Grace Bay Grace Bay, Turks and Caicos.
Nothing found. Try changing your search terms.

Turks and Caicos Guide for Digital Nomads

Yacht in the Turks and Caicos
A yacht at Water Cay near Providenciales.

The Turks and Caicos is not a popular destination for digital nomads and remote workers (generally due to high costs), but it has some advantages compared to other destinations. It has the advantages (for some) of being English-speaking, using the U.S. dollar, the East Coast time zone (same as New York), and a spectacular marine environment, but costs will likely be triple compared to other popular destinations in the Mexican Caribbean, Dominican Republic, or southern Spain.

The Basics

The country is a British Overseas Territory, however, immigration law is completely separate from the United Kingdom (British Citizens do not have any rights above other nationalities). The country speaks English, uses the U.S. Dollar, and we use U.S. style power plugs. We drive on the left, however, in many other aspects, the islands have become quite ‘Americanized’.

Cash is widely accepted along with cards. Some places have a minimum amount to use a card ($10-20). ATMs are frequently offline, and this is also the case with card machines at businesses. As such, you’ll need to carry at least some cash with you.

The tap water is safe to drink, however, it has a high salt content (around 400 ppm), which is above the recommended sodium content for drinking water by some agencies.

Length of Stay and Residency

Aerial view of Grace Bay
Grace Bay on the island of Providenciales.

Visitors are granted entry for up to 90 days, and your passport will be stamped with your departure date. It’s possible to get an extension by visiting the local Immigration Department (or paying an agent to handle it on your behalf).

It’s important to note that immigration officers won’t always stamp you for more than 30 days. For example, even if you arrive with an onward ticket for two months from now, it’s common to only get a 30-day stamp. You’d need to get a visitor extension, which is usually granted. It’s basically a cost-generating revenue for the government (and a hassle for everyone).

For persons looking to stay longer, it’s possible to get residence permits (without the right-to-work) for around $2,000 per year. These require a lot of paperwork (proof of funds, full medical evaluation, etc.) and you’ll need the services of an agent to handle it on your behalf. Technically, any sort of work is prohibited on a residence permit (even working for your own company). However, remote working in TCI isn’t policed, due to the obvious difficulties in tracking and enforcement.

It’s strictly prohibited to work for a local business whilst on a residence permit, including out-of-office work such as social media management, graphics design, etc.

Another option is to get a self-employed work permit. These cost $9,500 per year, and require the setting up of a local Turks and Caicos business.

There is no scheme dedicated to digital nomads, such as the schemes that exist in Indonesia and Portugal.

Costs

The Turks and Caicos, once both accommodation and general day-to-day expenses are factored in, is quite expensive. It is at least on par with major international cities and is certainly not a cheap destination for digital nomads.

Basic accommodation will be $100-$200 per night (mid and longer-term rentals). A basic lunch from a cheap restaurant is $20.

Safety and Crime

Unfortunately, crime has increased in recent years. For a full discussion on crime, see Safety and Crime.

Islands and Neighbourhoods

The overwhelming majority of overnight visitors stay on Providenciales, where the majority of the population lives. Grand Turk is home to a cruise port, and is the second most-populated island after Providenciales.

For most people, Providenciales is the best choice. The other islands (North Caicos, Middle Caicos, South Caicos, and Grand Turk) are options for those who are truly looking for an ‘off-the-grid’ type of place. These family islands generally have little tourism (apart from the cruise crowds of Grand Turk), limited dining options, and few things to do apart from nature-related activities (hiking, water sports, etc).

Within Providenciales, most people will want to stay on the eastern part of the island, which is mostly the areas of Grace Bay, Leeward, Long Bay, Venetian Road, and Turtle Cove. Other parts of the area, particularly the further west you go, suffer from low-infrastructure investment by the Government and traffic problems. An exception is Chalk Sound, which is a wealthier residential neighborhood, but doesn’t have much in terms of dining options or things to do.

Transportation

Aerial view of Land Rover Defender on coastal track
Most roads in the populated areas of the Turks and Caicos are paved, yet there are many locations that have poor condition roads, both paved and unpaved.

If you are spending any amount of time in the Turks and Caicos, you’ll want a rental car. Taxis are very expensive (a 10-minute ride will cost at least $30), and there is no public transportation. There exists a completely unregulated system of ‘jitneys’ (basically cheap sedans that function as shared taxis). Do not use jitneys, as they are unlicensed and uninsured, and there are frequent reports of jitney drivers assaulting and robbing passengers.

It is not recommended to cycle in the Turks and Caicos, especially outside of central Grace Bay. There are no cycle lanes, and many drivers in the Turks and Caicos simply do not know how to drive. This is compounded by many inconsiderate and dangerous drivers (the Turks and Caicos has a very high road facility rate). In addition, the sun can be extremely intense at times, and difficult for persons not used to the climate.

There is no Uber/Lyft or other ridesharing service in the islands.

Inter-Island Domestic Transport

It’s generally easy to travel between the islands, although local flights are rather expensive (when factoring in the short distances). A ferry connects Providenciales to North Caicos, and separately Salt Cay to Grand Turk. Flights connect Providenciales, South Caicos, Grand Turk, and Salt Cay.

Regional Flights

Providenciales is the only airport with international flights. Flights are offered to the United States, Bahamas, Jamaica, Dominican Republic, and Haiti.

When to Go

The least-expensive time to visit is the ‘slow season’, from September through the end of November (right before American Thanksgiving).

Hurricane season runs from June through November, with September being the most active month.

For more information about specific weather by month, see Best Times to Visit.

Finding Accommodation

Aerial view of traffic in the Turks and Caicos
Millennium Highway in Blue Hills. In the mornings and evenings, locations on the western side of Providenciales will experience significant traffic congestion, which typically lasts for hours.

Unfortunately, accommodation is quite expensive in the Turks and Caicos, and frequently ranks amongst the most expensive islands in the Caribbean. This is primarily due to both high demand (from both visitors and residents) and a small supply.

The best way to find accommodation, especially for shorter durations (such as under 3 months) is still the usual places, such as our accommodation finder, or sites such as Airbnb. Ad-hoc Facebook groups exist, but these are primarily geared to the local market and long-term rentals.

Expect to pay $2,500 to $6,000 per month for a studio or one-bedroom apartment (sometimes a two-bedroom apartment if not central). The lowest prices will be during the slow season (September through to the end of November) and will be out of central Grace Bay. During the busiest months (January-March) you will be hard-pressed to find a place for under $2,500 (anywhere on the island). Hotels and resorts are generally more expensive than typical apartment rentals.

Things to Do

Clear turquoise ocean water in the Turks and Caicos
The ocean water in the Turks and Caicos is incredible.

There are not many organized events in Turks and Caicos. Common event platforms, such as MeetUp or InterNations, don’t have any communities organized in the Turks and Caicos, and thus no events.

There are of course the typical tourist-orientated events, such as the Fish Fry or karaoke night at local pubs, but nothing in the way of organized events for expats.

One interesting note is that an estimated 70% of the population of the Turks and Caicos is foreign-born, meaning that most people you interact with are expats.

Water Sports

It’s common for many people on island for more than a week or two to try their hand at one of the many available water sports, such as paddleboarding or kiteboarding. If you stay during the slow season, you’ll be able to get significantly better rates for training and equipment rental.

Above: The sandbars off of Fort George Cay and Pine Cay, a very popular boating destination from Providenciales.   Top right:  Top left:  Red mangrove wetlands in the Turks and Caicos. The islands offer a range of incredible marine environments to explore.   Bottom right:  Top right:  Scuba diving in the Northwest Point Marine National Park.  

What to Pack

The Turks and Caicos Islands is not a good location for shopping, specifically including clothes and electronics. Bring or purchase any clothes before arriving. There is no need for cold-weather clothes as it doesn’t get cold enough.

The postal service is extremely poor, and you’ll need to use a courier service such as DHL, FedEx, or UPS for anything you’ll be sending or receiving. If you’re staying longer-term, there are local freight forwarder services that collect packages that you send to an address in Florida, and then consolidate and ship to the Turks and Caicos. This is considerably cheaper than a courier service, but expect a two-week delay from delivery in Florida before it’s available for collection on the island.

Where to Eat

Providenciales has a multitude of restaurants. Costs are similar to U.S. cities, and there are not many low-cost options. For low-cost dining options, Graceway IGA has a prepared foods/cafeteria/sandwich counter, which is the most reasonable option in Grace Bay.

Telecommunications, Phone, Internet

Most accommodations provide internet service, although speeds vary. Many connections are fiber, and most rental properties will have speeds of 50 Mbps and above. Local ISPs offer connections of up to 1 Gbps.

It’s possible to buy an eSIM from providers such as Airalo, however, for best value, you’ll want to purchase a physical SIM (or eSIM) from a local service provider. Digicel offers monthly pay-as-you-go plans incorporating around 8 GB of mobile data, unlimited on-network calls, and a few hundred minutes to other local mobile and landline providers. Flow offers similar pay-as-you-go packages.

Co-working Spaces

There is only one dedicated co-working space on Providenciales: On Island, located in central Grace Bay. They offer the usual range of services, such as high-speed Wi-Fi, printers, call booths, and a shared working environment.

Cafes

There are also a few cafes that are sometimes popular with remote workers. Lemon 2 Go and Shay Café offer both indoor and outdoor space. Both indoor spaces are not huge, so there may not be a free table at times. Tribe at Ports of Call has an open-air style seating (not fully indoors, but won’t be a problem if it rains). All of these are located in central Grace Bay.

Health and Medical Facilities

Providenciales and Grand Turk have relatively new and modern hospitals. The other family islands either have small clinics, or no health services at all.

It’s recommended that you purchase and hold medical insurance for your stay. The costs at the local hospitals are generally reasonable, however, for any serious cases, persons are medevacked out of the country to a nearby country with better medical facilities, and these costs can be quite high.