Candy Canes in the Caribbean

It’s the holidays! Is a “white Christmas” not your idea of a good time? Does pulling on boots and shoveling snow deplete your holiday spirit? Then it might be time to seek out a tropical destination like Beaches Turks and Caicos.

Picture this: You step onto your airplane amid the snow and sleet, and you arrive on an island paradise surrounded by spectacular turquoise waters and some of the best scuba diving on the planet. The Beaches Turks and Caicos all-inclusive resort is one of a handful of resorts on this magical destination, but definitely the most kid-friendly of the bunch.

During the holiday season, you’ll find lots of special festive activities and Santa himself might be found on the beautiful beaches ready to hear kids’ holiday wishes. Who can blame him for straying from his North Pole home? Anyone would be happier sitting on these white sands rather than overseeing elves in a toy workshop.

We stayed in the Italian village, one of four themed villages that can satisfy any personality. Inspired by Mediterranean architecture and landscaping, the Italian village is adjacent to the stunning beach on Grace Bay, and includes two restaurants, Mario’s Italian Cuisine and Barefoot by the Sea, where guests are encouraged to sink their feet into the sand while they eat delicious seafood. These are only two of twenty-one restaurants throughout the resort that you can choose from while staying here.

From my ground-level room, I could walk though my sliding glass door and onto our private patio and have immediate, direct access to the expansive pool. Ours was one of six pools in the entire resort. Despite its lovely water features, my favorite aspect of this pool was the swim-up bar, one of five available at Beaches. Ever get jealous of your parents who enjoy frothy alcoholic drinks with tiny umbrellas and drizzled with tasty toppings? You won’t have that trouble here. My favorite drink was the kid’s piña colada, but it was just one of many tropical, non-alcoholic drinks that are offered to children. And remember those key words—“all inclusive”—when you order that fifteenth kiddie mud slide! On my first day, I grabbed a floating lounger and jumped into the pool. I barely stepped out till the sun set.

Feeling more adventurous? Take a quick walk to Beaches’ private Pirates Island, Turks and Caicos’ only waterpark. And believe me, with this gem of a waterpark, the island doesn’t need another! Many spine-tingling, adrenaline-pumping slides await you that will make your heart pound in your chest. You can also fire water cannons, climb aboard a pirate ship or, if you’re a little more daring, try out the surf simulator. Serenity has no place here. Music is blasting; the air is filled with screams of both children and adults on thrilling waterslides; the rush of water gushing will have your blood coursing through your veins. If you prefer less chaos and more relaxation at Pirate’s Island, don’t despair. Grab one of those aforementioned non-alcoholic piña coladas and float along the Lazy River, which, in my opinion, is not too lazy at all. It will weave you on a relaxing path through the entire park at a nice clip.

When you’re hungry, you don’t even have to go back to the hotel. Pirate’s Island offers Bobby Dee’s, a 1950’s-style restaurant where you can enjoy milkshakes, cheeseburgers, pizza, ice cream, and cotton candy spun before your eyes.

Don’t bother me. I’m eating cotton candy. Oooh yeahhh…

Think you might blow your budget on too many delectable milkshakes? No need to worry. Like all the restaurants at Beaches resorts, your meals here are included in your all-inclusive vacation. And if you fill up too much on food and can’t check off all the slides from your to-do list in one day, you can return for as many visits to this waterpark as you’d like while you are a guest at the resort.

But forget the pool. Forget the waterpark. The body of water I really wanted to see while on Turks and Caicos was Grace Bay, a pristine jewel in the Caribbean with its crystal-clear waters that reach out to the horizon. Relax in a lounge chair and let your mind drift away while you sink your toes into the pearl-white sand. You won’t see any reefs directly off the beach when you snorkel, but you will see magnificent fish. They almost seemed tame, and as curious about me as I was about them. When you arrive, be sure to immediately sign up for the complimentary cruise out to a reef for even more spectacular marine life.

Okay. So you won’t be pummeled by an unexpected snowball during a holiday vacation at Beaches Turks and Caicos. You also won’t spend the evening in the emergency room after slipping on an ice slick by your mailbox and suffering a mild concussion. There’s no frostbite here. No burns from spilled cocoa, no cumbersome parkas, and no paper cuts from opening that Christmas card from your second cousin, once removed. So if you’ll miss any of the above for your holiday, steer clear.

Otherwise, take a hint from Santa and join him on the beach in Turks and Caicos today.

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