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Home > Destinations > Turks & Caicos Islands > Trip Reports > Trip Report

Turks & Caicos Islands - Trip Reports

Club Med, Provo

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 anyway.

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 beach.

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 mid-twenties.

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 property.


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 ...
July 1999

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