Travel: Have your own lunch in the Turks and Caicos Islands

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That’s what Turks and Caicos are all about: iconic island food eaten on an extraordinary day on a deserted beach, the sun warming our skin and the Caribbean lapping at our feet.

Captain Calson ‘Rice’ Williams jokes that he will have to kill me if he tells me what the secret ingredient is.

And then, at my request and at the risk of death, he reveals that it’s Sprite.

Yes, a few generous lashes of the soft drink are what makes Captain’s Conch Ceviche Salad legendary on the Turks and Caicos Islands.

My wife, Kerry, and I and 18 other tourists are on the Seaside Scavenger Hunt tour of Island Routes from the luxury family-friendly Beaches Resort Turks and Caicos.

The experience is presented as an exhilarating boat ride and snorkeling for your own lunch in the shallow translucent turquoise waters off Shell Island.

The conch is the large, beautiful, curved pink shell that contains what is essentially a giant snail inside.

Think of snails, the Caribbean.

While the conch simply sits on the ocean floor and is easy to pick, it is usually camouflaged by sand, algae, and coral.

Therefore, our group of 20 snagged only five conches during a half hour of snorkeling.

Kerry and I are delighted to have each found one and to contribute to the primitive hunt and gather lunch.

The captain declares five conches sufficient to feed us all and proceeds to extract and clean the firm flesh of the shells.

He then chops it up to add to a concoction of diced onions, red and green bell peppers, salt, pepper, hot sauce, lime juice, and the aforementioned special ingredient in Sprite.

The lime and Sprite efficiently cook the conch without heat so that we can devour the resulting delicious ceviche salad like an exotic salsa with tortilla chips.

Such delicacy is best paired with an I-Soon Reach frosted light beer from Turk’s Head Brewery, caught from the bottom of the cooler.

We enjoy this feast standing in crystal-clear, ankle-high water at Shell Island.

At this point, it clicks.

That’s what Turks and Caicos are all about: iconic island food eaten on an extraordinary day on a deserted beach, the sun warming our skin and the Caribbean lapping at our feet.

We would have similar revelations every day of our week-long vacation to Beaches Resort Turks and Caicos, which celebrates the return of travel with the #BackToHappy campaign.

Beaches is the all-inclusive, family-friendly brand of Sandals, the lavish Caribbean chain of adults-only all-inclusive resorts.

Both names are synonymous with taking all-inclusive luxury to new heights.

As such, we are accommodated in an ocean view suite on the fifth floor of the Italian village next to the huge palm-tree main pool, with a swim-up bar and heaps of tables in the water. .

There are 700 other suites at Beaches Turks and Caicos, spread across four low-slung themed villages – Italian, French, Key West, and Caribbean.

The resort never seems crowded as guests find their own special spots in seven sparkling pools or on Grace Bay Beach, the 20-mile stretch of white sand that’s consistently rated one of the world’s best beaches.

Kerry and I happily divide our days between the sugar-soft beach just across the road from the Italian village and the Bayside Pool by the dunes, which is handy for the bar of the same name for glasses of champagne, frozen mojitos and water. water as needed.

The beaches also have 17 restaurants, so again, it’s never too crowded at snack and meal times.

They range from food trucks (Mr. Mac and and Jerk Shack), pizzerias (Bella Napoli and Dino’s) and a shoe-less restaurant (Barefoot) right on the sand to a chic rooftop restaurant (Sky), fine French cuisine. at Le Petit Chateau and fine seafood at Neptune’s, Schooners and Sapadillas.

If you are going to…

To enter the Turks and Caicos Islands, Canadians must have proof of double vaccination, a negative COVID test within 72 hours of boarding the plane, and complete a travel authorization form.

Beaches offers free replacement health and vacation insurance in case your vacation is affected by COVID-related travel disruptions and PCR testing to get Canadians home.

Air Canada flies daily from Toronto and Montreal to Providenciales Airport in the Turks and Caicos.


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