You don’t come to Providenciales (Provo) in the Turks and Caicos Islands for the party atmosphere; Provo is the place to get away from it all. We have started our vacation in one of the quietest areas of the island, the Northwest Point, at a condominium resort by the same name.

 Right now, there are maybe 10 other units rented here making us feel like we’ve almost got the place all to ourselves, and that’s very cool. You’ll need to rent a car if you stay out here; NWP Resort is literally at the end of the road.

NWP Resort doesn’t have a nightclub. There are no shops here, the one restaurant seems to be an afterthought; although the staff are wonderful, the restaurant hours are irregular (depending upon occupancy) and the food is not as good as it could be. We had one meal there when we first arrived and then went into town and stocked up on groceries at the IGA.

The trade off, though, is worth it: at NWP Resort you get peace and quiet, a beautiful pool area, attentive and incredibly polite and accommodating staff, clean and comfortable digs at a cost of a fraction of what you’d pay in Grace Bay, the most popular (and for the most part, quite upscale) area of Provo.  As long as you know what you’re in for, you’ll be fine. And we did. We researched the heck out of Provo and ended up booking 5 days at NWP knowing the kids could run free and spend every waking hour in the pool and we could kick back in a hammock nearby and wake up when it was feeding time. But for the remainder of our vacation, we’re spending it at the Veranda, a new all-inclusive resort in Grace Bay because right now at NWP Resort, according to Steve, this is roughing it.

We’ve been busy exploring the bays and bights of the island in our rented 4×4. We spent yesterday exploring the south side, including Taylor Bay (below),

and Sapodilla Bay (below).

Taylor Bay and Sapodilla Bay don’t have beach umbrellas, chairs or toilets, so you need to come prepared. They’re not that easy to find but worth the trip. When you emerge from the path through the bush, you arrive at what looks to be a picture in a travel magazine.

We had lunch first at Las Brisas, right on Chalk Sound and on the property of the Neptune Villas. The restaurant claims to offer Caribbean  food with a Mediterranean influence. The chef was from the Philippines. The kids opted for spaghetti bolognese and fettucine carbonara. Hmmm. Everyone loved the cracked conch which we are bound and determined to try at every restaurant we go to.

Condé Nast travel magazine (among others) touts Provo as having some of the best beaches in world. The Northwest side, where we are has nice beaches but the turtle grass takes away from the aesthetics and weirds people out although it just feels like walking on regular lawn grass. The water is bathwater warm and clear but you have to walk up the beach for about 1/2 hour to the reef for good snorkeling.

Grace Bay is definitely the most acclaimed of the beaches with seven miles of talcum powder white sand and “gin-clear” water. We spent a couple of hours at the beach (Rotary Park public beach access, pictured below) and the kids can’t wait to get back.

The first few days have been all that we hoped for, and more. We came for sun, water and sand and we’ve had it in spades. Provo forces you to relax and have fun; you’ve really got no other choice than to comply.