Turks and Caicos Islands stole a piece of my heart. Or, maybe I left a piece of my heart there voluntarily. Either way, I find myself wistfully longing for that experience all too often…
In 2014, I traveled solo to Turks and Caicos in the Caribbean, where I spent a magical week on the island of Providenciales at Club Med Turkoise Resort. I’d never stayed at a Club Med before, and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised.
At first, colleagues sneered when I disclosed where I’d be staying. “Definitely try the trapeze!” a manager suggested enthusiastically. I was nervous to say the least, considering this was my first time traveling completely alone. However, once I realized that for the first time in my life, I would more or less have total control over my entire adventure, my anxiety turned to sheer excitement.
I honestly had no idea what to expect from my first solo travel experience. I genuinely anticipated keeping to myself the entire time, reading more books than I’d ever read before in one week and behaving extremely healthy, all while heeding my cousin’s cautious advice to “stay away from all men”. I even expected to eat every meal alone in my room and considered avoiding drinking and parties, turning my vacation into a sort of self-imposed detox retreat.
Thankfully, none of that turned out to be the case. Anyone who’s ever stayed at a Club Med resort knows you simply can’t avoid the fun (at least not without really, really trying). But why would you want to?
From the moment I first arrived at Club Med Turkoise, I almost felt like I was at adult summer camp, complete with friendly, attentive GO staff members (serving as the adult camp counselors I suppose), ready to accelerate the party at any moment. In addition to being my first solo trip, this was also my first experience at an all-inclusive resort, and I quickly grew accustomed to the open bar.
To my surprise, I wasn’t the only solo traveler at the resort. Numerous other guests I met were also there alone, as if Club Med Turkoise were a secret mecca for singles tucked away in the northeastern Caribbean.
Some travelers were there to find love. Others were simply attracted to the resort’s adults-only policy and were thrilled to be away from kids (I will admit, that part was GREAT). There were also several solo guests just like myself – those wanting a fun adventure.
My first full day in paradise started out alone, as expected. After a few productive hours spent reading a book entitled “the Art of Sleeping Alone” and sunbathing, I soon found myself at the resort’s beach bar “Sharkie’s,” where a charming Australian bartender gladly refilled my frozen piña colada as many times as I desired. So much for that detox…
Within the hour, I’d somehow made two new best friends, both guys around my age who were also traveling alone. I’m not really sure whether they were captivated by my impressive drinking abilities or just wanted some female company, but my week in Turks wouldn’t have been nearly the same without those delightfully ridiculous individuals (you know who you are !). Our little group eventually comprised of new friends from all over North America, many of which I still keep in touch with today.
After one of the most dazzling sunset displays I’ve ever observed, one too many dirty martinis, and a somewhat blurry evening spent dancing and over-socializing at the resort’s scheduled pirate-themed beach party, I blissfully gave into the carefree Club Med lifestyle. Even despite the gnarly hangover and laughable sunburns, I awoke the following morning with a renewed thirst for life, eager and curious to see what fun would happen next.
In addition to unlimited drinks at any of the resort bars, the all-inclusive plan at Club Med Turkoise includes three meals daily at their cafeteria-style restaurant, ‘Grace Bay’.
With the exception of beer taps alongside the soft-serve ice cream machine and numerous bottles of wine free for the taking at every table, Grace Bay directly reminded me of the dining hall at my college in the most delightfully nostalgic way – after a while you start running into the same people in line for food, making jokes with the chefs, sitting with the same crew at the same table, ideally one offering the best view for people-watching…
Despite averaging only about four hours of sleep a night the whole week, I’ve never felt more refreshed and revived as I did following my extraordinary experience at Club Med Turkoise. I could easily expatiate for hours on the ceaseless thrilling, risqué adventures that week had in store for me, none of which would likely have been possible had I not been traveling solo.
Club Med Turkoise helped me completely distance myself from my stressful life back home without even immediately realizing it – when you’re in the thick of it, it’s hard to imagine what a blessing it is to not fall asleep dreaming of perpetual to-do lists, looming deadlines and all the other miscellaneous work-related nonsense that seeps into your thoughts, eventually consuming your life. For the first time in months, my mind felt free and lucid, as forgotten memories came flooding back and my soaring blood pressure gradually declined to a significantly healthier level.
I could talk endlessly about the incredible days at the beach, mostly spent sunbathing or swimming in the gloriously crystal clear, swimming pool-like water…
These leisure activities were far from boring – retrieving shells or coral tidbits with one’s toes while swimming proved to be a very entertaining pastime, as was tipsy sandcastle-building.
Every so often we’d encounter zany local fellows on the beach with names like Dondo or Morely, who’d stumble toward us through the sand and initially do their best to sell us a special deal on parasailing excursions or a banana boat ride. After inevitably declining the offer, however, their sales pitch quickly shifted towards promoting the Thursday-night ‘Fish Fry,’ a local favorite weekly occurrence and evidently THE premier social event on the island.
“Well you just gotta go to da Fish Fry,” Morely insisted. “You like reggae? You like hip hop? I think I’d like to see you dancin’ to some hip hop…”
The brash invitation inspired a series of hilariously crude inside jokes, mostly of questionable taste, primarily involving seashell-made shanks and other forms of inappropriate harassment.
Perhaps next time I visit Turks I’ll be brave enough to check out the weekly Providenciales Fish Fry, provided I have no fewer than two fierce male bodyguards for personal protection.
I could go on forever about the fabulous parties, impressive live shows, leisurely evenings spent sipping Miami Vice cocktails while watching the vibrant Caribbean sunset, and rebellious nighttime shenanigans reminiscent of some of my favorite college memories.
To sum it up, my time at Club Med Turkoise in Turks and Caicos Islands truly changed my life for the better. There’s nothing I would change about that experience. If you’re considering embarking on your own first solo-travel adventure, and say “yes!” to any of the following points below, Club Med Turkoise might just be the perfect destination for you, too…
Club Med Turkoise is the perfect first solo-travel destination if…
- You want to meet new people, want practice meeting new people, or simply love meeting new people
- During my time in Turks and Caicos, I feel incredibly fortunate to have met so many fascinating new people from all over North America and the world. I’ve kept in close touch with multiple friends from that trip, and have even met up with a few of them elsewhere since then!
- You’re interested in trying your hand at unique recreational activities
- I learned how to play bocce ball, participated in a grueling beachfront water aerobics class, and attempted Club Med’s trapeze twice… I most definitely won’t be joining a circus anytime soon, but at least I can say I tried it!
- I can’t say I’m a sailor or particularly even know how to sail, but I developed a very strong love for sailing.
- There’s almost nothing more relaxing than a full-body beachfront massage, accompanied by a soothing ocean breeze and the cathartic sound of gentle waves lapping the shore…
- The sand here is PRIME for excellent sandcastles.
- You’d love to explore the colorful undersea world below the crystal clear, azure blue Caribbean waters…
- Another major perk about Club Med is that many snorkeling and off-site excursions are included, so I didn’t pay any extra for snorkeling during my visit.
- Club Med Turkoise also offers scuba diving and more extensive snorkeling trips out to other islands that do cost a little extra. I didn’t opt into any of these this trip, but perhaps next time!
- You’re not afraid of a good party
- You can expect a vivacious themed party every single evening, which I’m fairly certain are planned well in advance – I spoke with one seasoned Club Med female guest who always calls ahead to get the party theme lineup for the week of her trip, just so she can pack accordingly… I’ll definitely consider this next time.
- As a female traveling alone, I obviously had to be smart and on my guard at all times, especially while drinking and partying. No matter how safe and trusting the environment, avoiding dangerous situations is ALWAYS a priority. Thankfully at Club Med, their friendly GO staff members seem to keep a look out for everyone, which is immensely reassuring. This may be a huge reason why I never experienced any uncomfortable situations during my stay there.
- You’re in desperate need of a thorough escape from everyday life
- With constant entertainment, unlimited cocktails, perfect uncrowded beaches and unparalleled island scenery, it’s impossible not to feel far, far away from the stresses back home while here.
So what are you waiting for? Whether you’re traveling alone, with friends or a significant other, take a break from reality and immerse yourself in the tropical splendor of Turks and Caicos Islands!