Planning a visit to St. Barts? If so, you may or may not already know that it has many things to see and do. After all, there are 22 amazing beaches (all of them public), a long list of outdoor activities on land or the water, and then there is the shopping and dining. There are many other things you can enjoy on St. Barts beyond the “basics” listed above.

Consider what the travel pros at Travel + Leisure say about this topic, noting that St. Barts is home to “beautiful beaches and loads of outdoor activities to reward the adventurous traveler… You can also charter a wooden sailing yacht for a morning or afternoon excursion, watch the sunset in Lurin from one of the hilltop cafés, or simply sunbathe.” In our list of three unforgettable things to do while visiting St. Barts, we do have a charter option mentioned, but we also have a few equally intriguing items in the mix.

Kick It Off After Dark

Something that few travelers stop to consider about a visit to St. Barts is the option for an active amount of nightlife. Yet, it is home to some impressive clubs. After all, with its French roots, the idea of salons and gathering spots as well as cabaret shows, are obvious outcomes, and this rather cosmopolitan island is home to a particularly unique club known as Le Ti St Barths.

Again, as experts note, “reservations are a must at this boudoir-themed club, which puts on one hell of a cabaret show that’s definitely not for the kids.” It is dimly lit and even the restaurant is packed on weeknights as well as weekends. There are often large groups in attendance, and there is a bar and patio with standing room only options.

Most come to see the dancing, and this is because of the costumes made available to everyone who arrives. There is a room at the back of the club full of costumes and props, and plenty of photo opportunities in the photo booths. There are pole dancers, and they are the only professionals in the mix, meaning that this is a dizzyingly fun and unique destination.

Visiting the venue’s website lets travelers discover upcoming events and shows, as well as learning more about the VIP program. Whether you are in St. Barts around the winter holiday season or the peak of summer, there is always something going on at Le Ti St. Barths and it will definitely pay to book a reservation and spend an evening in Gustavia’s most unique hot spot.

Above and Below the Waves

Have you heard of a Seabob? This is an innovative water vessel that allows users to soar across the surface of the water, and then with one deft maneuver to quickly sink beneath the waves and continue to navigate at speed. Quite literally operating at the flick of a button, it is, as the website explains, “he ultimate electric high-performance water craft, polyvalent, stylish, silent, 100% green, easy to steer underwater and on the surface.”

Naturally, it is not the ideal activity for everyone, and you will need to take a bit of instruction before you can beginning living like the world’s fastest seal, however, as one of the top things to do during a visit to St. Barths, it is tough to beat.

It is 100% green because it uses an electrical motor (which is why it can go below the waves) and can be done at a limited range of beaches. The most current list of locations includes Anse de Flamands, Emeraude Plage, Tom Beach, Shell Beach, and Nikki Beach, among others. There are multiple providers of Seabob rentals and lessons, and some providers combine a bit of snorkeling along with a day spent aboard a Seabob.

This is an ideal group activity, but is also a good choice for the solo traveler or couple eager to savor a truly unique island experience. There are also some providers with classes for kids, scuba tours, and more. Private yacht owners may also request delivery to their boats.

And speaking of yachts…

Private Charters for Amazing Island Experiences

Do you remember the number of beaches around St. Barts? There are 22 of them, and it is not surprising that many people want to approach them from the water rather than the land. Many just want to enjoy the views of these crescents and coves from aboard their own vessels, and that is why private boat charters in St. Barts has to rate as one of the best activities.

Yet, as you might already realize, there are many kinds of boats that are available for charter, including:

·      Motor Yachts – This is the premium way to charter a vessel to take you around the island and out into the surrounding waters

·      Sailing Yachts – Hire them with or without a crew (you’ll need to demonstrate an ability to sail a vessel of the size and complexity chartered or book a crew of your own), and savor the classic way of plying the waters of the area

·      Catamarans (crewed) – These more complex vessels are best left in the hands of experts. The upside to them is that they have almost no draft and allow you to get the boat closer to shore than any other, ensuring you can savor the feeling of approaching the beaches by water and striding ashore on the silky white sands.

·      Bareboats – Essentially, you are renting a sailboat or yacht that you are going to inhabit throughout your visit. You will be the sole operator and navigator, and may even opt to just leave your vessel at anchor most of the time you stay, savoring the delights of sleeping onboard and beneath the stars.

Don’t overlook the option for fishing charters, too!

So, if you were at all worried that St. Barts was limited to shopping, dining, sunbathing, water sports, land activities, and all of the other myriad adventures available, you can rest assured that you have more than enough to do. With all of the things just mentioned and the three top things to do in St. Barts above, you will be able to make a lifetime of memories.

St Barts is most definitely a truly glamorous destination thanks to the influences of its French heritage. However, it has also evolved into a fantastic travel spot for its architecture, blended cultures that are thtako e result of the many groups passing through and settling on the island, its food, shops, and stunning beaches. As the experts of luxury travel at Travel + Leisure explained, it is the “Caribbean’s most elite…island [and] lives up to its reputation as an adult sandbox, where the rich and famous air-kiss over glasses of rosé. But it still has charms that make it attractive to the regular folk, from its uncrowded white-sand beaches…to its distinctly Gallic flair.”

Travelers are charmed by the capital at Gustavia, and the St. Tropez-like setting of St. Jean on the opposite side of the island. And while there are many shops and sites, there are also the restaurants that reflect this cosmopolitan, European, and regional blend. If you are planning to head there on a first-time or return visit, you most certainly want to pay a visit to some of the most highly-rated or popular restaurants.

Five-Star Dining Among the Stars

Though it is a popular spot for the jet set, it is also a casual spot where gourmet meals are the emphasis. With an executive chef and inspired dishes based on island favorites, Bonito restaurant attracts the true “glitterati” like Beyonce and even royal family members like Pippa Middleton. The menu includes some of the restaurant’s signature items, like Octopus Tiradito (which is served with yellow potatoes, canchas, choclos, black olive coulis, red onion and herbs) and a Vegetarian Ceviche full of yuzu, asparagus, shitake and more.

Enjoy appetizers, fresh fish, artisan meats, grilled specialties, and more. And savor it all from the restaurant’s remarkable setting above Gustavia and gazing down on the charming harbor and the many red-roofed buildings that make views of the town such a delight. This is one of those perennial busy restaurants, however, so travelers are advised to book well ahead of their intended stay on the island in order to get a table.

Garden and Beach Dining

Taking its name from the ancient tamarind tree that salutes new arrivals at its front entrance, Tamarin is described as one of the most charming spots to dine on St. Barts. It is “on the way to Salines Beach,” and is noted for its laid-back atmosphere during the daytime service hours and its jolly and lighthearted spirt at night.

Like a fairy world, the garden is illuminated and all of the outdoor dining is made even more appealing. The casual air is emphasized by the ping pong and game tables that dot the setting, as well as the tasty house cocktails that are so abundant. Indoor as well as outdoor garden seating is always available, and there are pond views that diners can enjoy from almost any table.

The menu is as dynamic as the setting and includes a number of starters, entrees, meats, fish dishes, house made pastas, and irresistible desserts. There are many dishes identified as being made entirely on the premises as well as vegetarian choices in abundance. Some options include the local tiradito fish served with avocado, fennel pickles and toasted corn or the “boards” that can be shared by two and which include an array of meats, fishes and salads. The fish specials are unforgettable and the mahi mahi a la plancha is a house specialty. Leave more than enough room for dessert with options like roasted mango or pecan and vanilla eclairs just waiting to be enjoyed.

Though the menu seems rather upscale, the atmosphere is anything but, and this is that wonderful balance of carefully designed dishes in a setting where enjoyment and relaxation are guaranteed.

Thai on an Island Paradise

Lastly, among the most commonly recommended restaurants is a relative newcomer to the island’s collection of eateries. Black Ginger Thai is a favorite that has only been around for a short while. It is owned and operated by a chef with a background in Thai cuisine, and who has been a head chef at an upscale Bangkok hotel. With dishes noted for being elegant and gorgeous in presentation, the menu emphasizes the island’s signature fish – mahi mahi. There is a popular black pepper mahi mahi available, as well as an array of sweet and sour fish dishes, and more iconic Thai choice, but with an island twist.

Located in Gustavia, it features gorgeous interiors and is usually ranked among the top five restaurants in the town.

Other highly recommended restaurants to try before leaving the island of St. Barts include Aux Amis at the Le Barthelemy Hotel and Spa with a stunning outdoor setting, Eddy’s that is so popular with the locals that they don’t start to show up until around 9PM when the delicious local specialties begin to pour out of the kitchen, L’isola that is a local favorite for its unique Italian dishes that offer up an island flair, La Case de L’Isle that is a top spot for an outdoor and waterside lunch, and Maya’s to go, which is described as  one of the “best ways to experience St. Bart’s is to grab a picnic basket from Maya’s To Go and drive to one of the more isolated beaches.”

There are so many amazing things to see and do on St. Barts, and food has to play a part in most of your itinerary or activities. Take a picnic, like suggested above, but also rub elbows with the elite as well as the locals by sampling a few of the choices here. They will only enhance your experience and likely make you eager to return to the island and get to know it, and its people even more.

Turks & Caicos is one of those lesser-known gems of the Caribbean area, and home to an astonishing array of dining options. As the experts over at Travel + Leisure have said of this stunningly beautiful destination, its culinary scene is “thriving and is one of the best in the Caribbean. Here, you’ll find fine dining at the hotel restaurants and Caribbean favorites at local spots like Mr. Grouper’s and Da Conch Shack & Rum Bar.”

That tells us that a traveler has to make plans to head out into the everyday settings of Turks & Caicos to experience what actual islanders eat and enjoy, and they get to head to the luxurious beachfront restaurants that are meant for the many world travelers who visit each year. As an example of the latter group, take what is easily one of the (if not the) top rated, gourmet restaurants in the islands, Coco Bistro.

A Meal or Two (or Five) at Coco Bistro

The travel team at Fodors makes a point of visiting that lovely balance of high-end and everyday eateries in many top-ranked destinations. They enjoyed dining at Coco Bistro, which is in the Grace Bay area of the island of Providenciales (or Provo as it is called by islanders and visitors alike), at the far western end of Turks & Caicos. Grace Bay itself is often ranked at the top of lists of “must see” destinations in the islands, and this premiere restaurant sits in a palm grove only a short distance from the sea.

As exotic as most dreams of an exotic al fresco meal can be, the restaurant focuses on the Caribbean region’s specialties, but fuses them with some modern twists. There is a “flambe style” Caicos lobster bisque that features a hint of spice and cream along with the dash of cognac that gives it such richness.

And as so many know when heading to the region, conch is going to figure prominently on every type of menu. At Coco Bistro, you’ll enjoy “Conch 2 Ways,” with a sweet and sour sauce and in a ceviche style. You’ll want to try their famous Herb Crusted Roast Lamb Rack that uses Caicos-made Lager, and Porcini and Caicos Coffee Crusted 8oz Beef Tenderloin is another “not to be missed” delight.

With a limited menu of starters and main courses along with a drinks menu, a meal at Coco Bistro is guaranteed to be an experience. With its gorgeous plate presentation, colorful and exotic setting, exquisitely laid tables, and fantastic menu of desserts that change with the seasons, it is a must.

Beachside Dining at Bugalloos on Provo

Another hot spot on Provo is the waterfront destination known as Bugalloos Conch Crawl, or simply as Bugaloos. Described by many as offering the essence of Turks & Caicos, it specializes in food, drinks, and entertainment.

The open-air dining beneath a mature palm grove and within steps of the sand and sea sets the stage for an unforgettable meal. The menu is broken out into “From the Crawl,” which is entirely comprised of tasty conch dishes, “From the Sea,” and “Chicken and Burgers”.

The popularity and size of the restaurant speak of the tastiness of its dishes, and the menu proudly proclaims that their conch salad is the best in Provo. Cut with peppers, tomato, lime, and onion, it is presented nicely and lives up to the name. There are also fritters, Buffalo-style, scorched and other types of presentations focusing on conch.

The grilled and fried seafood is seasonal and local and can range from daily caught snapper to lobster or shrimp. There are also the burgers and poultry options that include everything from basic chicken breast sandwiches to delicious fish burgers. Presented in a low-key way, and even options for “in water” dining, it is fun foodie destination.

And for those who may want to pay a visit to what is often described as the best restaurant on Provo, Da Conch Shack and Rum Bar is another Grace Bay Beach hot spot. It was listed in the best-selling book “1,000 Places to See Before You Die,” so that might say it all.

It is super casual, offers amazing food, and is a great value for budget-weary travelers. And though it is a Grace Bay destination, you won’t face the loud crowds as it is along a quieter beach and emphasizes friendly service.

They make battered conch, curried conch, and conch salad, and if you fail to wash it down with at least one locally made Turks Head beers or an amazing rum cocktail, you’ll be missing out. The menu is vast, and goes beyond conch specialties. There are chicken and steak dishes, classic ribs with an island flare, and even vegetarian specialties. Desserts are lavish and tasty, changing with the seasons.

Often voted one of the best eateries on the island, it is also the most casual and laid back. If your preferences are for a bit of quiet, make sure to visit during the lunchtime hours or early afternoon because the nights here are very dynamic, vibrant and full of fun.

With so many options for fine dining, impressive local cuisine, and beachfront eating, Turks & Caicos should already have a stand-out reputation as a food-lover’s destination. Those are only three of its must-try eateries. There are other delicious gems that include the Hemingway’s at the Sands Hotel is an outdoor eatery chosen by the jet set and another Grace Bay destination, Lemon2Go is at the Saltsmills Plaza and offers coffee and beverages along with small plates and tasty bites, and the Mr. Grouper’s already mentioned.

Here is where you can find island classics like jerk dishes, and an award-winning conch chowder. They have their specialty hot sauce at every table and are known for the pickled vegetables that accompany everything.

So, whether it is a laid back beachfront meal enjoyed in shorts or a sundress, or a formal affair at a world-class hotel or resort, you’re going to eat well at every meal on Turks & Caicos.

Among the many island destinations of the Caribbean region, Turks & Caicos has remained a bit under the radar. A favorite of the jet set and many travelers “in the know,” it has become a food-lover’s destination, a beach goer’s paradise, and a real favorite among discerning travelers. It has a unique layout and is a tiny chain of interconnected islands itself, but it is also noted for its many wonderful activities; most of them focused on the water and the beaches.

If you are planning a trip (or return visit) to this wonderful destination, we suggest you consider the following “best things to do in Turks & Caicos,” now that you already managed the very best thing – going there!

Watersports – The Order of the Day

The list of potential watersports reads like a “something for everyone” sort of list, and includes:

  • Fishing
  • Freediving
  • Jetskiing
  • Kayaking
  • Kiteboarding
  • Paddle Boarding
  • Sailing
  • Snorkeling
  • Wakeboarding

There is also the most basic of all water sports – swimming! However, if we were to point towards the number one or most frequently enjoyed of the many watersports, it would have to be snorkeling. Islanders and visitors alike exclaim about the ease and beauty of the experience, and some of the most popular spots on Provo (the island of Providenciales at the western end of the Turks & Caicos chain), include:

  • Smith’s Reef – You’ll be challenged to locate this reef, and it may mean asking a local expert to take you to it, but it is considered one of the most amazing
  • Bright Reef – This is an easy to reach site and one of the two main snorkeling destinations (that you reach from the beach) in the region

You can also do what many travelers do and book a snorkeling cruise. This means you enjoy reefs near beaches, but just far enough away to be best visited from the water. Less crowded and often with a lot more visibility, they can become one of those unforgettable experiences of your life. Swim with friendly reef fish, see much brighter coral formations, and greet some friendly sea creatures during the visit.

More experienced snorkelers can enjoy the beach snorkeling from western coastal areas like Malcolm’s Road Beach and Northwest Point. These areas offer a few challenges, so they are for the more knowledgeable snorkelers.

If you are more of a beach fan than a water sports fan, you don’t need to worry because one of the best things you can do during any visit to Turks & Caicos is to enjoy a Provo road trip that takes you right along the loveliest beaches of the area.

Your Unforgettable Providenciales Road Trip

Many travelers find that renting a vehicle or choosing accommodations that include use of vehicles makes for some great opportunities while visiting Turks & Caicos, at least for a portion of the visit. While a taxi can be fun, the option to stop and explore sites while driving around is tough to beat. This is particularly true if you limit your wanderings to Provo.

This island is, at most 15 miles long and wide, meaning a car trip can be completed in a day, or can become your way of visiting some of the most beautiful beaches. The “short list” of beaches you can encounter include those found at:

Most travelers will want to start their wanderings along Chalk Sound Drive. Described as being a paved and winding road [that] follows the south side of the incredibly turquoise Chalk Sound National Park.” Here are limestone cays, amazing water views, and lots of premiere properties to savor. There is Sapodilla Hill offering amazing photo opportunities and views, and the beaches at Taylor and Sapodilla bays are close by.

Venetian Road is where you find Turtle Tail Beach and Juba Sound, and a trip up Bristol Hill gives even more amazing views of the Caicos Banks. Head to the waterfront at Blue Hills to see the oldest town on the island, and then head to West Harbour Bluff back to Chalk Sound and the amazing Frenchman’s Creek.

There are rugged little limestone cays, luxury rentals, and vibrant water here is one of the top sights in the Turks and Caicos.

After all the snorkeling, water sports, and driving, you may be ready for a bit of pampering, and that brings us to the last of the three best things to do in Turks & Caicos – a spa day.

Day Trip to Parrot Cay for Spa and Luncheon

Turks & Caicos is a tiny island chain and Parrot Cay is the biggest of the “small” islands tucked between the main island of Provo and North Caicos. It is home to one of the most famous and notable beaches as well as its luxury homes and villas. Yet, it is also where the Parrot Cay Resort is located, and this private retreat offers a wonderful option for day trippers.

The Wellness by Como Shambhala option at the resort has a surprising menu of “holistic, Asian-inspired treatments including Ayurveda, aromatherapy, Pilates and other holistic approaches to mental quietude, physical wellbeing and spiritual balance.” Even if someone is not a guest of the resort, they offer access to its facilities and amenities. With a yoga room, treatment rooms, studios, baths, massage rooms, and even beauty and skin care, it can provide an unforgettable day.

Then, head to one of the two fine dining options at the resort – Lotus or The Terrace and dive into a world of fantastic Asian and Caribbean-inspired dishes. All use local ingredients and while The Terrace has indoor and outdoor dining, Lotus is right alongside the pool.

There are so many things to see, do and enjoy while in Turks & Caicos and the three above (though they add up to dozens of actual experiences) will help you see why it is such a popular destination.