We recommend that most visitors to Providenciales rent a car. This is due to a lack of public transportation, the high cost of taxis and the widespread layout of the island.
Providenciales has quite a few car rental agencies to choose from. Popular due to the low daily rental rates, compact and economy cars make up the majority of the local fleets, but full size cars, minivans SUVs, jeeps and the occasional pickup truck are almost always an option.
Most of the main roads on Providenciales are paved, so there’s usually no need for a 4x4 or a high clearance vehicle. There are however a few exceptions.
The scenic Turtle Tail area of Providenciales is only accessible by a several mile long unpaved road. The conditions here don’t prohibit cars, but a jeep or SUV will allow you to maintain a faster speed and shorten the journey time considerably. This is especially a consideration if you plan to stay at a villa in the area.
The Turks and Caicos has a unique combination of vehicles of various origin (both left and right hand drive), and Highway Code and signage from both the United Kingdom and United States. See Driving in the Turks and Caicos for driving policy differences respective to the United States, United Kingdom and Canada.
For the outdoor enthusiast, Providenciales unfortunately doesn’t offer much in the way of off road trail and tracks. If you’re interested in this activity, consider taking a day trip to North and Middle Caicos to explore the incredible landscapes by 4x4.
Standard cars and economy compact cars tend to work quite well for the general transport of 1-4 people. Regardless of vehicle class, the cars offered by the larger Providenciales companies tend to be in good condition and of newer age, in contrast to the rental fleets on some of our outer islands and what the situation was on Providenciales in past years.
Keep in mind that small cars and vehicles may not offer enough space for travelling to and from the airport with ample luggage and bags. Minivans and SUVs of course are a bit roomier, and may be a better choice for such a situation.
Another option for a large family or group is a van, which offers 8-12 passenger seats and ample room for luggage. Vans in this class include the Ford Transit and Toyota Hiace.
Fuel prices are generally high in the Turks and Caicos at about $5.10 (2017), however, driving distances are typically not great, so fuel shouldn't be a great expense.
Almost all rental vehicles on Providenciales and the Turks and Caicos feature automatic transmissions. It’s quite difficult to find a car or truck with a manual gearbox.
Rental options for luxury vehicles is limited compared to other destinations. Generally, what's considered a luxury or premium option are large American SUVs, such as the Chevrolet Suburban or Cadillac Escalade.
Unfortunately, there are currently no available rentals of off-road icons such as the Land Rover Defender, or 70 series Toyota Land Cruiser.
The only icon or classic that's available for rent is the Mini Moke (an open-air beach buggy converted Mini Cooper) from Avis.
You'll generally get the best rate booking directly with the local company. When comparing prices, it's important to know if Government tax is included, and what the included level of insurance is. Unlike in some states and countries, it's a requirement to hold at least third-party insurance in order to drive vehicles on public roads. In the case of an extra driver, additional fees typically apply.
As is also the case with accommodations and activities, rates and availability fluctuate according to the high and low tourism seasons. If you’re planning to visit during the winter months, we advise that you reserve well in advance.
We generally advise that visitors meet their rental car agency at the Providenciales International Airport (PLS) upon arrival. Depending on the business, rental cars may be picked up at the airport, or the agency may have a customer service representative at the airport and provides a short shuttle bus ride to a nearby lot. Collecting your rental on arrival of your flight will save expensive taxi fares and time.
Likewise, when departing, we’d recommend dropping your car off at or near the airport if possible. Before you book your car reservation, consider inquiring about the airport pickup and drop off policies. The larger rental agencies offer complimentary airport pickup and return.
Providenciales offers a wide range of auto rental companies, and rates can be quite low compared to our other islands.
The best rates start at under $50 per day with taxes included, and are usually are either budget compacts (smaller than what would be considered a compact in the United States), or “character” class cars. Character class vehicles are offered by a few of the larger local businesses, and are slightly older fleet cars, which still operate well yet rent at a cheap rate.
A few of the vacation rental villa accommodations include the complimentary guest use of a vehicle.
Car seats and child seats are typically available from auto rental companies, yet may incur extra fees. Grace Bay Car Rentals offers complimentary guest use of seats.
Due to the small sizes of the islands in the Turks and Caicos and the absent and inaccurate road map data, GPS navigation units are not offered locally for rent.
The Turks and Caicos follows the United Kingdom Highway Code, which means we drive on the left and utilise UK signage. Posted speed limits are in miles per hour (MPH).
However, due to the proximity of the United States much of our imports originate from Florida, and consequently the vast majority of vehicles are left hand drive (American).
In recent years, there has been an increase of used and new cars from the Japanese market, and these cars are left hand drive, yet the speedometers are marked in KPH.
The appropriate arrangement is a United Kingdom specification vehicle, with right hand drive, and a speedometer in MPH.
There are no toll roads in the Turks and Caicos.
With the exception of when a special event is taking place, open parking spaces can typically be found where needed.
Be aware that rental companies will typically hold customers responsible for any damage that occurs when driving off road or on unpaved roads, and repair fees can be expensive in the Turks and Caicos. The remote locations also carry an increased crime risk. See Safety and Crime.
It isn’t uncommon for rental cars to become stuck in the soft sand on trails in the Northwest Point region of Providenciales. Towing and recovery of vehicles may be expensive, as the flatbed recovery trucks used in the country are generally unsuitable for off-road use. We advise avoiding such trails unless a capable 4x4 is used.
Grace Bay Car Rentals provides complimentary 24 hour roadside assistance. Keep in mind that this may not apply to remote areas with poor condition roads.
Due to the electronics and complexity of modern car keys, there’s typically a hefty key replacement fee.