Once home to just a few small fishing villages and a series of salt flats, Providenciales is now the jewel of Turks and Caicos with all manner of accommodation, dining and nightlife. Grace Bay Beach and Long Bay Beach are two of the most popular destinations on the island for their stunning white sand beaches, crystal clear waters and access to amenities. Yet while each offers endless opportunities for sun, sea and sand, there are quite a few differences between these holiday hotspots.
Where is Long Bay Beach?
Long Bay Beach is located on the southeast coast of Providenciales.
Where is Grace Bay Beach?
Grace Bay Beach is located on the northeast coast of Providenciales.
Best for Relaxation: Long Bay Beach
If you’re looking to indulge in some rest and relaxation, Long Bay Beach is your spot. This three-mile beach has soft sand that is fringed with palm trees and calm, shallow waters that are perfect for leisurely swims. Unlike Grace Bay Beach, there are very few hotels, restaurants or beach bars here, so the beach is usually blissfully crowd-free.
Best for Nightlife: Grace Bay
Grace Bay is the most popular holiday destination on Providenciales, so it should come as no surprise that there are plenty of nightlife spots where you can party until the wee hours of the morning. Establishments range from easy-going pubs to bustling waterfront bars with patios and live music.
Long Bay Beach is Great for Families
Families love Long Bay Beach for its peaceful atmosphere and calm, shallow waters that are perfect for little ones. The ocean floor is soft and sandy so kids can splash around without parents worrying about them hurting themselves on rocks or coral. Older kids and adults can try a variety of water sports including kiteboarding, kayaking and stand-up paddling.
Long Bay is More Private than Grace Bay
While Grace Bay Beach is lined with large hotels, Long Bay Beach is home to private residences and luxury villas. This gives the area a more secluded and exclusive feel. For example, Triton Luxury Villa offers the utmost privacy with two acres of lush landscaped grounds, seven spacious bedrooms, two swimming pools, and unobstructed views of the ocean. In addition, Triton offers direct access to the beach.
Distance from Triton Villa to Grace Bay
Although Triton Luxury Villa seems like it’s a world away from bustling Grace Bay, it’s actually just a 10-minute drive from the front door of the villa to Grace Bay Beach.
Activities Available on Long Bay Beach vs Grace Bay
Both Grace Bay Beach and Long Bay Beach offer typical beach activities like sunbathing, swimming and snorkelling. However, Grace Bay Beach is more popular for motorised water sports like jet skiing, water skiing and boat trips for scuba diving or fishing. Grace Bay is also home to the Provo Golf Club. Long Bay Beach is famous for kiteboarding and horseback riding along the beach.
Long Bay Beach is Best for Kiteboarding
Kiteboarders in the know head to Long Bay Beach to ride the waves because the area gets consistent trade winds year round. Another draw is the shallow water with a clear sandy bottom, which makes it great for beginner kiteboarders to learn the basics. There are also a number of kiteboarding schools that cater to beginner and advanced riders.
Grace Bay Top Restaurants
Grace Bay is renowned for its excellent dining options that range from laid-back cafes to elegant fine dining restaurants. Some sublime dining venues include Coco Bistro for fresh local seafood served al fresco underneath palm trees, Grace’s Cottage for gourmet Caribbean cuisine in a sophisticated colonial setting, and Opus for fine wines and exquisite globally-inspired dishes.
Kiteboarding is becoming increasingly popular in Turks and Caicos and around the world, and it’s easy to see why. This exhilarating water sport involves skimming across the water at high speeds propelled by just a kite, a board and the wind. If you’re looking to ride the waves in the Turks and Caicos, Long Bay Beach is the best kiteboarding spot for beginners and advanced kiteboarders alike.
What is Kiteboarding?
Most people agree that modern kiteboarding began in the 1980s when the Lagaignoux brothers designed an inflatable kite that was meant to pull people across the water. Over the years, the kites and equipment have evolved into what we see today, which is essentially a large kite with bars attached to lines for steering, a harness that wraps around the waist, and a board for gliding across the water.
Where to Kiteboard in Turks and Caicos
The island of Providenciales is the most popular place for kiteboarding in Turks and Caicos because it has excellent wind and water conditions. However, you can also find some great areas to kiteboard off the coasts of North Caicos, Middle Caicos and South Caicos.
The majority of kiteboarding schools in Turks and Caicos are located on Long Bay Beach and they employ instructors certified by the International Kiteboarding Organization (IKO). A typical lesson lasts anywhere from one to three hours and includes equipment rental. Beginners will learn the basics, while advanced riders can set off on excursions to little-known kiteboarding destinations and learn new tricks.
Kiteboarding vs Kitesurfing
Kiteboarding and kitesurfing are two different names for the same sport. Generally speaking, North Americans tend to use the term kiteboarding, while Europeans prefer the term kitesurfing.
What Gear do You Need to Kiteboard?
There are three essential pieces of gear you need to kiteboard: a kite, a board and a harness. Any kiteboarding school in Turks and Caicos can set you up with equipment that is suitable for your body type and skill level. Inflatable kites are the most common and they include a steering bar attached by lines and a harness. Most kiteboarders in Turks and Caicos also use twin-tip boards with foot straps.
The Best Kiteboarding Spots in Turks and Caicos
Long Bay Beach on Providenciales is by far the best place to kiteboard in Turks and Caicos because it is suitable for all levels. Experienced riders can also try Grace Bay, Leeward Beach, and the barrier reef on the north side of Providenciales. Cedar Point and Wild Cow Run are popular kiteboarding spots on Middle Caicos. East Bay Beach on South Caicos also offers good wind conditions, as does Whitby Beach on North Caicos.
Turks and Caicos Tides
Turks and Caicos experiences easterly trade winds most months, which makes it a great year-round kiteboarding destination. Under normal conditions, the tides do not change drastically, meaning you know what to expect on any given day out on the water.
Benefits of Kitesurfing
Kiting offers many benefits for the body and mind. Not only does it burn calories and tone the entire body, but it can also improve balance and coordination and help relieve stress by releasing endorphins. In addition, there is a large global kite boarding community, so it is easy to meet new people wherever you kiteboard.
Why is Long Bay Beach Great for Kiteboarding?
Long Bay Beach is ideal for kiteboarding because the winds are consistent and it has clear, shallow water with a soft, sandy bottom. The shallow depth makes it easy to stand up if you fall down, which is great for beginners. Advanced riders love that the area is not crowded and there are few boats, so long, uninterrupted rides are possible. Long Bay Beach also has gorgeous holiday rentals like Triton Luxury Villa, which is just steps from the water, making it a kiteboarder’s dream accommodation.