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Turks and Caicos Planning Tips and Fast Facts

Discover Some of the Most Beautiful Beaches in the World

Our Expert Opinion

Miles and miles of unspoilt beaches with nary a footprint in the sand. A destination for the high end traveller seeking remoteness and natural beauty. We have few yachts that permanently base here, and for most charters, the yachts come in from the neighboring Bahamas.

What is Destination Known For?

Uncrowded beaches, vibrant coral reefs, excellent dive spots, wild donkeys, luxury resorts and spas, local souvenirs and conch farm.

Location and Size

The Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) are a British Overseas Territory and consist of 40 islands, eight of which are inhabited. They are located 550 miles southeast of Miami and just south of The Bahamas. The 170 square miles (430 sq. km.) islands are technically located in the Atlantic Ocean, although their tropical splendor makes them feel like the Caribbean.

History

The Taino and the Lucayan tribes are believed to be the first inhabitants of the Turks and Caicos Islands, whose name is derived from the indigenous Turk's head cactus, and “caya hico” – the Lucayan term for 'a string of islands'.

These tribes remained peacefully on the islands for 700 years, surviving on farming and fishing. But around 1492, when Columbus set foot on Grand Turk, the Lucayan tribe began to disappear. The islands mostly remained deserted for the next 30 years. The following period witnessed an intrusion of salt-rakers, mainly from Bermuda.

The French and the Spanish confiscated the islands from the Bermudians in the year 1706, but four years later Britain, which had already annexed Bermuda, overpowered their European counterparts and included the islands in their territory. British Loyalists and buccaneers fleeing the American Revolution in the years that followed, began to seek refuge here.

In 1766, the Turks and Caicos became a part of the Bahamas colony, from which it disintegrated to become a part of Jamaica – then a British Crown Colony. Though Jamaica became independent in 1962, Turks and Caicos still remains as a British Colony.

During the 1980s, the Turks and Caicos started attracting people as a tourist destination and today, emerging among the most popular beach destinations in the world today. Meanwhile, offshore international investors continue to make this place more alluring. Development is strictly controlled, ensuring that the island’s pristine natural beauty remains intact.

Getting There

Providenciales International Airport (PLS) and JAGS McCartney International Airport (GDT) are the two major points of entry to this alluring tourist destination via air. Direct flights from the United States are available to Providenciales International Airport while connecting flights operate from Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

Best Time to Go

TCI is a year-round tropical travel destination. Yet, December through mid-April, when the weather remains cool and dry at around 74-78°F (23-26°C) would be the most ideal, since the hurricane season extends from June 1 – November 1. The active hurricane or tropical storm time is generally mid-August through late October, and we do not recommend chartering here at that time.

Local Customs to Observe

The locals of the TCI are very warm and friendly, without being effusive. Social norms are very old-school, such as handshakes for greetings. There is an in-bred respect for the older generation and a poise in their dressing. The pace of life is easy here and people don't like being pushed.

Helpful Fast Facts

Currency: US Dollar (USD)

Time Zone: Atlantic Time Zone (UTC-04:00)

Local language: The official language of the Turks and Caicos Islands is English, but a major part of the locals also speak the Turks and Caicos Islands Creole. You would find a few people speaking Haitian Creole and Spanish too within this territory.

Population: 34,787 as of April 16, 2016

Airport: Providenciales International Airport (PLS) and JAGS McCartney International Airport (GDT).

Entry Requirements: All nationals are required to carry a valid passport. Australian, British, Canadian, American and other EU nationals do not require a visa to enter the TCI.

Departure tax: $23 per person.

Legal Drinking Age: 18 years.

Smoking Regulations: Smoking at public places like schools, government buildings, restaurants, casinos, cafes, bars, factories and airports is prohibited in the Turks and Caicos.

Staying in touch: The Turks and Caicos Islands have good mobile coverage, with international roaming facilities at most of the places. Internet services are appreciable too.

Medical Information: The Associated Medical and the Carolina Medical Clinic are the two premier medical facilities here. 911 is the toll free number for emergencies: ambulance and police.

Public Holidays: New Year (Jan 1), Commonwealth Day (Mar), Good Friday (Mar/Apr), Easter Monday (Mar/Apr), National Heroes Day (May), Celebration of Her Majesty the Queen's Birthday (June), Emancipation Day (Aug), National Youth Day (Sept), Columbus Day (Oct), International Human Rights Day (Oct 24), Christmas (Dec 25) and Boxing Day (Dec 26).

Tourist Office:http://turksandcaicostourism.com/

Shopping Information: A large number of touristy gift shops, boutiques and jewellery shops throng the Turks and Caicos Islands. The Saltmills Plaza and the Regent Village in Grace Bay are considered the best places for shopping on the islands.

Top Ten "Must Do's"

Our travel experts have put together a list of the best things to do in the Turks and Caicos.

  • Visit the award-winning Grace Bay Beach – see if you agree that it’s the best in the world
  • Scuba the Molasses Reef Shipwreck, possibly the oldest European shipwreck in all of the Americas.
  • Grab a sundowner at the hip Grace Bay Club
  • Visit the world’s only conch farm
  • Tee off at the Provo Golf Club – voted best in the Caribbean (even though we just told you that TCI is in the Atlantic)
  • Cruise through Turks Head Passage and be on the lookout for migrating whales
  • Rejuvenate your mind and soul with a relaxing spa treatment at Spa Tropique
  • Rub elbows with the locals at the weekly “Islands Fish Fry” on Provo
  • Sip a “Porcupine Spike” , the famous 'rum punch' of the territory
  • Get down on your knees on a deserted beach at sunset and propose to that special someone.Try these top 10 things to do in Turks and Caicos at your leisure aboard our private luxury yachts.

Major Local and Regional Events

  • Annual Conch Festival in Provo in December
  • Caribbean Food and Wine Festival – a culinary extravaganza in November
  • Annual Fishermen's Tournament is held every year in June at the Grand Turk

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