At this point it’s no secret, my family loves the Caribbean! Almost all of our vacations consist of visiting a beautiful beach, on a beautiful island, surrounded by that beautiful blue water. I have wanted to visit Turks and Caicos for years now, but I was waiting for Nate to get a little older so he could enjoy some of the best snorkeling in the Caribbean. We finally decided we would plan our trip, and we’d just have to go again once Nate learned to swim. Little did we know…Nate actually learned to swim AND hold his breath under water, the week right before our trip. Perfect timing Nate! We partnered up with the Royal West Indies to share our first Turks & Caicos experience, while staying at their beautiful resort. The resort is only 15 minutes from the airport, which is perfect, since it’ a 4 hour plane ride from NY, and we didn’t want to spend any more time in a car. Although! We did stop at the island’s very popular, Sweet T’s, fried chicken spot on the way to the resort. When I tell you the chicken was good, I mean it was good! It’s one of the local’s fave spots, so make sure you stop by after you land! It’s been awhile since we stayed at a bigger resort, and the grounds at the Royal West Indies were just beautiful…they had the best landscaping and picturesque gardens. It was a great blend of green trees, cactus, palms, and colorful flowers. It was the perfect scenery for all of my photos They had 3 pools: a huge pool, with an adorable kiddie pool attached (Nate’s fave!) and a bridge crossing over it to take you to their Pelican Bay Restaurant, and then 2 smaller sized pools in the quiet area – for those of your traveling kid-free and looking for a quieter scene. There was also a hot tub in the quiet area, and it was perfect for the wifie and I to get some mommy & daddy time, after Nate was in bed. My mother-in-law came on the trip with us, so it’s nice when my wife and I can get some adult time in. The fact that the main pool had an attached shallow kid’s section for Nate and an underwater bench along most of the pool made Nate absolutely love it and helped him get the confidence to really expand his swimming skills. Now don’t be scared off! The resort is kid-friendly, but there was definitely not an abundance of them. During our time there I think I only saw 1 other kid in the pool. The craziest kid there was probably Nate (LOL). The pool was a stone throw away from the bar, which was perfect for us to grab our pina coladas and a bite to eat, because Nate literally never wanted to get out of the pool. The restaurant has some great choices and variety, but my favorite was the breakfast dish of grits and beef hash. I was told this dish is what the locals eat and it was soooo good. I actually ate it every morning. I’m a huge fan of grits and if it’s on the menu I’m ordering it. The pool-side bar also had happy hour from 5-7 so we always made sure we were in the pool at that time (LOL). I honestly can’t tell you how many pina coladas I drank, but they don’t get any better than how they make them here. Great, now I’m craving one right now! All of the pools are open 24hrs…which we all loved. Night life for us is pretty mellow these days, so it’s fun to be able to make a cocktail and head to the pool late at night with Nate, to extend our night and really maximize our vacay days. The room was a pretty standard size and included a bed (or 2), flat screen TV, and a small kitchenette with the basics, like a mini fridge and coffee maker. Our room had a balcony with a partial view of the ocean and pool and it was nice waking up and seeing both. The resort had bicycle’s you could use, as well as mini catamarans. The beach was of course beautiful. They had chairs and umbrellas you could use and it was only a very short and pretty walk from the pool. Though there wasn’t any reefs directly in front of the hotel beach, you can take a 15 minute walk down the beach to a small and very cool reef where we were able to snorkel from the shore. On the way, you can stop by Flamingo Cafe and grab a bite and cocktail right on Grace Bay Beach. We didn’t get to go scuba diving on this trip, but we definitely will on our next trip back – which hopefully will be soon! We did take a snorkeling excursion with Caicos Adventures. We stopped at 3 different reefs and I was blown away by the reef and variety & abundance of sea life. I never seen so many different types of coral. We saw so many different fish, lobster, and even some eels. Do however, beware of drinking too much of the complimentary rum punch like I did, because you are guaranteed to need a nap after (LOL). I think me and a fellow snorkeler must have drank a gallon! If you don’t feel like shelling out the $115 pp to take an excursion you can easily take a ride to one of the many snorkel spots off the shore. We went to the Coral Gardens Reef, which was literally 20 ft right off the beach. We went 3ft in and immediately almost stepped on a sting ray. This reef was perfect for Nate to get a first taste of snorkeling. I could not believe how good he did! He didn’t use a snorkel but he would hold on to me and swim around holding his breath underwater for about 20 seconds, and would just keep on pointing out all the fish he saw. The whole trip he kept saying he wanted to see a turtle and we finally were snorkeling around the reef and came up to 2 huge turtles lying on the ocean floor. He got to watch them swim up and take a breath above the water, and they were only about 3 feet away from us, so we all got a great close-up view! Snorkeling with Nate will truly be an unforgettable memory. I have never had so much fun and been more proud of my little man. Between the pool, the beach, snorkeling, and all of the pina coladas and rum punch, you really work up an appetite. There were so many restaurants to eat at but my favorite 2 would definitely have to be Cocovan and Mango Reef. Cocovan was a cool air-stream converted into a taco truck. They had the best tacos I have ever eaten! The Korean Beef and the Duck were my favorite. Oh and did I mention they have churros and ice cream for dessert. Sooooo amazingly yummy. Mango Reef was right by the water and was lit up with all these neon lights. They even had some neon lights in the water. The ambiance really made it feel like you were on vacation! As I’m writing this, it’s making me want to go back already. We all had an amazing time at the beautiful Royal West Indies. I know every vacation is going to be one for the books, but this one had a few firsts for Nate, so I’m always going to remember that this was the one where he really learned to swim and finally got to experience the magical sea turtles with his mommy and daddy. Thank you Royal West Indies for such an amazing trip! If anyone is looking to visit Turks & Caicos, definitely check this resort out. It was in the perfect location, had gorgeous grounds, really fun pools, is right on Grace Bay Beach, and has the best pina coladas! We will definitely be back!