Land Rover Discovery on the coastal path between Conch Bar and Bambarra A Land Rover Discovery on the Conch Bar Beach coastal road, Middle Caicos.

16 Things to Know Before Renting a Car in Turks and Caicos

The Situation with Airport Pickup and Airport Locations

A rental Jeep Wrangler on South Caicos.

Many local car rental companies claim an ‘airport location’, yet there’s a huge variance in what the situation may actually be. In some cases, rental vehicles will be onsite at the airport complex, and customers are able to finish any necessary paperwork and collect their car at the airport. In other cases, the rental company will shuttle guests to an offsite location, which may be in the general Downtown area of Providenciales.

Wait times vary as well. A few boutique rental companies will have their customer’s rental waiting within a short walk of the airport arrivals terminal, and typically have a representative available for each arriving party, whereas other agencies have queues of 20-30 minutes.

Scooter Bob’s Car Rentals offers the most streamlined airport pick up of the local car rental companies. Customer’s cars or jeeps are waiting in the airport parking lot, a short walk from the arrivals terminal exit. There are no queues, shuttles, or waits. Simply walk up and drive away.

The 'International Brands' Are Just Local Companies That Licence the Trademark

In the Turks and Caicos, the rental companies that appear to be recognized and major US car rental brands are typically international independent licensees. Often, they’re simply a local rental company that has a license to use the brand name and have access to the international booking engine.

In the case of any problems, corporate offices will typically not help in resolving any issues, especially over disputes regarding overcharging and added fees.

Many Car Rental Companies Operate Under Multiple Names

Many of the rental car companies on Providenciales are a business that basically operates under a local brand, as well as one or more of the international brands. This is largely done to gain access to the large booking networks and gain additional traffic.

It’s advisable to research potential rental companies online prior to making reservations, yet be aware that reviews can often be false. It’s often best to give special consideration to the negative reviews.

Rental Cars Are Usually the Least Expensive Way to Get Around

For the typical visit to the Turks and Caicos, a rental car is the best and least expensive way to get around. A single average return taxi trip will often cover the cost of an economy class rental car for the day.

Providenciales is a Small Island, and Car Rental in Grace Bay

Providenciales is a very small island, and it doesn’t make much of a difference where your rental agency is located. We generally advise that guests pick up their rental car at the Providenciales airport on arrival, yet if you’d rather not, most companies are able to provide a shuttle or car delivery service to your accommodation.

Several businesses have locations in Grace Bay and within easy walking distance of the resorts and hotels, including Avis, Tropical Auto Rentals, Caicos Wheels, and Grace Bay Car Rental.

Car Rental Rates Start at About $40 per Day

Including mandatory taxes and fees, car rental rates in the Turks and Caicos start at just under $40 per day for an economy compact rental car, with higher rates for full size cars, SUVs, and jeeps.

Online, it’s common to see featured rental prices at under $20 per day, yet these quotes are usually deceptive, and quickly rise once insurance and any fees and taxes are added.

Be Aware of Cleaning and Sand Fees

Central Grace Bay on Providenciales. Many roads on the island are paved.

Some rental companies charge additional cleaning fees, often associated with ‘excessive sand’. What constitutes ‘excessive’ varies by business.

Some companies have developed a reputation for liberal interpretation of this sand cleaning policy, and such businesses should be avoided to prevent extra surprise charges.

We Drive on the Left

In the Turks and Caicos, we drive on the left, have speed limits posted in MPH, and have UK-style road signage.

The technically correct setup vehicle is UK spec, with the steering wheel on the right (right hand drive), and a speedometer in MPH.

Unfortunately, we’re unaware of any such rental cars in the Turk and Caicos. Most rental fleets are either American spec left hand drive cars, or Japanese vehicles that are right hand drive yet have speedometers designated in KPH.

We Use Roundabouts

We use roundabouts Instead of traffic lights.

Once understood, roundabouts are simple to use. See Driving in the Turks and Caicos for a detailed explanation on usage, including information on how to signal and who has right of way.

There are Many Poor Drivers in Turks and Caicos

Unfortunately, there are many hazardous and dangerous drivers in the Turks and Caicos. It’s best to be alert when on the roads, especially around jitneys (small unlicensed taxis that are typically poor condition compact sedans) and taxis, and during late hours.

Due to hectic and dangerous driving, we advising not driving scooters on the 40MPH highways.

Stay on Established Roads

It’s easy to get stuck or damage your vehicle when driving off road.

It may be tempting to drive on the beach or on some of the saline mud flats, but please don’t. In addition to causing long-lasting environmental damage, these terrains can be deceptively-inviting yet treacherous.

The calcareous beach sand in the Turks and Caicos is usually quite soft, and can bog down even capable four wheel drive vehicles. Please don't drive on the beach.

The high salinity mud flats and wetlands found throughout the Turks and Caicos are another terrain to avoid. These flats typically have a surface layer that appears hard, yet has a mixture of soft mud and brine below. Cars and jeeps will simply break through the upper layer and become mired in a foot or two of corrosive slime. In the past, rental jeeps have been written off and renters have been held liable due to damage caused by driving in saline wetlands.

Don’t Leave Valuables Unattended in Your Car

Cars are occasionally broken into on Providenciales. It’s advisable to not leave any valuables or anything that appear valuable in a vehicle unattended, especially at remote locations or events such as the Thursday Fish Fry.

Some locals advise simply leaving nothing in the car, and not locking doors, to prevent windows from being broken.

Damage caused by criminals often isn’t covered by insurance.

Minimum Car Rental Age in Turks and Caicos

An upfitted rental Jeep Wrangler on Providenciales.

Nearly all car rental companies in the Turks and Caicos have a minimum driver’s age of 25 years old for cars, and 18 years old for scooters. A couple businesses on Providenciales are an exception and have a minimum age of 18 or 21 for cars.

Caicos Wheels, located at Ports of Call Plaza in Grace Bay, has one of the lowest minimum rental age requirements of the local car rental companies.

The Rental Options

There’s an interesting selection of vehicles available to rent on Providenciales, including upfitted Jeep Wranglers, Mini Moke beach cruisers, 4x4 buggies, and luxury SUVs.

Cars, jeeps, and SUVS will be the best choice for most visitors, as they offer sun protection and superior crash safety for highway use.

Most Rental Cars Have Automatic Transmissions

Most of the rental cars in the Turks and Caicos have automatic transmissions. A small quantity of economy class cars on Providenciales have manual transmissions, and a few of the rental jeeps on our less populated islands are manual, yet those are the exception and not the norm.

Vehicle Availability May Be Limited During the High Season

The availability of rental cars is often limited during the high season, especially at the more popular rental companies. It makes sense to make your car reservations directly after your accommodation and flight bookings.

Turks and Caicos Car Rental Businesses

Island Life Jeeps
Explore Providenciales by Jeep Wrangler! Our premium and modern soft top jeeps are the perfect complement to a vacation in the Turks and Caicos. Discover beautiful and secluded beaches. Personal, friendly, and professional service.
Scooter Bob's Car Rental
Scooter Bob’s had been family owned and operated since 1984, and is the oldest car rental company in the Turks and Caicos. The rental fleet includes jeeps, cars, vans, trucks, scooters, SUVs, and bicycles. Daily and weekly rental rates available. No-hassle and fast airport pick up – simply walk up and drive away with no wait!

Scenic Drives on Providenciales

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