Along the historical Duke Street on the island of Grand Turk is an overlooked gem: the Salt Raker Inn. Inside this small obscured lodging dating back to the 19th century, shaded by leafy trees and large balconies, awaits a true Caribbean stay of Old World charm. The inn’s historical character paired with modern amenities makes for a comfortable yet authentic visit to the capital island of the Turks and Caicos.
A small sign and white-picket fence distinguish this quaint inn from its neighbors, enticing travelers who have escaped the hustle and bustle of Providenciales to grab a hammock and allow the soothing sounds of the seashore to wash the heat of the day away.
Built in the 1850s by shipwright Jonathan Glass, the Salt Raker Inn offers 13 cool, spacious rooms and en-suites: namely two ocean-view suites with a balcony, one ground-floor ocean-view suite, six garden rooms, and four sea-view rooms. Shady trees and sea breeze provide natural air conditioning, but all rooms are equipped with fans and air conditioning should summer days prove to be too hot to handle. Other necessary mod-cons at this establishment juxtapose the historical aesthetic, including a coffee station, television, and mini-bar fridge.
Salt Raker Inn is a literal stone’s throw from the ocean and the perfect location for any scuba diver wanting to explore the abundant coral and marine life on offer in Grand Turk. The inn is also conveniently within walking distance of three dive operators, and dive packages can be arranged upon request.
Beachcombers and sun worshipers could easily spend hours hunting for weathered sea glass while soaking up the sun.
Almost as clandestine as the Salt Raker itself is the Secret Garden, the quirky on-site bar and restaurant, open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Here you can order fresh conch dishes, as well as burgers, and fish and chips. If you plan it well, you could catch the local band adding an island twist to old classics while enjoying your meal and sipping on an ice-cold beer.
Other restaurants are within a five-minute walk, including the Sandbar Restaurant (a local meeting spot where fishers compare the day’s catch and residents meet to swap stories of the day’s events), and the restaurants at the Osprey Beach Hotel and Turks Head Inne.
If it is historical heritage you’re after, be sure to pay the Turks and Caicos National Museum a visit—a finely curated treasure trove filled with historical evidence of the islands’ interesting and at times turbulent past, including artifacts from the Lucayan people, who were some of the previous inhabitants of the Bahamian Archipelago before the European conquest of the Americas. For the more adventurous visitor, the Turks and Caicos National Trust has a bird-watching trail that will take them all over Grand Turk before returning to the Salt Raker for a well-deserved afternoon nap or swim in the adjacent azure waters.
The inn’s location allows for easy exploring on-foot as it is within walking distance of the Columbus Landfall National Park, which encompasses some of the most pristine coastline in the world. Recreational activities are permitted in the protected areas, including spectacular snorkeling, kayaking, and diving, however, fishing is prohibited. This allows for some unusual and interesting near-shore sightings, including spotted eagle rays and sea turtles.
To get to Grand Turk, travelers must first fly to the main island hub of Providenciales. From there, you can catch a short 20-minute domestic flight to Grand Turk. Once you arrive, you can either rent a car or hire a taxi to explore the island. Better yet, you can rent a golf cart, which is an ideal way to explore the quiet historical streets of Grand Turk.
However, should you choose to stay put, the Salt Raker Inn will take you back in time and allow you to unplug from an uncertain world. Creaky wooden floors and homely surroundings will transport you to a place of familiarity, where time is a construct dictated by the tides—and the stunning ocean views will surely make it hard to leave.