Mudjin Harbor Beach Tombolo Panoramic

Your Trip to Turks and Caicos: The Complete Guide

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Turks and Caicos is always a popular destination spot for travelers looking to enjoy this island nation's beautiful turquoise waters and gorgeous white-sand beaches. Turks and Caicos is an archipelago consisting of eight main islands and a total of 100 smaller islands and cays. Of these islands, Providenciales is the most popular with tourists. But when you're planning your trip, there's no shortage of elements to consider like when to visit, what to do, where to eat, and where to find the best local rum. To that end, this guide is your ultimate resource for your next vacation in Turks and Caicos—read on for everything you need to know before booking a flight to this Caribbean paradise.

Planning Your Trip

  • Best Time to Visit: The best time to visit Turks and Caicos is in the late spring, after the tourists have left the islands after the busy season and before the wet season (and hurricane season) begins in the summertime.
  • Language: English
  • Currency: United States Dollar
  • Getting Around: There is no public transportation in Turks and Caicos, and Lyft and Uber are not available either. The best way to get around is by hailing a taxi or renting a car—cars are available for rent at the Providenciales International Airport.
  • Travel Tip: Conch Cab is a taxi-hailing service that operates in the same way as Uber or Lyft and is available in Grace Bay and other popular tourist areas of Providenciales.

Things to Do

When in Turks and Caicos, snorkeling is a must. Turks and Caicos is home to the third-largest barrier reef in the world. Other popular snorkeling spots include the island nation's two shipwrecks—La Famille Express, a Russian freighter, and a smaller wreck near Pine Cay. Also, check out the snorkeling at Northwest Point, which is not great for swimming but amazing for snorkeling. If you're interested in swimming (and sunbathing), visit Norman Saunders Beach in Grand Turk.

Additionally, Pumpkin Bluff Beach, in North Caicos, is also famously magnificent, with its turquoise waters. But the most famous of all the beaches in Turks and Caicos—and the entire world—is Grace Bay, of course. Located in Providenciales, this heavenly shoreline across the islands' northern coast is not to be missed. For a more off-the-beaten-path option, check out the gorgeous beauty of the caves, limestone bluffs, and beaches in Middle Caicos—particularly Mudjin Harbour.

Explore more attractions with our list of the best things to do in Turks and Caicos, where to find the best snorkeling spots, and the most adventurous things to do in Turks and Caicos

What to Eat and Drink

When visiting the islands of Turks and Caicos, you’d be remiss not to order conch at every opportunity—conch fritters, conch salad, cracked conch, all are delicious. Conch is a national symbol of the island nation, and it’s unsurprising that one of the most popular places to eat throughout the archipelago is Da Conch Shack, a seaside oasis for dining al fresco. For a more formal evening, head to the Great House Restaurant in South Caicos for one of the most spectacular views in Turks and Caicos—arrive at sunset to watch the tropical sky light up as you enjoy a 360-degree view of the Atlantic Ocean and the Caicos Bank. Another culinary treat not to miss? Jerk chicken. And, for that, we recommend Chinson's Grill Shack, a famous Jamaican barbecue spot in Providenciales.

Providenciales is famous for its plethora of nightlife options, though the Versace Bar & Lounge remains decidedly under-the-radar. It’s little-known for visitors, and your best bet is to befriend a local and let them take you there. Located in Morris Plaza on the island of Providenciales, this bar is a hidden gem in Turks and Caicos. Another option for socializing in the evening is the ever-popular Danny Buoy's, which boasts karaoke on Tuesdays and Thursdays and a happening dance floor every night of the week.

Plan your meals with our articles on the must-try foods of Turks and Caicos, the best restaurants, and the best bars to visit.

Grand Turk

Mindy Payne / Getty Images

Where to Stay

Grace Bay is considered one of the most beautiful beaches in the entire world, and there's no shortage of chic and luxurious resorts dotting this white-sand coastline in Providenciales—we recommend the Grace Bay Club or the Wymara Resort and Villas. Alternately, book a stay at Sailrock Resort, the first luxury resort on South Caicos, for a secluded and idyllic island getaway. The setting is so remote, you're more likely to see wild donkeys traverse across the beach in front of your private villa than another tourist. If you're interested in an all-inclusive option, then consider Alexandra Resort or Beach House Turks & Caicos, to both save on costs for food and drink, and maximize the loveliness of your tropical surroundings.

To help you pick a hotel, check out our guide to the 8 best all-inclusive resorts in Turks and Caicos, and the 9 best Turks and Caicos hotels, in 2021.

Getting There

There are eight airports in Turks and Caicos, though Providenciales and Grand Turk are the only islands with airports that cater to international visitors. The Providenciales International Airport (PLS) is the go-to destination for all international visitors arriving in the Turks and Caicos Islands. Located on the island of Providenciales, the airport is only 17 minutes (a quick cab ride) from the popular tourist destination of Grace Bay. For visitors spending their vacation on other islands in the Turks and Caicos archipelago, they can transfer to their connecting flights via the terminal at Providenciales. For visitors interested in day trips, the North Caicos ferry is 30 minutes each way and travels between Heaving Down Rock Marina and Sandy Point Marina or Bellefield Landing. The rates are $55 per person.

  • Providenciales International Airport (PLS): All international flights arriving to the Turks and Caicos Islands land in the Providenciales International Airport, which is a one-terminal building with a 9,199-foot runway.

Holidays and Special Events on Turks and Caicos

Turks and Caicos, alongside the Bahamas, is a member of the Lucayan archipelago and is the only island nation outside the Bahamas to celebrate Junkanoo. The Junkanoo celebration (which originated from the name "John Canoe") occurs during the holiday season and is the most popular event of the year. The street parade dates back to when ensalved people were allowed a single day to rest and celebrate. The largest celebrations occur on Boxing Day and January 1st. As the islands Turks and Caicos Islands are a still a British territory, they celebrate holidays such as the Queen's birthday (June 11th) and Commonwealth Day (March 12th).

Money-Saving Tips

  • Consider visiting during less popular times for travelers. December through March is the peak tourist season on the islands, so the travel costs will increase if you are visiting during this time. If you do plan on traveling to Turks and Caicos over the holidays, then book your flight in advance and scour the internet for hotel deals prior to your trip.
  • Check to see if there are any street parades or celebrations happening on the island while you are visiting. These events are free for the public and a wonderful way to experience the vibrant local culture of the islands.
  • Check to see if the service fee is included in your hotel or restaurant bill. Otherwise, a 15 percent tip is customary. When riding in a taxi, tip your drivers 10 to 15 percent.
  • While Providenciales is the most popular island for tourists to visit—and Grace Bay is the most frequented area for visitors—travelers can also stay in one of the seven other inhabited islands in Turks and Caicos. We recommend looking into hotel deals on Grand Turk or South Caicos for a potentially cost-saving alternative.
  • For larger groups, consider booking an all-inclusive. This will help minimize expenses related to food and drink, which is particularly useful for families or groups of friends.
Article Sources
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  1. Visit Turks and Caicos. "A Brief History of the Turks and Caicos Islands." February 2021

  2. Visit Turks and Caicos Islands. "Conch- A National Symbol." January 2021

  3. Encyclopedia Britannica. "Turks and Caicos Islands."