The Bahamas has Exumas, while Turks and Caicos has Grace Bay beach. Both are popular and world-renowned beaches, which begs the question…
What’s the difference then?
For starters, some say the beaches in the Bahamas can’t compare to Grace Bay beach. But then that also makes you wonder. How does one beach outrank several of the jaw-dropping beaches in the Bahamas?
Well, it’s safe to say that everyone’s version of paradise is subjective. And at the end of the day, choosing between Turks and Caicos and the Bahamas isn’t simply a contest of which has better beaches.
It’s things like…
Which destination offers better price flexibility? What about lodging options? Food? Is it family-friendly? And what else can you do apart from spending a day soaking sun and sand?
There’s a huge difference between the two. And this guide is here to help you decide which is truly a better destination that fits your needs.
Turks and Caicos
Turks and Caicos easily ranks as one of the top luxury beach-driven Caribbean destinations. But unlike most that offer a lively nightlife scene, Turks and Caicos is mellower and quieter.
The island is the complete opposite of busy beach life or a packed tourism destination. In other words, many who choose to visit Turks and Caicos don’t solely visit for its beaches. Rather, they come to Turks and Caicos looking for a peaceful retreat or to get away from it all.
The main island in Turks and Caicos is Providenciales. It’s home to one of the world’s best beaches, Grace Bay beach, and where you’ll find the loveliest sandy shores. Luxury resorts and world-class restaurants are also found in Providenciales.
Despite being a popular docking destination for cruise ships, Turks and Caicos isn’t the kind that gets crowded. So, if you’re looking for a romantic Caribbean destination or a quiet honeymoon getaway, Turks and Caicos is perfect.
What else is there to do around the island, you might ask?
Turks and Caicos checks almost every box from beaches to luxury resorts and private island retreats. And when it comes to activities around the island, there are a few. Princess Alexandra Marine Park offers rich aquatic life sightseeing. Some of which include turtles, sting rays, and tropical fish.
Coral Gardens is one of the best snorkeling spots to catch reef sharks and sea turtle encounters. Smith’s Reef in Turtle Cove is also another great site to go snorkeling. And Salt Cay – one of the largest reef systems and best diving spots in the world.
Being the underwater wonderland it is, Turks and Caicos has a lot more to offer than just beaches and diving. The next sections should give you a pretty good idea.
What Makes Turks and Caicos Unique?
Best Secluded Getaway for Peace and Quiet
While Turks and Caicos is popular for its famed 12-mile (19.3 km) Grace Bay beach, it’s certainly not the only main attraction. Those seeking seclusion and off the beaten paths will easily find it in the islets and cays surrounding Turks and Caicos. These include the following:
- Salt Cay
- North Caicos
- South Caicos
- Middle Caicos
Think of each of these islands as the lesser populated outer islands of Turks and Caicos. Each island has something unique to offer and is nonetheless beautiful.
Both North and Middle Caicos offer miles of secluded beaches, perfect for a family to spend a quiet picnic. Similarly, couples can choose to spend the entire day walking along the gorgeous beaches at North and Middle Caicos. Even better, you can go on a romantic sailing adventure or simply watch the sunset in seclusion and privacy.
Apart from beaches, Middle and North Caicos also offer several attractions in the area. These include…
- Mudjin Harbour
- Conch Bar Caves
- Wade’s Green Plantation
South Caicos is just as stunning. Beaches with the bluest of blue waters and the finest coasts make this islet a jaw-dropping visit. East Bay, Cove Beach, and Long Beach are the best beaches in the area. Also found in South Caicos are several hiking trails and larger beaches, like Highlands Bay and Valley Bay Beach.
Last but not least, Salt Cay is yet another paradise full of beaches, picturesque landscapes, and rich history. The best beach in Salt Cay is North Bay. The natural beauty at this beach is awe-inspiring. A haven for those who love beaches and nature.
In total, there are 10 beaches around the Salt Cay area, including a hiking trail and a number of snorkeling & diving sites. For those looking for a light historical excursion, you can visit the Salinas in Salt Cay as well.
Among all the outer islands in Turks and Caicos, you can’t go wrong with either one. After all, why limit yourself to Providenciales, right? You have access to several beatific islands just minutes away from the main island.
Great Weather Year-Round
Sunny skies and clear weather greet any visitor who visits Turks and Caicos. Winters can be painful and unforgiving, after all. And if it’s tropical weather you’re craving, Turks and Caicos will surely have pleasant weather to keep you warm and comfortable year-round.
On average, temperatures sit between 80°F to 90°F (27°C to 32°C) the whole year. Winter in Turks and Caicos is cooler and breezier too. Worried about rain? There’s barely any.
To give you more insight, May to October in Turks and Caicos are the warmer months. November and April are the cooler months. And no matter the weather, you’re still bound to have an enjoyable trip, overall. Rain or shine, it’s one of the most attractive qualities of visiting Turks and Caicos.
Beaches You Can’t Get Enough of
You’ve already heard about Grace Bay beach. And for many, it seems to be the ultimate dealbreaker for visiting Turks and Caicos. But the reality is, it’s not the only drop-dead gorgeous beach on the island. There are several beaches with just as alluring and hypnotic coastlines.
Just east of Grace Bay beach is Leeward beach. If you thought sand couldn’t get any softer and water any bluer, that’s what you’ll find at Leeward beach. There aren’t a lot of resorts in the area either, so the atmosphere is just right for anyone in need of a secluded escape.
Long Bay Beach
Up for a horseback riding adventure on the water?
It’s a unique experience only available at Long Bay beach. Because the waters here are so shallow, it’s become a top coast for children to safely swim in and for horseback riding adventures. Not to mention, the trade winds offer prime conditions for kiteboarding.
Half Moon Bay
Part beach and part sandbar lagoon. Now, that’s paradise. Think of Half Moon Bay as a moderately sized oasis that sits between two larger beaches. Guests can kayak around the area, or for larger groups, rent a yacht charter.
Beautiful doesn’t even begin to describe Half Moon Bay. Nature lovers will also love it here, by the way. Aside from its captivating blue waters, there’s some wildlife to be seen too. The unique Rock Iguana is typically found in the surrounding dunes, and small lemon sharks are seen enjoying their time at the lagoon.
The best way to explore and enjoy Half Moon Bay is by doing a boat cruise.
Sapodilla Bay Beach
Small, calm, and alluring. Having one of the calmest waters in Turks and Caicos, Sapodilla Bay Beach is an inviting coast for families, couples, and solo travelers. In fact, some of the best vacation rentals are located nearby.
And if you’re up for a little adventure, you can go exploring around the Chalk Sound region – only a few miles from the beach. Minutes away from Sapodilla Bay beach is also a historical site, known as Sapodilla Hill. There, you’ll find picturesque views of the ocean.
Overall, Sapodilla Bay beach is an ideal spot for those who want utmost privacy.
Mudjin Harbour is a popular attraction in Turks and Caicos. But not only because of its beautiful coastline. The landscape at Mudjin Harbour offers plenty of sightseeing adventures for visitors, such as:
- Dragon Cay
- Limestone cliffs
- Bambarra beach
- Conch Bar Caves
Plus, Mudjin Harbour is a prime spot for surfers looking to break good waves. You can easily explore all that Mudjin Harbour has to offer in a day. A guided tour is one of the best options, but guests are also free to rent a car and explore the island at their own pace.
Located on the island of Grand Turk, Governor’s Beach stands out for having one of the clearest waters in Turks and Caicos. The waters here are so clear that if you stare long enough, you’ll notice it gives off a sparkling hue.
Governor’s beach also happens to be one of the more popular docks for cruise ships. And when they do, expect this place to be a little busier than normal. Additionally, you’ll find several vendors in the area selling souvenirs and cold drinks.
But apart from that, Governor’s beach is mostly quiet, secluded, and full of unspoiled nature.
North Bay Beach
Not to be missed, North Bay beach is somewhat of a secret spot. Located in Salt Cay, this beach is known for its unique peach-colored sand and is undoubtedly one of the island’s many hidden gems.
Only a few ever visit North Bay beach. This makes it perfect if you’re looking for a spot that offers total seclusion. Guests also have the option to stay overnight around the area or take a day trip from Providenciales. Either way, it feels like you have the entire coast to yourself whenever you visit North Bay beach.
There are also small reefs in the area if you want to go snorkeling and light wave breaks ideal for stand-up paddle surfing activities.
Breathtaking Oceanfront Accommodations
There’s nothing quite better than waking up to the sight of turquoise blue waters and white sand. For honeymooners, families, and even a trip with friends, beachfront views are the real deal.
Sun, sand, and glistening views of the ocean. Choosing a resort in Turks and Caicos hardly seems difficult. If you’re visiting purely to relax, take your pick. There’s Alexandra Resort located just right in front of Grace Bay beach.
Ocean Club also shares the same appealing offer, only that it’s quieter and more secluded around the area. So, if it’s absolute privacy and seclusion you’re after, Ocean Club takes the win.
Then there’s Grace Bay Club – a resort that came to be even before Grace Bay beach became such a popular world attraction. That said, guests choosing to stay at Grace Bay Club prioritize luxury overall in a trip and don’t mind the extra splurge.
Travelers looking for a mix of beachfront views, water sports activities, and decent nightlife will find it at Club Med Turkoise. Point Grace resort is the exact opposite: peaceful, tranquil, and quiet. In fact, the resort has become a popular destination wedding option.
Finally, there’s Blue Haven Resort and Marina. It’s one of the pricier resorts in Turks and Caicos but screams luxury all-around. From the service down to the amenities. Not to mention, it’s one of the only resorts that boasts a private beach.
If you prefer an even more private and exclusive stay, you can book any of the private island retreats in Turks and Caicos. The best ones are Pine Cay, Ambergris Cay, and Parrot Cay. As you can expect, not only do these private islands offer remarkable amenities but unparalleled service as well.
All in all, oceanfront accommodations make your stay at Turks and Caicos an unforgettable one. And believe it or not, there are several resorts that won’t break your wallet. Ocean Club and Club Med Trukoise are two affordable resorts with beachfront views. Other great options include Villa del Mar, Sibonne Beach Hotel, Grace Bay Suites, Banyan Inn, and Northwest Point Resort.
Comprising more than 700 islands, there are plenty enough reasons to visit the Bahamas.
This gorgeous, sunny destination offers more than your average island-hopping adventure. Each island offers a unique experience. From pink-sand beaches to diving in the world’s 2nd deepest blue hole and swimming with adorable pigs.
Not to mention, there’s warm, comfortable weather in the Bahamas year-round. Plus, several amazing dive sites, walking trails, and national parks.
The Bahamas is indeed one of the best beach destinations in the Caribbean. But there’s also more to it than gorgeous waters and soft sand. Here are several reasons why you should visit the Bahamas:
What Makes the Bahamas Unique?
Diverse Aquatic Adventures
The Bahamas boasts of having one of the clearest waters in the world, so it’s no surprise that snorkeling and diving are popular activities. In fact, the waters in the Bahamas are so clear that they’re even just as beautiful in space.
And when it comes to aquatic adventures, you have several options. For starters, you can swim with wild bottlenose dolphins at Bimini island. For something more heart-racing, you can go shark diving on several islands in the Bahamas. There, you’ll spot hammerhead sharks, blacktips, reef sharks, and even tiger sharks.
Ever heard of swimming pigs? The Bahamas has an island where there are dozens of friendly pigs. You can swim alongside and even take a selfie with these pink-nosed cute mammals. Then there’s Andros Barrier Reef – the 3rd largest barrier reef in the world. A haven for divers and snorkelers, Andros Barrier Reef is a spectacle and one of the best aquatic activities you can do in the Bahamas.
Did you know? The Bahamas also has several fishing spots where you can catch sailfish, tuna, grouper, wahoo, and tarpon. And if that’s not enough, you can visit the world’s 2nd deepest blue hole – Dean’s Blue Hole. Its depth reaches 202 meters (662.8 feet).
Lastly, you can explore several of the underwater cave systems in the Bahamas. Underwater cave diving in the Bahamas truly feels like you’re touring a sunken ancient world. That’s how amazing the experience is.
Overall, the Bahamas is nearly unrivaled when it comes to underwater adventure in the Caribbean. When it comes to diving and snorkeling, it’s also home to some of the best in the world. Not to mention, you get a truly unique experience being able to swim in one of the clearest waters in the world alongside swimming pigs.
Thought that only happened in the movies? Well, the Bahamas has a few spots that will change your perspective. It’s no wonder the Bahamas is also widely regarded as a paradise for snorkelers and scuba divers.
The Bahamas Has More Than 2,000 Beaches
There’s bound to be a beach that suits your vacation preferences in the Bahamas. Some are private and secluded. Others offer the clearest waters you’ll ever see on this Earth. And some are as gorgeous as what you’d find on a design poster.
The Bahamas has no shortage of stunning beaches, unspoiled nature, and natural beauty. Cable beach and Cabbage beach are by far two of the most popular and beautiful beaches known to many. But if you prefer a secluded experience, visit any of the beaches in Eleuthera.
Exumas is where you’ll find the swimming pigs, but also the clearest waters in the world. Long Island and Harbour Island are famous for their pink-sand beaches. You can’t miss the Love Beaches at Long Island. Great Cuana Cay in Abaco Island offers divine, pristine waters, a tranquil vibe, and wide stretches of soft sand.
If it’s an off-the-grid beach experience you want, head to Andros Island. There, Kamalame Cay beach offers raw natural beauty. For a mix of adventure and beach relaxation, Gold Rock beach is one of the most gorgeous beaches you’ll ever get to swim in. The adventure part is getting to Gold Rock itself. It’s accessible via a mangrove trail but is nonetheless worth it.
Known for being the longest beach in Exumas, the Tropic of Cancer is spectacular. And the best part? You won’t find a lot of crowds here. French Leave beach is as romantic as it is pretty. Known for its gentle waves, it’s one of the best beaches to stroll on.
Then there’s Tahiti beach. During high tide, it’s disguised as a body of water. But when the waves break away, it’s actually a small sand bar that offers peaceful and calm waters. It’s perfect for kids to swim in too.
This list could go on forever. With over 2,000 beaches you’re spoiled for relaxation in the Bahamas.
Several Nightlife Options
As nightfall sets in, bars, clubs, and pubs open their doors for anyone looking for a lively nightlife experience. After all, the Bahamas isn’t just fun during the day. What makes the Bahamas worth visiting is that it caters to a wide range of travelers. And if you’re looking to have a good time with friends, count the Bahamas as one of your best options.
The nightlife in the Bahamas begins at sunset and ends at sunrise. Nightclubs keep their DJs spinning into the wee hours of the morning. But it’s not just EDM music you’re limited to. There are elegant cocktail and live music bars, craft brewpubs, and beachfront bars all ready to entertain any guest who walks in.
Paradise Island is a great option if you prefer an area where clubs and bars are all within close reach. For the best beachfront bars, Big John’s Bar and Grill is popular for its beers and live music. Plus, delicious finger foods. Grabbers Bed also offers the beachfront bar experience along with its signature drink: Guana Grabber.
If it’s late-night party vibes you’re after, head to Xscape Lounge & Nightclub for a truly awesome time. Club Waterloo is also just as great and only recently opened in 2019. If you’re feeling lucky, there’s no better place to go gambling than in Atlantis Casino.
With such a lively and colorful nightlife in the Bahamas, you shouldn’t have any problem if you’re looking for a good time. Whether it’s drinking till dawn with friends at an epic club, relaxing at a beachfront bar, or simply enjoying a casual night out.
Wide Range of Accommodations to Suit Any Traveler
After a luxurious, world-class resort? Prefer the all-inclusive package? Or does a beach cottage sound just about right? No matter what accommodation you’re looking for, the Bahamas surely has it. Be it an extravagant stay or a bang-for-buck all-inclusive.
Fowl Cay Resort, Hotel Riu Palace Paradise, Sandals Emerald Bay. These are just a few of the countless lodging options available in the Bahamas. In Nassau, there’s no shortage of options.
That aside, you have hundreds more to choose from among the several islands around the Bahamas. Whether it’s in Harbour Island, George Town, Abaco Island, Eleuthera Island, Acklins & Crooked Island, etc…
Regardless of which you choose, you’re guaranteed to have a pleasant stay.
What Is Better – the Bahamas or Turks and Caicos?
Compared to the Bahamas, Turks and Caicos is more low-key, or rather a laid-back, peaceful island. #nopartyvibes. It’s truly a better destination for those looking for a mellower retreat and peaceful getaway.
The Bahamas, in contrast, offers more adventure. And a lot more beach options. Nightlife and island-hopping are also excellent reasons to spend a vacation there.
If you’re thinking about which has better beaches, there’s truly no clear winner here. Grace Bay beach is jaw-droppingly gorgeous, along with its many other beaches. The Bahamas stands on equal footing. Cable beach and Cabbage beach are also just as stunning.
When it comes to spending a vacation with family, both are excellent destinations. However, it also depends on what you have planned. The Bahamas offers a host of activities to do be it land or water compared to Turks and Caicos. Not to mention there’s great nightlife for adults to enjoy as well.
Turks and Caicos offers mostly underwater adventure and water sports activities. But tours and excursions aren’t as plenty as what you’d find in the Bahamas. Also, there is little nightlife in Turks and Caicos. But it’s not exactly a club-pumping experience. It’s more of live music and chill vibes.
If your main hobbies include snorkeling and scuba diving, the Bahamas and Turks and Caicos offer fantastic dive & snorkel spots. Although you have more options in the Bahamas, Turks and Caicos is a better snorkeling destination. As for food, you can’t go wrong with either. Seafood is excellent at both destinations.
Overall, it’s a question of whether you prefer a laid-back, peaceful vacation. Or island-hopping adventure with a lively nightlife scene.
Turks and Caicos is better if you’re after gorgeous beaches and a secluded getaway to relax and unwind. The Bahamas favors island-hoppers and anyone looking for a mix of beach relaxation, enough land adventure, and great nightlife.
What Is More Expensive – the Bahamas or Turks and Caicos?
Turks and Caicos is slightly more expensive than the Bahamas. Make no mistake though, the Bahamas is quite expensive too. Among all Caribbean islands, both Turks and Caicos and the Bahamas are expensive destinations.
That said, the Bahamas is more price-friendly because of its wide range of accommodations. This means there’s more room for price flexibility, overall. That said, some islands are just as expensive to stay in as Turks and Caicos.
For instance, booking a night at Exumas island costs more or less the same as the resorts in Turks and Caicos. Statistics at the site “Mylifelsewhere” also report that Turks and Caicos is about 3% more expensive than the Bahamas.
However, it’s also worth noting that the Bahamas is one of the most expensive countries to live in. Either way, both are Caribbean destinations with prices higher than normal. Granted, the Bahamas has more price flexibility towards lodging options.
But if you’re taking into account dining out, tours, alcohol, and even groceries, the price difference isn’t substantial.
Is Turks and Caicos in the Bahamas?
Turks and Caicos is located southeast of the Bahamas and is not part of the country. Although both destinations are located close to each other, Turks and Caicos is a separate set of islands.
Why Are the Turks and Caicos Not Part of the Bahamas?
Turks and Caicos was originally part of the Bahamas. Or rather, it was under the jurisdiction of the Bahamian colonial government back in the 1800s. Today, this is not the case. Turks and Caicos no longer belongs to the Bahamas and is an overseas territory of the United Kingdom.
Geographically, Turks and Caicos is part of the Bahamas, but politically, it’s a separate entity.
When Did the Turks and Caicos Separate From the Bahamas?
Turks and Caicos became separate from the Bahamas in 1848. This happened 14 years after slavery was abolished in 1834. Despite becoming separate from the Bahamas in 1848, the islands of Turks and Caicos remained under the Jamaican colony.
It wasn’t until 1973 that Turks and Caicos officially gained their independence. Ever since then, they have remained an autonomous British Overseas Territory.