The Turks and Caicos is an archipelago nation of nine inhabited islands and many smaller cays and islands, and small domestic flights and passenger ferries are the primary means of transport between islands.
Providenciales and Grand Turk host most of the country’s population, and consequently flights and ferries largely function around these two hubs.
North Caicos and Middle Caicos are the only two islands in the country connected by a causeway.
The domestic flights and ferries that connect our islands can offer quite an interesting ride, as you’ll get an incredible view of the scenic cays and brilliant turquoise ocean water that makes the Turks and Caicos famous. The Providenciales—North Caicos ferry is one such example, as the route navigates the coastlines of the secluded Little Water Cay, Water Cay, Pine Cay, Fort George Cay, Dellis Cay, and Parrot Cay.
There are no large car ferries in the Turks and Caicos.
There are scheduled flights between Providenciales International Airport (PLS), Grand Turk JAGS McCartney International Airport (GDT), South Caicos Airport (XSC), and Salt Cay Airport (SLX).
There are no scheduled flights to North Caicos or Middle Caicos. Due to the construction of the causeway that connects the two islands, and the introduction of regular ferry services, flight demand dropped significantly, and prior scheduled flight routes were canceled. Charter flights can still be arranged to the North Caicos Airport (NCA). The Middle Caicos Airport (MDS) is closed to commercial flights.
There are three ferry routes in the Turks and Caicos: Providenciales—North Caicos, Providenciales—South Caicos, and Grand Turk—Salt Cay.
All of these routes are serviced by small passenger ferry vessels. There are no scheduled large car ferries in the country.
The ferry service between Providenciales and North Caicos is the busiest, with multiple trips per day. Two companies operate this 30-minute route, and travel between Heaving Down Rock Marina (Walkin Marina) on Providenciales and either Sandy Point Marina or Bellefield Landing on North Caicos.
Two businesses run a Providenciales and South Caicos ferry route, with boats several times per week. This ferry docks at Heaving Down Rock on Providenciales and Cockburn Harbour on South Caicos.
A ferry service is also offered three times per week between Grand Turk and Salt Cay.
There are no ferries between Providenciales and any of the Turks Islands (Grand Turk and Salt Cay).
Rental Cars in Turks and Caicos
All of the main inhabited islands in the Turks and Caicos support vehicle rentals, however, the rates, condition, and the selection of rental vehicles does vary quite a bit by island.
We generally advise that all visitors rent a car due to the complete lack of public transport and the high costs of taxis. Walking distances between hotels and resorts, restaurants, and attractions are often too far to be pleasant, especially in the case of many secluded vacation rental villas. Central Grace Bay on Providenciales and the historical oceanfront area of Cockburn Town are the only regions where a rental vehicle may not be needed.
On Providenciales, the rental situation is quite good. Rates are low, car quality is generally high, and the selection of both rental companies and car types is wide. Everything from scooters to luxury cars is available.
Grand Turk, home to the only cruise ship port in the Turks and Caicos, offers rental cars, scooters, golf carts and buggies. For two persons per vehicle, the rates do not vary much across vehicle types, so select depending on what will be the most fun for you. It’s undeniably exciting to zip around on scooters or a 4x4 cart, however, keep in mind that the sun is typically intense, and shade and air conditioning will likely be desirable. Due to cruise ship landing schedules, the common rental period is less than eight hours. Rates are typically higher than those on Providenciales.
On the laid-back islands of North Caicos, Middle Caicos, and South Caicos, the car rental situation isn’t quite as optimal. Daily rates tend to be about twice that of Providenciales, and although largely functional, car quality isn’t quite as high either.
Last but not least, the tiny island of Salt Cay only has two modest types of vehicles to choose from: bicycles and off-road golf carts. The carts, our general recommendation, are perfect for exploring this flat and scenic cay.
Island-specific Transport Information
Getting Around Providenciales
Providenciales has by far the largest and busiest road system in the country. Transport around Providenciales by taxi can be both time-consuming and expensive, so we recommend that you rent a car or jeep for at least part of your stay. Scooters and mopeds are offered, yet probably should be avoided due to road safety issues. See Driving in the Turks and Caicos Islands for some tips and common road hazards.
Illegal ‘jitney' services (usually small unmarked and poor condition cars) operate as unofficial taxis, but these should be completely avoided. Apart from the fact that they are illegal and unlicensed, the drivers operate recklessly (such as stopping in the middle of the highway to pick up passengers), and are known to greatly overcharge anyone who appears to be a tourist. Only use licensed taxis, of which there is an abundance on Providenciales.
Getting Around Grand Turk
Taxis, rental cars, scooters, and golf carts are all available on Grand Turk. Due to good road conditions and an island-wide speed limit of 20 mph (32 km/h), Grand Turk is the best island in the country for exploring via scooter. If you’re arriving by cruise ship, be sure to reserve rental cars in advance as fleet size is limited.
It’s easy to navigate Grand Turk. There are no dangerous or remote areas, and there’s usually someone around if you need directions.
Getting Around North and Middle Caicos
Rental cars and jeeps are the main forms of transportation for North Caicos and Middle Caicos. Attractions and stores tend to be spread widely over both islands, so we highly recommend that you rent a vehicle for at least most of your stay. Taxis are available, but can be tardy and expensive. It’s best to bring a map with you when renting a car as one is not always provided.
A causeway connects North Caicos and Middle Caicos, which allows for easy traveling between the two islands.
Getting Around Salt Cay
Golf carts are an excellent (and our recommended) form of transport on Salt Cay. The island is quite small at 5 square miles (13 km²), and there are only about twenty cars on the entire island.
Your choices are to walk, cycle, or rent an off-road golf cart. Due to the heat and lack of shade, we highly recommend that you rent a golf cart, especially if you’re visiting for the day. Most of the villas and guest houses offer complimentary transportation to your accommodation when you arrive with luggage on Salt Cay.
Getting Around South Caicos
South Caicos, despite having a larger population than North and Middle Caicos combined, is not as developed for tourists. There are few taxis, and rental fleets are limited.
However, South Caicos does certainly provide a unique experience, striking a balance between the Turks Islands and the Caicos Islands, and we would suggest you consider a visit.