What to Bring to the Turks and Caicos
You don't need to bring much when visiting the Turks and Caicos. If you happen to forget something, you'll probably be able to easily find a suitable replacement on Providenciales. Depending on what you’re looking for, the selection on the other islands in the country can be far more limited. See Turks and Caicos Shopping and Providenciales Shopping for more information.
It is recommended that all visitors to the Turks and Caicos bring a valid passport with validity at least 6 months beyond your trip completion date.
In the case of cruise arrivals to the country, nationals of the United States can enter with an enhanced driver’s license. However, this is not recommended by us or the major cruise companies, as you will encounter problems and delays if you need to return by air (due to an emergency or if you miss your cruise).
This one’s obvious.
If you’re looking to buy a new camera, our recommendation is to select one of the rugged and waterproof compact digital cameras, such as an Olympus Tough, Nikon AW series, or a GoPro.
With a waterproof camera, you’ll be able to take snorkeling and water sports photos, yet more importantly, because such cameras are compact, waterproof, and durable, you’ll be far more likely to have such a camera with you when the highlights of your vacation are happening.
Bringing a spare battery or two (and of course the charger!) and an extra memory card also makes sense.
Everyone knows to bring sunscreen, but few actually bring enough. You’ll probably require about twice as much as you’d initially expect.
Higher SPF (sun protection factor) such as SPF 30 is desirable, as is water resistance.
If it’s been raining recently, you’ll want to have insect repellent as there can be mosquitoes and sand fleas (tiny biting insects, totally different from the common flea) at times. This is especially a consideration if you plan on spending time on North and Middle Caicos, Pine Cay, or Parrot Cay.
Providenciales offers several large and modern supermarkets and grocery stores. With this said, prices will often be higher than you’re used to and you may not be able to find your favored brand, so it makes sense to consider bringing packaged snacks, energy bars, coffee, tea, and other staples.
The other islands in the country have a much smaller selection of shops and items to choose from.
Generally, manufactured and store-bought food products can be imported without a problem. Home-packed meats are prohibited, along with most other types of home-packed food products (such as home-packed grains, dried fruit, etc).
Each adult arriving in the country can bring in certain amounts of alcohol and tobacco products duty-free.
Several of the Providenciales water sports shops carry a great selection, but due to import, customs duty and mark up, prices will be higher than you’ll typically pay in the United States or Canada.
An inexpensive one-size-fits-all kit with mask, snorkel and fins usually isn’t the best choice. If possible, you’ll want to visit an actual dive shop to get proper fitting and advice. If your hometown area doesn’t have such a shop, the next best choice is to shop with a reputable online retailer that carries a wide selection and also accepts returns in case of poor fitting.
Decent snorkel gear will provide years of good service if it’s rinsed in fresh water after being used in the ocean and stored in a cool dry place.
It is possible to rent equipment on Providenciales and Grand Turk from the local dive shops, but consider that the equipment may be well-used and that the costs over a few days will be close to the original purchase price of the equipment.
Many businesses in the Turks and Caicos still rely on cash, especially the smaller establishments. Bring plenty of cash with you, including small bills.
ATMs are not as common in the Turks and Caicos as they are at other destinations. It’s not difficult to find one on Providenciales, but some of the other islands may only have one, two, or none island-wide. It's not uncommon for all ATMs in the Grace Bay area to be offline and out-of-service at the same time.
If you ignore accommodation and vehicle rental, we estimate that about half of expenses incurred by visitors can be paid by card.
Hat and Sunglasses
The sun is typically intense in the Turks and Caicos, so you’ll want to have a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses.
If you expect to spend much time on the water, polarized sunglasses are a great item to have as they cut down on glare and reflections on the water’s surface. When stand-up paddleboarding or kayaking, polarized sunglasses will make it much easier to spot wildlife in the water below.
Some sunglasses may be damaged by long-term salt water and sunscreen exposure. Considering this, and the chance of loss during vacation activities, consider purchasing an inexpensive pair, or a product designed for marine use.
Although it’s possible to have prescriptions filled locally, to ensure that you have what you need and to avoid excess costs, bring any necessary medications.
Providenciales has several dispensing pharmacies and Grand Turk has one. The other islands don’t have any.
Our general advice is to bring less clothing than you’d think you will need.
Jackets, sweaters, or other cool-weather garments will typically never be required.
Long-sleeve rash guards are great for any active water sport or activity. These shirts protect against sunburn, don’t get bogged down with water, and prevent chaffing.
Inflatables and Beach Toys
Chances are that your local stores back home will have a wider selection and cheaper prices than what’s available locally.
Our excellent Do It Best building center has the best selection of beach gear and toys on the island.
Although not quite as functional as a proper hard insulated cooler, a collapsible soft cooler bag is great for the beach or day trips.
ID and Certification Cards
Last but not least, ensure that you have all necessary IDs and certification cards you’ll need. This includes diving, kiteboarding, and other water sport certification cards.