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Turks and Caicos

Turks and Caicos Beach Vacation Tips

Provo Golf Club
Provo Golf Club is one of the major attractions on the island. Credit: Wikimedia Creative Commons license

Forty islands and cays make up the Turks and Caicos Islands, which lie 660 miles to the southeast of the Bahamas. But only one offers much in the way of hotels for beach vacations.

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 50,000 people receives more than 1 million tourism visitors a year, the majority of which are from cruise ships. All of the cruise visitors go to Grand Turk island while most of the hotel visitors go to the island of Providenciales, which has the largest population in the chain.

Numbers don’t lie. The fast-rising tourism statistics for Turks and Caicos show that this formerly quiet Caribbean destination is becoming a popular place to visit, especially among cruises.

Part of its popularity is the result of its convenient location midway between the Bahamas and major eastern Caribbean islands such as Puerto Rico. Another part of its growing popularity is the Grand Turk Cruise Center, a large entertainment complex built by Carnival Cruise.

Hotel and Resort Tips

Turks and Cacis Map

Most hotel and resort visitors will fly into Providenciales International Airport. From there, they have only a quick drive of about five to six miles to reach most of the hotels and resorts on the island.

Nearly all of them are clustered on the north shore on Grace Bay Beach. The island has only about 15 hotels and resorts along with a larger number of villas. Only a few are international brands including Club Med.

Of all the Caribbean islands, Turks and Caicos has some of the most expensive properties. Most of the prices range from more than $300 a night to nearly $2,000 a night, according to listings on major travel booking websites.

Hotel and resort visitors with hefty budgets are paying for quiet, quality and exclusivity.

Providenciales Attractions and Shore Excursions

Providenciales has few tourist attractions that will draw people away from their resorts, hotels and villas.

Cheshire Hall Plantation on Leeward Highway is a ruined cotton plantation from the late 1700s. It is the top historical site on Providenciales.

Chalk Sound National Park has a beautiful turquoise lagoon at the southwest end of the island. Watercraft are prohibited. Visitors can see the lagoon by road or by kayaking.

The Provo Golf Club is a top-rated 18-hole course at the northeast end of Providenciales. The par 72 course has a course rating of 74.0 and a slope rating of 136 from the championship black tees. It has four tee options ranging from 5,331 to 6,719 yards.

The Hole is a limestone sinkhole by Sea Sage Road in the Long Bay Hills area of Providenciales. The hole, which is 50 feet wide and 60 feet deep, is simply an interesting natural formation.

Transportation / Getting Around

The island doesn’t have public transportation. Options for visitors include taxis and rentals of cars, mopeds, scooters, bicycles or golf cars.

Many hotels have shuttle services, usually to and from the airport.

Tourism / When to Go

Providenciales International Airport
Providenciales International Airport. Credit: Wikimedia Creative Commons license

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

The most popular months for hotel visitors are March, April and December, according to the Turks and Caicos Tourist Board. Winter months are popular with northerners seeking to escape from winter, but ocean waters may feel chilly for swimming.

The least popular months are September and October during the peak of the Caribbean hurricane season. Both cruise and stopover tourism reach 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. He is the author of four books about cruising in the Caribbean, Alaska and Mexican Riviera.
September 06, 2022

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