45 Best Practical Information Visitors to Turks and Caicos Islands 2022
Turks and Caicos is an archipelago of 40 low-lying coral islands in the Atlantic Ocean, a British Overseas Territory southeast of the Bahamas. The gateway island of Providenciales, known as Provo, is home to expansive Grace Bay Beach, with luxury resorts, shops and restaurants. Scuba-diving sites include a 14-mile barrier reef on Provo’s north shore and a dramatic 2,134m underwater wall off
Grand Turk island.
Capital: Cockburn Town
Dialing code: +1
Currency: United States Dollar
Population: 38,718 (2020) World Bank
Continent: North America
English is the only official language. We are a British Overseas Territory. US plugs – 120V, 60Hz
Converters and adapters are required for visitors from 220V countries (all visitors from Europe). GSM and CDMA (4G)
Many phones work. Check with your phone company before you go. No health problem
Tourists must be vaccinated against COVID-19. There are no endemic diseases.
The currency is the US dollar. Change your money before you come. Eastern time
UTC-5, and in daylight savings time, UTC-4. The same as New York. Driving on the left
We drive on the left, just like in the UK. There are some crazy drivers (be careful). Average Temperature 28° (82° F)
We have good weather all year round, and it rarely rains. Hurricanes rarely occur.
1. General features
The flag of the Turks and Caicos Islands.
The Turks and Caicos Islands are a British Overseas Territory located in the North Atlantic and are made up of two groups of islands: the Turks and the Caicos Islands. There are eight main islands, of which six are populated. The Turks Islands, located to the east of the archipelago, include Grand Turk (the location of the capital) and Cayo Sal. The Caicos Islands are made up (from west to east) of West Caicos , Providenciales , North Caicos , Central Caicos , East Caicos , and South Caicos . Most small keys, such as Cayo Loro (Parrot Cay), Cayo Dellis, and Little Water Cay, are among the Caicos Islands.
Providenciales is the residence of the majority of the population and the most developed, and where the Providenciales International Airport (PLS) is located, where all international flights arrive. Grand Turk is the second-most populous island, the seat of government, and where the Grand Turk Cruise Center is located.
The country’s leading economy is tourism, with a small (but growing) financial services sector. The population is 31,458 (2012 census), and the total area is 238 mi² (616.3 km²).
Grace Bay Beach is an incomparable beach in Providenciales.
See also Where We Are (in English)
The Turks and Caicos Islands are located in the North Atlantic between the Bahamas and the Dominican Republic, 575 miles (925 km) southeast of Miami, Florida.
3. Name, pronunciation, and gentile
The country’s full name is The Turks and Caicos Islands (in English, The Turks and Caicos Islands ). Many people simply say Turks and Caicos or TCI (from the English name). It’s not just ‘Turks.’
The gentile is Turcocaiqueño/a (in English Turks Islander ).
See also History of the Turks and Caicos Islands.
Theodore de Booy documented this pictograph in the late 19th century, but the whereabouts of this inscription was unknown until recently discovered by local writer and photographer Kim Mortimer.
The first inhabitants of the Turks and Caicos Islands were the Taino Indians (Amerindians).
Little is known about these Tainos, but research indicates that they migrated north from the Caribbean around 600 AD. Although some of the largest Taino populations in the region lived on the islands of Central Caicos and East Caicos, the only material evidence of their existence is a few artifacts, some pictographs in caves, and a limited number of stone piles.
Europeans discovered the Turks and Caicos Islands in the late fifteenth or early sixteenth century.
Grand Turk was likely Christopher Columbus’s starting point in the New World on his historic 1492 voyage. The Bahamas). There is a bit of controversy about which island is the starting point, but in any case, Juan Ponce de León indeed visited in 1512.
Because of the diseases carried by the Europeans and the Spanish slavers, the Tainos had disappeared entirely at the end of the 16th century.
Although the Spanish, the English, and the French were visited for the next century, the islands remained deserted. There was no permanent colonization until the late 17th century when British salt collectors (from Bermuda) began developing little natural ponds.
Deep in the country to collect salt from the sea. At this time, England established control over the islands, which has continued (with few interruptions) to this day.
5. Name’s origin
Turkish Fez Cactus (Turk’s Head Cactus), East Caicos.
During the early part of the 17th century, the islands began to have names very similar to the modern ‘The Turks and Caicos Islands.’ Before the 19th century, Ottoman corsairs attacked shipping in the Mediterranean Sea and off the coast of Europe and Africa. These pirates were called ‘Turks’ (in English Turks), and the term became synonymous with ‘pirate.’ Early cartographers combined this with the Taino word ‘cayo his, meaning a chain of islands. The two together served as a warning to avoid the pirate islands. The name is unrelated to the Turkish Fez Cactus ( Melocactus, a small, low cactus with a spiny structure resembling a Turkish Fez hat). This cactus is called in English ‘Turk’s Head Cactus,’ and it is found in some country islands.
Between the early part of the 17th century and the middle of the 18th century, piracy was at its peak worldwide, and the Turks and Caicos Islands were a hot spot for this activity. Several famous pirates, such as “Calico” Jack Rackham, Anne Bonny, Mary Read, François l’Olonnais, and Captain Dulaien, had bases on the islands, as the numerous small islands and inlets found throughout the country were excellent places to hide and surprise ships. The small island of Cayo de Loro (Parrot Cay), which is located between Providenciales and North Caicos, was previously known as Cayo del Pirata (in English Pirate Cay) because of the buccaneers who inhabited the island.
7. Plantations and the salt industry
Wade Plantation Ruins, North Caicos.
See also History of the Turkic Salt Industry (in English)
The salt industry continued to expand well after the American Revolutionary War after displaced British loyalists began arriving from the newly formed United States. Many of these loyalists started cotton plantations, and some enslaved Africans were brought from nearby regions to work on the plantations and in the salt lakes. Along with enslaved Africans freed by the British from the Spanish, these people are the ancestors of most Turkocaiqueños today.
Due to droughts, hurricanes, insects, and diseases, plantations began to fail in the first decades of the 19th century. Sisal (Agave sisalana, a fibrous plant used to make rope) began to be planted initially successfully, but local small-scale production of sisal and salt ruined the industries. Those were tough economic times between the early 20th century and around 1985 when the tourism industry started.
Shells from ‘la Concha’ (a conch) are ubiquitous on the islands and a symbol on the flag Located on Cooper Jack Beach, Providenciales.
See also People, Culture, and Music of the Turks and Caicos Islands
Geographically, the Turks and Caicos Islands are part of the Bahamas archipelago. For centuries, there has been a constant movement of people between these two nations, and therefore they share a similar culture.
La Concha (in English conch), a sea shell, was an essential part of the local diet and continues to be so today. Locally sourced pigeon peas and shell pieces were added to Peas & Rice, a staple in the past. Buñuelos de Concha (in English conch fritters) and Ensalada de Concha (in English conch salad), two popular dishes, are more recent culinary inventions.
‘Ripsaw’ is a local music genre developed during the time of slavery. It scrapes an instrument, such as a screwdriver, over a saw blade to produce a screeching sound. Playing ripsaw is called ripping the saw. Some common accompaniments are guitar, drums, and triangle. Junkanoo, a genre of Bahamian music, was brought to the islands by returning Turko-Caiqueños who have migrated to seek work in the nearby Bahamian islands.
The Turkish-Caiqueña Legislative Assembly is located directly on Cockburn Town Beach, Grand Turk.
See also Government of the Turks and Caicos Islands
As the country is a British Overseas Territory, the UK is responsible for external defense. The internal government is elected locally, with a locally elected prime minister and a governor appointed by Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom.
The Turks and Caicos Islands were under Jamaican jurisdiction until 1962 when Jamaica became independent. The Governor of the Bahamas oversaw local affairs from 1965 to 1973, when the Bahamas also became independent. At this point, the Turks and Caicos Islands received their governor. A new constitution was adopted in 1974, and James Alexander George Smith McCartney (in English James Alexander George Smith McCartney–JAGS McCartney) was the country’s first Prime Minister.
The beautiful waters of Taylor Bay Beach, Providenciales.
See also the Climate of the Turks and Caicos Islands.
In general, the climate of the islands is hot and dry. The year’s average temperature is 26° (80° F). The average annual rainfall is only 83 cm (33″), most of it during April – July.
Hurricane season is between August and November, with most activity concentrated between the end of August and the beginning of September. Hurricanes rarely hit the islands because they generally travel north to the United States or south through Haiti and the Dominican Republic.
11. Why Visit
The pristine Grace Bay Beach, Providenciales.
See also Why visit the Turks and Caicos Islands? (in English)
Grace Bay Beach in Providenciales is frequently ranked as the Best Beach globally, being awarded by TripAdvisor, CNN, and Conde Nast Traveler. There are many other exceptional beaches in the country, such as the shallow Bahía de Zapote (Sapodilla Bay) and Bahía de Taylor (Taylor Bay), and excellent reefs such as La Arrecife de la Bahía (The Bight Reef) and Arrecife de Smith (Smith’s Reef ). ). Governor’s Beach (located at the Grand Turk Cruise Center) is excellent.
The waters surrounding the islands are recognized as an excellent destination for a wide range of water sports, such as kayaking on the Banks of the Caicos or world-class kiteboarding in Long Bay.
Diving is considered one of the top 10 destinations in the Caribbean, and excellent sites are found near West Caicos, Providenciales, Grand Turk, and Cayo Sal.
12. FUN AND EXCITING JET SKI ADVENTURES
Our guided Jet Ski Safari Tours take you to secluded cays and beaches. Traverse through our mangroves and inlet areas and witness the bounty of nature. Our Ghost Freighter excursion will take you to La Famille Express- an abandoned cargo shipped banked near our shores. For a real adventure, try our Southside Jet Ski Tour, where you are taken on a journey around the bend of the island. End the day with a quiet lunch at the famous Bugaloos!
Learn More Call +1 (649) 231-4191 Email Us
13. Practical information
A passport from the Turks and Caicos Islands. The Turks and Caicos Islands is not a sovereign country and therefore shares a common nationality with the 13 other British Overseas Territories.
14. Passports and Visas
For all countries, see Passports and Visas.
Citizens of Spain, the United States, Canada, the European Union, and many other countries can visit without a visa for 90 days with a valid passport. It is possible to extend your trip once for an additional 90 days by visiting an immigration office in Providenciales or Grand Turk.
English is the only official language of the Turks and Caicos Islands. Immigrants from Haiti and the Dominican Republic speak Haitian Creole and Spanish.
Many bars and restaurants have Dominican staff, and therefore it is easy to find someone who speaks Spanish.
The US dollar is the only currency accepted on the islands. If you come from a country that does not use the US dollar, be sure to exchange your currency before you arrive. To change money is only possible in local banks, and they impose very high fees. Also, the queues can be extended (I include lasting more than an hour).
There is no Money Exchange office at Providenciales International Airport (PLS).
17. ATMs and credit/debit cards
An ATM is easily found in Providenciales. Other islands may have only one. Many local businesses accept cards. The issuing bank will charge foreign cards an interchange fee.
The Grand Turk Lighthouse was built in 1852 from prefabricated parts in England.
See also Banks and Financial Institutions.
There are three central banks, Scotiabank, Royal Bank of Canada, and FirstCaribbean. First, the Caribbean offers Visa ABMs, and Scotiabank is on the Cirrus (MasterCard) network. If you need the services of a bank teller, be prepared to wait because local banks often have huge queues, and you can stay over an hour.
19. plugs and voltage
The Turks and Caicos Islands use 120v, 60Hz electricity, and US-type plugs. Converters and adapters are not required for visitors from the United States or Canada. If you come from a country other than North America or the Caribbean, or some countries in South America, you need a plug adapter. It is recommended that you buy it before you arrive because it can be challenging to find on the islands.
Adamas, except North American countries and some South American countries, almost all other countries use 220-240v electricity. Most technological products can work with the electricity of both types. You only need a cheap US plug adapter. Other 220/240v appliances, like irons and hair dryers, don’t work and need a more expensive voltage converter (along with a plug adapter).
20. Time zone
The time zone for the Turks and Caicos Islands is Atlantic Time (AST, GMT-4). We do not make schedule changes in winter.
21. Mobile phones
An Intelsat ground station in Cockburn Town, Grand Turk.
See also Telephones, Internet and mobile phones (in English)
The Turks and Caicos Islands use the GSM standard on the 850/900/1800/1900Mhz frequencies and the CDMA standard. There are two local telephone companies: Flow and Digicel.
GSM phones can use all three networks. CDMA phones can only use the Flow network, but availability depends on your phone model and your contract.
Suppose you think you will be making many local calls or regional calls to other countries in the Caribbean. In that case, you may want to consider buying a local SIM card as it is much cheaper than international roaming. Note that you have to have an unlocked phone if you’re using a local SIM card.
22. Internet access and Wi-Fi
All local telephone companies offer 4G mobile Internet. Wi-Fi is available in many hotels, resorts, and cafes.
23. TV, Radio, and Media
Professional kiteboarder Hope Levin in Mudjin Harbour, Central Caicos.
WIV4 is the leading local news network on channel 4. PTV8 (People’s Television, channel 8) is an alternative local news channel. Most television programming is from the United States and includes all media.
There are many local FM radio stations. AM broadcasts can also be found in the Spanish language of the Dominican Republic. The official government station, Radio Turks and Caicos, is on 107.7 FM. If there is a hurricane, tune in to this station for bulletins.
There are two local newspapers, the TC Weekly News and the TCI Sun, with weekly circulation. There are also two tourist magazines, Times of the Islands and Where, When How. They are available for free at your hotel or resort.
24. Postal and courier services
See also Postal and courier services.
All populated islands have a postal service. Postal services can be slow. There is no home mail delivery, as people simply collect their mail from the local post office. Local FedEx, DHL, and UPS agencies in Providenciales and Grand Turk
The Turks and Caicos Islands do not use a postal code. The postal code ‘TKCA 1ZZ’ (in the British form) exists but is rarely used and is not necessary.
25. Security and Crime
Officers from the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police at the scene of a car accident.
See also Safety and Crime.
The Turks and Caicos Islands have one of the lowest crime rates in the Caribbean, but crime is high compared to the United States, Spain, and Western European countries in general. We recommend avoiding traveling on deserted wagons or walking outside tourist areas at night.
26. Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and other weapons and controlled substances
The drinking age in the Turks and Caicos Islands is 18 years. Customers who appear to be under the age of 21 must show identification.
Drugs are strictly prohibited, including marijuana. If a drug is illegal in the United States or the United Kingdom, it is probably illegal in the Turks and Caicos Islands.
Firearms and other types of weapons are strictly controlled, and possession requires a permit. There are mandatory minimum sentences for possession of firearms without a license.
27. Health and Sanitation
See also Health and Sanitation Information.
In 2010, new hospitals were built in Providenciales and Grand Turk. This has expanded the medical assistance available. Other islands have small clinics, and Providenciales has other specialists, such as dentists and eye doctors. People are stabilized and flown to Miami, Florida, in serious emergencies, by air ambulance.
There are no endemic diseases on the islands, and the WHO and the CCPEEU (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC) does not recommend any vaccinations before coming.
Some venous plants exist, such as Coral Sumac and American Licorice (rosary pea). In general, they are found only in the desert. Snorkelers and scuba divers should be aware of the lionfish, which can sting, and in some cases paralyze, humans.
28. Embassies and Consulates Information
See also the list of Embassies and Consulates (in English)
The United States, Haiti, and Jamaica are the only countries with diplomatic representation in the Turks and Caicos Islands. All other countries are represented by their embassies in other countries, usually the Bahamas or Jamaica.
29. How to get
See also How to get to the Turks and Caicos Islands (in English)
30. International flights
See also International flights to the Turks and Caicos Islands
There are several daily international flights from several North American cities, including New York, Toronto, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Atlanta, and Miami. The only transatlantic flight is a weekly British Airways flight from London Heathrow Airport on Sundays.
All international flights arrive at Providenciales International Airport (PLS).
31. Cruise ships
An ocean liner to the Grand Turk Cruise Center.
Carnival Cruises operates several Caribbean cruise ships that call at the Grand Turk Cruise Center. The layover time is 5-7 hours, which is plenty of time to explore Grand Turk’s historic sites, visit the Gibbs Cay stingray sanctuary, or do other water sports such as scuba diving or snorkeling.
32. customs information
See also Customs duties (in English)
Visitors are allowed to bring the following into the country duty-free:
- One quart (1,136 liters) of alcohol
- Two hundred cigarettes, 100 cigarettes (a type between cigarettes and cigars), 50 cigars/cigars, or 8 ounces (220 grams) of tobacco
- $200 taxable gifts that will remain on the islands
- ‘Reasonable’ amount of owned property
A doctor’s prescription must accompany prescription medications. It is recommended that all drugs be kept in the original packaging to avoid confusion and questions at ports of entry.
There are restrictions on importing firearms and dangerous weapons without written authorization from the police station.
33. traveling with pets
See also Traveling with pets.
Since the approval of the new laws, it has been more challenging to travel with pets. You must obtain a permit at least one week before arriving on the islands. You must complete the necessary forms, pay the fee, and present the animal health certificates to receive a permit. In addition, several breeds of dogs are prohibited.
There are no public buses or other forms of public transportation on the islands. Many hotels and resorts offer complimentary shuttle service, and taxis are readily available at Providenciales International Airport (PLS).
Most tourists are advised to rent a car during their trip unless they spend most of their time at their hotel or resort.
35. Rent a car and driving
A Land Rover Discovery at Pumpkin Bluff, North Caicos.
See also Driving in the Turks and Caicos Islands.
We drive on the left, like in the UK. However, most cars (and other cars like buses) are from the United States, and the steering wheel is on the right (i.e., the wrong side).
The quality of two local road drivers is low. You should leave enough space between cars and be prepared to stop quickly.
An International Driving Permit may be required if your driving license is not English. The minimum age to drive a car is usually 23 and 18 for motorcycles (scooters).
Providenciales TaxisGrand Turk Taxis
It is easy to get a taxi in Providenciales and Grand Turk. Taxis are not readily available on the other islands, such as North Caicos, Central Caicos, South Caicos, and Salt Cay.
Fares are higher than usual, and it is recommended that you negotiate the fare before entering the taxi. If your trip is for several days, it is recommended that you rent a car.
37. Inter-island flights and ferries
The Providenciales – North Caicos ferry arrives at Sandy Point Marina, North Caicos.
See also National flights and ferries.
There is a regular ferry service to North Caicos and Central Caicos (connected by road) and South Caicos. There are regular flight services to Grand Turk and Cayo Sal.
Ferry fares are reasonable. Flights are expensive considering the short distance.
See also Where to Stay in the Turks and Caicos Islands
Providenciales has a wide range of accommodations, including the country’s only “all-inclusive” resorts. Other islands have hotels and villas but no luxury resorts.
39. Hotels and Resorts
Resorts on Grace Bay Beach, Providenciales.
Providenciales has many hotels and resorts, many of which are located directly on the famous Grace Bay beach.
Grand Turk has few resorts, many of which offer diving packages. All the other islands have both catered and unattended villas and small hotels.
40. All-Inclusive Resorts
Beaches Turks and Caicos (a part of the Sandals group) and Club Med are the most popular all-inclusive resorts, and both are located in Providenciales.
Villas are a popular option and are available on all populated islands. For some islands, for example, Cayo Sal, villas are the only accommodation available.
A wide range of prices is available, from $100/night to over $8,000/week.
42. camping and backpacking
Camping and backpacking are not popular on the islands. There are no camping areas, and there is a lack of public facilities, such as toilets and showers.
43. cheap accommodation
There is a lack of affordable accommodation in the Turks and Caicos Islands, such as youth hostels (hostels). You can find the cheapest flatshares on sites like Airbnb or VRBO.
44. Purchases and prices
Some memories in the Casa de la Sal (Salt House), Grand Turk
See also Shopping in the Turks and Caicos Islands
There is not a wide range of shopping available on the islands, except jewelry and tourist souvenirs.
Providenciales has the most extensive range, although Grand Turk has several excellent gift shops selling locally produced items such as tourist souvenirs, bath salts, and soap.
Tourist souvenir prices are in line with the rest of the Caribbean, e.g., $20 for a t-shirt or $10 for a cup of coffee. Prices for groceries are high compared to the United States.
- Pricing Example
- Article Price
- Gasoline (liter) $1.50
- Kellogg’s Corn Flakes (340g) $6.49
- Cadbury Chocolate Bar (75g) $2.19
- Whole chicken (raw) $9.00
- Melon $3.50
- Large pizza (45 cm, to go) $22.00
- milk (liter) $3.50
- Pineapple $6.50
- Beer – Guinness (6 bottles of 350ml) $18.99
- Beer – Heineken (6 bottles of 350ml) $18.99
- Beer – Turks Head (6 bottles of 350ml) $11.49
- Coca-Cola (6 cans of 350ml) $5.39
- Cinema ticket (adult) $8.50
- cappuccino $4.50
Do you need a passport to go to Turks and Caicos?
A valid passport is required for entry and exit. Visit the website of the Turks and Caicos Immigration Department for the most current visa information. The nearest emergency U.S. passport facility is located in Nassau, The Bahamas
Is Turks and Caicos high risk?
COVID-19 in the Turks and Caicos Islands – COVID-19 Very High – Level 4: COVID-19 Very High – Travel Health Notices | Travelers’ Health | CDC.
What airline flies to Turks Caicos?
Which airlines offer direct flights to Turks and Caicos Islands? American Airlines, jetBlue, United, Delta, Southwest Airlines, Envoy Air, Qatar Airways and Sun Country Airlines all fly non-stop to Turks and Caicos Islands.
How much is a trip to Turks and Caicos?
A vacation to Turks and Caicos Islands for one week usually costs around $1,835 for one person. So, a trip to Turks and Caicos Islands for two people costs around $3,671 for one week. A trip for two weeks for two people costs $7,342 in Turks and Caicos Islands.
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45 Best Practical Information Visitors to Turks and Caicos Islands 2022