September 2017 was a heartbreaking month in the Caribbean, with two Category 5 hurricanes razing island after island. If you watched the news reports in the U.S., you’d probably think that there are hardly any inhabitable enough to visit yet.
At least, that’s what I thought as I stared longingly at my travel bucket list–a mainstay in large, bright chalk scrawled on my kitchen wall. As the hurricanes tore mercilessly across half my list and the images of devastation rolled in, my heart broke for these beautiful places and their people.
It’s true that a few islands will take years to recover, but I’m writing this on the plane back from my winter adventure, and I can tell you: Turks and Caicos is already open for business.
In fact, I could barely tell that anything had happened. If I didn’t know in advance that Turks and Caicos took a direct hit from Hurricane Irma (and just barely missed being in Hurricane Maria’s eye), I wouldn’t have even known that it was impacted at all.
The resorts, I expected to have recovered quickly–their pockets deeper and resources more abundant than the rest of the island. What simultaneously intrigued me and fueled a deep sigh of relief was to see very few signs otherwise throughout the rest of the island. Trips from the airport to Grace Bay and then Grace Bay to Long Bay several times over revealed little evidence that anything had been amiss just a few months prior.
Only by riding around with a local who pointed out the brand new power poles, a few roofs here and there that were under repair, and some palm trees that upon closer inspection looked a little more ragged than others, was I able to see remnants of Irma and Maria’s wrath.
Yes—it was a tough hit for the British territory. Yes, some people were without power for 62 days. And yes—there was a marina that suffered around $12M in damage. All that you probably saw on the news. But what you haven’t seen reported is how quickly Provo cleaned up—and they did one helluva job at it.
I can absolutely, positively confirm that Turks and Caicos is ready for visitors: the water is BEAUTIFUL, the resorts on Provo are OPEN, and the tours are in full swing.
So if Turks and Caicos was on your list of places to visit, go now. And if it’s not—holy hell it really should be. I’ve travelled to quite a few islands in the last several years, and this one tops my list.
Go to Turks and Caicos.