids love reptiles like Carson. We ended up making a stop here while on our boat excursion with Island Vibes Tours. I didn’t think the water in Turks could get any clearer until we arrived here.
The guide from the boat took us on a tour around the island. As soon as we walked into the brushes, we hear pitter patter surrounding us and out runs several Iguanas to greet us. I clenched up a little bit, but my little “Steve Irwin” was trying to touch and feed them. He has NO FEAR!
4. Sesame Street Catamaran: Take your kids on a boat ride with some of their favorite characters from Sesame Street using Island Routes Tours. We weren’t able to participate on this tour because due to COVID, they only offer it on Wednesday mornings, which was the day we arrived.
5. Participate in a water sport: There are so many options from snorkeling, to paddle boarding, to parasailing, and more.
6. Horseback riding: Take the kids Horseback riding with Provo Ponies. This isn’t your typical Horseback Trail Ride, you will be able to take your ride into the ocean, which makes for great pictures. We didn’t get to do this since the minimum age to ride is 7 years old. But It looked amazing.
7. Take them to burn of some energy at the beach/ pool. Due to COVID, the kid had the ENTIRE beach to themselves. So, there was plenty of space to run and play while mommy relaxed and kept watch.
Where to eat in Turks and Caicos with Kids
There are so many restaurants to choose from but here are some that we ate at with our rating of each.
SharkBite: This restaurant is in the Turtle Cove Marina Area. It was empty, but the service was slow. I ordered a cobb salad as well as I tried some Conch Fritters.
If you don’t know what Conch is, its pretty much the inside of the seashell. I tried it fritter style, so it was fried and tasted like hush puppies.
Mango Reef: We went to Mango Reef for lunch after we did the submarine tour. We ordered pizza for the kids and they LOVED it. The drinks were REALLY strong here.
Da Conch Shack: This restaurant is set perfectly on the beach with the most amazing views of the ocean. The food was amazing. I ordered the Jerk Chicken, with Rice and Peas, and Plantains. Carson ate a hot dog and it was pretty much gone in one gulp. The only thing I didn’t like about this place was that the “island dogs” hang out on the beach here so the just sit and stare at you to beg for food. The waitress would chase them off anytime she came by.
Mr Groupers: We ordered Mr. Groupers via Swift-eats (Download the app) and had it delivered to our villa. I was craving an American burger and it did not disappoint.
Grocery Shopping in Turks and Caicos with Kids
So, like for all of my trips, I always research everywhere that we are going prior to. I read reviews, thing to do, places to avoid etc.
One common thing I seen was how expensive food was in Turks and Caicos. Since food is imported from America, everything is up charged severely. So I packed a backpack full of food and snacks for Carson (I made sure to adhere to the TSA Liquid policy) , being that he is a picky eater.
Things that I packed:
-Kraft Mac N Cheese
We went to the Graceway Grocery Store during our stay to grab some water, milk and a few other items for the days that we didn’t want to eat out, and boy was the food expensive.
The regular bag of lays chips went for $4.00
Strawberries were $7.00
Hot Dogs: $5.00
One pack of Ramen Noodles: $3.00
I would highly recommend you packing some food for the days you don’t want to venture out to a restaurant.
Where we stayed in Turks and Caicos with Kids
Picking our lodging took the most time over everything. Although the hotels were gorgeous, we opted to stay in an Airbnb due to COVID, as well as the mandated island curfew.
Since we were celebrating Carson's Birthday, and we also had some of his friends and their moms who came along for the fun, we al decided to have a little bit of luxury in our lives and book an amazing Villa right on the beach.
We stayed at the Villa Islander and it was one of the BEST places that I have stayed at thus far.
The Villa Islander is located on the beautiful Grace Bay Beach. It features a sleek, modern and an open floor plan that unifies the indoors with the outdoors, it’s the perfect venue to enjoy a relaxed vacation with friends and family.
Villa Islander spans over 6,000 sq ft of living space and it was designed to maximize transparency while affording a high degree of privacy.
The layout consists of a Main building containing two bedrooms and one large open plan living, dining and kitchen with high ceilings facing the pool on one side and a reflecting pool on the other. The garden wing few feet away, accommodates two more bedrooms suites with their wrap-around decks. All feature king-sized beds, large area rugs, linen and blackout curtains and a variety of mood LIGHTING. The en-suite bathrooms are spacious and fitted with free standing bathtubs, rain shower cabins, large wardrobes and personal safes. The Villa also has its own private entry to Grace Bay Beach with chair and umbrella set up and take down.
The price for the villa split three ways was way more then I wanted to spend, so we wrote the host on Air-BNB to negotiate the price. Due to COVID, a lot of the Airbnb host have lost a ton of money from the lack of tourist, so they are open for negotiating to be able to make some money.
At the end of the day, Turks and Caicos is very expensive so be prepared to spend some “chi-ching” in order to have an amazing experience. I would recommend you going with friends or family and splitting the cost to make the best use of your money.
Would I go back to Turks and Caicos with Kids?
ABSOLUTELY!!! There were so many things that I wanted to do and see but with 4 days there, our time was limited. I wanted to island hop to some of the other islands in the country, but we couldn’t due to COVID. It was the perfect place to get some much needed “Zen” with all the craziness in America going on.