Air Journey

COMO Parrot Cay in Turks and Caicos

by Thierry Pouille

IMG_8568For the past 20 years, I’ve been covering the world of flying destinations. And occasionally, my wife Sofie and I look for destinations that we could reach easily from South Florida to escape and relax.

I have visited a great number of fantastic resorts on the different islands, but it is only recently (2019) that I discovered the COMO Parrot Cay Resort. It’s promptly been added to my list and a place I will visit again.

The airport of destination is Providenciales International (MBPV). It’s a mere 525 nautical miles from south Florida. The flight itself is a straight line down the Bahamian island chain to Turks and Caicos (which is an independent country – not part of the Bahamas).

IMG_9501The departure from Florida is usually associated with step-climbs in order for the Miami Center to let the commercial traffic coming from the south and the north to fly above you – initial is 2,000, 3,000, 5,000. Once you are finally far enough east and in sight of the Bahamas, they will start to get you up.

The long departure is usually rewarded by a direct flight to the arrival approach in Turks and Caicos. There are only a couple of altitude restrictions. Radar is available all the way but down only to 8,000 feet. Then you are under the care of the Turks Providenciales approach and they will step you down the old way after requesting radial and distance from the VOR or the waypoint assigned to you on your arrival.

IMG_9502One major difference in Turks and Caicos is that they follow the rules of Europe and their transition level is not 18,000 feet as we are used to here in the U.S. – it is only 5,000 feet. So, it’s not unusual to hear them say you are clear to flight level 100, you’re clear to flight level 070. If you go there, don’t make the rookie mistake.

Upon landing, there are a couple of FBOs on the field. I like Provo Air Center which I’ve been using over the years. They provide fantastic service and they have direct access to the main highway of the island. You are then transported via a Cadillac Escalade to a private marina for the 20-minute boat ride to the private island of Parrot Cay.

COMO Parrot Cay been around for more than 20 years and belongs to the ONG group from Singapore who has a substantial amount of investment in the hotel industry. Not only from the name COMO resort, but also several Four Seasons Hotels in the Far East.

DSCN1858At the resort, which reminds me of a high-end Bahamian building, they offer you everything from garden-view rooms to four-bedroom villas right on the ocean. There are choices for every budget and every taste. On staff, there is a mix of Oriental, Turks and Caicos and European members. The offering of the menu is one of the best in the Caribbean – not to mention, their wine cellar which features wine from every area of the world.

The island offers everything of the sea – snorkeling, fly fishing, reef fishing and deep sea fishing to underneath with dive fishing. Onsite, there are also tennis courts as well as bicycles to roam the 200 acres of the island on a paved trail. If you are into the spa, the COMO group owns the Shambhala wellness program which is built around the Indian Wellness Approach with a doctor available.

Time at COMO Parrot Cay will go fast and soon it will be time to reverse course and head back home. This will begin with the 20-minute boat ride to the private marina, transport to the FBO, the filing of the flight plan and eAPIS, then it’s back home to reality.