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Overview Of Turks And Caicos

Located just south of the Bahamas and a short flight from Miami, Turks and Caicos comprise of approximately 40 stunningly beautiful coral islands (8 of which are inhabited). Turks and Caicos are also one of the most exclusive and luxurious destinations in the Caribbean. The islands are charming and very unspoiled with beautiful powdery white sandy beaches, endless crystal clear turquoise waters, nature reserves and several beautiful national parks.

The Turks and Caicos Islands which have a population of 22,000 based mainly on Providenciales have a total land area of 166 square miles scattered across 10,000 square miles of ocean.

The Caribbean Sea lies to the south of the islands, whilst the Atlantic lies to the north and west. The islands are connected by a few ferry services and scheduled small plane charters. There is a bridge which connects North and Middle Caicos. The capital Cockburn Town is located on Grand Turk which is also the easternmost island.

Providenciales is the most developed of the islands and it is also where you will find many of our luxury Turks and Caicos vacation rentals. Providenciales is home to the exquisitely beautiful Grace Bay, a 12 mile (19km) long stretch of pristine white sandy beach. Providenciales is also the gateway to Parrot Cay which is a stunningly beautiful privately owned one thousand acre island with many exquisite Turks and Caicos villas to rent.

The twenty-two-mile Columbus Passage divides the islands into two groups – Grand Turk and Salt Cay lie to the east while West, North, Middle, East and South Caicos and Providenciales are on the west side.

The passage itself acts as transit point for migrating Humpback Whales, spotted Eagle Rays, Manta Rays and turtles and the rich waters are home to Blue Marlin, Tuna and Wahoo – perfect for the big game fisherman.

In addition, bordering the edges of the islands is one of the largest coral reef systems in the world, making the islands perfect for diving and snorkelling enthusiasts. Turks and Caicos is the ultimate destination for a luxury holiday. It is a wonderful destination for romance, family holidays and adventure seekers. Turks and Caicos are without a doubt the perfect island getaway.


Useful Information

  • Main City: Cockburn Town
  • Main language: English
  • Voltage 120v

Passport and Visa Requirements

Visitors need to hold a valid passport and everyone must have an ongoing or return ticket on entry. No visas are necessary except from countries of the former Eastern Bloc. They are advised to contact the British Consulate Office, in their home country, for advice. Visitors are allowed to stay for 30 days and this is renewable once. There is a $15 departure tax, which is not levied on under 12’s. This may be included in the price of the ticket, so it is worth checking with your airline.

Banks

The currency on the islands is U.S. dollars. The banks are Scotiabank and First Caribbean. Travellers Cheques in U.S. dollars are accepted. Mastercard, Visa and American Express are welcomed in most places. It is recommended to carry sufficient cash if travelling to other parts of the islands, and there are ATM’s on Providenciales.

Electricity

Electrical sockets on the islands are similar to those in the United States and Canada. However, an adapter may still be required to accommodate grounding and polarisation. Travelers from Europe and Japan will need suitable adapters.

Television

There is a satellite television service throughout the islands. Most major US networks are available.

Telephone

U.S. cell phones with International Roaming will make and receive calls on the islands.

Driving

Driving in Turks and Caicos is on the left-hand side of the road and the maximum speed limit is 40mph (64kph). Car and Jeep rental rates range from $50 to $100 per day. Visitors with a valid driving licence are permitted to drive for 30 days.


Getting There

There are two full service international airports in Turks and Caicos. They are located on Providenciales and Grand Turk. There is also a smaller more limited entry airport located on South Caicos. All other islands have domestic airports, with the exception of East and West Caicos, which are uninhabited.

Visitors must hold a valid passport. Proof of onward transportation is also required on entry.

Airlines

From the U.S.

From Canada

From Europe

Inter Caribbean

  • Nassau – Bahamasair
  • Grand Turk – Inter Caribbean Airways and Caicos Express

Getting to Turks and Caicos by Sea

When you arrive to the Turks and Caicos by sea, you must clear customs and immigration on arrival. The Turks and Caicos are well set up to make this process easy. There are a number of facilities at Providenciales, including a full service marina at Turtle Cove Marina as well as entry facilities. Other marinas on Providenciales include South Side Marina, Leeward Marina and Caicos Marina and Shipyard. Another popular docking point is Sapodilla Bay on Providenciales’ south side

Powdery White sand beaches at Turks and Caicos


Temperature Guide

These figures show Turks and Caicos monthly average maximum temperatures and monthly average rainfall.

MonthTemp °CTemp °FRainfall(mm)Rainfall(in)
January2781542.1
February2781431.7
March2882361.4
April2984431.7
May3086441.7
June3188421.6
July3290371.4
August3290471.8
September3290692.7
October3188903.5
November29841194.7
December2781993.9

DESTINATION HIGHLIGHTS

  • For exquisite turquoise waters, explore Chalk Sound National Park. This 5km long bay by Providenciales has several tiny islets and has some of the clearest blue water on the island.
  • Grace Bay is a stupendously beautiful bay which curls along the north shore of Providenciales for 12 miles (19 km) and is lined with powdery white sands. It offers some of the best snorkelling spots on the island as well as some of the most exclusive vacation rentals in Turks and Caicos.
  • The nearby, sparsely populated islands of North and Middle Caicos can be explored through a scenic drive with short stops made to admire the views. You will have an opportunity to meet the local people and soak up the culture and atmosphere of island life.
  • Practice yoga at Parrot Cay, an award winning Shambhala retreat designed to improve health and well being. After a morning’s yoga workshop, relax in one of the Japanese baths.
  • Cottage pond is a large pool of tropical vegetation that contains one of the most impressive subterranean waterways found so far.
  • Flamingo Pond Nature Reserve is home to a large sanctuary of West Indian Flamingos, this is an area where planes are prohibited from flying and boats are not allowed to dock in order to avoid disturbing the flourishing flock.
  • For diving enthusiasts, head to the Northwest point on Providenciales for a brilliant dive site, where you can spot eels and many other fish.
  • Explore the northern shores of the Turks and Caicos Islands by Kayak, encircling its islets in safe, clear waters. Journey to Salt Cay, a tiny island south of Grand Turk. Salt Cay is part of the Humpback whales winter migratory route.
  • It is certainly worth considering visits to other islands in the Turks and Caicos chain during your stay on any one of the Turks and Caicos Islands. Many of the islands have an incredible range of habitats and wildlife giving you a wonderful and very unique experience. Because all the islands are very close together, you can easily visit several of the islands on day trips. Our concierge at Exceptional Villas will be delighted to assist with recommendations on these and also help to organise them for you.
  • Iguana Island

    The nature reserve of Little Water Cay is home to the Turks and Caicos’ famous Rock Iguanas. Iguana Island is the only place in the world where you will find this harmless reptile, yet here they thrive in their thousands. The largest of these Iguanas are an impressive 2ft long and are striking creatures, making them the islands’ largest native land animal. There are several especially constructed viewing points and boardwalks which allow visitors the opportunity to experience the habitat of the iguana without disturbing their natural environment. After a visit to the nature reserve, a cooling dip can be arranged to discover the colourful flora and fauna beneath the water followed by lunch on a deserted beach.

    North Caicos

    North Caicos is the closest of the bigger islands to Parrot Cay and Providenciales and it is also the most beautiful of all the islands. North Caicos is the most fertile and has lots of dense and lush vegetation hence its nick name - the garden island. North Caicos has a resident population of only 1500 and is a relaxing and intriguing place to visit. Because of the fertility of its soil, North Caicos was a successful cotton plantation island in previous times. A visit to Wades Green Plantation is worthwhile where you will get a flavour of this period in history. There are many beautiful white sandy beaches on North Caicos but the best is Whitby Beach which has an ultra white sandy beach and beautiful crystal clear waters. It is possible to find conch shells of every size at Pelican Point Beach in Whitby, and Horse stable Beach is a prime bird watching site. Many choose to have lunch at the home of a local matriarch in the nearby village of Kew.

    Middle Caicos

    Middle Caicos is the largest of the islands within Turks and Caicos and also has the least number of people with a tiny population of just 300. The north coast is dramatically beautiful with rugged cliffs and beautiful bays. Mudjin Bay is a huge natural amphitheatre, carved from the limestone, and a spectacular stopping point. Bambarra is a picturesque village and the beach offers superb snorkelling. Bambarra also hosts the annual Valentine’s Day cup, a sailing boat race using scale models hand crafted by local artisans. A great way to explore the island is by bike, following the mountain trails. The route follows a rugged road through the hills and pine lands to the south and then loops back along an easier coastal route to the north. This energetic adventure covers approximately 24 kilometres and is a full day excursion.

    East Caicos

    East Caicos is one of the least visited islands and is uninhabited. Its 29 square kilometres is largely covered in swamps and mangroves. However, there is a splendid 27-kilometre beach on the north of the island used mainly by sea turtles to lay their eggs. Near Jacksonville on the Northwest of the island there is a series of caves which show evidence of the early settlers here.

    Joe Grant's Cay

    Joe Grant’s Cay is a beautiful, virtually deserted island which lies between Middle and East Caicos on the eastern side of the passage known as Windward-Going-Through. It is remote, rarely visited and pristine with a perfect sheltered harbour on the leeward side and a spectacular beach on the windward side. It is great if you fell like experiencing a Robinson Crusoe type experience.

    Providenciales

    Providenciales is the most developed of the Turks and Caicos Islands. It is here that one will find everything from superb natural scenery and wildlife to a world-class, professionally-designed golf course. Grace Bay is an exceptionally beautiful bay which curls along the north shore of Providenciales for 12 miles (19 km) and is lined with powdery white sands. It offers some of the best snorkelling spots on the island as well as some of the most exclusive vacation rentals in Turks and Caicos.

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