The spectacular Grace Bay Beach on Providenciales.
The Turks and Caicos is found about 80 miles (130 km) north of the Dominican Republic and 30 miles (49 km) east of the Bahamas. Florida is about 560 miles (900 km) northwest.
What country is Turks and Caicos in?
The Turks and Caicos is its own country! We are a self-governed British Overseas Territory, with status equivalent to Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, the Falkland Islands, and Gibraltar. Our capital city is
Cockburn Town on the island of
What does “Turks and Caicos” mean?
Turks and Caicos basically translates to “Pirate Islands”.
In past centuries, Islamic corsairs plagued the coasts of Africa, the Mediterranean and Western Europe. These raiders and slavers were often referred to as “Turks”, and the term was often used at the time as a synonym for pirates.
Caicos was derived from a Taino word, the meaning of which was roughly “archipelago” or “chain of islands”.
Turks Head Cacti on East Caicos.
An early map maker combined the names as a warning to ships traveling in the area, and the title has stuck ever since.
The name is almost certainly not derived from the Turks head cacti, a unique plant native to the country, as is commonly stated.
Who were the original inhabitants of the Turks and Caicos?
The Tainos (also referred to as Lucayans) were the first peoples that there is any evidence or record of. Due to Spanish enslavement and introduced diseases, all of these aborigine people disappeared by the 1600s.
Taino, (it is thought that it translates to “peaceful” or “peaceful people”) is now accepted in place of Lucayan as the better name for these peoples, as it is the term they chose to call themselves.
Fast Track is a VIP service that is available at the Providenciales International Airport and allows arriving and departing guests expedited service through immigration, customs, check-in and security.
The weekends during the later December to April high season are the busiest times at the airport. The queues to enter and leave through the airport outside of these times typically are not long. Fast Track during peak arrivals can save more than an hour of wait times.
Yes. Taxis are quite expensive and rates are not metered. We recommend that visitors consider renting a vehicle for their stay. If you use a taxi, we recommend confirming the rate (and clarify that the stated rate is for your whole party and not per-person) before traveling.
Other than accommodation and vehicle rental, we estimate that around half of expenses on Providenciales can be paid by card. This percentage drops significantly on the less-populated islands.
Are Apple Pay and Android Pay Accepted in the Turks and Caicos?
Apple Pay and Android pay are generally not accepted at businesses or locations in the Turks and Caicos.
What currency is used in the Turks and Caicos?
The Turks and Caicos uses the U.S Dollar. We do have our own currency, the Crown, however it’s largely only utilized as commemorative and collective souvenir coins. It’s extremely uncommon to encounter a Turks and Caicos Crown coin in normal circulation.
Can I bring meat with me into the Turks and Caicos?
Is the tap water safe in the Turks and Caicos Safe to Drink?
In most cases, yes, it’s perfectly safe, yet bottled water is the common choice due to the poor taste of piped water .
Indoor plumbed water in the Turks and Caicos almost always originates from one of two sources: reverse osmosis desalination, and less commonly,
On Providenciales, most resorts, hotels and rental villas are connected to “city water”. This is a modern piped utility water service, with water produced by reverse osmosis. This water is safe to drink, but the taste is usually comparatively poor.
Our national flag. We're a proud British Overseas Territory.
Some accommodations, largely older houses and outlying vacation rentals on Providenciales, use cisterns which are filled by rainwater collection from roofs or by truck from a desalination plant. In theory, a cistern could be contaminated by chemicals, pollutants or pathogens, however such an occurrence is almost unheard-of.
our other islands, cistern use for smaller lodgings is almost universal, and hotels and resorts typically have their own reverse osmosis systems.
Portable water filters can be a great way to improve the palatability of the country’s reverse osmosis water.
As a British Overseas Territory, the Union Jack occupies the upper left corner of the
Turks and Caicos flag, and the shield on the right includes the
queen conch, the spiny lobster, and the
Turk’s head cacti. The three natural items represented are important to the cultural history of the country. The lobster and conch are valued and staple sources of food, and the Turk’s head cacti is an indigenous plant. The current version of the flag was approved in 1968.
Sargassum on a remote beach in the Turks and Caicos.
Do beaches in the Turks and Caicos have sargassum?
The short answer is that typically most beaches in the Turks and Caicos do not have any noticeable sargassum, yet a few coasts do collect varying amounts of the seaweed at some times.
Sargassum is a floating brown seaweed that is starting to be seen in large quantities in warmer Atlantic waters, including Florida and much of the Caribbean. It’s had a great impact at some popular beaches in the Caribbean, accumulating in such amounts that small bays are a mass of brown.
Generally only some windward beaches in the Turks and Caicos experience a noticeable amount of sargassum at times. Such coasts include
Long Bay Beach on Providenciales and much of North Caicos. Keep in mind that worst-case sargassum accumulation seen in the Turks and Caicos doesn’t compare to the incredible masses seen in other destinations that have made headlines.
Beaches all-inclusive resort on Grace Bay Beach, Providenciales.
Is it worth paying up for a beachfront room?
If you’re simply here for the beach, definitely consider it.
If you’re on a typical budget and want to experience water sports, and the many sights and cays throughout the country, your money is probably better spent on excursions and activities.
Should I stay at an all Inclusive resort? Or not?
If your intentions are to simply spend your time on one great beach, and convenient meals are a major perk, an
all-inclusive may be the best choice for you.
If you’d rather get out and explore the
many beautiful beaches, cays and sights, a hotel or villa will be more cost-effective.
The barrier reef off of Grand Turk at English Point.
Unfortunately, there are no regularly accessed wreck dive sites in the country. Throughout the country there are broken up old wrecks from the age of sail, and modern freighters that are a little too deep for recreational diving.
The Convair CV-440 aircraft wreck off South Caicos is the most interesting wreck at a reasonable depth.
The unique Turks and Caicos Rock Iguana at Half Moon Bay Beach, Little Water Cay.
What’s the top thing to do?
Other than relaxing on the beach, our top recommend activity would be an
island hopping and snorkeling boat cruise. The best experience is usually had with one of the smaller groups or on a private cruise, and not a crowded party boat.
What’s the best non-beach natural attraction in the Turks and Caicos?
Of the easily-accessible areas of Providenciales; flamingos are occasionally seen at the interior pond near the southern
Leeward entrance gate, at Flamingo Lake near
Turtle Tail, and on the ponds at the
There are countless ponds and wetlands on
North and Middle Caicos, and flamingos are occasionally seen at almost every such site. It’s simply hit or miss whether they’ll be there or not.
If you’re looking to
photograph flamingos, the best conditions are found on South Caicos. Here, the majestic wading birds are a little less skittish than those in the remote ponds, and the salina walls allow for an easier approach.