Resort Report

Wild, Wild Northwest

Ironically, this untamed area is among Provo’s most peaceful.

By Kathy Borsuk ~ Photos By Christine Morden, Paradise Photography,

Even though it was over 25 years ago (gulp!), I remember quite clearly the day I fell in love with the Turks & Caicos Islands. I was a tourist, traveling with my husband at the time who was an avid butterfly collector. Every day we would rise early in the morning and drive our “Rent-A-Buggy” through Blue Hills and up the rutted road past Wheeland, bearing left where it forked away from the ocean and into the “bush.” As we bounced and wobbled along the treacherous path we would scan the bushes for a particular rare swallowtail. If spotted, we’d grind to halt, dash to the chase, and try to net the elusive insect.
We were rarely successful. The highlight of these hot, exhausting days for me was when we reached the top of the high hill past the old radar station. Besides the cool breeze, my reward was a spectacular view of the entire northwest corner of Providenciales, encompassing turquoise sea to the horizons, an endless sky, and acres of verdant bush bordered with an etching of golden beach. The sight used to bring an ache of desire to live in such an awesomely beautiful place. Little did I know that my wish would come true, and that I would be writing about the same area all these years later.

In many ways, Providenciales’ “wildest” area has not drastically changed. The northwest corner of Providenciales is shaped something like the thumb of your left hand if you stick it out, palm-up, fingers curled in. The very tip is, appropriately, known as North West Point and is marked on land with a tall pole. At the point, ocean currents from the east and west class in adisarray. The beaches sloping south (along the side of your thumb) towards Malcolm Roads and east (along your knuckles) are some of the most beautiful and deserted in the country. While the beaches along the northern shore are quiet and gentle, those to the south feature massive rocks along the shores, signaling the ocean’s power. Long stretches of slightly coarse golden sand are interspersed with ironshore coves and sheltered bays, creating naturally perfect private swimming holes and sunbathing platforms.
The snorkeling—nearshore and further out—is like entering a heavenly realm. Another of my best TCI memories is snorkeling just north of Malcolm Roads Beach through a garden of hundreds of purple-and-gold sea fans, watching them undulate in the gentle current and pulsate with a radiant light. In this near-virgin area, the reef is healthy and teeming with life.
Beachcombing, or simply strolling, is a wonderfully simple pleasure as well. You can sense the “wildness” in the brisk breeze, snappy salt tang in the air and untamed shoreline. This is NOT the place for the perfectly groomed sand of Grace Bay. Instead, you’ll find flotsam and jetsam of all sorts, dried seagrass entangled with treasures, exposed rock past the strandline and the occasional bleached chunk of plastic. But you won’t have a dull moment AND you’re not likely to meet another soul.
There are also hiking paths through the bush, an experience that brings new appreciation for the country’s natural landscape. Whether just after a period of rain or in the middle of a drought, the vibrant, resilient “bush” is God’s glory at its finest. Glossy green leaves of all shapes and sizes, colorful flowers and sturdy vines all reach to the sunlight, emitting a rich, earthly fragrance totally unique to the Caribbean. Insects buzz, dart and flutter by, while graceful shorebirds swoop from coast to shore in search of prey.
The “Wild West” includes Northwest Point Pond Nature Reserve, while the waters around the point are part of the Northwest Point Marine National Park. The park is a favorite spot for scuba divers, as this is where Provo’s spectacular wall diving is most readily accessed. Dive boats tie on to mooring spots to prevent coral damage so divers can explore such legendary sites as Shark Hotel, Black Coral Forest and the Canyons.
Northwest Point Pond Nature Reserve was created hundreds of years ago, when it was an ancient bay that opened into the depths of the ocean. As the climate changed and sea level dropped, the bay became a salty inland pond that rises and falls with rainfall. It is a prime foraging and nesting area for birds, all made comfortable by the fact that they will be totally undisturbed. Birdwatchers’ visits are typically rewarded with rare sightings of West Indian Flamingos, Reddish and Great White Egrets, Tricolored, Green and Great Blue Herons, Yellow Crowned Night Herons, Ospreys and Brown Pelicans.

Change for the better
One thing I certainly appreciate, when compared to my 1988 expeditions to the area, is how easy it is to access the northwest corner of Provo these days. The road along the coast through Blue Hills and Wheeland is not only paved and smooth, but scenic and lined with several spots to stop for refreshments. Colorful beach huts along the ocean can be counted on to serve the best in native fare, including conch salad, cracked conch, fried fish and the like, along with cool beverages and a marvelous view of traditional Caicos sloops bobbing in the bay.
The road beyond Wheeland is more accessible as well. Although not paved past the Affordable Housing Project, the right turn road (at the V four-way junction) is kept graded and groomed, and readily takes you to Northwest Point Resort, with less improved roads carrying on to the beach. Ditto going straight through the intersection with the left turn road, which travels further inland straight to Malcolm Roads Beach or the Amanyara resort.
I think I’ll be forever grateful to Mike Hryniuk for bringing to my attention his own favorite piece of Provo. I, like many others, seem to have written off a journey here as “too far” or “not worth the trouble.” What was I thinking? Especially as Grace Bay and the rest of Providenciales continues to populate and develop, the North West Point area remains a get-away, a spot to escape to for a breath of fresh air and remember what brought us to the Islands in the first place.

Northwest Point Resort, Providenciales

Northwest Point Resort, Providenciales

Mike is the live-in resort manager of Northwest Point Resort and knows his corner of the island better than just about anyone. Just ask resort guests. Whether recommending a snorkeling spot, beach walk, hiking trail or kayaking site, Mike is a thorough and enthusiastic proponent of his “neck of the woods” and often joins guests in a snorkel trip or hike, if he has the time.
I first explored the 100 acre site when it was called Crystal Bay Resort in 1997 and considered an exciting new condominium development for folks who wanted to live off the beaten path. Not much has changed. Although there are still a few full-time residents, most of the property’s 49 condominium suites are home to visiting tourists, especially, Mike says, “Folks who are looking for a peaceful, tranquil vacation and who can appreciate a low-key environment where nature is the star attraction.”
The tan colored buildings with terra cotta roofs present a luxurious, Mediterranean facade, enhanced by 1,700 feet of pristine beach on the quiet northwest shore. Most of the large one, two and three bedroom suites boast direct ocean views from private patios and include fully equipped kitchens, washer/dryers, TV, DVD players, WiFi, in-room safes and complimentary cell phones. Because some of the suites are still frequented by their owners, suites are distinctive and eclectic—Mike suggests you describe your style and he can match you with the decor you’d best prefer.
Suite at Northwest Point Resort

Suite at Northwest Point Resort

As we toured the grounds, I soaked in the quiet ambiance and lovely landscaping. Mike pointed out thriving banana, almond, lime and papaya trees and insinuated that guests could feel free to partake of the fruits.
With amazing turquoise-green-blue waters at your doorstep, visitors can watch the sun rise with morning coffee on their balcony and soak in sunsets with their afternoon cocktails. Nightlife here includes superb star gazing, as its location far from “city lights” make the stars glitter ever so brightly.
Although there is a large, landscaped pool and hot tub with plenty of space for sunbathing and fluffy towels at the ready, I suspect most guests prefer to spend time on the beach or snorkeling, kayaking, paddleboating or swimming in the clear waters. Some of the island’s best snorkeling surrounds the resort and gear is complimentary, as are bicycles, kayaks and fishing rods. Because the water is typically quiet and clear, it’s an ideal spot to learn to snorkel, and many guests claim the “sightseeing” is as good as scuba diving! When it’s time to relax, oceanfront hammocks are the perfect place to read or snooze to the hypnotizing lap of the waves. Alternatively, there is a fitness center on premise, with spa services easily ordered by appointment.
Although Northwest Point Resort is only 15 minutes drive from the airport, it seems light years away from Provo’s hustle and bustle. There’s no traffic, grocery stores or shopping centers nearby, although all are within a 20 minute drive if you have a craving for civilization! In spite of being off the beaten path, Mike explains, guests feel quite safe in the gated grounds, accessed by a single, well-monitored entranceway. When visiting the more secluded beaches and trails, he suggests that visitors take normal precautions: don’t bring valuables, let someone know where you will be, carry a cell phone, if you like; and be aware of your surroundings.
The Point Grill and Bar is the resort’s on-site restaurant, featuring authentic local fare by talented local cooks. Its casual indoor/outdoor ambiance is enhanced by screen walls, the ideal way to enjoy the extraordinary views without being bothered by insect pests. Enjoy a meal, snack or beverage while playing darts, floor chess, ping pong, horseshoes on the nearby court, or just relaxing as you dine in the laid-back island atmosphere.
Mike encourages and welcomes all TCI residents to take the drive out to to explore the area; they are welcome to enjoy a drink, dine and view in the grounds. Check their website or call 649 941 5133 for seasonal local promotions.
Guest testimonials consistently rave about the comfortable, peaceful atmosphere and friendly staff. Because the resort is small and resort manager Mike is a natural “people pleaser” with over two decades of experience in hospitality management from Canada to Maui to Asia, everyone on staff seems sincerely eager to win over many repeat guests and/or woo away Grace Bay aficionados. Here, Mike says, special requests are considered a welcome challenge, not a chore.
Although North West Point brings back nostalgic memories for me, I believe a weekend at the resort will improve upon the originals!

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Marta Morton, owner/operator of Harbour Club Villas ( took this photo of the native Turks & Caicos rock iguana on Bay Cay. This endemic animal is being threatened by the invasive green iguana. See article on page 36.

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