Turks & Caicos City Guide
About Turks & Caicos
The archipelago of the Turks and Caicos Islands is a British Overseas Territory that is made up of two groups of islands, the larger Caicos Islands and the smaller Turks islands. These islands are situated in the Caribbean Sea at the end of the Bahamas chain and are located at a distance of 575 miles southeast of Miami, on the US mainland.
In recent years, these gorgeous islands are known for their stunning beaches, coral reefs and azure seas and have become immensely popular with vacationers, honeymooners and diving enthusiasts. Tourism is the main revenue earner for the eight inhabited islands of the TCI group and the islands are populated by ever-smiling residents who call themselves the ‘belongers’ and welcome visitors with open arms.
Where to stay in Turks & Caicos
Most visitors’ accommodation decisions for their Turks and Caicos vacations are determined by the size of their travel budgets, for the territory offers some of most opulent luxury resort hotels on its various stunning beaches. However in addition to these super luxurious enclaves, the islands also offer mid-range, family-friendly hotels many of which even offer all inclusive hotel deals.
The island of Providenciales is the most popular accommodation option in the Turks and Caicos Islands. This island has verdant but arid landscape and has a rather well developed tourism structure. Provindenciales is further equipped with a wide variety of hotels that include luxury hotel resorts, spa hotels, boutique hotels, extended-stay hotels and even discount hotels that offer much sought after all inclusive deals.
This island is home to the quaint village of Cockburn Town- capital of this British Overseas territory. Grand Turk hosts the cruise terminal for Carnival Cruise lines along with a few hotels and restaurants though its tourism infrastructure is not as well developed as Providenciales.
North Caicos and Salt Cay
These islands are relatively less inhabited and untouched by the accouterments of the 21st century. They are popular with honeymooners and other folk who like to be one with nature on their vacation in Turks and Caicos. These islands offer a few small hotels and other forms of accommodations but are essentially quite secluded and tranquil.
Places to see in Turks & Caicos
The Turks and Caicos Islands are a tropical island paradise which offer ample opportunities for water based activities like swimming, snorkeling and diving amongst the coral reefs. Other popular activities on the islands include beach combing, sunbathing, bird watching and whale watching though the islands also offer some important historical and native attractions, which cater to sight-seeing enthusiasts who choose to vacation here.
Cheshire Hall is one of the main historic attractions on Providenciales. The ruins of this former cotton plantation date back to the 19th century and offer spectacular vistas of the island.
The Conch Farm
The Conch Farm is located on the remote eastern end of the Grand Turk Island and is a facility that seeks to preserve and also commercially produce the local delicacy: conch. The facility offers tours of its premises including breeding basins, a hatchery and laboratories all of which are geared towards the breeding of nearly two million conchs. A similar facility for preserving and breeding conch is located on the island of Providenciales and depending where you choose to stay on your Turks and Caicos vacation, you can choose to visit the facility that is located closest to you.
Grand Turk Cruise center
The Grand Turk Cruise Center is a major tourist attraction on the island. This center was built by Carnival cruises and offers beachfront access and is set amongst fourteen verdant, landscaped acres, resembles a colorful Bermudian village from the 18th century. Situated on Grand Turk’s Governor’s beach, the cruise center is equipped with a 175 meter long main pier, a huge Jimmy Buffet’s Magaritaville (which has a huge lagoon like pool) and several duty free and jewelry stores, which are housed in edifices that are built to resemble the quaint ‘salt houses’ of the past.
Turks and Caicos National Museum
The Turks and Caicos National Museum is housed in a 150 year old private home Guinep House on Grand Turk Island. This home was built from timber salvaged from the ships that crashed on the nearby reefs. The museum offers exhibits that illustrate the history of the islands and also has displays like the wreck of Spanish sailing that was recovered near the islands.
Wades Green Plantation
The ruins of the Wades Green Plantation are located on the island of North Caicos. Plantations were established on North Caicos just before the War of Independence when loyalists to the British crown escaped the war and settled on the islands. They then attempted to grow cotton here but the conditions were not very favorable. The most successful of all the plantations established on North Caicos was Wades Green that extended over 3000 acres. Today the ruins of the plantation constitute a popular attraction of the territory.
The many stunning, pristine white sand beaches are undoubtedly the most popular attractions on the Turks and Caicos islands. Some of the best beaches of the Turks and Caicos island group are Grace Bay, Malcom Beach, Long Bay Sapodilla and Taylor Bay on Providenciales, Pine Cay and Parrot Cay on Caicos Cay, Sandy Point and Whitby beaches on North Caicos, Governors Beach and Pillory Beach on Grand Turk and the beaches of Salt Cay.
Best time to visit Turks & Caicos
The Turks and Caicos Islands enjoy year round amenable weather and the average temperatures on these islands range between 85° and 90°F (29°-32°C) during the months of June to October. The islands also experience the Caribbean hurricane season that extends from August to November.
During November to May, the average temperatures on the islands dip slightly to register readings of 80° to 84°F (27°-29°C). The water temperatures are conducive to swimming and diving all throughout the year as they range from 82° to 84°F (28°-29°C) in summers to about 74° to 78°F (23°-26°C) during the winter months. It is estimated that the islands on an average experience 350 days of sunshine and can be visited at any time of the year.
Fare Buzz often announces attractive flight deals for the Turks and Caicos Islands and if you are looking for cheap air flights for sun dappled sojourn in the British Virgin Islands, then you would do well as to connect with Fare Buzz on Facebook and Twitter so that you can receive advance information about these cheap air tickets.
Getting around in Turks & Caicos
These beautiful Turks and Caicos are mainly served by the Providenciales International Airport located 1 mile (2km) west of Provindenciales town. This airport welcomes various domestic and international carriers as air connections to the Turks and Caicos Islands have improved significantly in recent years.
Most resorts and hotels on Provindenciales offer airport transfer services for their guests though metered taxis are also freely available at the airport. Before you get into a metered cab at the Providenciales airport, you should check if the driver has turned on the meter for some drivers on the island are quite unscrupulous and have been known to fleece unsuspecting tourists.
Public transport options on the islands are quite sketchy and most visitors who arrive on a vacation to the Turks and Caicos Islands opt to rent a car for the duration of their stay.
Car rentals on Provindenciales are quite pricey and if you are looking to hire a car for your Turks and Caicos vacation, you should probably fix your car rental before you arrive on the island. Fare Buzz can be of help in this instance for it offers a wide array of affordable car rentals for the Turks and Caicos Islands that can be booked via the same platforms you use to make your travel bookings for your Turks and Caicos vacation. Intra-island transport is provided by boat, private plane or air taxi.
Where to shop in Turks & Caicos
The Turks and Caicos Islands, in addition to their myriad attractions, offer adequate shopping opportunities for tourists who want to indulge in a bit of retail therapy on vacation. The islands like many of their Caribbean siblings are tax-free, duty-free locales and offer much opportunity to shop for luxe items like fragrances, electronics, jewelry, watches, china, cigars and liquors.
Boutiques and stores are scattered all over the Turks and Caicos Islands with a concentration within the main tourist hub of Grace Bay beach on Providenciales (Provo). Provo hosts several shopping enclaves like La Petit Place, Regent Village, the Saltmills, Caicos Café Plaza and Ports of Call, all of which host a variety of shops and boutiques.
The best buys in TCI are items like colorful artworks produced by local artists, wood carvings, metal works, jewelry crafted from conch shells or studded with rare conch pearls, straw and fanner grass woven baskets, hats, bowls and bags, jewelry fashioned with beach glass and beads, Caribbean textiles and apparel, handcrafted candles, CDs produced by local musicians, wind chimes and pottery. Tourists headed to the US or Canada is also allowed to purchase conch shells (up to three) to take home from the islands but you are expected to preserve your receipt for these purchases in case of customs inspection.
Tourists to the islands also enjoy shopping for local food items from the island like the locally produced Bambarra Rum, coffee, grits and Turks Island sea salt. Visitors from USA and Canada can buy as much as they want of locally made or Caribbean products, as they are custom exempt. However, for items costing more than $25 they need to procure a certificate of origin from the retailer.
Where to eat in Turks & Caicos
The celebrity-favored Turks and Caicos Islands offer a plethora of dining options geared to meet all tastes and budgets. Most resorts on the island house spectacular in-house eateries though the islands also offer various, well-regarded stand-alone eateries which are well-worth exploring if you decide to head out to eat.
Recommended and well-liked restaurants on the islands include eateries like Garam Masala (Indian food), Calico Jacks Bar and Restaurant, Baci Ristorante (Italian fare), Anchorage Bar and Grill (local food), Angela’s Top of the Cove Deli, Carambola Grill and Lounge, Da Conch Shack, Coco Bistro (continental, Caribbean cuisine), Hole in the Wall (Jamaican cuisine) and Grace’s Cottage (fine-dining and international cuisine).
Nightlife in Turks & Caicos
Providenciales(Provo) may not be NYC but it packs quite a punch when its nightlife arena is considered. Beach parties, dance clubs, pubs and bars abound on the Turks and Caicos offering visitors ample opportunity to get down and party. Popular nightlife haunts on the islands currently include hotspots like Bagatelle Beach Club, Infiniti Bar at the Grace Bay Club, Vino Tiempo wine bar and the Birdcage Bar.