Car rentals rates in the Turks and Caicos and on Providenciales start at about $36 when all necessary fees are added. Much lower rates advertised online rarely include all taxes and fees.
Some car rental companies have a poor reputation, such as due to “sand cleaning” fees, delays with airport pick-up and shuttle services, bait and switch tactics, and overselling. We advise checking reviews before reserving.
Most visitors will be best served and spend the least on transport by renting a car for the duration of their stay, and picking up and dropping off their car at the airport. Grace Bay Car Rentals and Island Life Jeeps offer fast airport pickup outside the arrivals terminal, with no shuttling to offsite locations.
Most roads on Providenciales are paved, and 4x4s are not needed. However, Jeep Wranglers are fun to drive!
We recommend that most visitors to Providenciales rent a car. This is due to a lack of public transportation, the high cost of taxis and the widespread layout of the island.
Providenciales has quite a few car rental agencies to choose from. Compact cars are popular due to the low daily rental rates, and these cars make up the majority of the local fleets and available models. In addition, full size cars, minivans SUVs, jeeps and the occasional pickup truck are almost always an option.
Many tourists drive in the Turks and Caicos, and general driving conditions are better than in many other Caribbean countries. The only highway in the country is Leeward Highway, which runs from Downtown Providenciales to Heaving Down Rock, on the eastern coast.
Most of the main roads on Providenciales are paved, so there’s usually no need for a 4x4 or a high clearance vehicle. There are however a few exceptions.
The Turks and Caicos Islands has a unique combination of vehicles of various origin (both left-hand and right-hand drive), and road signage from both the United Kingdom and United States. See Driving in the Turks and Caicos for driving policy differences respective to the United States, United Kingdom and Canada.
When looking for a car rental company while staying at Grace Bay, it’s important to understand that the island of Providenciales is quite small, and the Grace Bay area is only located about 5 miles (8 km) from the airport. If you plan to pick up your rental car after arrival and check-in at your accommodation, the location of the rental car agency doesn’t matter much.
Several Turks and Caicos car rental companies have branches in the Grace Bay area, and within walking distance of many of the region’s resorts and hotels, including Caicos Wheels, Avis, Tropical Auto Rentals, and Grace Bay Car Rentals.
To save precious vacation time and unnecessary taxi expensive fares, we generally advise that guests pick up their rental car at the Providenciales International Airport upon arrival.
Most guests would be best served by renting a car for the duration of their stay. There’s no public transport in the country, and the island’s many great beaches, restaurants, and sights are distributed across the island and outside of pleasant walking distances.
An exception may be made for guests staying in central Grace Bay if the famous beach is the primary focus of the trip.
Taxis are readily available, yet fares for even short journeys will often justify renting a car.
Standard cars and economy compact cars tend to work quite well for the general transport of 1-4 people. Regardless of vehicle class, the cars offered by the larger Providenciales companies tend to be in good condition and of newer age, in contrast to the rental fleets on some of our outer islands and what the situation was on Providenciales in past years.
Keep in mind that small cars and vehicles may not offer enough space for traveling to and from the airport with ample luggage and bags. Minivans and SUVs of course are a bit roomier, and may be a better choice for such a situation.
Another option for a large family or group is a van, which offers 8-12 passenger seats and ample room for luggage. Vans in this class include the Ford Transit and Toyota Hiace.
Fuel prices are generally high in the Turks and Caicos at about $6.20 (2022), however, driving distances are typically not great, so fuel shouldn't be a great expense.
Almost all rental vehicles on Providenciales and the Turks and Caicos feature automatic transmissions. It’s quite difficult to find a car or truck with a manual gearbox.
Is a Jeep or 4WD Necessary?
For the average visit to Providenciales, a jeep or four-wheel drive vehicle isn’t necessary, unless you’d like to visit the beautiful west coast national parks. Most roads in central Providenciales and Grace Bay are paved.
Rental options for luxury vehicles is limited compared to other destinations. Generally, what's considered a luxury or premium option are large American SUVs, such as the Chevrolet Suburban or Cadillac Escalade.
Island Life Jeeps is a boutique rental company and offers a modern collection of upfitted Jeep Wranglers, which are perfect for exploring the secluded beaches and coasts on the island. Unfortunately, there are currently no available rentals of off-road icons such as the Land Rover Defender, or 70 series Toyota Land Cruiser.
The only icon or classic that's available for rent is the Mini Moke (an open-air beach buggy converted Mini Cooper) from Avis Turks and Caicos.
There are many local car rental companies on Providenciales. Typical 'international brands' (such as Avis, Hertz, Enterprise, Dollar and Payless) are all present in the country and are in fact franchise or licensing arrangements. The local companies which operate under these known international brand names often have a local brand name in addition.
Some companies (including the well-known international car rental brands) have reputations for charging customers high fees for pre-existing damages, cleaning fees for any sand present in the car (an unavoidable situation), claims of fuel tanks not being 100% re-filled (with excessive per gallon rates), and other claims.
Booking and Reservations
A typical rental van in Grace Bay.
You'll generally get the best rate booking directly with a local car rental company. When comparing prices, it's important to know if government tax is included, and what the included level of insurance is. Unlike in some states and countries, it's a requirement to hold at least third-party insurance in order to drive vehicles on public roads. In the case of an extra driver, additional fees typically apply.
As is also the case with accommodations and activities, Turks and Caicos car rental rates and availability fluctuate according to the high and low tourism seasons. If you’re planning to visit during the winter months, we advise that you reserve well in advance.
Cancellation policies vary by company, but there's usually a sliding scale depending on how far before your reservation you cancel. Several companies provide full refunds with at least 7 days notice.
Airport Pickup and Return
We generally advise that visitors meet their rental car agency at the Providenciales International Airport (PLS) upon arrival. Depending on the business, rental cars may be picked up at the airport, or the agency may have a customer service representative at the airport and provides a short shuttle bus ride to a nearby lot. Collecting your rental on arrival of your flight will save expensive taxi fares and time.
It’s simple to navigate the island of Providenciales, especially to the Grace Bay area. Your rental agent will be able to give directions, and you can view our road map.
Likewise, when departing, we’d recommend dropping your car off or near the airport if possible. Before you book your car reservation, consider inquiring about the airport pickup and drop off policies. The larger rental agencies offer complimentary airport pick up and return. Most car rental locations, other than at the airport, are in Turtle Cove and Grace Bay.
Providenciales offers a wide range of auto rental companies, and rates can be quite low compared to our other islands.
The best car rental deals start at under $50 per day with taxes included, and are usually either budget compacts (smaller than what would be considered a compact in the United States), or “character” class cars. Character class vehicles are offered by a few of the larger local businesses, and are slightly older fleet cars, which still operate well yet rent at a cheap rate and can be a good value.
Except for when a special event is taking place, open parking spaces can typically be found where needed.
Damage, Repairs, and Recovery
We recommend that you inspect your car and check for damage before accepting it. If there are any dents or scratches, just snap a photo with your phone in case it's a problem later with your rental car company.
Be aware that rental companies will typically hold customers responsible for any damage that occurs when driving off-road or on unpaved roads, and repair fees can be expensive in the Turks and Caicos. The remote locations also carry an increased crime risk. See Safety and Crime.
It isn’t uncommon for rental cars to become stuck in the soft sand on trails in the Northwest Point region of Providenciales. Towing and recovery of vehicles may be expensive, as the flatbed recovery trucks used in the country are generally unsuitable for off-road use. We advise avoiding such trails unless a capable 4x4 is used.
Some local companies provide complimentary 24-hour roadside assistance. Keep in mind that this may not apply to remote areas with poor condition roads.
Due to the electronics and complexity of modern car keys, there’s typically a hefty key replacement fee.
We drive on the left.
Many drivers do not exercise due care and attention, especially operators of taxis (both legal and illegal).
Don’t pick up hitch-hikers or provide assistance to other motorists. If you think they need help, call the police on 911.
Stay on the road. It is illegal to drive on the beach or in the sensitive tidal flats and ponds. The majority of salt flats and seasonal ponds are protected nature reserves, and considerable fines are applicable if the areas are damaged. Likewise, the stability of the flats is deceptive, and it’s easy to break through the hard surface layer into the brine below and get stuck, resulting in very costly recovery fees.
Car Rental Requirements
Minimum rental age is usually 25. A few businesses have a minimum rental age of 21 for scooters.
Valid driver's license required. An International Driving Permit (IDP) is not needed, unless your license is not in English.
A valid passport and credit card are usually required.