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Turks & Caicos Travel Guide with Villa Renaissance

I know it’s exciting visiting somewhere for the first time you’ve been dying to go to.  That’s how I felt about Turks & Caicos 5 years ago, and we’ve been back 5 times since.  This time was nothing short of exciting, for a few reasons.  I did my first social media Instagram takeover with Villa Renaissance (where we stayed). We also got to bring my dad for his first time ever with us & one of our friends Nick traveled down too.  There’s nothing better than traveling with friends and family!  But here’s a secret I’ve learned from traveling so much.  Vacationing to a place you love for a second, third, fourth time and so on,  only gets better every single time.  We created this same pic above of the kids napping on our last trip to Turks-Roman really was asleep the first time! (You can read my first blog post I did on Turks & Caicos Here)  You can also see live videos from both our stays on my instagram, under my story highlights here.


(This pic is from island vibes tour/private beach: kids wearing Of One Sea Collection)

Here’s why it gets better for me:
1. The first time traveling somewhere new, I get exhausted from researching nonstop because the area is brand new to me. I want to know where to eat, what excursions to do, what are the happening places.  I specifically research on google now “Blog” and input city (for example turks) when looking for things online in a new city because I know most bloggers probably have similar taste to me.  (SN thank god for instagram/bloggers who did travel guides and document everything, It saves people like myself so much time planning a trip! ) The second time you visit the same place, you no longer have to research or plan ahead, you know where to go and what to see.  (Grace Bay Beach- Villa Renaissance!)
2. By the third time and so on, you now can hit up all your favorite spots + try new places without having anxiety you are missing something special.  You can try new accommodations, new restaurants, and discover even more areas you didn’t discover when researching. (We ventured out next door to Seven restaurant & it turned out to be our favorite meal on this trip!)
3. You know what to pack.  (SN: Bring water wings/floats for kids to Turks, no hotels or stores sell puddle jumpers!)
4. You probably know the best time to visit. (Turks- September for us has always been lucky weather)
5. If you’re lucky, you’ve made friends and can catch up (We love Johnny from TCI Flyboard!) Instagram here.

So if you read all that, you know this trip exceeded all our expectations :)!  Below is my ultimate travel guide to have the perfect family vacation in Turks & Caicos:

(Boardwalk Villa Renaissance, wearing Lspace & Vici dolls)

*Accommodations: Villa Renaissance
(Find them on Instagram here)- Go stalk all their beautiful pics like I do and get major vacay envy:)
This time around we wanted to try a new place.  I knew we wanted to stay on Grace Bay Beach still (one of the top beaches in the world) and we were traveling with the kids again (lainey’s 3rd trip, Romans 2nd).  We were mainly looking for our own Villa with home style necessities (kitchen/washer/dryer) that was at a more affordable price.  Some accommodations on Grace Bay can break the bank, and its very hard to find luxury stays with the kids in a normal price range.  Luckily we discovered Villa Renaissance and we are so glad we ending up booking a Villa with their resort.  I tend to do a ton of research before confirming anything, and you can see all the reviews on where we stayed here and here. And You can book our exact room here: (Villa 603!)


(Villa Renaissance view from ocean)


(Pool at Villa Renaissance, Suit is from Pearl Street Swim (Becca20 discount code)

Things we loved about Villa Renaissance:
-Since we went in the fall (hurricane season) we pretty much had the resort to ourselves. It felt like we had our own mansion on the island.
-Pool & Whirl Pool are in the center of the hotel, so you can sit on your balcony and overlook the pool if you’re on the second level. (I enjoyed doing this when Roman would nap, but lainey was still swimming with my dad or yeirdon)
-Bar/Food you can order for on site (We ordered a pizza from across the street and ate it at the pool one day, so good!)
-Tennis/workout center on site
-Shops/restaurants all within walking distance (most breakfast spots we went were right across the street)
-On Grace Bay Beach (voted top beach in the world)
-Sandcastle storage at the beach & several comfortable lounge chairs
Villa 603– one bedroom suite, with a pull out couch for the kids!  The king bed was very comfortable. (Specifically Villa 603 Owner Nicola was amazing, we were emailed an entire island itinerary/things to do before we arrived that was very helpful)


(Tennis Courts at VR: another bikini from Pearl Street Swim)

(View from our balcony at VR overlooking pool, outfit: Little trend setter)


(Sandcastle fun out front of the hotel, they provide everything)


(In front of VR, Wearing Saha Swimwear, sandals Cambiami)

(Sunsets outside of VR grace bay beach)
& One with my dad (he was designated babysitter)

We will be back VR!  Thanks for having us this season 🙂

*Excursions: (I mentioned these on this blog post)

(View from flyboarding, lainey wearing minnow swim)

TCI FlyboardThird time doing this! Gets easier every time.  We love Jonathan from TCI Fly-board.  He is very responsive when scheduling and is such a help when trying to figure out how to “stand up” on the Fly-board (its a jet-pack under your feet, tip: keep your legs straight!).   You can tell Jonathan takes pride in his company and is a genuine good person.  It takes a great instructor for a first timer when trying to fly-board (see pics), He gets on the jet-ski connected to you and instructs you the entire time.  He usually sets up in front of Blue Haven resort, so anyone watching can stand in the gazebo at the end with an excellent view to snap pics. My dad ( who is 62 years old) did this and got up a few times! Typically you “fly-board” for 15 minutes but can go longer if you want.  Book this excursion here. 


(Yeirdon)


(The kids loved watching everyone go, except me haha, roman was ready to nap by the time I went and over it, so all the videos of me he is screaming bloody murder, poor thing)


(My dad)

(Our friend Nick, his first time!)

Island Vibes TourWe always do the half morning tour.  They pick you up out front on the beach (if you’re staying on grace bay) at 9am and bring you back around 1pm!  The guys on that tour are so fun, I always see other boat tours jammed packed with people, and its never like that on island vibes!  They stop at the prettiest beach for an hour and let you explore, and then take you snorkeling &  wrap up the day by jumping off their diving board in the middle of the ocean.  This is all while serving endless rum punch :).  Book this excursion here.



(Roman, Yeirdon and myself all got sea sick on the tour 🙁  This has never happened before (we’ve done this excursion 4 times too) but the waves were a little choppy, so Ro got sick first all over me, prompting me to feel bad, then yeirdon seeing it all got sick too!  All while lainey remained calm.  That was the one glitch on this trip, but we quickly got over it once we got to the beaches)


(It started down pouring for 10 minutes when we arrived at the island so we all snuggled up under the boat and watched the rain storm, this was a cool experience, but a little chilly!)

(Diving board off top of boat)


(The best seat on the boat, you can ride up here the entire time if you want amazing views)

(All these images are from the private beach the tour takes you to, My dad did come in handy :))

-If you want to just stay at the resort, you can always go paddle-boarding or kayaking out front on grace bay beach.


(Breakfast view grace bay club, traveling clutch from justmadra)

*Restaurants:
For breakfast, we love eating at Grace Bay Club, especially with kids you can overlook the beach in the morning while they play in the sand.  We also walked to Shay Cafe & Lounge one morning, they had really good crepes!

-Every Thursday there is a local fish fry, you can grab local cuisine for half the price at restaurants and listen to live music bordering the pier/beach.  If you’re looking for a true island experience with locals, head here.

Somerset Beach BBQ- We did this one year when Lainey was just with us and she danced the night away while we ate 🙂  They set a buffet out right on the beach in front of the somerset resort and set all the tables are on the sand.  They have live music too, and its so beautiful to watch the sunset go down!  They only do this once a week (Tuesdays).

Seven-  We went here for the first time and were blown away by food and presentation.  I would sit outside if I came back, I just hate eating inside on tropical vacations when you could be anywhere in the world- I’d like to eat with a view.
(I got the pumpkin ravioli, it was so good we ordered another round)

– Still our annual favorites- Cocobistro, Coyaba, & Infiniti (see blog post here in detail)


(wearing Lspace, watch: Daniel Wellington- use code Becca15.
Bracelets: Victoria Emerson)

*Nightlife:
-This is a pretty calm island, I would only come here for a chill vacation with friends, family or honeymoon.  If you’re looking to rage on a bachelor/bachelorette this wouldnt be the place.  They have some casinos, but I’ve never been to a club here (I know there are some though).

   

*Plane/Travel Packing List: (All images from pictures above/feed)
My looks:
You can also shop my looks directly on the @liketoknowit app here.

Sunscreen/Kid essentials: We always use all Babybum products, they make an entire travel line too!

PJS:
-Kids always in Babybreez (Used code Beccaingle)
-Mommy & Me matching robes (Little trendsetter)

Swim Suits:
Pearl Street Swim (use code Becca20)
OfoneSea (matching family awakea collection)
-Little Minimalist Onsie suit (jelly fish print here)
Lspace (Skirt, Blue, and matching with lainey)
Little Rumi (lainey’s here)
Minnow Swim (Blue and Nantucket shade)

Kids outfits:
Shop Harbor– matching seamist color
-Little Rumi (Romans outfit here)

 

travel

Turks & Caicos

We have vacationed to Turks & Caicos for 3 years now at various months of the year and we fall more in love with the island each time!  This was our very first family trip out of the country with just the four of us (a three year old & one year old). There are pros and cons to each month.  The best weather seemed to be this last month in early April.  We first visited in September, which is a hit or miss for hurricane season but we lucked out and the island was very deserted at that time.  Another month we went was January and we ended up staying there an entire week because our flight was delayed back home due to a snow storm.  Unfortunately the weather was stormy our last few days in January and the wind + the ocean current was so strong we couldn’t even go on the beach. In April the weather stayed in the 80s daily, maybe rained for 15 minutes in the afternoon if that, and we did a simple Thursday-Monday trip.  I felt that time frame of 4 nights was perfect (especially with kids).  Traveling from the east coast, you can get a direct flight from Florida and be there by lunch time!

Below are all the reasons why we love Turks & our favorite spots:

1.  The beaches:
Grace Bay Beach was voted the #1 top beach in the world.  If that doesn’t make you want to visit there, I don’t know what will.  It is the clearest water I have seen, and there are barely any waves, which makes it the ideal family friendly spot!  The sand is white, not too hot, and easy for sandcastle building.


(Outfit Minnow Swim)

2.  Accommodations:
We always stay at the Grace Bay Club.  This is mainly due to the high level of service we got on our first visit and we have continued to receive outstanding service ever since.  When I travel with kids, and in general, I want to know the place we are going to is consistent and accommodating to all our needs.  Grace bay is 5 stars in our book.  We have stayed in all the properties at the resort.  There is an adults only pool there and we stayed in that area during our honeymoon.  We prefer the Villas now with kids because you have your own kitchen and laundry area.  (Best advice I ever got for traveling was to do all your laundry before you go back home!)
Highlights Grace Bay Club has to offer:
-Kids camp on site daily
-Hot tubs, swim up bar, and pools
-Free watersports
-Pools and beach chairs easily accessible, very private and quiet resort.
-On site Butlers that cater to your family, they can do all the grocery shopping for you before you even arrive.
-The best on site dining on the island, easy to eat with kids and live music on the beach.
-They provide roll-away cribs to the room.
-Sunsets unreal, large balconies


Hats- Southend Surfshop- Wrightsville, NC


(suits: lspace, bag saltsuit)


(outfit babybreez) * You can now use Code: BECCAINGLE for discount at checkout!

3.  Food
We stay close to “home” when eating on vacation, because once you find a good spot why mess it up by trying something else?  We did venture out one year about 20 minutes away from the property, and became disappointed it was not as good as the other restaurants we are repeat customers.  All the places we love, are within walking distance of our hotel- Grace bay club!  Also when traveling with kids, we try to keep everything as simple as possible.  Every morning we had the complimentary breakfast overlooking the ocean at the Grill.  Turks has some of the best lobster I’ve ever tasted (Note it is only in seasons August-April 1st).  Below are our favorite restaurants on the island that have never disappointed in service, food or atmosphere.
Coco Bistro– Hands down favorite atmosphere, you feel like you’re in the middle of a rainforest.  My favorite here is the dessert.  If you cant get into the restaurant, the airstream in the parking lot is open for dinner & has really good churros!

Coyaba– This is my husbands number one choice over coco bistro, and for me it could be a tie.  Coyaba hits the nail on the head with every food you try.  They bring samples throughout your meal for you to try as well, atmosphere is cozy half-inside half-outside with an Italian vibe.  The wine is the best I’ve ever tasted, but very expensive too!  I guess you get what you pay for, and here I’ll pay all night long.  We were able to meet the head chef, who was busy but took the time to meet some fans!  This is such a hidden gem.

Infiniti Restaurant & Raw Bar at Grace bay Club-  We love this place for several reasons and usually eat here multiple times during our stay.  For one, its super convenient, on the resort property.  You can dine several areas of the restaurant and have a completely different feel!  One option is to have an intimate dining experience by sitting by the beach (with kids this is great because they can play in the sand while you dine).  The view of the sunset is amazing.  Another option is to eat at the longest infiniti bar.  And a third option is to eat in the lounge area, where they serve full menu, by fire pits and listen to live music!  This place has my favorite surf and turf entrée.


(Cocobistro)

4. Plane travel/Packing list

*Recently I have become obsessed with packing cubes from amazon.  There are several options, but I use these here.  It really making packing with kids and organization a breeze.  I did various colors for each kid and myself so I could easily locate things.

*Also any beach travel trips, I keep their clothes pretty simple since most the time they are in bathing suits.  I go with neutral tees and sweats, and then load up on swim stuff.  I have found that if they are wearing the same thing, there are no arguments.  Brands we are loving currently and you see the kids in from our trip below:

Baby Breez PJS – discount code: BECCAINGLE at checkout!
Hanna Anderson striped PJS
Tribal Dreaming Necklaces
Minnow Swim matching Gingham
Children of the Tribe white rompers
Hautelook– most of their other swimsuits are from here!
H&M– for the basics

5.  Activites & Excursions

* Island Vibes Tours– We have done this every year we have gone.  They pick you up right on the beach in front of the resort.  You can do half day options or full day.  We have always felt like the 9am-1pm half day option was ideal, and with the kids they come back just in time for their naps.  They have no age restriction for the boat, and since its very big and water calm we feel very safe with them on there.  You go snorkeling for about 30 minutes at the beginning, then they take you to a private beach for an hour, then they catch live conch and fix a lunch for you..  They have a slide off the top of the boat that they stop for about 30 minutes on the way back and let people take turns.  There is also unlimited rum & punch for the parents :).

*Provo Ponies- We rode horses on our honeymoon and I cant wait for the kids to experience it but the minimum age requirement is 5.  You get to take the horses through the beautiful water of turks on a private island, and it still is the highlight of my honeymoon.

*FlyBoarding- We have done this twice now!  There are two companies on the island that offer it, Tours by free & TCI Flyboarding.  We have had great experience with both.  We ended up using a different company this year because one was closed for a few weeks while we were in town.  I did like the location of TCI flyboarding company better with kids, its right in front of the blue haven resort.  Tours by free is off a dock in a marina so hard to keep an eye on the kids from falling in.  If you’re use to snowboarding or skateboarding- standing in the water on these power jets will come easily!  The whole experience is less than 20 minutes, but if you’re like my husband he could go an hour.  It is definitely a leg work out!