The Turks and Caicos islands are loaded with opportunities to explore virgin territory. From untouched and uncrowded warm, waist-deep bays to flat-water mangrove stashes and endless waves. These islands really are a kiter's paradise.
The beaches are typically clean and easy for launching and landing. Long Bay, on the east end of Provo, is perfect for kiting. Shallow for miles it has a sandy bottom and loads of space, so is ideal for learning. The wind is cross-on 90% of the time and always stronger than at most other spots. Worst case scenario - there might be five other riders; at best - it'll be all yours. Grace Bay is on the opposite side. You can find waves along the cuts of the barrier reef as well as on sand bars and lots of them, average two - four feet.
Make sure you know what you are doing; ride with a buddy, or let someone know you're going out. The difference in tides is very noticeable, especially on the reef as it is exposed with low tides while the lagoon often becomes rougher as the tide comes in.
Leeward is a trickier spot as the current can be fierce with the tides, but the rewards are huge. A great spot to start downwinders, it's also the gateway to some secret stashes and kite safaris, but a boat will be required - speak to Big Blue Unlimited. Blue hills in the northwest is the mirror opposite of Long Bay; cross-on conditions and miles of open lagoon and beach all to yourself. There are too many more islands and spots to go through here, but Big Blue Unlimited will take you on adventures you'll never forget. Tides do affect most spots. As it drains the water often gets irresistibly flat. You'll need all your skills to boost in 12 inches of water, but it's a lot of fun. As the reefs become more exposed the wave build, but as the tide fills in the ride-able terrain can double.
WIND WATER AND WEATHER
Northeast trades prevail in winter and east-southeasters in summer, averaging 10-25 knots, but there are great learning conditions year-round. Best winds usually January, February and March, although July can also be brilliant. August - October is very unreliable (hurricane season) but can throw up amazing swell and wind days. Best wind and waves: February and March. Average kite sizes: 10 - 12 metres. Handy hint: some of the best sessions are caught at sunset - brilliant wind and sun has lost its strength! Lowest temp ever recorded was 18°C / 64°F! Usually between 24 - 30°C / 75 - 86°F. Water temps average 25 - 29°C/ 77 - 84°F. Sun cream and long sleeve rash guards are a must, particularly in summer.
A rental car is advised but leave your car open/windows down as it will prevent any annoying theft. Taxis can charge a lot and, though Providenciales is very small (2 x 20 miles), sidewalks are inadequate and there's little public transport. The hot weather also makes it uncomfortable to travel far on foot. The main kite spots are five minutes by car from all the hotels in Grace Bay. Don't leave any valuables in your car, use common sense and take caution in remote areas after dark.
All-inclusive resorts like Beaches (great for kids) and Club Med (no kids) to the 5 and 6 star resorts of Parrot Cay and Amanyara. The hotels are all on the beach and minutes from the action in Grace Bay. Self-catered house rentals are popular and spread throughout the islands, some on the beach front so you can ride out front. No 'low end' accommodation really, but the high end is simply top class.
FOOD AND DRINK
Grab a 'Where When How' magazine and a Dining Guide at the airport or supermarkets. Beautiful restaurants serve Japanese, Italian, Mexican, American and European cuisine. There's even an Irish pub and Jimmy's Dive bar in Ports of Call serves burger and fries for $12. Don't miss Da Conch Shack for local seafood plucked from the sea right before your eyes. Expect spend $50 per day on food.
Exploration of the island takes about a day, involving driving to all the beaches, visiting the world's only Conch Farm, shopping at the local cultural market and sampling island cuisine. There are loads of water-based activities, from diving to beach combing to choose from. The islands are a water paradise, with or without wind.
Providenciales, Turks and Caicos (PLS) is the international airport. Grand Turk (GDT) is connected via inter-island air services (25 mins). Grace Bay is then 20 minutes away. Hiring a car is recommended, but many visitors rely on free shuttles. BA fly directly from Heathrow to Providenciales every Sunday. Daily flights from Miami and other US cities.