The Turks and Caicos is a small archipelago nation, and rental cars and taxis are the primary means of transport. Taxis are typically quite expensive, which consequently makes a rental vehicle the best way to get around for the typical visitor.
Our country consists of six main islands. Only two of these islands, North Caicos and Middle Caicos, are connected by a drivable road causeway. There are no car ferries that travel between our islands. If you’d like to visit one of our outer islands on a day trip, it’s necessary to make arrangements for a separate vehicle rental.
Each of our main islands offer widely varying numbers of car rental companies, fleet sizes, and general levels of car conditions.
Providenciales supports by far the greatest number of rental agencies, and has large fleets of great condition cars of every class. Many of the larger companies maintain fleets that are no more than a 2-4 years old.
Grand Turk’s tourism largely centres on the cruise industry. The island isn’t extensive and many visitors only stay for several hours, so rental vehicles are usually compact economy class, scooters, or 4x4 buggies. Larger conventional cars and SUVs are available, yet tend to be a bit older than what’s common to Providenciales.
North Caicos and South Caicos, due to the limited number of tourist arrivals, have only a few businesses to choose from. Vehicle selection is quite limited, and age and condition isn’t up to the standard found on Providenciales.
Salt Cay is a very small island, and the only rental vehicles available are off-road golf carts, bicycles, and the occasional moped.
On Providenciales, several of the car rental companies offer complimentary airport car pick up and drop off, or an airport shuttle service from a nearby facility. We generally recommend selecting a company with such an amenity, as the taxi rates for two short rides will often approach a day’s car rental costs.
On our other islands, pick up and drop off from the visitor’s point of arrival is standard practice (whether airport, ferry dock or the Grand Turk Cruise Center).
Economy car rates on Providenciales start at just under $50 (with taxes) per day, and up to about $170 per day for large luxury SUVs and passenger vans.
The rental rates on our other islands tend to be a bit higher due to the fewer number of visitors and greater business operating costs. Basic cars start at about $75 per day.
Gasoline and diesel fuel prices tend to be quite high in the Turks and Caicos, largely due to the import expenses associated with the lack of a deep water cargo port.
Prices are typically lowest on Providenciales, at under $5 per imperial gallon, and are a little higher on our less-populated islands.
As our islands are quite small, driving distances are not great and fuel consumption is typically far less than what may be experienced at other destinations.
GPS navigation and mapping is typically not needed or very accurate in the Turks and Caicos.
A few beaches and sights can be somewhat difficult to find, yet in the majority of cases, inaccuracies in maps and the lack of address and street names restrict the effectiveness of GPS.
Providenciales is centre of tourism in the Turks and Caicos, and the driving conditions on this island can be frustratingly bad due to the poor behaviour of some drivers, especially taxis and illegal jitney taxis. We advise driving with great caution. See Driving in the Turks and Caicos.
Our other islands see far fewer vehicles on the roads, and road conditions are generally stress-free.
Baby and child car seats are typically available from the larger rental companies on Providenciales. Grace Bay Car Rentals offers the complementary use of seats.
The rental car companies on our other islands usually do not have child seats.
Scooters are available for rent on Providenciales and Grand Turk. For guests staying on Providenciales, we suggest that an economy or “character class” car is the better choice due to the hectic road conditions, and their lower rental fees, air conditioning, and sun protection.
We advise ensuring that all damages and imperfections of a rental car are noted before departing from the rental company.
On Providenciales, there is no reason to settle for a poor conditions or unreliable car. The majority of rental cars are in good condition.
The Turks and Caicos offers a plethora of back roads and scenic routes, and many of these can be quite rough and only suitable for high clearance vehicles. Strikes from rocks can cause expensive repairs which may not be covered by insurance.
Driving off road on the beach, in salt flats and wetlands, or through light coastal vegetation is strictly prohibited. Many of these beautiful environments take decades to recover from the damage caused by a single car.
Be aware that the insurance policies offered by local car rental companies may not cover damage sustained on poor-condition roads or during off-road use. One local Providenciales company clarifies that its policies do not cover the remote albeit beautiful locations of Northwest Point, Malcolm’s Road Beach, and West Harbour Bluff on the west coast of the island.