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What It’s Like to Travel to Turks and Caicos Right Now

By Kaila Yu | Published On March 26, 2022
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What It’s Like to Travel to Turks and Caicos Right Now

Sea fan

A sea fan in the waters off Grand Turk.

The brown, orange, and black mottled Hawksbill turtle suddenly appears on my left, flipping gracefully as if flying in the sky above. But this is under the azure, balmy 78-degree waters of Turks and Caicos during a four-day diving getaway on the main island, Providenciales or “Provo” in the local tongue.

Only eight of the archipelago’s 40 islands—east of Cuba and north of Haiti—are inhabited, but they remained open to visitors during the pandemic since July 2020 and I was grateful to get away from Los Angeles.

Requirements for Entering Turks and Caicos

Prior to travel, fill out the TCI Assured Travel Authorization form online. You’ll need to submit proof of vaccination for any traveler 18 or older, travel insurance policy number, and a negative COVID-19 test result taken within 3 days prior to flight departure (rapid COVID-19 antigen tests are accepted). After that, wait for the approval email—this can take up to 24 hours. A negative COVID test is also required for return to the United States.

A 90-minute flight runs direct from Miami to Providenciales International Airport. Direct flights are also available from Washington DC, New York, Charlotte, and more.

What It’s Like to Dive Right Now

Over my three-day stay, I dived Grace Bay, the North West Point, and West Caicos. One of the many special things about TC is that depth is not a major factor for visibility. My divemaster shared that visibility mostly stays equally clear at 100 feet as it would at 10 feet. My first dive was Grace Bay—a 10-minute boat ride from my hotel—to about 80 feet. On the reef dive, I swam by tangerine giant barrel sponges, parrotfish, triggerfish, barracuda and turtles.

Shirmp in psonge

A shimp shelters in a sponge in Caribbean waters. Gonzlez

My favorite dive spot, Highway to Heaven, is at North West Point—an advanced dive, about 45 minutes away by boat. Here, stingrays nestled in the sand amid coral, while garden eels poked their spotted heads out of the ocean floor. There were also swim-throughs at about 80 feet and a couple of elegant gray reef sharks who ignored me—swimming back and forth.

I took advantage of the unlimited scuba diving when staying at my resort, Beaches Turks and Caicos, which has its own PADI center offering a $120 one-day resort certification course. The stay includes up to two scuba dives per day for certified divers, including all equipment for no additional charge—just sign up at least a day in advance.

I spent surface intervals snorkeling at the nearby Bight Reef, also known as Coral Gardens, encountering huge mustard-colored brain corals, angry-faced moray eels with mouths agape, trumpet fish, and a menagerie of brightly colored tropical fish. TC was the exact opposite of LA—and I can’t wait to get back.

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