This page gives an overview of items you may want to bring with you when travelling to the Turks and Caicos. If you do however neglect some necessity, chances are high that you’ll be able a suitable replacement on Providenciales. Depending on what you’ll looking for, the selection on the other islands in the country is far more limited.
We recommend that all visitors to the Turks and Caicos bring a valid passport.
In the case of air arrivals to the country, it technically is possible (but not guaranteed) that entry will be allowed with an enhanced driver’s license (USA) or birth certificate (Canada). However, you should expect difficulties when attempting to return to your home country without a passport.
Cruise ships departing from the east coast of the US do not require passports in most situations, but it will be very difficult to return home if you miss your cruise ship or wish to fly back before the cruise is over.
This one’s obvious.
If you’re looking to buy a new camera, our recommendation is to select one of the rugged and waterproof compact digitals, such as an Olympus Tough or Nikon AW series, or a GoPro.
With a waterproof camera, you’ll be able to take snorkelling and water sports photos, but much more importantly, because theses cameras are compact, waterproof and durable, you’ll be far more likely to have such a camera with you when the highlights of your vacation are happening.
Bringing a spare battery or two (and of course the charger!) and an extra memory card also makes sense.
Everyone knows to bring sun screen, but few actually bring enough. You’ll probably require about twice as much as you’d initially expect.
Higher SPF (sun protection factor) such as SPF 30 is desirable, as is water-resistance.
Please use biodegradable sunscreen, especially if you’re going into the ocean. Conventional sun screens have been proven to cause long lasting damage to the reefs and environment.
If it’s been raining recently, you’ll want to have insect repellent as there can be mosquitoes and sand fleas (tiny biting insects, totally different from the common flea) at times. This is especially a consideration if you plan on spending time on North and Middle Caicos, Pine Cay or Parrot Cay.
Providenciales offers several large and modern supermarkets and grocery stores. With this said, prices will often be higher than you’ll used to and you may not be able to find your favoured brand, so it makes sense to consider bringing packaged snacks, energy bars, coffee, tea and other staples.
The other islands in the country have much smaller selection of shops and items to choose from.
The vague law appears to allow for “manufactured products” of non-animal origin (our interpretation of the law is packaged food from a recognized manufacturer) to be imported without a permit. This does not include fresh fruits and vegetables, or “grains”.
It’s technically illegal to import meat or animal products regardless of packaging without the appropriate permit, so avoid any meats, animal products, fish or poultry.
Each adult arrival in the country can bring in certain amounts of alcohol and tobacco products duty-free.
Several of the Providenciales water sports shops carry a great selection, but due to import, customs duty and mark up, prices will be higher than you’ll typically pay in the United States or Canada.
An inexpensive one-size-fit-all kit with mask, snorkel and fins usually isn’t the best choice. If possible, you’ll want to visit an actual dive shop to get proper fitting and advice. If your home town area doesn’t have such a shop, the next best choice is to shop with a reputable online retailer that carries a wide selection and also accepts returns in case of poor fitting.
Decent snorkel gear will provide years of good service if it’s rinsed in fresh water after being used in the ocean and stored in a cool dry place.
It is possible to rent equipment on Providenciales and Grand Turk from the local dive shops, but consider that the equipment may be well-used and that the costs over a few days will be close to the original purchase price of the equipment.
Many businesses in the Turks and Caicos still rely on cash, especially the smaller establishments. Bring plenty of cash with you, including small bills.
ATMs are not as common in the Turks and Caicos as they are at other destinations. It’s not difficult to find one on Providenciales, but some of the other islands may only have one, two or none island-wide. It's not uncommon for all ATMs in the Grace Bay area to be offline at the same time.
If you ignore accommodation and vehicle rental, we estimate that about half of expenses incurred by visitors can be paid by card.
The sun is typically intense in the Turks and Caicos, so you’ll want to have a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses.
If you expect to spend much time on the water, polarized sunglasses are a great item to have as they cut down on glare and reflections on the water’s surface. When stand up paddle boarding or kayaking, polarized sunglasses will make it much easier to spot wildlife in the water below.
Some sunglasses can be damaged by long-term salt water exposure. Considering this (and the chance of loss during vacation activities), you may want to either purchase an inexpensive pair or a sunglasses designed for marine use.
Although it’s possible to have prescriptions filled locally, to ensure that you have what you need and to avoid excess costs, bring any necessary medications.
Providenciales has several dispensing pharmacies and Grand Turk has one. The other islands don’t have any.
Our general advice is to bring less clothing than you’d think you will need.
Jackets, sweaters or other cool-weather garments will typically never be required.
Long-sleeve rash guards are great for any active water sport or activity. These shirts protect against sunburn, don’t get bogged down with water and prevent chaffing.
Chances are that your local stores back home will have a wider selection and cheaper prices than what’s available locally.
Our excellent Do It Best building centre has the best selection of beach gear and toys on the island.