Ever dreamed of going on an aquatic pony ride with Kendall Jenner or sipping a cocktail on a white sand beach with Victoria Beckham? Those quarandreams can be reality as Turks and Caicos, the Carribean chain of about one hundred islands, cays and rocks, is accepting visitors from around the world once again. A flight to Turks and Caicos is a simple 90-minute jaunt from Miami.
But don’t think of coming without proof of a clean COVID-19 test, which is shaping up to be the hottest trend in fall travel. Required for all travelers under the new normal government requirements is a “negative COVID-19 RT-PCR test result from an accredited laboratory per traveler—excluding children under the age of 10 years at time of travel. The test must have been taken no more than five days prior to travel to the Turks and Caicos Islands. Travelers must carry a copy of the test results and the document must be presented upon request.” You will also need travel insurance and medical insurance, a completed health screening questionnaire and Travel Authorization Form with mandatory online registration prior to arrival. Hopefully, alongside all that paperwork there will still be room to pack your Rosé All Day beach hat and macrame bikini, the unofficial Turks Insta-post uniform.
Also expect upon check in temperature checks, luggage sanitization, mandatory face masks in public areas, hand sanitizer everywhere and reduced and about 40 percent capacity. Plus, kiss the breakfast buffet—and the possibility of unlimited morning waffles—goodbye.
The laid back vibe in Turks and Caicos attracts the world’s most elusive celebrities who bask in its money-no-object island accommodations. And many love it so much they buy in. Prince’s former estate in the Turtle Tail section of Providenciales sold last year for $10.8 million and is now known as Emara Estate. The seven-bedroom, 10,000 square foot villa comes outfitted with a purple driveway, a holdover from the former owner that clearly didn’t damage its property value.
If you are in the market for an 8-figure vacation home, consider the Point House at COMO Parrot Cay, a private island and luxury resort with a mile long pristine beach. So what does $15 million buy you? The chance to borrow sugar from neighbor Donna Karan, who owns the nearby estate known as The Sanctuary. The residence has three bedrooms, an office perfect for Zooming, a black-lava stone pool when not Zooming and beach cabana, all serviced by a butler and private chef. Much like a genie in a bottle, your wish is their command from your seaside daybed. Also included in the price is access to your own sand, ocean and sunset, designed by Mother Nature, and unlimited use of all the amenities of the five-star COMO resort. For those of us who are watching our energy, COMO Shambhala cuisine is available throughout the resort. This signature meal program emphasizes raw, easily digested foods richer in living enzymes, vitamins and sea minerals, combined of course with pan-Asian influences. Which way to yoga? Downward dog at Shambhala Retreat, with daily complimentary classes that take place in a tranquil pavilion overlooking the island’s wetlands.
If you aren’t sure you want to buy into this lifestyle, before sending the wire, try out one of the six villas for rent. They range from $800 to $9,000 and have fun names like the Love Pumpkin.
The Shore Club on Long Bay Beach is a favorite of stars such as Chrissy Metz and Tracy Morgan and the six-bedroom villas where they have stayed are perfect for the whole entourage to spread out and a steal of a deal at around $5,000 per night.
Will Smith and Kim Kardashian stay at the Amanyara—not together unless there is an “entanglement” we don’t know about—which sits inside the North West Point Marine National Park. Some come by car, but the resort also offers a private jet charter service to bring guests through its doors in the ideal socially distanced travel experience. This is the spot for underwater nature lovers and the ideal place for an aquatic expedition to see Hawksbill turtles, humpback whales, bonefish and hundreds of migratory bird species. Accommodations range from $1,500 to $15,000 per night, the ideal way to blow your 401K and kiss mainland life goodbye, if only for a few days. As Smith surely must’ve said at some point, “Welcome to Turks and Caicos.”
Other travel destinations open to U.S. citizens right now include Serbia, Mexico, Maldives, Northern Macedonia, Albania, Barbados and Turkey, among others.