We just returned from a week in Providenciales. The first part of the week was very windy with winds from the NW at 22-27 miles per hour. Here's some tips for enjoying Provo in spite of the wind: Hang out at the pool (I know, NOT why you went to the T&C) or head over to Long Bay Beach and find a clearing up in the dunes and you will be protected by the trees and bushes. Taylor Bay and Sapodilla Bay were also out of the wind.
We were able to see most of the Island in the process of putting 300 miles on the cute little SUV from Grace Bay Rentals. It was a little beat up but good air conditioning and it got great gas mileage. We saw the Northwest Point, Nikki Beach, Taylor Bay, Sappodilla Bay, Carvings at Sapodilla Hill, Smith's Reef, Coral Gardens, Long Bay and Chalk Sound. We tried but did not find West Harbour. We also enjoyed walking for hours on Grace Bay Beach.
Tourism was way down during our visit. We stayed at the Sands, one bedroom ocean view. It was perfect and Hemingway's was great. Many resorts along Grace Bay looked to have fewer than a third of their rooms occupied. We went in a down time on purpose and that suited us just fine.
General tips from a first timer:
1/ Driving was no problem. As others have noted signaling for a turn with your windshield wipers was the hardest thing for Cindy and I to stop doing! If you are a first timer like us I would not recommend driving too far at night. Little signage and few street lights make it difficult.
2/ Phones: Digicell advertised a phone for $24.00 but when we went in the cheapest one they had started at $59.00 with no minutes included. Lime offered one for $32.00 but.... the cheapest one they actually had started at $64.00, again with no minutes. I ended up getting a phone for 4 days from the desk at the Sands. $36.00 and it came with 40 minutes and worked well.
3/ Weigh out at the Airport. My bag weighed 41 pounds at Greenville Spartanburg upon departure. I added one T-shirt and 1 hat and it weighed 51 pounds at the airport in Provo when departing?
4/ Also about the airport in Provo: They would not let me pass my underwater film camera around the x-ray when checking my carry on bag. Must be a weak x-ray as (fortunately) it did not affect the film.
5/ The weather: The forecast said rain every day and it did indeed rain every day. One day it rained 4 times between 10 AM and 9PM. A little dark cloud rolls over your spot on the beach and a cool rain falls on you for about 10 minutes and then the sun comes back out, no problem.
Summary: As advertised, one of the most beautiful beaches we have ever seen. The people were friendly and helpful. We spent a lot less money than we anticipated but then again we didn't search out any of the finer dining options. We were more than satisfied with the food and prices at places like: Jimmy's Dive Bar, Hemingway's, Middle Caicos Cafe and Pizza Pizza. The Sands is very well maintained and in a very convenient location. The snorkeling was excellent once the wind died down. Shopping was pleasant and successful at Mama's and Art Provo.
Hopefully the Turks & Caicos Islands will soon resolve their governmental issues, tourism will return, the empty retail spaces will be occupied and other first timers like ourselves will be able to sample a little piece of paradise! Thanks to all of the trip advisor contributors for providing all of the valuable information that helped make our adventure so easy. Next up: Santa Fe, New Mexico!