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The Sands at Grace Bay Named a 2017 Family Vacation Critic Favorite

Great News…The Sands at Grace Bay has once again been named a 2017 Family Vacation Critic Favorite!

According to Family Vacation Critic, “Favorites” represent those that really go above and beyond. To achieve this status, our hotel has received a rating of 4+ from Family Vacation Critic’s editorial staff and at least 75% of family reviewers have recommended our hotel by giving us a 4+ rating in their review. Family Vacation Critic is published by online travel specialist The Independent Traveler, Inc — a subsidiary of TripAdvisor LLC. Thanks to our team at The Sands for making this recognition possible!

The resort is pleased to share some of the top reasons why families are raving about their visits to The Sands at Grace Bay – especially during these summer school vacation months:

1. Families Receive Significant Resort Savings During Provo’s Low-Season – Late spring and summer is known as the Caribbean’s low-season and is the time of year when families can receive resort discounts and deals, reduced airfare costs, and plan a much more affordable trip to the first-class destination of Providenciales, Turks & Caicos. From May 1st through December 19th, families will receive their 4th Night Free or can stay 7 nights for the price of 5, plus they can take advantage of reduced low-season rates starting as low as $195 per night at The Sands at Grace Bay. To reduce vacation costs even further, the resort’s spacious 1, 2 and 3-bedroom suites are ideal for families who wish to share accommodations. Plus, the suites feature all the comforts of home including nicely equipped kitchens and dining areas that provide families with the convenience of enjoying self-prepped meals when they desire during their stay.

2. Free Added-Value Resort Amenities Offer Endless Opportunities For Having Fun Under The Sun – One of the greatest benefits mentioned by families who stay at The Sands at Grace Bay is the array of added value amenities that guests may enjoy during their stay including free use of watersports equipment, bicycles, a weekly cocktail party, three swimming pools, a basketball/tennis court that is lit for night play and more. To fully appreciate the resort’s Grace Bay Beach location, families with older children take advantage of the resort’s kayaks, snorkeling gear, stand-up paddleboards and Hobie Cats. Resort bicycles offer a fun way for families to explore nearby areas together. Families often bring the resort’s snorkeling gear to the nearby Coral Gardens snorkeling site, one of the most popular snorkeling areas for families in Providenciales. The shallow waters that can be accessed right from the beach, the diversity of fish, the clearly marked boundaries, and the safely roped off area make this a great spot to bring children and beginner snorkelers.

3. Free Family Friendly Events & Activities on The World’s #1 Beach and Around the Island – Families can enjoy an array of affordable and optional day excursions during their trips to Providenciales, including snorkeling and conch cruises, horseback riding along the beach, sunset glow worm tours, semi-submarine underwater adventures, kayak nature tours and much more. There are also fun, free kid-friendly attractions and events that take place around the island. Provo’s weekly Thursday night Fish Fry features freshly caught fish and seafood, local bands and entertainment, dancers and much more – for a fun night that celebrates all things “Turks & Caicos.” The Turks & Caicos National Environmental Centre is a free and informative way for families to learn about the wildlife, habitats and ecosystems found throughout the Turks and Caicos Islands. And finally, the world-renowned beaches surrounding Providenciales are always a family favorite activity.

The Sands at Grace Bay’s 4th Night FREE and Stay for 7 Night for the Price of 5 promotions are valid for new bookings made on all room categories for travel April 22nd through December 19th, 2017. Travelers can book the resort’s promotions online at – 4th Night Free promo code is “4NF17”; Stay 7 Nights, Pay for 5 Nights promo code is “7FOR5-17 ” – or travelers can call toll-free from the U.S. (877) 777-2637; from Canada (800) 567-5327; or contact a travel agent for reservations.

Turks Caicos Information

The Food and Cuisine of Turks and Caicos

The Turks and Caicos Islands lie in the Atlantic Ocean to the east of the Bahamas, and about forty minutes by plane from Miami and the North American mainland.

The climate is warm and dry for most of the year, and this climate has influenced the kinds of foods people enjoy in the Turks and Caicos.

Being surrounded by ocean, the main focus of Turks and Caicos Islands food culture is seafood. The country’s status as a crossroads between the Caribbean and Europe far to the northeast has also contributed to the national cuisine.

More recently the Turks and Caicos’ relatively prosperous economy has attracted people from all over the Caribbean who have also brought their food culture with them.

The History of the Turks and Caicos


The Turks and Caicos Islands have been inhabited for almost a thousand years.

The first inhabitants were the Lucayan, the original inhabitants of the Bahamas, and related other indigenous people who inhabited other parts of the Caribbean.

While the Lucayan are longer present in the islands, a glimpse of their way of life be found in the famous caves found on Middle Caicos.

Maize, Sweet Potato and Salt

Besides fishing, the Lucayan people of Turks and Caicos subsisted on many foods traditionally associated with the New World including beans and sweet potato, as well as manioc and cassava.

The Lucayan’s presence can still be seen by the presence of salt pans around the islands. Salt has always been an important commodity since ancient times. It is used not only for seasoning, but also for preserving food such as fish for long periods of time.

The Lucayan, like of the Caribbean’s other original inhabitants preserved salt, and some of the locations of these salt pans still exist today.

The Europeans Arrive

Columbus first reached the Caribbean in 1492, reaching what is now San Salvador in the Bahamas, to the northwest of the Turks and Caicos.

Following Columbus began five hundred years of change in the Caribbean. Europeans arrived to grow sugar and other crops, and to establish outputs in competition with other European nations.

They also brought the practice of slavery with them, including thousands of people from Africa whose ancestors still live in the Caribbean today.

In the Turks and Caicos various European occupiers such as the French and later the British focused on producing salt.

Salt production was so closely associated with it was once featured on the flag of the territory:



While the Turks and Caicos is known for Bambarra Rum today, distilling rum, the tipple that is characteristic of the Caribbean has never really been practiced on the islands.

Rum Punch

This is because the islands are generally too dry to grow sugar cane, the chief ingredient when making rum.

Cuisine of Turks and Caicos Today

If you travel to the Turks and Caicos today you’ll be able to choose from almost every cuisine on earth.

This is because, as the islands have become more popular as a tourist destination people have been attracted from all over the world to live and work here.

The island of Providenciales in particular offers everything from sushi and high-end fusion cuisine to Indian and Chinese food.

Of course, everyone who travels to the Turks and Caicos will want to eat seafood, which includes local delicacies such as mahi mahi, tuna, rock lobster and the ever-present conch.

Drought-resistant maize (a kind of corn) does well in the semi-arid conditions of the Turks and Caicos. As a result, hominy grits are a popular part of traditional local cuisine.

The Unique Food Culture of Turks and Caicos

Photo courtesy of the
Photo courtesy of the

While the Turks and Caicos is a modern international crossroads of cultures, the islands are also a melting pot of Caribbean culture.

For example, many people travel back and forth between the Turks and Caicos and the neighbouring country of Bahamas for work or to visit family.

Other people from countries around the Caribbean will also travel to the Turks and Caicos for work, and all bring their food culture with them.

Traditional Foods… Brought From Somewhere Else

Since the arrival of Europeans and people from Africa, local food has been based on the sea and on maize.

Two traditional dishes, grits and johnnycake, are distinctive Turks and Caicos specialties. As the travel blog Caribya notes:

Islanders love “boil fish and grits” for breakfast, and “boil fish and johnnycake” for lunch. For supper, fresh seafood alongside peas and hominy is a staple. In fact, once upon a time, when an island wife was asked what she was serving for dinner, her typical response would be “peas and hominy and penn on.” “Penn on,” was slang for “Depends on,” meaning that dinner would be peas and hominy, and the meat would depend upon whatever fish or game her husband had caught that day.

These days such traditional foods are harder to find in Providenciales, the tourist hub of the Turks and Caicos.

However, should you venture to Middle Caicos you’ll have the chance to encounter an older way of life, and this included food.

Other traditional dishes include conch and hominy, cod fish cakes and corn bread. Steamed conch, stewed conch, and stewed fish and grits.

Crab and rice, which features the blue crab common to the islands, is also a local comfort food.

These foods are a real taste of the Caribbean, so it is worth seeking them out.

If you want to get an in-depth look at the cuisine of Turks of Caicos, be sure to check out the @TCIFoodandCulture Instagram feed. The photos are mouth-watering and verge on “food porn.”

Conch Fritters and Deep Fried Fish

While conch fritters are said to be the characteristic food of the Turks and Caicos, this dish is said to be a relatively new arrival to the islands.

The Caribbean Queen conch is the native mollusk and number one export for the Turks & Caicos Islands. It’s said that each of the islands in Turks and Caicos produces its own unique flavour of conch meat.

Conch Fritters

Conch can be served in a variety of ways, including fresh conch salad and conch fritters.

conch fritters

Fritters are a relatively new addition to the cuisine of the Turks and Caicos because in the past in the past, cooking oil was very hard to come by.

So pan frying, poaching, stewing or roasting was typically how people prepared this delicious Turks and Caicos treat.

Festivals and Events: the Best Way to Experience the Cuisine of Turks and Caicos

The best way to encounter the traditional cooking styles of Turks and Caicos is to visit one of the many festivals that are held throughout the year. It’s a way to meet new friends and create long-lasting memories.

Thursday Night Fish Fry

Fried fish is also a new addition to the cuisine of Turks and Caicos, but it has grown to become a cornerstone of community life in Providenciales.

Every week Provo hosts the Thursday Night Fish Fry near the Bight Park.

It’s a great way to taste local cuisine and also meet the local residents of Providenciales. Conch Festival The Conch Festival is held on the last weekend of November every year in Turks and Caicos.

A photo posted by Conch Festival (@conchfestival) on

This event kicks off the Christmas season on Providenciales. It’s a lot of great food and fun for the whole family.

Traditional Caribbean Restaurants on Providenciales

Da Conch Shack

Da Conch Shack is local legend in Turks and Caicos.

da conch shack
Image courtesy da Conch Shack Facebook page

This traditional Caribbean beach bar serves up delicious local foods, including curried conch, cracked conch, fried conch, conch fritters and conch creole. That’s a lot of conch!

The restaurant is also located across the road from a beautiful beach.


Bugaloos is another local favorite on the island of Providenciales.

Located south of Five Cays Settlement, about twenty minutes by car from Grace Bay Beach, Bugaloos serves comfort food, with a beautiful view of the ocean added for free.

Bugaloos is also located next to a wholesale fish market, so the seafood will always be fresh.

Experience Turks and Caicos Cuisines at Hemingway’s

For more restaurants, the Ottawa Citizen has a “restaurant critic’s guide” to fine dining in Turks and Caicos.

However if you’re a guest at the Sands and you want to experience authentic local cuisine, you just have to head over to Hemingway’s, right on beautiful Grace Bay Beach.

The local Caribbean Queen conch is served in many Turks & Caicos restaurants including our very own Hemingway’s beachside restaurant at The Sands at Grace Bay.

The “Conch Served The Way You Like It” menu option offered at Hemingway’s is a great way to experience the taste of our Caicos conch in a variety of ways, as you can choose amongst conch fritters, conch fingers or a fresh conch salad.

These are all delicious and refreshing after a full day of fun under the sun. Another restaurant specialty is the chef’s conch chowder, which is a traditional spicy island recipe that is also made with fresh local conch.

What’s Your Favorite Food When You Visit Us?

Do you have a favorite food or place to eat when you visit Turks and Caicos? If you do, let us know in the comments!



Announcements Awards Turks Caicos Information

The Sands at Grace Bay Awards: We’re a “2015 Family Favorite Hotel”

A new addition to Sands at Grace Bay Awards – TripAdvisor’s family travel site, Family Vacation Critic, has once again named The Sands at Grace Bay a “Family Vacation Critic Favorite” 2015 hotel based on expert and consumer feedback. The resort was also recently named one of the, “Top 10 Caribbean Resorts For Families” by this leading family vacation website!

The Sands at Grace Bay - A 2015 "Family Favorite Hotel" by Family Vacation Critic
The Sands at Grace Bay – A 2015 “Family Favorite Hotel” by Family Vacation Critic

To be named a Family Vacation Critic Favorite hotel, hotels and resorts must have been personally vetted and visited by a member of Family Vacation Critic’s editorial team and must have been recommended by 75% or more families who have reviewed the property, with a four- or five-star review rating.

“The Family Vacation Critic Favorite winners represent hotels that truly excel as family-friendly properties. Because awards are only given to hotels that receive a high rating from both our team of experts and family travelers who have stayed at the property, the Family Vacation Critic Favorite Hotels designation offers parents a credible stamp of approval to use when searching for the perfect hotel for their family.”

– Lissa Poirot, Editor-in-Chief, Family Vacation Critic

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There are many reasons why families continue to visit our award-winning Providenciales, Turks & Caicos resort, including:

  • Our affordable low-season summer and fall rates and 4th Night Free Deal (valid between May 1st through December 19th)
  • Our unbeatable location on Grace Bay Beach, the Caribbean’s #1 Beach according to TripAdvisor’s 2015 Travelers’ Choice Awards
  • Fun and family-friendly island attractions in Providenciales, named the World’s #1 Island by TripAdvisor’s 2015 Travelers’ Choice Awards
  • Free use of resort watersports equipment including kayaks, snorkeling gear, stand-up paddleboards and Hobie Cats
  • Complimentary resort bicycles available for guest use from daylight to dusk
  • 3 Free-form swimming pools that flow throughout a central garden courtyard and are connected by canals.
  • On-property dining out at the island’s legendary Hemingway’s Beachfront Restaurant that offers kid-friendly breakfast, lunch and dinners
  • The option to dine “in” using fully equipped kitchens and comfortable dining areas in our one, two, and three-bedroom suites that provide families the convenience of preparing home-cooked meals during their resort stay
  • Fun family friend excursions, ranging from snorkeling, horseback riding, semi-submarine underwater tours, glow worm sunset cruises, snuba and more

For more information on our family-friendly resort amenities, optional excursions, and island kid-friendly dining and attraction recommendations, visit our resort’s family page:




The Sands At Grace Bay Is Named A “Family Favorite” Hotel By Family Vacation Critic

TripAdvisor’s family travel site, Family Vacation Critic, has just released its first annual hotel awards and The Sands at Grace Bay received a “Family Vacation Critic Favorite” 2014 Award based on expert and consumer feedback. We are honored that our resort was named one of the Top Caribbean Family Resorts & Hotels by this leading family vacation website! More information on this Family Vacation Critic award is below (taken from a Vacation Family Critic press announcement):


“Every hotel listed on Family Vacation Critic has been hand-chosen by our editors as being appropriate for families, so this award really highlights those that go above and beyond,” says Lissa Poirot, editor of Family Vacation Critic. “Finding a true family-friendly hotel can be challenging, but these hotels have received a seal of approval from real families, and can truly identify themselves as places that family travelers have rated the best.”

To be named to the list of Family Vacation Critic Favorites, hotels must have met the following criteria:

o Hotel must have been personally vetted and visited by a member of Family Vacation Critic’s editorial team, and receive either a four- or five-star editorial rating.

o Hotel must have been recommended by 75% or more families who have reviewed the property, with a four- or five-star review rating.

The elite group of hotels meeting the requirements represent the top 12 percent of hotels listed on the Family Vacation Critic site.

For more information on the winning hotels, visit 2014 Family Vacation Critic Favorite Hotels.