> Destinations > Turks & Caicos Islands > Trip Reports > Trip Report
July 16 - 23, 1999, I spent at Club Med Turkoise (Turks & Caicos).
I traveled to this resort by myself. I am a female, age 30. I booked a
single room but you can share a room to lower the price.
My flight to Turks & Caicos was a direct charter from JFK scheduled for 7
a.m. takeoff. We had to check in at the airport at 5 a.m. I was one of
the first people there so I got to pick an aisle seat.
Hovering over Turks & Caicos (the actual island the Club Med is on is
Providenciales) in a plane you see a big green lump with a white sand
perimeter surrounded by water. In other words, there's no roads
(infrastructure) or buildings. The Provo airport is so small it looks like
a strip mall. Flight time - a little under 4 hours with no stops.
From the airport to Club Med Turkoise is about 15 minutes. We were picked
up and driven in mini-vans for 7-10 people. I sat next to the driver in
the front seat. I had a lovely view of what it looks like to drive on the
left side of the road. After debarking at Club Med, everyone is given a
cocktail. Since I booked my vacation so close to the departure date, the
single supplement was only an extra $15/night, and I was given a double
room all to myself. After seeing and hearing about the rooms of others, I
got a very nice room at that.
Club Med is not famous for its accommodations. Therefore, people are lead
to their rooms by a very peppy G.O. (gentle organizer) who exclaims "Isn't
this gorgeous?!?!?" upon opening the door. My room didn't particularly
blow me away, though it was nicer than expected. There were guests who
were appalled by the rooms and complained a lot. The bathroom was very
moldy. The closet safes are a nice touch once you figure out how it works.
Since I've been to Turkoise it has been renovated.
After this I attended to administrative stuff, such as beach towels and
bar books (not thrilled about this infamous Club Med system of purchasing
tickets which you use to get drinks), as well as looking over the
excursion brochures. I signed up for 3 excursions but all but 1 was
cancelled last minute. I had no trouble getting refunds, but I still
would've rather gone on them.
Then came lunch. Ooh la la bon appetit! I had heard wonderful things about
meals at Club Med, but nothing prepared me for the bounty that awaited us
each meal. During the week I ate lots of seafood. Among the best goodies I
had were: cinnamon rolls, banana smoothies (2 a day make for a healthy
girl), double chocolate chip cookies, beef stroganoff, sweet & sour
grilled fish, peel and eat shrimp that was probably swimming an hour
before I ate it, innumerable pastries. Lackluster food: the Club Med
attempt at Chinese food.
After lunch was an orientation that didn't tell me anything I couldn't
have figured out. By the end of it I was seeing double from fatigue so I
napped 2 hours (during which it apparently rained) then studied the
copious daily activities lists which include sailing lessons 2x daily;
ditto for water-skiing, windsurfing, snorkeling and scuba. All of these
are taught at all levels. The only land sport I participate in is beach
volleyball. There are scheduled games of it each day at 5 p.m. Other land
sports are soccer, tennis, basketball aerobics.
I don't remember much about dinner the first night or about the first
night's entertainment. What stands out for me are the fact that I tore it
up at the disco and then played beach volley ball under the stars until
2:30 a.m. I liked the variety of dance music at the disco and it was
hopping every night.
The next morning upon waking I flung open my shutters and started
laughing. I had a beautiful lawn view and could see Grace Bay just beyond.
The first 2 or 3 days I didn't do any excursions or participate in
scheduled activities or party much. The basic day was meals interspersed
with the beach and a late afternoon nap. There were spurts of rain, very
unusual for Turks & Caicos Islands, but always around when I napped so it
didn't interfere. It was so hot there the sand was dry in 10 minutes
Club Med seats 8-10 people per table for meals. This is an ideal way to
meet people, although by the end of the week I was getting a little tired
of saying my name and what I did for a living every time I sat down to
eat. There is one main restaurant, with limited outdoor seating by the
pool. There was an annex restaurant that I did not try. How good was the
food? On the night they did all the staff introductions, the chefs got a
standing ovation that just didn't end.
The main restaurant is divided into a "family" room and a "singles" room.
This was really a "quiet" room and "loud" room. The "loud" room had a lot
of drinking games during dinner and sometimes became too rambunctious,
even for me. Note: you must be 18 or over to attend this club, so the
families were parents vacationing with their adult children.
The Chef de Village (dude in charge), Momo, rode around on his bike
greeting guests and telling him he loved them. He is extremely funny and
vivacious and obviously well-liked by staff and guests.
There were umbrellas on the beach but they were a tough commodity to get.
With sunblock 30, a hat, and under the umbrella, I still managed to get a
great tan. A cap is absolutely mandatory in that powerful sun and I
couldn't be on the beach without being under an umbrella.
The water is exactly as you expect the Caribbean to be - warm, clear, pale
blue, clean. Pictures in the Club Med brochure don't do justice to the
One of the best evening performances was a dance performance that 2nd or
3rd night. The other great one was the G.O. trapeze artists a few days
later, and the tennis comedy was amusing, too. (What is a tennis comedy,
you ask? It was basically a play on the tennis court making fun of
different kinds of vacationers, i.e., honeymooners, or nationalities on
vacation, i.e., Canadians, New Yorkers, Italians, etc.)
The theme parties got better as the week went on. My faves were the reggae
beach party, and the Heaven & Hell party was the most out of hand for me,
and generated the worst hangover. Monday night's foam party (la mousse),
an attempt at a millenium party, was so-so. It ooked me out to be in that
pen and the foam made my skin itch.
After the Foam Party there was a hilarious poolside game involving a lot
of boy/girl gymnastics. As a "singles" club, Turkoise is very social.
There are always games and activities going on around the pool, 24-7. The
makeup of the club was 70% Americans from east and west coasts, but not
much in between. The other 30% were visitors from European countries. I
met guests from Austria, Russia, France and Italy. The age range at this
club ran from 18-60, with the majority of people being 25-35. The male to
female ratio was 1:1. I would say the median age of the G.O.'s was
I was very impressed with how multi-talented the Club Med G.O. staff is,
from sports specialties, to acting, to dance. My fave was an entertainment
G.O. (from France, I think). He was an actor, mime and clown (sans makeup
but with gestures). I've seen him as a frazzled ballboy, female ballerina,
contest M.C. (I wont the contest he M.C.'ed) and the best of all: on a
cloudy morning he brought a ladder onto the beach, climbed to the top, and
mimed painting the sky blue. I get a little weepy thinking about this.
A word about beverages. There is no such thing as a cold drink at
Turkoise. No matter how much ice you put in your soda, it will have melted
by the time you get to your chaise. Wine and beer were free with dinner.
All other times, alcoholic & nonalcoholic bevvies must be paid for at the
bar. There were a few exceptions: you could win drinks in contests and the
theme parties were usually accompanied by some kind of free shots. Before
arriving I'd heard drinks were outrageously expensive because cokes were
$1.75. Obviously these people have never been to Johnny Rockets. A coors
light ran $4.60. A little on the high side but I lived through it. Frozen
drinks were $5.50 - $6.50 depending on the size of the glass. You can
drink Turkoise tap water and there are water fountains all over the
On Day 3 I took an excursion (called "Beach Cruise") that made 3 stops.
Stop 1 - Little Water Cay. This is a tiny island inhabited only by bugs
and iguanas. The iguanas are oblivious to people. They hang out on the
beach, hundreds of them, simply staring off into space. You can walk right
up to them and snap a pic.
Stop 2 was over a reef. We all jumped in and went snorkeling. I hadn't
been snorkeling since my aborted attempt in the Mediterranean in 1984 when
the breathing tube gave me agita and the tour guide was bitten by a sea
urchin and required medical help. This turned out different. Well, the
first thing I saw was a school of barracuda, but I didn't know what they
were until later when I looked at a guidebook. The world beneath the sea
at Turkoise is unbelievable. Tons and tons of fish of every conceivable
size and color. It is silent except for the fish munching coral. A
distinctive chewing sound.
The 3rd stop was a random beach on a deserted cay where a lot of shells
had washed up (I collected some) and you could dive for sand dollars. This
is difficult to do. Sand dollars are white, they blend in with the sand
are therefore hard to see. I wore a mask for this, no snorkel. Sand
dollars are very fragile. If you get too excited about finding one and
grasp it too tightly, it breaks. I broke all mine. Lastly, sand dollars
are found in deeper water and propelling yourself to the bottom (espec. in
very salty water which makes you more buoyant), head first, is strenuous.
I went snorkeling 2 other times this week, both Club Med trips, so they
were free but you had to buddy up. On the first of these trips, to
Whitehouse Reef, I didn't hear the part about buddying up. I went alone
and stalked a Parrot Fish. This is an orange fish with green speckles and
blue lips, about the size of a filofax. I followed it as he went from rock
to rock eating stuff. Some of the coral was tagged with info to be read.
These are some pretty smart fish. I thought Whitehouse was the best
snorkel site of the three I visited. Most people didn't like Whitehouse
because it was cloudy out and it's a spot where there are supposed to be
sea turtles. We didn't see any. When 20 people jump off a boat the turtles
hide. Club Med makes you wear a flotation device. I don't really care
about this, but someone on the 3rd snorkel trip (can't remember site name)
found this so ire-raising that he took his off, refused to put it back on,
and we all had to get back on the boat. This site was so-so.
Monday night's foam party was supposed to be a millenium party. They
filled a large pen in the open-air auditorium with foam (mousse, en
francais) and people danced around in it. I said earlier this was so-so.
It was boring to me.
Tuesday night was a reggae beach party at Sharkey's (the beach bar on the
premises). Club Med Turkoise is touted to be a party haven. I thought only
Tues. and Wed. had decent nightlife. Either I was missing something or I'm
jaded. Sharkey's is an outdoor bar with a boardwalk dance floor. It's in a
wooded area of the beach. It's okay. I didn't like the bartender. The
reggae beach party, however, was great. Reggae music for that night was a
nice change of pace, plus it's so fitting for outdoor, seaside dancing. At
each night's party residents from Provo came to hang out and dance and
drink. The Club charges them a cover for this but for young people on
Provo it's the only thing to do at night on the island.
The night after this was the Heaven & Hell party which led to the worst
hangover of my vacation. I did 5 shots of something bright red, slapped
one of the G.O.'s repeatedly on the butt (at his request), and made ribald
comments to the co-chef-de-village so he frisked me. I was also swathed
in white lace veiling that I'd ripped off from the "heaven" decorations.
Add to that the fact that I was running up to people telling them I was "a
slice of heaven." I somehow sloshed my way back to my room.
The next afternoon I took a sailing lesson (once the ground itself stopped
moving) in a little catamaran. The instructor's English was mediocre and
sailing is one of those things your learn by doing. The instructor takes
2 people at a time out on the boat after a lesson on the sand, and you
split the time doing the actual sailing. He demonstrated for 15 minutes,
then the other woman sailed, then I sailed for a total of 45 minutes. I
learned that it's more fun to be the passenger than the sailor.
Gift shop: as far as I can tell there is no shopping to be done on Provo.
The Club Med offered a boutique of its own merchandise (clothes, caps,
t-shirts, accessories, bathing suits) and a duty free shop. The boutique
prices were reasonable and they had some good sales on beachwear.
There were long lines to check out the day before departure. I didn't get
a Club Med credit card so I only needed my towel deposit back. The morning
of our departure, airline reps come to the Club Med to collect the
luggage. This was very efficient. Very uneventful flight home.
Overall: This vacation was worth every penny. It was the first trip I'd
taken in 4 years and the glow from it lasted for weeks. It enticed me to
book another Club Med vacation a month later (see Columbus Isle report)
and gave me a positive perception of Club Med, in general. Turkoise is a
sports and beach lover's paradise. There is an active nightlife. Guests
and G.O.'s alike are extremely outgoing. I intend to return to this Club
Med in the future, and for 2 weeks. One week is NOT enough.
Thanks to Vivian for this trip report ...