Turks and Caicos Travel Guide

Travel, Vacation and Holiday Guide to Turks and Caicos islands in the Caribbean

Da Conch Shack and Rum Bar, Turks and Caicos
© Martin Lingnau, www.PenguinOne.com

Like the native “belongers” whose ancestors washed up on these shores after several shipwrecks a few hundred years ago, visitors to the Turks and Caicos will feel as though they have found a new home and oasis for relaxation, recreation, and rejuvenation.

Turks and Caicos Basic Travel Information

  • Location: In the North Atlantic Ocean, southeast of the Bahamas
  • Size: 40 islands and cays encompassing 161 square miles. See Map
  • Capital: Cockburn Town on Grand Turk
  • Official language: English (some Spanish, Italian, French spoken)
  • Religions: Protestant Christian, Baptist, Methodist, Anglican
  • Currency: US Dollar
  • Telephone Area Code: 649
  • Tipping: 15-20%
  • Weather: Tropical; average year-round temperature 85 degrees; scant rainfall; rare hurricanes.

Turks and Caicos Attractions

Diving, sailing, and snorkeling are popular due to the abundance of coral reefs and underwater scenery. Novices and pros alike can explore the hundreds of small coves and cays scattered throughout the island chain. Sport and commercial fishing are more popular off of South Caicos, which features the best natural harbor and the best scuba diving. A natural wall drops 8,000 feet deep just off the coast and is rich in marine life that will delight even the most seasoned diver.

Turks and Caicos Beaches

Providenciales is the home of 12-mile-long Grace Bay Beach, which Conde Nast calls the “Best Beach of all Tropical Islands in the World." Parasailing, jet-skiing, volleyball, and people-watching are popular activities along the gentle turquoise waters. Grace Bay is also a great vantage point for spectacular sunsets. Middle Caicos, North Caicos, Salt Cay and the plethora of small adjacent islands are sparsely populated but abundant in natural beauty and attract visitors who truly want to get away from it all and find their own private beach.

Turks and Caicos Hotels and Resorts

Provo has had a building boom in the last few decades. Modern beachfront resorts and luxury condo complexes have sprouted up all over, especially along Grace Bay. From all-inclusives to more rustic private villas, you can have your choice of any level of luxury and accommodations. South and Middle Caicos Islands are just now being discovered by developers, with several planned mega resorts breaking ground.

Turks and Caicos Restaurants

Upscale, exotic and “al fresco” are the best adjectives to describe dining out in the TCI. Traditional island dishes are infused with Jamaican, Italian, Thai, Japanese, American and Mexican influences, resulting in a truly international gastronomic experience. The local staple, Caribbean Queen Conch, is featured in countless variations. Many restaurants offer a unique dining ambiance, set in courtyards, poolside, or oceanfront settings.

Turks and Caicos Culture and History

Grand Turk Island was where Christopher Columbus first made landfall on his voyage to the New World. History shows that the Caicos islands were a regular stop for pirates in the 16th and 17th century, before a thriving salt business and cotton plantations took over as the commerce of the day. Locals have a blend of ancestors from the Bahamas, Haiti, Great Britain, and Jamaica. In the 21st century, new upscale construction and real-estate speculation are bringing new tourists and permanent residents to the islands.

Turks and Caicos Events and Festivals

May is highlighted by the Regatta on South Caicos, which is the oldest festival in the islands. In June is the Conch Carnival on Grand Turk Island, which features block parties, beach bonfires, and a conch fritter-eating contest. Whale watching trips are conducted off of the shores of Grand Turk Island, and the season runs from January to March.

Turks and Caicos Nightlife

They roll the streets up early in the TCI and most of the nightlife is of the local variety. Some of the all-inclusive resorts offer evening shows and onsite dance clubs