Providenciales, or Provo as it’s known locally, is the tourism capital of the Turks and Caicos. It’s home to a busy international airport, some fairly rampant development and its crowning glory, miles of beautiful white-sand beaches along its northern coast. Everything is modern and commercial because it's mostly new.
Happily lacking the modern development that has enveloped Provo, Grand Turk is a step back in time. At just 6½ miles long, this dot amid the sea is a sparsely populated, brush-covered paradise. Cockburn Town, the main settlement, has narrow streets frequented by wild donkeys Beaches rim the land and calm blue water invites you in for a refreshing swim.
You’d be hard pressed to guess that sleepy Cockburn is the capital city of the Turks and Caicos. What it lacks in polish and sophistication it more than makes up for in rustic charm. Note that like Sybil, the town undergoes a personality transformation when thousands of cruise ship passengers descend.
If you can’t quite envision what the Turks would have been like in the 19th century, take a trip to Salt Cay. Like stepping into a time machine, this picturesque island is the sort of hideaway that you search your whole life to discover. A few dusty roads interconnect the handful of structures, and donkeys wander aimlessly through the streets intermixed with friendly locals.