1. The Islands of Turks and Caicos
No matter where you’re flying in from, you’ll land at the Providenciales International Airport, located on the island of Providenciales. Many flights from the U.S. connect through Miami, but there are direct flights from other major cities. There are TONS of things to do in Providenciales as this is the most touristic island in the country with many resorts, excursions, restaurants, and more to entertain visitors.
Although Providenciales is the most developed for tourism, the other islands of Turks and Caicos are worth visiting, too.
North Caicos and Middle Caicos are connected to each other by a causeway. These two garden islands (as they are often referred to) feature deserted beaches and other natural points of interest, including one of the largest dry cave systems in the Caribbean. You can easily take a ferry from Provo to visit these islands and rent a car for the day through Caribbean Cruisin’.
Grand Turk was once the hub of activity in Turks and Caicos. Today it is still a great place to visit with beautiful beaches and fascinating historical sites. This is also the location of the country’s only cruise ship port.
If you want to get as far away from the tourist centers as possible, the sparsely populated islands of Salt Cay and South Caicos are both great options.
2. Best Months to Visit
Turks and Caicos experiences excellent weather year-round. April and May are some of the best months to visit the islands. The weather is great, the crowds are sparse, and prices are low. Peak tourist season occurs between December and January, and while it may be nice to get away from the winter weather at home, the large swaths of tourists that occupy the island during this time mean that accommodation and tour options may be limited.
One of the most essential tips for visiting Turks and Caicos is to avoid the hurricane season, which peaks between July and October.
You’ll be in good shape if you can avoid the peak tourist season and hurricane season. Warm temperatures abound throughout the year, and even if rain is in the forecast (it’s usually not), bad weather passes over the islands quickly.
No matter what season you decide to visit, avoid flying in on a weekend if you can help it. The airport is tiny and understaffed, which leads to long wait times. Who wants to spend their precious vacation time waiting in line?!
3. Entry and Exit Requirements
4. Getting Around Turks and Caicos
Unfortunately, there is no public transportation in Turks and Caicos. You will either need to take taxis from point A to point B or rent a car. Taxis are fairly expensive, and rates are generally charged per person. If you want to save some money, consider renting a car instead.
If you’re coming from the U.S., keep in mind they drive on the other side of the road as this is a British Overseas Territory.
Most of Provo, the main island, is easy enough to drive around with little traffic but do note there are no traffic lights! Intersections are roundabouts only, so make sure you understand how to use these to keep the traffic flowing.
The west side of Provo is more remote with rough roads, so get a car with better ground clearance, take a tour, or rent an ATV. Rental cars often won’t come with a spare tire either as they want you to call them for any service you may need.
If you don’t like any of these options, staying in the Grace Bay and Leeward area of Providenciales is best as you can rent a golf cart or scooter or just walk around. The island of Grand Turk also offers golf cart rentals as a cool way to get around.
And there are some ATV tours you can book around the islands to get out and adventure without having to commit to renting a vehicle for multiple days too.
5. Language and Currency
Turks and Caicos is a British Overseas Territory, which means everyone speaks English! So, don’t hesitate to chat with the locals to discover their favorite beaches and hole-in-the-wall eateries.
While it may be a British Overseas Territory, Turks and Caicos uses the American Dollar for currency. In addition, electrical outlets and voltages are the same as in the U.S., so no need for a converter.
Turks and Caicos is one of the safest countries in the Caribbean. The islands have an extremely low crime rate, especially when it comes to tourists. Although rare, the most common crime committed against visitors is theft. Car break-ins, armed robberies, and home invasions do unfortunately occur. This is especially true on the island of Providenciales. One of the best Turks and Caicos travel tips we can give you is to stay at a hotel or resort to reduce your risk of theft.
Another thing to be aware of is the boat traffic. Even in no-wake zones, speed limits are too often unregarded. So if you’re swimming, be sure to watch for boat traffic and stay close to shore.
7. No Private Beaches
8. How to Save Money in Turks and Caicos
9. What to Eat
Of all the Turks and Caicos travel tips, perhaps the best recommendation we can give to potential visitors is what to eat. Foodies flock to the islands to indulge in fresh seafood and other local delicacies. While you’re here, try peas n’ rice, fresh fish, and as much rum punch and jerk as you can get your hands on. Conch and lobster are two of the main staples here, though they are only available during certain seasons (around October to July and August to March, respectively).
In fact, we have a whole guide on our favorite restaurants in Providenciales, so just give that a read when you’re hungry on the island!
10. No Alcohol Sales on Sunday
11. What to Pack
Since you’ll likely be hanging out at the beach for most of your time in Turks and Caicos, you don’t need to worry about packing too much beyond swimsuits and tank tops. However, there are some essentials you’ll need to bring with you.
Some establishments don’t take cards, and ATMs are not as prevalent as many other destinations, so bring cash (including small bills) or at least hit up the ATM at the airport.
The sun is intense here, so you’ll need plenty of sun protection like a hat and sunscreen – make sure it’s reef safe! You’ll be stuck paying around $20 for a small bottle if you forget.
After the sun goes down, swap your sunscreen for insect repellent. The mosquitos and sandflies come out in hoards if it has rained recently.
You may want to bring your snorkeling gear if you have it, as island prices for this equipment are pretty spendy. Not only that but there are some random opportunities to hop into the water with a snorkel and you don’t want to have to hunt down a rental and waste precious time.
If you forgot to pack something, you’d likely be able to find it at one of the stores in Provo but you may have to pay dearly for it.
12. Tipping and Taxes
If you’re from the U.S., this won’t be too much of a surprise for you as the “rules” are essentially the same. It’s appropriate to tip 15-20% at restaurants.
The only thing to keep in mind is to always double-check your bill as sometimes the service fee or a partial service fee is already added. Some places add nothing and some will add 10% and then you can leave a bit more.
Another thing to note is that sometimes the taxes are added to the menu price and sometimes it’s not! So be sure to read at the bottom of the menu if they do or don’t so when you get your bill you’re not surprised if it happens to be more.
13. Booking Ahead of Time
Being spontaneous is fun, and on chill islands like Turks and Caicos, it works most of the time. However, it might not always be best to just show and hope everything works out. Sometimes tours are best to book ahead of time to make sure you’re going on the day and time you want.
If you’re looking to rent kayaks, for example, you’ll also want to rent them ahead of time as sometimes the companies bring the kayaks to the beach each and every day and oftentimes, just the amount they need for a tour! This means if you just show up, they might not have an extra to rent out to you.
14. Where to Stay
Most visitors stay on the island of Providenciales, as this is where many of the resorts and hotels are located. Grace Bay is a particularly popular area, renowned for the resorts that back this famous beach. But those looking for a more quiet, family-friendly neighborhood should consider staying in the Leeward area.
The Atrium is one of the best options in this area for both families and couples on a romantic getaway. The resort boasts a large pool with a swim-up bar, an on-site spa, and a modern fitness center. The location is hard to beat, too – just steps away from some of the best beaches in Turks and Caicos.
The closest beach to the Atrium is just a few steps away, Sunset Beach. Here, you’ll have tons of space as not many venture out this way. There’s even a small rocky outcrop at this beach that’s great for a quick snorkel. You’ll find massive lobsters, colorful fish, and cool coral just beneath your toes!
If you’re looking for a home away from home, a retreat, something beyond your basic hotel room, and located near the action but not in the dead center of everything, this Rentyl Resort is the spot for you!