I need to share our incredible trip before I forget anything.
A turns 40 at the end of the month. I asked him months ago how he wanted to celebrate his big birthday. We could have a party, go on a trip, anything, but we definitely needed to celebrate such an important milestone. A really liked the idea of going on a trip – especially to somewhere warm seeing as February in Chicago is typically cold and snowy. A is really easy going (unlike myself) so we somehow decided that I would plan a surprise trip. Let’s face it, I would have planned the trip regardless if it was a surprise so the surprise element was a fun twist.
I worked with a travel agent, which is definitely the way to go in my opinion. I knew I wanted to head to one of the Caribbean islands and after much research on my own and input from the travel agent, decided on Turks and Caicos. A literally had no idea where we were headed until we arrived at the airport at 3:30am. Admittedly, it was a tad anticlimactic as A found out when the American Airlines desk agent asked what our final destination was, but it was fun nonetheless. Even A’s colleagues were trying to guess where we were headed (and they were all wrong!).
The morning we left, it was snowing steadily in Chicago. We had a connecting flight in Miami and realized that the next two AA flights from Chicago to Miami were cancelled. Thanking our lucky stars we were able to flight out – we were very, very fortunate. We were delayed about 45 minutes and as soon as we got off the plane in Miami, our next flight was boarding.
We arrived in Providenciales around 1:30pm. It was such a weird feeling to leave 20 degrees and snow, fly 5 hours, and land where it was 80 degrees and sunny (but we weren’t complaining!!). We soon arrived at our amazing resort, quickly changed clothes, and grabbed lunch. We were starving! We’d planned on grabbing breakfast in Miami, but there just wasn’t any time. I ordered fish tacos and I should mention that I never ever order fish in the Midwest. If you asked, I’d tell you I don’t like fish. But I change my tune when near an ocean. And these were so good! In fact, all the food we had was amazing!!
Unbeknownst to me at the time, our travel agent had called ahead and secured an incredible room (see, find yourself a travel agent!). We were on the top floor of the resort (Penthouse) and had a view of the ocean. A platter of fresh fruit was waiting. It was the most amazing place I’ve ever stayed at.
We went out to dinner that night and sat outside under the stars. I had butternut squash ravioli (so good!!) while A had coconut chicken. We were beyond exhausted by the end of dinner.
Friday, we booked a tour and traveled by ferry (the fastest ferry ever!) to North Caicos. Only 1700 people live on the island, most of whom are descendants of slaves who once worked at the plantations on the island. We visited a sink hole, a plantation, a stunning beach, and then stopped for lunch. A and I both had snapper and it was possibly the best fish I’ve ever eaten (fish again!). I should also mention that our tour guide was fantastic and actually lives on North Caicos.
After lunch, our tour guide took us to Middle Caicos. There are no residents, only a couple resorts and restaurants. You basically feel like you’re on a deserted island. It was such an amazing experience. We first visited an above ground cave. Apparently, it’s 4 miles deep and I can’t imagine you’d be allowed to go in something like this in the US. The walk was treacherous, there were bats, but it was so darn cool.
After the cave, we headed to Mudjin Harbour. A and I walked up a cliff and then down a narrow stairway to a deserted beach. This was the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen. The photos don’t even do it justice.
Once we arrived back on Providenciales, we headed to dinner. I had lasagna and A had mushroom ravioli (I think). This was my least favorite dinner, but our dessert was delicious.
Saturday and Sunday were spent on the beach. Our resort brought out fruit on a platter and all the bottled water we could ask for. Even our lunches were delivered to our cabana. We walked along the beach and swam in the ocean any time we were hot. I think it’s the most relaxed I’ve ever been. 😊
Our Saturday and Sunday dinners were both fantastic (and our favorite restaurants of the ones we tried)– beef tenderloin, mahi, steak. One restaurant even had a menu that lit up when you opened it and live music!
This vacation was MAGICAL. We had an unbelievable time and I’m so thankful A and I could experience it together. Also incredibly thankful for our parents for taking such good care of our boys!
A couple more things to note: You drive on the left side of the road! I didn’t realize this and considered renting a car. So glad we didn’t because that would’ve taken some getting used to.
EVERYTHING is expensive. I knew this before I booked the trip, but EVERYTHING was pricey.
Each dinner we had was outdoors amongst the trees and the stars. I think many of the restaurants are outdoors and I couldn’t get enough.
Everyone asked if our resort was all inclusive and I think they were surprised I didn’t book one. I did NOT want to be at an all inclusive hotel. I wanted to get out and try new foods and different restaurants. Also, A and I are not big drinkers so I don’t think we would’ve gotten our money’s worth.
I’ve never taken a relaxing vacation. Typically A and I try to squeeze everything in when we travel. We want to do as much as possible and see everything because we may not have the chance to return. This was SO different. I’ve never been so relaxed in my entire life and this was so so good for my soul. I think we need more relaxing vacations in our future! 😉