Providenciales is the third largest island in the Turks and Caicos Islands, with an area of approximately 37 square miles (98 km sq). The length from end to end is about 17 miles (27km), and the width ranges from 1.5 miles (2.5km) to 8 miles (12km). The 2012 Census reported a population of 23,769.
The western half remains largely undeveloped, and is home to several protected areas, including the Frenchman’s Creek and Pigeon Pond Nature Reserve, the Northwest Point Pond Nature Reserve, and the Chalk Sound National Park.
Providenciales does not have a distinct city centre or town, as is the case with many other island destinations. The Downtown area is the closest approximation to a city centre, and although it lacks an organized layout, most of the government offices and many shops and businesses are found here.
The south coast of Providenciales largely consists of low limestone “ironshore” coastline, yet inland marine wetlands and ponds ( Chalk Sound Lagoon, Juba Sound, Discovery Bay and Turtle Pond) create semi-isolated peninsulas and coastal regions, many of which have become prime locations for luxury vacation rental villas, including Turtle Tail, Chalk Sound, Silly Creek, and Cooper Jack Bay.
If you’re planning to visit Providenciales and stay at a rental accommodation, see Providenciales Vacation Villas for information on lodging locations from a visitor’s perspective.
Previous to the advent of the tourism industry to Providenciales in the late 1970s, the island was only home to three small settlements: Blue Hills, Five Cays, and the Bight. These communities were supported by fishing and subsistence farming.
The vacation industry on Providenciales began at Turtle Cove, where the construction of the Third Turtle Inn and the Turtle Cove Marina opened the island to international tourism. It’s interesting to note that the island’s first resort wasn’t located on the world-famous Grace Bay Beach.
We have dedicated articles on getting around Providenciales, driving, rental cars, taxis, and exploring by car. To save on vacation costs, we generally advise that tourists rent a vehicle for their stay.
There’s no organized public transport or bus service in the Turks and Caicos.
The map below shows areas and districts on Providenciales. The coloured areas shown below reflect the partitioning of Providenciales used by this site to denote the location of accommodation, activities, businesses, and more throughout this website.