A cluster of coral-fringed isles in a sea that seems to shift through shades of turquoise neon, the Turks & Caicos islands offer lie-on-the-beach luxury with a totally tropical taste.
Those who claim that the UK suffers from a lack of sunshine have never been to Turks & Caicos – this sweep of 40 islands has been a part of Britain for more than 200 years, although its Blighty-based provenance is all but masked by its Caribbean climate and philosophy. In the heady days when pirates and smugglers stashed contraband in its palm-fronded coves, Turks & Caicos was renowned for exporting salt and cotton, but, today, it’s famed for importing honeymooners, scuba freaks and those who simply want to admire a spellbinding tropical vision from the comfort of an ivory-sanded beach. If you are able to tear your eyes away from the sublime ocean view, you’ll find that ‘TCI’, as the in-crowd know it, has a life beyond the scenery. Donkeys roam the salt ponds, flamingos flock to nibble from the shallow waters around its shores, and its inhabitants exude an easy-going friendliness, calling themselves, poetically enough, ‘Belongers’.
The main draw to the islands is the year-round good weather. High season runs from January through to March, and off-season rates can be as much as 40 per cent less. Avoid June to October, though, unless you like sunbathing during hurricane season.