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Turks and Caicos Islands
Turks and Caicos Islands
For most first-time visitors, the best time to visit the Turks and Caicos is February, March, and April. These months offer the best combination of weather, prices, and availability.
Late August, September, October, and early November typically have the lowest accommodation and activity rates. It's typical to see hotels offer extra nights for free and other perks. These months (along with December) are typically considered the rainy season.
The main factors to consider when visiting the Turks and Caicos are accommodation prices, hurricanes, and for some of the islands, the presence of mosquitoes.
The Turks and Caicos experiences consistent and beautiful weather year-round, barring the occasional storm. Water and air conditions are never too cold for the beach.
Weather conditions for the different water sports do vary somewhat throughout the year, yet the air and water temperature is quite constant, with an annual average air temperature range of 75° F to 95° (24° C to 35° C), and an ocean water temperature range of 79° F to 85° (26° C to 29° C).
Whereas hotels and resorts may see fluctuations in prices, other expenses on your trip, such as food and restaurants, or activities typically don't have substantial price variations.
December to April is typically the “high-season” or peak season. During this period, the rates for accommodations and activities are often at least 30% to 50% percent higher compared to the rest of the year, and availability may be limited as well.
The “low season” occurs during the late summer and early autumn months, which coincides with the Atlantic hurricane season. Due to the relatively limited number of visitors at this time, some businesses either temporarily close down or take the opportunity to renovate.
If you are able to reschedule your vacation in the unlikely chance that a hurricane threatens the Turks and Caicos, booking during the low season can result in substantial savings. Unless a tropical cyclone or hurricane is nearby, the weather is typically great at this time of year.
The Turks and Caicos Islands are located in the tropical Atlantic, and as such are at risk of being hit by a hurricane or tropical cyclone. In the Atlantic, these storms largely form between June and November, and this period is commonly known as the hurricane season throughout the Caribbean and Bahamas.
There have been very few actual hurricane strikes to the country in recent decades, although the close passing of tropical storms, and the delaying of flights due to storms in the region occur more often.
Statistics show that mid-August through September is the most likely time of year in the Turks and Caicos for a hurricane to strike.
A hurricane or tropical storm can obviously ruin your vacation, so you’ll want to be aware of the likelihood of such an event. If your personal vacation schedule and airline tickets are flexible and allow for date changes, definitely consider visiting during the hurricane season as you’ll likely have a great stay. If you’d rather avoid any chance of a major storm, book during the winter and spring months (although hotels and airfares are higher).
The weather is very consistent throughout the year. The water temperature only changes by a few degrees throughout the year. The main difference is that the period from August through December has higher rainfall averages (considered the rainy season). When considering weather forecasts, it's important to be aware that rain showers are typically quite brief, with sunny conditions before and after. Don't get concerned when the forecast shows rain, as it'll often not be noticed. Unlike many other Caribbean islands, heavy and extended periods of rain are very uncommon.
The weather conditions for most activities are great throughout the year. Popular activities such as boat charters, snorkeling, diving, parasailing, kayaking, paddleboarding, and sailing can be enjoyed anytime.
The conditions for wind sports such as kiteboarding and windsurfing are a little more consistent in the winter months, along with the conditions for surfing.
Whale watching is the only activity that’s truly seasonal, as the migrating humpback whales only make their appearance from late December to early March.
The typical daily temperature ranges from 75-95° F (24-35° C). The swing between the 'hot' and 'cool' seasons is less than 10° F. Temperatures are cooler in the evening, and can occasionally be somewhat cold for certain persons, but generally, a t-shirt is sufficient for most.
Fortunately, (or unfortunately if you like to party!) the Turks and Caicos generally doesn’t experience the March and April spring break party atmosphere that other Caribbean countries do. There may be a slightly noticeable increase in the number of those enjoying the beach and ocean, yet none of the loud music, heavy drinking, and noise.
Avoiding the two large Grace Bay all-inclusive resorts during spring break will do the most in terms of maintaining tranquility.
Due to their locations on our less-populated beaches, luxury rental villas are generally immune to the high season crowds.
The presence and quantity of mosquitoes vary greatly by season, by island, and most significantly, by the amount of rainfall experienced. On the whole, the typically dry weather in the Turks and Caicos isn’t conducive to the pests, and as such mosquitoes are only a problem after unusual flooding.
When there has been heavy rainfall, the mosquito situation on Providenciales varies highly depending on location. Grace Bay and other tourist regions typically see far fewer mosquitoes than the remote west coast does, and mosquito problems in regions exposed to the constant eastern trade winds usually fade quickly.
Due to the general lack of dense vegetation and the absence of natural sites that collect rainwater, Grand Turk and Salt Cay generally do not have serious mosquito problems. South Caicos is similarly drier than the other Caicos Islands and sees less rainfall (and mosquitoes). There may be an outbreak after flooding, however, mosquitoes tend to be controlled by the breeze rapidly.
North and Middle Caicos and the boutique islands of Parrot Cay and Pine Cay can have serious and persistent mosquito attacks after heavy rains. There’s little that can be done other than wearing long sleeves, using potent insect repellent and avoiding mosquito-sheltering environments.
In the Turks and Caicos, fishing seasons exist for conch, lobster and grouper, the three most popular locally caught seafood. If these items are served outside of their respective fishing seasons, the products may be not the type of seafood they are stated to be, are illegally harvested, or are imported.
The lobster fishing season spans from August to March. Outside of these months, it’s not possible to legally buy fresh locally caught lobster, either in shops or at restaurants.
During the typical July to October closed season, Conch and conch products cannot be fished, and exports during this period are limited to visitor souvenir shells and shell products. This export ban can be applied to souvenir shells and conch crafts, although it is not always enforced. See Buying, Collecting, and Exporting Conchs, Shells and Corals.
Nassau grouper, the favored type of grouper for local dishes, may not be fished during the closed season, which is typically December through February.
Generally, all you need is a light shirt and shorts. No coats are needed, although some people may prefer a light sweater on colder days (which are rare) or in the evening.
Most visitors will find that they need less clothing than is typically brought.
Consider bringing long-sleeve rash guards for swimming, snorkeling and water sports. These garments don’t get water-logged and offer excellent sun protection. If you can’t find rash guards at home, the Providenciales water sports shops carry a wide selection.
In a word, yes. The Turks and Caicos uses the U.S. Dollar as its official currency, which saves on foreign exchange fees. This fee is typically from 3% and above, even the conversion rate charged by card issuers.
You'll notice price differences, especially at grocery stores and supermarkets, where you'll be able to directly compare like-for-like products. It's not uncommon that prices can be about double what you'd expect in parts of the United States.
The only workaround is to visit during the low-season (September through November, excluding Thanksgiving).
Villas can be a great choice for groups and large families, as the effective nightly rate can be quite reasonable at the larger properties.
Generally, you'll be best served by planning your vacation in advance. This is applicable to all destinations in the Turks and Caicos, but especially the family islands. The accommodation on the smaller islands don't feature the last-minute deals and breaks that you might find on Providenciales.
Depending on where you'll be staying and what you plan to do, a vacation package may make sense (such as dive packages or flight combo packages at Beaches Turks and Caicos).