Turks and Caicos Travel Guide
Now that it's the dead of winter it's also high time to head out on getaways to tropical locales, but often travelers don't realize there are plenty of ways to help out the community while soaking in the sun.
For example, in the Turks & Caicos there is an overwhelming population of pups, known as Potcakes, who need homes. One organization, Potcake Place, is helping to place these dogs with loving families visiting from the U.S.
Fried conch in the Turks & Caicos
When we travel, one of our favorite things to do is to pop into a local grocery store and check out the food products and candies we'd never find anywhere else. So we're trying out this new feature, Foreign Grocery Friday, where each week we'll feature some of our (and your) favorite overseas treats. Got a recommendation? Let us know!
You know those massive, pink-lined shells from which it's told you can hear the sea? That's called a Conch shell, and for all its beauty, there's an ugly little creature living inside of it. Extract that creature, fry it up and serve it on a white plate and the positive returns: it's damn tasty.
Conch is available all over the Caribbean, and you can do just about as many things with it as with shrimp. Think about that scene in Forrest Gump where Bubba names shrimp dishes, but replace "shrimp" with "conch." "Conch salad, conch gumbo, conch patties, conch fritters," and so on and so forth.
While kicking back at our hotel spa in Providenciales this week, we vaguely remembered that was a big event taking place that afternoon, down at Provo Airport. Sadly, we couldn't drag ourselves away from the Regent Spa to bring you all the pomp and circumstance of the official ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new runway expansion at PLS--but we can tell you a little about what it all means.
Work on the $35-million-dollar project began last July, extending the runway from 7,600 feet to its new length of 9,200 feet. Which means: hello, Boeing 777s and 747s!
That's the hope, anyway&@151;and a much-needed terminal upgrade will be the next phase of the project.
Chefs here are famous for their spiny lobster dishes—cooked in nearly every style imaginable--but lobster season, which runs from August 1 to March 31, is strictly enforced. (Locals are serious about protecting this prized resource – after all, the lobster appears on their flag.) So if you ordered a lobster paella there in recent months and were sorely disappointed, it’s because it probably had been in the freezer for four months.
Cue the awful theme song; we’re off to another sexy beach location with Bridget Marquardt. Forget Jamaica and Australia, this week we’re taking in the Turks and Caicos with the buxom beauty. After a quick geography lesson—the islands were part of the Bahamas until the 1970s—we were off to explore what they have to offer. After of course, checking out the pool bar at Nikki Beach Hotel that had some lady dancing on it—we’ll have what she’s having.
Celeb Travel / Weddings / Parrot Cay / Celebs Who Twitter / Bruce Willis / Emma Heming / Demi Moore / Ashton Kutcher / → All Tags
With Caribbean resorts and hotels offering tons of incentives to lure guests away from watching their stock portfolio crash and burn, it's nice to see that Bruce Willis has manned up and done what we could not do--he chose Parrot Cay in the Turks and Caicos as his destination wedding location.
Bruce married model girlfriend Emma Heming at his private home with tons of celebs in attendance, including ex-wife Demi Moore and her hubby Ashton Kutcher. Word is that all those invitees were shacked up at hotels nearby. Could the brand-new Gansevoort Turks and Caicos have been one of them? Or perhaps the hideout favored by Derek Jeter and his galpal Minka Kelly at the Nikki Beach Resort was used?
We checked Demi and Ashton's Twitter profiles (here and here) but there were no real clues about where they were shacking up. Although, Ashton did post a pic of Demi bending over in her white bikini and she felt the need to tweet "I am madly in love with my husband!" on Bruce's wedding day.
Either way, we bet the island is breathing a sigh of relief over the cash influx on the island. See, celebrities can do good!
Yet another reason not to carry lots of luggage: "Hairspray" actress Nikki Blonsky and her father were arrested last week for allegedly getting into a fight over seats in a departure lounge at Providenciales International Airport.
Supposedly Blonsky and pa had left their luggage on a set of seats in order to save them, and when a traveling trio (which happened to include a previous "America's Next Top Model" contestant) removed them, Blonsky struck out at them to protect her seat sovereignty.
If only she had just packed one bag, none of this would have happened!
· Nikki Blonsky Injured, Arrested in Brutal Luggage-Defense Melee [Defamer]
· Movie Set Travel: "Hairspray" Is From Baltimore [Jaunted]
· Celeb Travel coverage [Jaunted]
[Still from "Hairspray" in which Tracy Turnblad demands Link's frequent flier miles: Girl.com.au]
Go straight to the Turks & Caicos Film Festival Map.
Our big sis site HotelChatter reminded us that the Turks & Caicos International Film Festival is coming up October 16. (As if we needed an excuse to go chill in the Caribbean.) With six days of films that focus on music, the event is perfect for low-key cinema lovers who wouldn't mind skipping a screening or two to grab an umbrella drink or two.
The Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony vehicle El Cantante will open the festival, but better films are slated for the rest of the week, with entries from India, Hungary, the UK, South Africa and even Uganda scheduled. Amanda Bynes and Mos Def will also make appearances to collect awards.
Headquarters for the festival is The Alexandra Resort on Grace Bay Beach on Providenciales. Screenings are also happening at the Regent Palms nearby. And if you book flights on American Airlines between October 8 and October 28, you can save 5% with booking code A86H7AT.
· Turks & Caicos International Film Festival [Official Site]
· Third Annual Film Fest Coming to Turks & Caicos [HotelChatter]
· Turks & Caicos Film Festival Map [Jaunted]
· Caribbean Travel coverage [Jaunted]
There's no such thing as a free lunch, even for the stars. After Shape magazine paid for morning-show host Kelly Ripa and her family to fly to Turks and Caicos for a photo shoot, it took its pound of flesh in Photoshop: Specifically, it redid her navel to make her "outie" into an "innie." Ripa noticed but said on her show that she wouldn't go after the magazine -- after all, free vacation!
Airbrushing is fine, but please don't get plastic surgery on vacation; it's NOT in the Kelly Ripa Workout.