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Turks and Caicos Islands
Turks and Caicos Islands
There are eight main islands in the country, with six of them inhabited, and countless small cays. With an area of 238 mi² (616 km²), the TCI is about double the size of the Florida Keys.
Providenciales, also known locally as Provo, is home to the spectacular Grace Bay Beach, most luxury and all-inclusive hotels and resorts, and is the destination of choice for most of our overnight tourists. It's also where the majority of our population of 35,446 reside. All international flights to the Turks and Caicos arrive at Providenciales.
Our island of Grand Turk is home to the country’s capital city of Cockburn Town, as well as the only cruise ship port in the islands. Grand Turk has some interesting historical sights and exceptional diving, yet has been overshadowed by Providenciales as the center of activity in the archipelago. Front Street in particular has most of the nation's oldest buildings, churches and other landmarks.
North Caicos, Middle Caicos, South Caicos and Salt Cay are our quiet outer islands, and are laid-back and a bit more down to earth. These hidden tropical gems are largely supported by low-key tourism and small-scale fishing and farming.
The Turks and Caicos has experienced a fascinating and varied history, with fortuitous connections to several memorable events that took place in the Caribbean and New World.
The Turks and Caicos (TCI) is found halfway between the Bahamas and the Dominican Republic, and by air is only a 90 minute trip from Miami and 3 hours and 40 minutes from New York.
The island of Grand Turk is home to the only cruise ship port in the country and welcomes several vessels per week. All international flights land at the Providenciales International Airport (PLS), on the island of Providenciales.
The Turks and Caicos is part of the Lucayan Archipelago, which is an island chain that also includes the Bahamas, and the submerged marine plateaus of the Mouchoir Bank, the Silver Bank, and the Navidad Bank.
Domestic flights and passenger ferries connect the inhabited islands in the Turks and Caicos.
If you'll be renting a car, print a map of your island to help plan and find your way around.
Other Caribbean destinations offer giant water parks, nightlife, casinos, or the extravagant Carnival. Our tourism claim to fame is a bit closer to nature – we have the best beaches in the world. This is of course a tremendous assertion to make, but take a few steps on our powdery sand and we’re sure that you’ll agree too.
Pristine white sand (often slightly tinted with pink) and crystal ocean water with breath-taking turquoise and blue hues define our coasts. And we don’t just have one or two great beaches, every main island in the country hides wonderful and secluded beaches, some of which go months without seeing a single visitor. There are miles of pristine sand and sea to explore and relax at.
The crown jewel of the country, the unrivaled and world-famous Grace Bay Beach on Providenciales, has captured countless awards and recognition. Never crowded, Grace Bay is true paradise, with breath-taking beauty.
What good is a top-rated beach without sunny weather and a perfect climate? The Turks and Caicos boasts an average of 350 days of sunshine per year. Temperatures are consistently warm and there’s very little rain to dampen the mood.
Providenciales, the main tourism island, garnered TripAdvisor's Traveler's Choice award as Best Island in 2015, and Grace Bay Beach currently holds the top spot in the Best Beach category.
Throughout the year, our ocean water temperature is also good news for your vacation, maintaining a pleasantly-warm and serene average in the mid-80°F range (29°C).
There’s always something fun to do on or in the ocean while on your holiday.
An expansive barrier reef, one of the largest in the world, protects our coasts and is a home to vibrant coral, dolphins, turtles, stingrays and colorful fish. Little shore reefs and the sheer wall sites (where the coral shelf drops abruptly from 50 feet into the thousands) create the perfect diving and snorkeling playground.
The sheltered and winding mangrove channels of the Turks and Caicos wetlands are prime spots for stand up paddle boarding and kayaking. You’ll see conch, turtles, stingrays, baby sharks and bird life the way they are meant to be seen; in their natural environment.
Our incredible coral reefs and amazing beaches aren’t the only attractions. We have a small yet select museum which features Turks and Caicos artefacts spanning over 700 years of history and culture, art galleries, and the unique and friendly potcake dog, which is the best island pet around!
Want to get your heart racing? Take in the view from above with parasailing over Grace Bay, go horseback riding on the beach, or cruise the unbelievably-turquoise Caicos Banks on a jet ski. Wakeboarding and tubing are also great, with incredible flat water spots hidden between our pristine cays and beaches. For anglers, a fishing charter can be a prefect way to spend a day on the water.
On the breezier days, the kiteboarding and wind surfing conditions are excellent. The shallow turquoise water and clean sandy bottom of Long Bay Beach on Providenciales is increasingly becoming recognized for what it is: one of the finest kite spots in the region.
Exciting activities and attractions are found on land as well. Caves, historical ruins and nature await. For those with relaxation in mind, one of our luxurious spas is the perfect place to get away from it all.
The choice of luxury hotels, all-inclusive resorts, and vacation rental villas in the Turks and Caicos is extensive.
The island of Providenciales hosts all of the expansive resorts in the country. Choose from beachfront suites on the award-winning Grace Bay, comfortable luxury villas overlooking the brilliant waters of Chalk Sound Lagoon, Turtle Tail and Long Bay, or the exclusive resorts of the rugged and wild west coast.
Although they lack large-scale luxury hotels and resorts, the smaller islands in the Turks and Caicos offer tranquil accommodations in their own right. Small and romantic vacation rentals, often primarily located on secluded beaches, take the place of the more extensive accommodations.
Many of our resorts boast an impressive range of amenities and service, including boutique spas and exquisite in-house dining. Concierge services at your hotel are able to arrange everything from private boat cruises to a morning round of golf.
Vacation rental villas can be a great choice for larger groups. There’s a wide selection of lodgings in the villa category, including everything from a single room to an expansive beachfront mansion, with bookings available for single nights or by the week. Amenities may include a pool, complimentary use of a car, free airport pick up, visits to the spa, gourmet chief services, and water sports equipment. Great locations for villa rentals in Providenciales include Leeward, Long Bay, Turtle Cove, Sapodilla Bay, Chalk Sound, Taylor Bay, and Turtle Tail.
Whether you’re looking for an extravagant all-inclusive resort or a quiet and secluded lodging, the perfect accommodation for your holiday is waiting.
The Turks and Caicos is fortunate to be home to an incredibly beautiful reef system. A vibrant barrier reef surrounds both the Turks Islands and Caicos Islands archipelagos, and many of the region’s top scuba diving sites are found here.
Providenciales and Grand Turk offer a wide range of professional dive shops, which regularly visit hundreds of dive sites across the country.
For those who’d rather stay a little closer to the ocean surface, a snorkeling boat tour is a great way to experience our underwater environment. Excursions stop at many locations across our barrier reefs, shallow bays and uninhabited coastlines.
There’s always fascinating marine animals to spot. In addition to colorful reef fish, turtles, conch and stingrays are common, and you may even see Jojo, our unique and friendly Atlantic bottlenose dolphin!
Providenciales offers quite a few reefs close to shore. You’ll be able to see exquisite coral and reef fish right off the beach at Smith's Reef and the Bight Reef. Several reefs are in shallow water and are perfect for children.
Grace Bay and Providenciales are not the only destinations to experience luxury at in the Turks and Caicos. Our archipelago is home to several spectacular and unique boutique islands that feature exclusive resorts and real estate developments.
Sailrock on the northern peninsula of South Caicos is one of the largest resort and upscale development projects in the Turks and Caicos, and features a luxury villa resort enclave and residential real estate parcels. The northern peninsula of South Caicos is incredibly scenic, with panoramic views deep blue waters of the Columbus Passage and the turquoise hues of the Bell Sound National Park.
Ambergris Cay, located on the remote south-eastern edge of the Caicos Banks, is a private island retreat, with breath-taking vistas, low density development, and a spectacular eco system. The pristine nature reserve island of Little Ambergris Cay is the counterpart to Greater Ambergris Cay, and boasts of some of the finest beaches in the country.
The COMO Parrot Cay Resort on Parrot Cay and the Meridian Club on Pine Cay are two smaller yet equally spectacular destinations, and are located between Providenciales and North Caicos. These cays are home to amazing beaches and a laid-back yet luxurious tourism experience.
The Turks and Caicos Islands, through its status as a British Overseas Territory, is a stable democracy with English as the official language. On our national flag, you'll see the Union Jack along with our crest. We have a locally elected government, headed by a premier, and an appointed governor. Due to the small size of the country, we don’t issue our own money and instead use the US Dollar as the accepted currency in the islands.
Most US, Canadian, UK and European mobile phones will work here, so it’s easy to keep in touch with friends and family back home.
Browse our travel guides for hints, tips and local business info. A little research will help you get the most out of your Turks and Caicos vacation experience.
The islands have become a popular destination for beach destination weddings and honeymoons, and many of the local resorts offer specialized packages. Several excellent photographers are located on Providenciales to memorialize your day.
The Turks and Caicos is also a tropical getaway of choice for the rich and famous. Countless celebrities have taken vacations to our secluded islands. Here you can find tranquility and amazing beaches – far from the bustle of life in the city.
Offering a diversity of cuisines and local food, Providenciales has become an exceptional destination for gourmet dining. Freshly-caught conch, spiny lobster, and fish factor into many dishes, however, international twists and fusions are what makes the country’s restaurants so delicious. Many of our popular establishments offer a menu combining the top tastes from our islands, Jamaica, the Bahamas, America, and Europe.
If you’d prefer something a bit more authentic, pan-poached grouper and lobster, cracked conch, and fish stews have been favorite local foods for generations. If you’re looking for the full cultural experience, try one of our local restaurants featuring live music, including the local ripsaw musical style. On Providenciales, the most popular local cuisine restaurants are located in the settlements of Blue Hills and Five Cays, and include establishments such as the Conch Shack, Omar's Restaurant, and Bugaloo’s.
For those staying on an all-inclusive holiday, the food and drink choices are varied as well. Each of our all-inclusive resorts are home to a wide array of restaurants and cuisines.
Several of our world-class restaurants are quite popular, so you may want to make your reservations in advance!
The island of Providenciales is the home of gourmet dining in the islands, and there’s a wealth of amazing restaurants to sample!
Taking a day trip to one of our smaller and less-inhabited cays is a recommended activity. The Turks and Caicos is home to so many beautiful vistas, and planning your own tour is easy.
When in season, humpback whale watching can be a truly incredible experience as you swim with these gentle giants.
An island hopping boat cruise is the perfect family trip. Along with the amazing beaches and ocean, some of our uninhabited cays are home to a unique and friendly animal – the Turks and Caicos Rock Iguana. These large lizards are quite approachable and offer an all-too-rare chance to see a critically endangered animal in its natural environment. Boat cruises often include a little of everything: snorkeling, sight-seeing, tube wake riding and a beach barbecue.
There's a countless array of spectacular places to explore in our island chain. Check out our destination guides for everything you need to know about booking your excursion.
The Turks and Caicos is becoming a hotspot for luxury real estate and development. There are many exquisite coastal regions in the country, from secluded coasts such as Silly Creek, Turtle Tail, and Leeward on Providenciales, to deserted beaches on our less populated islands, including Bambarra Beach on Middle Caicos and Whitby Beach on North Caicos.
The main developed island of Providenciales is experiencing a very strong construction market, and is home to much of the nation’s infrastructure and financial services.
It’s easy to get to the Turks and Caicos. Direct flights from major US airlines connect Providenciales to New York, Miami, Boston, Charlotte, Fort Lauderdale, Atlanta, Philadelphia, and other cities in the United States. Canada is also within easy reach, with direct flights from Toronto and Montreal, and there are flights from London as well. Regional airlines connect the Bahamas, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, and other Caribbean destinations.
Convenience is key. Once your plane touches down, you can be relaxing on Grace Bay Beach in less than an hour. You won’t have to spend hours traveling by bus, car, or train to get to your accommodation.
For those renting a car and driving here, our road system is good and speeds are limited to 40 MPH. We do drive on the left, though! If you’d prefer not to drive while on vacation, it’s easy to find a taxi or arrange a private car service.
The time zone observed in the Turks and Caicos is Eastern Standard Time (UTC/GMT -5). We're on the same time zone as the major US east coast cities, which is very convenient!
As a British Overseas Territory, the Turks and Caicos bases its entry requirements and visa policies off of the practices of the United Kingdom. No visa is necessary for those who hold a passport or valid resident or tourist visa from the United States, United Kingdom or Canada.
Quite a few hotels and resorts offer vacation packages, which include airline tickets, activities, dining, and, of course, lodging. Such deals often offer significant savings on your vacation costs.
The only cruise ship port in the Turks and Caicos is located on the island of Grand Turk. Here you’ll find great beaches, historical sights from the sea salt industry, and the country’s only lighthouse. Gibbs Cay offers visitors the chance to have encounters with wild stingrays and is a popular activity with cruise visitors.
Browse our travel guides and budget vacation page for essential information and hints and tips on getting the best prices on accommodations, flights and transportation. It’s possible to book directly with many of the local accommodations and save.
Grand Turk was a witness to several historic events in human history. The little island may have been Columbus’ first point of landfall in the New World. France and Britain wrestled for control of our archipelago in the late 1700s and Horatio Nelson suffered one of his few defeats (albeit minor!) here, and John Glenn’s first step back on dry land after orbiting the earth in 1962 was on Grand Turk. A great place to discover how the country factored into world events is at the National Museum in Cockburn Town.
One of the best ways that cruise visitors to Grand Turk can spend their stay is to simply explore. The island is very small, safe, and easy to navigate. Arrange your car rental, and you’re off!
The Turks and Caicos experiences natural changes in tourist arrivals throughout the year, with the winter months being the “high season” and the quieter autumn months referred to as the “low season”. Local hotels, water sport businesses, and spas often offer discounts and travel agent specials during the low season, and rates for rooms may be as much as half off the high season price.
Cruises typically depart from east coast American cities such as Miami, Orlando, and New York, and then follow a counter-clockwise loop through the upper Caribbean, so the memorable and incredible beaches of Grand Turk will typically be the first or last shore stop of the cruise journey.