Rental villas at Chalk Sound National Park. Vacation villas at Chalk Sound on Providenciales.
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19 Things to Know

Before Booking a Turks and Caicos Villa
Exterior of Villa Isla at dusk
Villa Isla, beachfront on Long Bay Beach.

Luxury villas are quite popular in the Turks and Caicos, and there’s a huge collection of properties here to suit a range of budgets and ambiances. Villas have quite a few advantages over resorts and hotels. They typically provide more privacy and space, can be more cost-effective for large groups or families, and are often located in unique and scenic areas.

To ensure that you have a great vacation at a Turks and Caicos villa, you'll want to take the following considerations into account.

Some Areas Have Bad Roads and Traffic

Unfortunately, traffic and road conditions have definitely worsened in recent years on the island of Providenciales, and traffic congestion is common on weekdays at some locations near Blue Hills, Kew Town, Downtown Providenciales, and South Dock Road. This means that people staying in villas in areas like Blue Hills, Wheeland, and Chalk Sound can experience significant traffic. During rush hour(s) in the morning and late afternoon, it can easily take 30 minutes to drive short distances on certain roads on the island's western side.

Travel Insurance Is Worth Buying

Obtaining sufficient travel insurance is strongly encouraged before visiting the Turks and Caicos. The right policy will cover losses in the case of cancellations of flights or accommodations. As recent years have shown, a lot can go wrong with scheduling travel, but good travel insurance keeps you covered for unforeseen events.

Some Areas Have a Lot of Construction

The Turks and Caicos is experiencing significant levels of construction. Large numbers of villas and resorts are currently being built. Consequently, the construction has created noise, traffic congestion, and other unpleasant side effects in some popular villa locations. Before booking your vacation rental, ask if anything is being built nearby.

There May Be an Electricity Allowance

Aerial view of the FortisTCI power plant in the Turks and Caicos
The FortisTCI electricity plant on Providenciales. Nearly all electricity used in the country is generated via Wärtsilä diesel generators.

Many properties have a specific allowance for electricity usage (primarily for air-conditioning). Reasonable air-conditioning use won't exceed the allowance, but operating air-conditioning with doors or windows open or at low temperatures will almost certainly burn through the allowance quickly.

Electricity is quite expensive in the Turks and Caicos, as nearly all the country's power is generated via diesel generator. Villas usually bill excess electricity usage at the going rate, which is around $0.49 per kWh (2024 price). The excess cost can vary significantly. For smaller properties, an excess electricity usage bill is typically $100–200. The bill for large, expansive villas can surpass $1,000.

Water is also pricey in the Turks and Caicos. Some villas charge for excess water usage. These policies are less common than electricity allowances.

Parties and Events Are Usually Prohibited

If you read the terms and conditions of vacation properties in the Turks and Caicos, nearly all of them prohibit events and parties. Some managers may be willing to make exceptions upon special request, but hosting an event without approval will often result in booking companies siding with the property manager in the event of any penalties regarding damage.

Nearby Illegal Business Practices Can Be a Nuisance

Many laws in the Turks and Caicos are willfully ignored with no consequences, and some infractions can impact villa vacations. An example is Sapodilla Bay, a popular villa location where many vendors operate illegally on the beach. They play overly loud music, cook and sell food that produces odors and smoke, and operate watercraft dangerously close to shore. There’s also open and persistent smoking of illicit substances. Most locations do not have this issue, yet Sapodilla Bay, and to a limited extent Taylor Bay and parts of Grace Bay Beach, have the problem.

It's Best to Book Through a Local Property Manager or Airbnb

It’s important to understand the difference between international booking companies and local property managers, as this can affect aspects of your vacation. There are the major international booking sites, such as Airbnb and VRBO, many mid-sized and smaller international booking companies and agents, and booking companies and property managers based in the islands.

A luxury villa at the private island of Parrot Cay, managed by the COMO Parrot Cay Resort.

Generally, it's best to either book directly with a Turks and Caicos property manager or with a major international company, such as Airbnb or VRBO. A local manager will often give you the best deal and serve as the authoritative agent for any special requests, questions, or add-on services.

The benefit of booking with major sites is that they are more inclined to side with the guest if there are disputes. Local villa management companies often rely on the large booking sites for the majority of their income, so they are essentially forced to accept losses in some cases of cancellations or property damage, even though guests may be at fault or in violation of the policies.

It’s typically best to avoid the smaller, third-party international booking agents and sites, as they:

  • Do not offer the level of consumer protection that the major booking sites do
  • Are not based in the Turks and Caicos, so they don't have local knowledge or a presence
  • Sometimes make promises regarding services that local agents may not want or be obliged to fulfill to secure commissions
  • Have weaker relationships with local property managers, who are then less inclined to sustain losses to maintain good standing with them

Booking with a third-party site reduces your communication with the villa, which can lead to delays and inaccuracies.

Some Areas Have Poor Cell Service

Beachfront and clear ocean water at Cockburn Town
The calm waters at Cockburn Town Beach. Some of the old homes in the historical part of town are now vacation rental properties.

Mobile phone services do not always work well in some areas, such as the Chalk Sound region of Providenciales. Also, some properties—often older villas—may not have the best Wi-Fi.

Taxis Are Very Expensive

Taxis are quite expensive in the Turks and Caicos and are rarely on time. As a result, luxury car services, which often operate spacious, late-model black SUVs, have become popular. Private car services are generally punctual and can even be more cost-effective than taxis, since they charge per ride and not per passenger (as is the case with taxis).

Uber, Lyft, and other ride-sharing services are not available in the Turks and Caicos, so if you don't plan to use a private car service, it's best to rent your own car or jeep.

A Grocery or Liquor Store Should Be Your First Stop

If you plan to use taxis or a private car service for transportation during your stay, it's worth stopping at a grocery store or liquor store on your way from the airport. This can save you time and money. Note that some villas can stock your fridge and pantry for you ahead of time at additional cost.

There May Not Be Air-Conditioning Throughout the Villa

Many of the older villas in the Turks and Caicos have air-conditioning in the bedrooms but not throughout the entire house. While this may not be a major consideration during the winter months, it can be uncomfortable during the summer, especially on days with less wind.

Reading the Fine Print Is Important

White conch shell on the beach at Leeward
One of the many outstanding beaches in the Turks and Caicos. Leeward Beach, Providenciales.

It’s important to read and understand any terms or policies prior to booking. There are many stipulations regarding maximum capacity, hosting events, cancellation policies, excess electricity usage, and more. Know what you are agreeing to before booking a vacation rental.

Outdoor Showers and Bathtubs Aren't Always Idyllic

Some villas, often contemporary luxury properties, have outdoor showers or bathtubs. There are usually walls or screens for privacy, but some lack privacy more than others and may be in view of a public beach. If there’s an atypical mosquito bloom, using outdoor showers and bathtubs can be unpleasant.

Pools and Amenities May Be Shared at Enclaves

There are many villa enclaves on Providenciales, and the villas and vacation rentals on these properties may share a pool, fitness center, or water sports equipment, among other amenities. There are advantages to staying in a villa enclave. These properties typically have a larger range of amenities and water sports equipment and have staff on-site to assist with any problems that arise.

Cancellation Policies Can Be Unforgiving

Most properties in the Turks and Caicos will not give refunds if cancellations are made close to the date of the stay. Such policies may seem draconian, yet are understandable from the property manager’s perspective, as bookings are often made months or more than a year out and vacancies are difficult to fill on short notice.

Check-In Times Are Often in the Late Afternoon

Many properties in the Turks and Caicos have a high occupancy rate. Often, there are only a few hours between guests. Because of this and flight arrival times, many villas have a later check-in time, and earlier check-out time, than what is typical at a hotel or resort. Common times are 10:00 AM for check-out and 4:00 PM for check-in. Early check-ins are generally not possible.

Third-Party Services Can Experience Scheduling Issues

When booking third-party services that require access to the property prior to your arrival, such as grocery stocking, a private chef, or equipment or décor rental for events, keep in mind that there may be scheduling issues. It’s best to consult your property manager prior to booking such services, as villa turnaround times and site access can be very limited.

Taxes Are High

A private charter to the uninhabited Water Cay.

All stays in the Turks and Caicos incur Government Tourism Tax, which is 12% of the total accommodation value. Almost every service or add-on that may be included with a villa booking is taxed as well. This includes cleaning fees, electricity usage fees, and grocery pre-stocking. If those services are booked independently by the guest, then the service business should charge tourism tax on their bill.

Stays at villas that are staffed with personal assistants such as butlers, chefs, or on-site housekeepers will incur service charge, which should be 10% on top of the accommodation value.

Some properties or booking agents will charge additional fees—such as cleaning fees, host fees, and booking fees—that are not taxes and are not mandated by the Turks and Caicos Government. These examples are somewhat common. Less common and more questionable are damage waiver fees and any government taxes beyond the two previously mentioned.

Book Excursions in Advance

You’ll want to book your boat charters and excursions in advance, both for private trips and shared cruises. The popular charters get booked up quickly, especially during the busier months and around the holidays. The same applies to horseback riding, scuba diving, some of our fine dining restaurants, and more.