After canceling four international trips this year (Cartagena, Columbia, over Memorial Day; Normandy, France, over July 4; the South of France over Labor Day; and Mayakoba, Mexico, over Veterans Day [the last being the only one of these trips fruitlessly planned after the pandemic began]), we finally escaped over Christmas. After evaluating multiple options (which already were limited by the dozens of countries that refused to accept dirty Americans), we targeted the Turks and Caicos. This selection was made based on three factors:
- Direct flight from Dulles, which limited our exposure
- Turks and Caicos’ requirement that all visitors submit negative test results for the ‘VID, taken within 5 days of arrival, in order to even board a plane there
- As a Caribbean island, our time spent there would be almost entirely outside, further limiting our risk
With this plan in mind, we booked cancelable flights to Turks and Caicos in mid-November, immediately after cancelling our Veterans Day trip, but waited until the last minute to actually book a hotel. We were still concerned that additional shutdowns could occur at the end of December, exposure risks could increase unacceptably, or that we’d test positive.
Although the December surge as a result of Thanksgiving gatherings was a significant concern, we did receive our negative COVID PCR tests on Friday, December 18. After some final, thoughtful consideration of risks versus reward, we pulled the trigger Friday evening on lodging, and flew out Sunday morning, December 20.
The reward definitely merited the risk:
Sunset on Grace Bay our first evening on Providenciales, Turks and Caicos:
No Caribbean trip is complete without a little bit of snorkeling. On Wednesday, we hit Coral Garden, featuring a cool green sea turtle and puffer fish:
Providenciales is a sandy scrub island, versus the mountainous peaks of St. Lucia, for example. But we found a high point one evening at the Magnolia Wine Bar, with an entirely different sunset backdrop to the beach views we had been enjoying.
The extreme eastern tip of the 5-mile long Grace Bay beach:
Heading back west, toward home:
These treats were scarfed up later in the evening with absolutely no regard to Santa’s interests:
The tradition of the traveling Christmas stockings continues! These babies have been everywhere, including Christmas in Laos last year.
And more snorkeling on Christmas day – this time farther west, at Smith’s Reef.
Christmas night at Infiniti – definitely the best meal we experienced the entire week.
A little beach buddy patiently waiting by our table for a treat that never came 😦
The unbelievably turquoise waters of Chalk Sound on the south side of the island.
Aaaand, the 2020 version of the same selfie (featuring Sandy’s masks):
Night falls on the beach bar and pool at our place:
We were fortunate to finally get away, and look forward to resuming travels this spring with the advent of the vaccines!