Turks and Caicos
Everything You Need to Know
Planning a trip to Turks and Caicos? This Turks and Caicos travel guide is your one-stop-shop for what to expect when exploring these beautiful islands!
The Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI), a British overseas territory comprising 40 islands and cays, lie at the southernmost end of The Bahamas chain and 575 miles southeast of Miami. Although this island chain is a lesser-explored destination in the Caribbean, it is famously known as the home to the third largest reef in the world and stunningly beuatiful beaches. It is the perfect destination if you are looking for scuba diving, snorkeling, boating, deep sea fishing, water sports & soaking up the sun all day long. We have broken down all the best places to eat, drink, sleep & things to do in this Turks and Caicos travel guide below.
English is the predominant language.
When To Visit
May through August, as prices are low, crowds are small and the weather is gorgeous.
Valid passport, proof of COVID-19 vaccination.
Flights to TCI are available from the USA, Canada, United Kingdom, The Bahamas, Cuba, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Jamaica and Puerto Rico. All flights arrive at the Providenciales International Airport (PLS), which is about an 80 minute flight from Miami. From there you can pick up a rental car or grab a taxi if staying nearby. However, if you are staying on a different TCI island, you will need to take a quick flight on one of the two local airlines, Caicos Express Airways or InterCaribbean.
What To Expect
Is it Safe?
Turks and Caicos is one of the safest countries in this region of the Caribbean, with crime being relatively rare. But as with any destination, you should exercise sensible precautions. The few violent crimes and robberies that do occur happen primarily on the island of Providenciales. Most other small islands see little to no crimes, especially against tourists.
Heels or no heels?
How do I get around?
There are no buses, trains or public transportation on the islands but you can easily get around by taxi, car rental or car service. Taxis are generally pretty expensive, but Sea Breeze Taxi and Tours is one of the most reasonable companies. Conch Cab is another popular taxi service that can be booked through an app, similar to Uber. Our recommendation? Rent a car. Parking is almost always accessible and it gives you the freedom to fully explore and experience the island(s). But be aware… the islands do not have traffic lights, you drive on the left side of the road, and wearing a seatbelt is necessary – unless you want to pay $250 per person caught without one.
What about Money?
The U.S. dollar is the primary currency used on the islands.
TCI is a fairly expensive destination, but there’s ways to save and still get the full experience. Fortunately, the beaches and the ocean are always free to enjoy. The time of year also determines how much you spend, with prices dipping quite a bit lower during off-peak months. If you really don’t want to worry about prices while on the trip, we recommend booking an all-inclusive resort.
Tipping is similar as in the U.S., about 15% – 18% for good service and 20% for excellent service. But be aware that some restaurants in the Turks & Caicos do add an extra service charge automatically to their bills. If you notice such a charge, but you believe that the service you received was excellent and warrants it, feel free to add a supplemental tip to the service charge.
This is the most developed and populated island in Turks and Caicos, offering some of the world’s best beaches (including the famous Grace Bay Beach) and a plethora of luxury hotels and resorts. All international flights to Turks and Caicos land at the Providenciales International Airport (PLS).
South Caicos is geographically the last island to the east in the Caicos Islands group, and feels quite a bit more isolated than the rest of the country. It’s an ideal place for those looking for a quiet laid-back stay, or for those looking to explore its excellent reefs. If you are here to dive, be sure to check out the island’s primary dive company, Reef Divers.
Grand Turk is the second most populated island in the country and home of the capital, Cockburn Town. Despite being quite a bit smaller than Providenciales, Grand Turk is a popular cruise destination, as it is known for its pristine beaches and an abundance of water activities.
North and Middle Caicos
North Caicos and Middle Caicos are found in the center of the Caicos Islands archipelago, and collectively make up most of the land mass in Turks and Caicos. Compared to Grand Turk and Providenciales, these islands are sparsely populated, with a total population less than 2000 people. North Caicos and Middle Caicos are ideal for the adventurous and outdoor-loving traveler. Miles of secluded beaches and rugged ocean cliffs line the north coasts of the islands. Hiking, kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding are top activities here.
This private island, located on the remote south-eastern edge of the Caicos Islands archipelago, is a favorite among the richland famous. It is the home to a breathtaking, all-inclusive property with ten beachfront suites and seven villas, as well as a large private runway in case you need to land your private jet…
There are all types of accommodations in Turks and Caicos, from all-inclusive resorts to boutique hotels to airBnB rentals & more. A couple factors to consider include location, amenities, and whether you want to do an all-inclusive or rent a private villa. While the upfront costs of staying at an all-inclusive resort might feel high at first glance, it allows you to stick to your vacation budget and enjoy every moment without feeling the pain of each purchasing decision. If you choose to rent your own villa, you’ll find that food, gas, and tours are expensive in Turks and Caicos, but you will also have a lot more flexibility to fully explore the islands.
Things To Do
With miles and miles of turquoise blue waters dotted with picturesque views, watersports are an absolute must! From water skiing, to jet skiing to the popular kiteboarding, you’ll find plenty of watersports in TCI. Try a stand-up paddle board for a daily core workout, or take a stand up paddleboard tour that will wind you through mangrove channels that are filled with wildlife. Fly up on a parasail to get a bird’s eye view. Speed through the wake on a jet ski or wakeboard. Hang on tight for the bumpy ride on a wake tube pulled behind a boat, or try your hand at kitesurfing or windsurfing. If you are after the challenge of kiteboarding, be sure to head to Providenciales or South Caicos to find the best lessons and rentals.
Enjoy Grace Bay
Grace Bay Beach stretches over 12-miles along the coast of Providenciales and is considered one of the best beaches in the world thanks to its clean, beautiful beach and colorful sunsets. This is the home to most of the top all-inclusive resorts in TCI. Guests of these hotels can get umbrellas and chairs to lounge on the beach, but it’s public and open for everybody to enjoy. During the day swimming, snorkeling, and kayak rentals are popular activities. But stick around for the evening and get ready to be mind blown. The sunsets in Turks and Caicos are the most scenic in all the Caribbean, and Grace Bay is known to be the best place to witness the sun setting over the turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea.
Deep Sea Fishing
You don’t have to look far to find an enthusiastic fishing charter captain, ready to show you the active spots for catching the big one! The island of Providenciales is the third largest of the Turks and Caicos Islands and one of the best places to start your fishing excursion. We recommend heading down to Turtle Cove Marina on the island’s northern shore to find several companies offering guided deep-sea fishing excursions. Before you know it, you will be venturing to the deep waters of Turks and Caicos, located just a short boat ride from the shore. You can expect to catch a wide range of fish, including sharks, marlin, barracudas, sailfish, & more. Be sure to have your catch cleaned and prepared so you can cook up a delicious fresh catch for dinner!
TCI Bone Fishing
This ‘catch-and-release’ sport is another popular fishing option in Turks and Caicos! Using a fly rod or spin casting technique, the aim is to lure in small, silver bonefish, recognizable by their short mouth and deeply forked tail. The fishing is done in the bonefish’s natural habitat – shallow mud flats, often near mangroves.
More Things To Do
A gorgeous spot with marina-side dining, beautiful views and festive lighting at night. The menu is heavy on seafood, including a grouper cooked in Indonesian curry and a variety of lobster specials when in season.
Coco Bistro offers a romantic, tropical atmosphere and some of the most highly regarded gourmet food in the Turks and Caicos Islands. It’s conveniently located in central Grace Bay, within walking distance to numerous hotels and resorts. Be sure to make reservations early, as its beautifully plated dishes and impactable service make for a very popular spot!
Located at The Sands on Grace Bay Beach, this gorgeous, water-front restaurant offers exquisite contemporary and Caribbean cuisine. Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, the menu offers a wide array of options, such as gourmet sandwiches, entrée salads, soft fish tacos, fresh grouper and more.Be sure to book reservations in advance!
Perhaps the most well known restaurant in the islands, Da Conch Shack is a Turks and Caicos icon. Located on Blue Hills Beach, patrons dine with their toes in the sand as they enjoy live music, island flavors, and all things conch — from fritters to chowder to salad. This trendy spot is a must-not-miss!
Located in Five Cays, Bugaloo’s Conch Crawl is a must on any visit to Turks and Caicos. Throw on your beach attire and get ready to chow down on delicious food right on the ocean, while listening to live music and entertainment. Don’t miss out on the rum punch!
Located in Five Cays beside the Fresh Fish Market, daily fresh, locally caught fish is the menu staple. You can expect island vibes, friendly service, amazing drinks & a true Turks and Caicos experience!
This local, Caribbean spot is considered one of the best restaurants in Turks and Caicos. At Mr. Grouper, you’ll get to enjoy dishes created by a local chef who understands how best to use local spices to truly enhance the ocean’s bounty. The restaurant’s most popular creations are its pan-fried snapper, spicy conch salad and — in season — a grilled lobster tail.
Located right in Grace Bay, this beachy, casual, chic spot offers a lively atmosphere with a DJ or live music. They serve up delicious Tex-Mex dishes, such as fajitas, quesadillas, and conch tacos, all served surf side.
Contemporary European cuisine and gourmet seafood dishes are served up at this insta-worthy spot in Grace Bay. The elegant, ocean-front restaurant is located at the Grace Bay Club Resort on Providenciales and is a must-not-miss for sunset.
Located on Grace Bay Beach, Bay Bistro is an oceanfront dining experience with immaculate views and delicious international cuisine. Seafood is the main star of the menu, but Bay Bistro also has something for everyone including jerk lamb chops, a vegetable tart, and a menu for the kids.
The iconic Turks & Caicos beach restaurant & bar that is a must on any TCI vacation. Whether you are after a great rum punch or a menu full of conch, this beachy spot is the place to be.
If you are looking to sip on cocktails while witnessing an out-of-this-world sunset, look no further! Situated high on a bluff overlooking the Turtle Cove Marina, Magnolia offers an impressive list of specialty wines and various cocktails, as well as mouthwatering desserts.
Just steps away from the gentle waves of Grace Bay Beach, Bay Bistro offers some of the island’s best panoramic ocean views! It is the ultimate location to enjoy your choice of sweet cocktails, vintage rums and other fine spirits, while watching an unbelievable sunset.
The Infiniti Bar is the longest bar in the Caribbean at 90 feet, stretching from the hotel to the shores of Grace Bay Beach. In fact, it is the first infinity-edge bar in the world, and therefore a must-not-miss! It is a seriously sophisticated spot for sunset drinks and the place to be every Friday night.
This beachfront two-story, open-air cafe and lounge offers patrons an oasis of casual sophistication immersed with island hospitality and charm. You can expect an extensive wine list, artisan cocktails, live music, and a stunning view overlooking the water of Grace Bay.
Also known as Ricky’s on the Beach, this beachfront bar and restaurant is located right on Grace Bay Beach and is one of our favorite places to grab drinks on any beach day! You can expect casual outdoor dining, daily drink specials, live music, and the option to take your cocktails in to-go cups back down to the beach.
The biggest party on Providenciales, the Thursday Night Fish Fry at the Bight Park is a chance to grab a rum or ice-cold beer, graze on fried fish and local specialities in the open air and dance to live music alongside locals. Restaurants from all over the island set up stalls to feed the crowds, while party-goers can browse handicrafts and watch high-energy dance groups as the sun goes down.
Inspired by the cotton candy colors of a Turks and Caicos sunset, this colorful bar is decorated with pops of fuchsia and has a cocktail list of suitably hued drinks to match. Don’t miss their daily happy hour from 5pm to 7pm, which offers major deals on all the top rosé wines.
Close to Chalk Sound and around 20 minutes by car from Grace Bay, this waterfront bar and restaurant comes alive at night. There’s live entertainment most evenings, including top local bands, fire dancers and more, plus it’s open late so you won’t find yourself heading back to the hotel hungry for more.
The place to be if you are after a lively night out that will likely lead you to the dance floor! Expect all the usual English pub classics, including pints all around, a daily happy hour, an up-for-it tourist crowd and some decent bar food. There are special events most nights, too, including soccer events, barbecues and Thursday’s legendary karaoke.
Perfect island-style tiki bar on Grand Turk that serves up local dishes, including conch fritters and inventive shots and drinks. The owner fell in love on the island and stayed to set up this relaxing beachy-bar on the waterfront. Be sure to try the mojito!
Turks and Caicos is a must-not-miss Caribbean destination. Its pristine beaches, crystal clear ocean, thriving reef, and endless activities make it the perfect get-away for all. We hope you have enjoyed our Turks and Caicos travel guide. Please share with friends and family, and be sure to check out our destinations page for more!