Many local car rental companies claim of ‘airport locations’, 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.
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.
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 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.