Although the islands of the Turks and Caicos were originally inhabited by the Taino Indians, these native people were soon subdued by European conquest when Christopher Columbus discovered the islands. Some on the island actually claim that the island was the very first one to be discovered in the New World, even erecting a statue on the island of Grand Turk in commemoration of this.
Over the ensuing decades, the Turks and Caicos were settled by the French, Spanish, and eventually the English. While development of the islands was consequently a slow process, in 1678 sailors from Bermuda established a thriving trade shipping salt and logs from the Turks and Caicos to the surrounding islands, vastly increasing the islands’ prosperity and economic development. In 1766, the government of the Bahamas usurped the authority of the Turks and Caicos from the British, and the islands became an official part of the Bahamas in 1799. However, a mere fifty years later, the island’s residents requested to become part of Jamaica, which they were annexed onto until 1973, when Great Britain made the Turks and Caicos a Crown Colony. The islands have become widely known as popular vacation destinations of such celebrities as the Teddy Roosevelt family and noted members of the Dupont family. When the famous Club Med was opened on the islands in 1984, the Turks and Caicos gained international renown as one of the premier vacation destinations in the entire Caribbean.
From the gourmet restaurants to the nightlife to the recreational opportunities to the unparalleled beauty of the islands’ natural landscape, Turks and Caicos feature everything you are looking for in your ideal Caribbean getaway. The restaurants scattered across the islands, while not necessarily many in number, all boast unparalleled quality and unique cuisine. Some of the most popular establishments include Grace’s Cottage, Baci Ristorante, Bugaloo’s Conch Shack, and Coyaba restaurant.
The Turks and Caicos also feature excellent shopping opportunities that are some of the best in the entire Caribbean, including everything from stylish boutiques to trendy designer stores to quaint local shops. The three most popular shopping areas include “Ports of Call,” “Central Square,” and “Market Place.” And because the Turks and Caicos have a duty free port, a large selection of quality goods can be found for significantly less expensive prices than in the continental U.S. or Great Britain.
The Turks and Caicos are also a prime destination for recreational activities and aquatic sports. One of the islands’ most popular forms of recreation is golf, as the Turks and Caicos are some of the only islands in the Caribbean that offer a number of golf courses from which vacationers can choose. One of the most popular is the Provo Golf and Country Club, a championship level 18-hole course that is ideal for golfers of all levels of experience. Some popular aquatic sports include snorkeling and scuba diving, as well as fishing, with a host of exotic fish including marlin, sailfish and grouper inhabiting the surrounding waters.