Just a short walk from the Grand Turk Cruise Center, visitors will find an unassuming tiki hut known as Jack’s Shack Bar and Grill. A favorite among locals and cruise ship visitors looking to escape the crowds at Margaritaville, while Jack’s Shack may not seem like much to look at, it makes up for whatever it may lack aesthetically with its old island charm. Here, patrons are transported to a time when all that mattered were ice-cold beers, bright blue waves, and the sand between their toes.
If a visit to Grand Turk is on your itinerary when traveling to the Turks and Caicos Islands, then Jack’s Shack should be where you stop to put your worries on pause and soothe your soul. The ambience encourages a ‘No shirt? No shoes? No problem!’ sort of atmosphere, and the establishment serves delicious island fare that includes its signature jerk chicken, freshly caught fish, burgers, and hot dogs. The cocktail menu provides a great selection of dubiously-named libations that are sure to elicit a coy giggle or two upon ordering. However, much like the myth of the Flying Dutchman, it can be hard to pin down Jack’s Shack’s opening hours as they tend to ebb and flow with the docking of the cruise ships.
This rings true for many of Grand Turk’s attractions—most businesses operate only when the cruise port itself is a hive of activity. If you are in search of a far more lively visit to the nation’s capital, then be sure to check the Grand Turk Port schedule prior to planning your trip. A quick flight from Providenciales to Grand Turk on Caicos Express or interCaribbean can be booked for a day’s visit or an extended stay.
However, Jack’s Shack does cater to large groups and offers an ideal spot to host an authentic island wedding reception, or to throw a birthday celebration that won’t soon be forgotten. Jack’s Shack offers the perfect viewing place for the Grand Turk sunset, and if you’re especially lucky, you just may catch a glimpse of the elusive green flash. Families are most welcome, and there are a number of activities to enjoy while sipping a cold drink.
Jack’s Shack patrons are welcome to use its complimentary loungers (with umbrellas available to rent for a small fee). For those looking for more action, there’s also volleyball, snorkel gear, beach floaties to hop on and enjoy the view from the ocean, and even sand toys for the little ones to use for building sandcastles.
Another famous attraction is Calypso, ‘the world’s second most photographed dog.’ Calypso is the establishment’s beloved Golden Doodle, a mascot for Jack’s Shack who is much loved by all who are fortunate enough to cross his path. A word of warning, the Golden Doodle cocktail will have you running around the beach keeping up with Calypso! Rum paired with Red Bull tends to do that to unsuspecting beachgoers.
Grand Turk is a great change of pace from the touristy atmosphere of Providenciales, and the quiet island offers an authentic glimpse into times past. Donkeys roam the streets looking for a tasty treat, while flamingos spill out of the salinas. There is an uninterrupted charm and beauty about this quaint island that seems to creep in under the visitor’s skin. With many accommodation options available, it is highly recommended that visitors add a day trip or overnight stay to their to-do list when visiting the Turks and Caicos. And if you time your trip just right between the months of January and April, you may even have the good fortune of spotting a migrating humpback whale or two.
As early as late December, humpback whales begin their annual migration from the cold waters of Nova Scotia to the warm, safe waters of the Caribbean to breed. Whales swim so near to the wall (the coral reef adjacent to the island’s shoreline) that they are easily spotted while relaxing under the cool thatched roof of the tiki bar that is Jack’s Shack. Stop for an icy cold drink, and stay for the prime humpback whale viewing.