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Turks and Caicos

Turks and Caicos Travel Information

Cruise ship passengers search for seashells
on a Grand Turks beach; © Dreamstime.com
Forty islands and cays make up the Turks and Caicos Islands, which lie 660 miles to the southeast of the Bahamas.

TCI is a British overseas territory like the British Virgin Islands. Their convenient location near the Bahamas have made them a mainstay of eastern Caribbean cruises.

The current population of more than 30,000 receives more than 1 million tourists visitors a year, the majority of which are from cruise ships.

Numbers don't lie. The fast-rising tourism statistics for Turks and Caicos show that this formerly quiet Caribbean destination is becoming one of the most popular places to visit, especially among cruises.

Part of its popularity is the result of its location midway between the Bahamas and major eastern Caribbean islands such as Puerto Rico.

Another part of its popularity is the Grand Turk Cruise Center, a large entertainment complex built by Carnival Cruise.

A few simple travel tips make visiting the island a better experience.

Attractions


Because the island receives so many cruise visitors, the Grand Turk cruise center is a major attraction on the islands.

The center has shopping, dining, excursions and a swimming pool. Visitors may find few other reasons to leave the cruise center.

The Grand Turk cruise center is a major attraction
Credit: Turks and Caicos Tourist Board
Grand Turk is a small island with few major attractions other than beaches. Some of the beaches lie within a short walking distance from the cruise center.

Unique excursions include opportunities for visitors to spot a herd of 2,500 migrating humpback whales from late January through early April.

The Grand Turk Lighthouse was brought in pieces from England in 1852 and reconstructed on the island. Another option is the 200-year-old ruins of the cotton plantation at Cheshire Hall

Visitors to the Caicos Conch Farm will see conchs that are raised to adulthood and learn about the process.

The Middle Caicos Caves is a series of limestone caverns, which are the largest in the Caribbean.

Tourism / When to Go


All U.S. visitors arriving by air are required to have a passport. All other visitors are required to have a passport. Visitors from all nations are required to have a round-trip ticket as well.

The most popular months to visit the islands are December, January and July, according to the Turks and Caicos Tourist Board. Winter months are popular with northerners seeking to escape from winter, but ocean waters may be cool for swimming.

The least popular months are September and October during the peak of the Caribbean hurricane season. Both cruise and stopover tourism reaches a low point.

Weather


The average temperature ranges between 85 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit from June to October. From November through May, temperatures range between 80 and 84 degrees.

Water temperatures in the summer are 82 to 84 degrees and drop to 74 to 78 degrees in the winter.

The average annual rainfall is 21 inches, and the islands have 350 days of sunshine each year. Rainfall reaches a high point in September and October.

Currency / Tipping


The U.S. Dollar is the official currency of Turks and Caicos.

Most hotels, taxis and restaurants accept both credit cards and travelers' checks.

Tipping is recommended at 15 percent for waiters, porters, maids and taxi drivers.

Culture / Geography


The Turks and Caicos economy is based on tourism, offshore financial services, and fishing.

The official language is English, and the capital is Grand Turk. Eight of the 40 islands are inhabited, and they receive frequent hurricanes during the Caribbean hurricane season of June through November.

Sources / More information

Scott S. Bateman is a professional journalist who has traveled widely throughout the Caribbean and the Americas.

 > Category: Travel Tips   

September 15, 2016

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