An Introduction to Turks & Caicos

 

The beautiful Turks and Caicos Islands are situated just 575 miles southeast of Miami. Covering 193 square miles of the Atlantic Ocean, the Turks and Caicos Islands has the third largest coral reef system and the best tropical beaches in the world, making it a premier beach, diving and snorkeling destination and an ideal location for romance, family vacations, ecotourism and adventure seekers, which is probably why so many of their visitors return over and over again.
One of the most valuable possessions of the islands are the pristine white sandy beaches, which in total cover 230 miles and are complemented with crystal clear turquoise waters. The islands are relatively flat but vary from sand dunes to lush green vegetation. There are eight inhabited islands: Salt Cay, Grand Turk, South Caicos, Middle Caicos, North Caicos, Providenciales, Parrot Cay and Pine Cay. East Caicos and West Caicos along with several other fascinating cays are uninhabited. People on the islands known as "Belongers" are known for their friendly spirit, which helps ensure this is a destination that helps people de-stress, feel comfortable and truly relax.

THE ISLANDS

Providenciales:
Also known as “Provo,” this island is visited most by tourists. With many resort hotels and the international airport receiving direct flights from various countries throughout the region, there is always buzz on Provo. It is ringed by pristine white beaches, and is home to historic villages as well as world-class shopping.
Grand Turk:
This island is home to the capital of the islands, and despite its relatively small size, also hosts the second largest population among the Turks and Caicos. Grand Turk has some historical sites to visit, but the main attraction here is the incredible diving.
North Caicos:
This island is more of a nature preserve than a tourist destination. Here travelers can see a wide range of nature due to the island's high rainfall. Birdwatchers especially can be impressed by the flocks of flamingos, as well as nearby islets with many birds.
Middle Caicos:
The largest of the islands, Middle Caicos is known for its rich agriculture, but it also has great tourist attractions, including an extensive cave system as well as old plantation houses.
East Caicos:
No longer settled, this island is home to ancient petroglyphs and an abandoned town as well as beautiful beaches.
South Caicos:
Despite its small size this is one of the most popular islands of the chain. Fishermen and those who love good seafood are regulars here. However, birders, history buffs, and divers find plenty to do here.
Salt Cay:
This tiny cay was the home to the Islands' salt industry, and when mining ended, it was as though life stayed in freeze-frame. Visitors come to explore this area and catch a glimpse of what life was once like on this island.
Parrot Cay/Pine Cay:
These two are private islands owned by resort companies.

What to Expect in Turks & Caicos

BANKS:
Banks are open Monday through Thursday from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and Friday 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

CURRENCY:
The U.S. dollar is the official currency. Major credit cards are widely accepted, as well as travelers checks. Banks generally feature offer ATMs and provide cash advances on credit cards. ATMs are also becoming more widespread in the retail areas of Providenciales.

CLIMATE:
The Turks and Caicos enjoy a tropical marine climate with low humidity and 350 days of sunshine a year. The warm temperatures are moderated by the cooling breezes of the easterly trade winds. During the winter months, the average daily high temperature is 82 degrees (F) and the average nightly low temperature is 65 degrees (F). During the summer months, the average daily high temperature is 88 degrees (F) and the average nightly low temperature is 72 degrees (F). Ocean water temperatures at the surface average 80 degrees (F) in the winter and 84 degrees (F) during the summer. Rainfall is interspersed throughout the year. Providenciales and the North Caicos average less than 50 inches of rainfall annually, while Grand Turk and the South Caicos average only 22 inches of rainfall annually.

DEPARTURE TAX:
As of 2015, departure tax is listed at $29 U.S. Dollars and is typically included in your ticket. Please check with your airline or ticketing agent for details. If it is not included it is payable in cash only upon check in for your flight home.

DRINKING WATER:
Water is generally safe to drink in resorts. As on many islands, fresh water is precious, as they depend upon rainfall or desalinated water produced by reverse osmosis for the supply. Please be conservative in using water. Bottled water is readily available.

DRIVING LICENSE: 
Visitors from the U.S.A. Canada, the U.K. and many other countries may use their valid drivers license from their homeland.

ELECTRICITY:
110 volts AC is the standard, and an adapter is not required for visitors from the U.S.A.

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS:
All visitors to the Turks and Caicos must hold a round-trip ticket. Visitors may stay up to 30 days and can apply for extensions for longer stays, these are approved under the discretion of the Immigration department. Visitors from the United States and Canada must have a passport in your possession. Visitors from countries within the British Commonwealth require passports. Visas are necessary for visitors from countries outside of the Commonwealth and the United States. Please contact a British Consulate Office for visa applications.

TOURISM SEASONS:
December to April is the region's high season, which has more to do with holiday times and lower temperatures everywhere else in the world. The high season often inflates prices for travelers throughout the Caribbean, so the window between the end of the high season and the beginning of summer may be the best time for travelers to visit the islands. Every year beginning in June and ending in October, the Turks and Caicos experience hurricane season. Though hurricanes don't hit often within the Caribbean, many travelers avoid visiting the islands during this season. Still, travel during this time should not be entirely ruled out and visitors should feel assured by advanced hurricane warning systems.

VACCINATIONS:
There are no vaccinations required for entry to the Turks and Caicos. However, we always suggest that you speak to your family physician for a personal recommendation.

WATER TEMPERATURES AND WETSUITS:
Water temperatures generally range between 78 – 82°F. Most people find wearing a 1mm – 3mm wetsuit keeps them comfortable.



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