The Turks and Caicos is an archipelago of forty islands located 575 miles southeast of Miami. The country is a British Overseas Territory with a population of about 30,000 spread over nine inhabited islands. The capitol of the Turks and Caicos is Cockburn Town on Grand Turk. English is the official language spoken, and the universally accepted currency is the US Dollar.
Who discovered the islands first is debated. Some historians believe it was Juan Ponce de Leon in 1512, others believe it was Columbus in 1492. Control of the islands was passed over time from Spain, to France and finally to Britain. Until the 1950's, sea salt production was the major industry here, with cotton, sisal and sugar cane plantations and ship wreck salvaging occasionally being attempted. Now, tourism, fishing and financial services are the main revenue sources for the country. For more history, see our Turks and Caicos History page. Providenciales is the most developed island in the Turks and Caicos and is the economic and tourist epicenter. Grand Turk distantly follows Providenciales in terms of infrastructure, but the other inhabited islands in the country are sparsely populated and tend to reflect the atmosphere of the old Caribbean.
The main claim to fame for the country is the spectacular beaches and crystal-clear water, crowned by the world-renowned seven mile long Grace Bay beach on Providenciales. The climate in the Turks and Caicos complements the beaches, with sunny days and temperatures ranging from 75F to 90F being the norm.
The Turks and Caicos is also acclaimed for its exceptional diving and is home to the third largest barrier reef system in the world. The coral walls at Grand Turk, Providenciales and West Caicos, where the depth drops from 30-50 feet (9-15 m) to over 7,000 feet (2.1 km), and are among the best in the world. Many old ship wrecks and diverse sea life are found throughout the islands. Sport fishing is another major attraction in the Turks and Caicos. Every year, several tournaments take place in the islands, from the international Caicos Classic billfishing event held on Providenciales, to many smaller reef and bottom fishing contests. The bone fishing found on the Caicos flats near Ambergris Cay, Providenciales and the Caicos Islands is unmatched.
Grand Turk is also becoming one of the most popular cruise ship destinations in the Caribbean. Opened in 2006, the Cruise Center on Grand Turk serves hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. Getting to the Turks and Caicos is easy. Direct flights are offered by several major airlines from 13 cities (New York, Charlotte, Miami, Toronto, London and more), and visas are not required for most nationalities.