Snorkeling, Private and Luxury Charters
The beautiful Turks and Caicos Islands are situated
575 miles (or 75 minutes) 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 snorkelling destination
and an ideal location for romance, family vacations,
ecotourism and adventure seekers.
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.
The Tourism industry gives Turks and Caicos its main
revenue. In addition to this the
country is also a major offshore financial center. There
is a small traditional fishing industry that continues
throughout the Turks and Caicos islands on South Caicos
in particular. The island of Providenciales is the main
tourist island, where you will find International style
hotel accommodations, most of them being located on
the beach. Most restaurants offer native dishes such
as fresh fish and peas and rice are served along with
international cuisine with tropical twists. More casual,
rustic and intimate accommodations can be found on the
other islands and smaller cays.
The Columbus Passage, 22 mile-wide channel, separates
the Turks Islands from the Caicos Islands. This 8,000
foot deep passage serves as major transit lines for
migrating *Humpback Whales, Spotted Eagle Rays, Manta
Rays, Turtles and Dolphins.
Turks and Caicos is only 75 minutes from Miami, less
than 3 hours from Charlotte, North Carolina, 3 hours
from New York and 3 and a half hours from Boston and
can easily be reached with direct flights from the US,
the UK, Canada, the Bahamas, Jamaica, Dominican Republic
and Haiti. Most visitors fly into Providenciales upon
entry to the islands and then can easily take a commuter
flight to the other islands.
There are a number of regular direct flights to the
island of Providenciales from the US, Canada and Europe:
Airlines has two daily flights from Miami, and one
a day from Dallas on Saturdays.
offers Thursday, Friday and Saturday service from Atlanta,
as well as Saturday only flights from Boston and New
Canada has direct flights from Toronto everyday,
except Tuesday and Thursday; and from Montreal on Sundays.
has daily flights from New York and Saturday service
Airlines offers service from Newark, NY everyday
except Tuesdays. .
has service from Toronto on Monday, Wednesday, Friday
and Saturday, and a flight from Montreal on Fridays.
Airways provides service to London via Nassau on
Regularly scheduled flights from Provo to Grand Turk
are offer by interCaribbean
Airways and on Caicos
Express Airways. Flying time is approximately 30
Provo Airport is 1 mile (1.6km) west of Providenciales
town and has plenty of taxis. The airport on Grand Turk
is 2 miles (3.2km) south of Cockburn Town. A taxi may
be there to meet incoming flights; if not, you can call
one from the airport. On South Caicos, Cockburn Town
Airport is 1.5 miles (2.4km) north of town. The sole
taxi driver on the island will no doubt head for the
airport when he sees your plane land.
and Canadian citizens must have a passport (good for
at least six months), plus a return or ongoing ticket,
to enter the country. Citizens of the United Kingdom,
Commonwealth countries of the Caribbean, the Republic
of Ireland, and E.U. countries must also have a current
are no public buses on any of the islands, so taxis
are the best all-around transport option. Taxis are
readily available in the Turks and Caicos. All fares
are priced according to the distance traveled. It is
always best to verify the cost to a particular destination
before the taxi takes off. You can also hire taxis as
guides for a day of sightseeing. Most hotels offer complimentary
airport transfers (check with the hotel first).
Cars and motorcycles can be rented on Provo and Grand
Turk; elsewhere, car rental options are virtually nil.
A government tax of $10 is levied on each car rental,
and $5 on scooter rentals. Driving is on the left. Bicycles
can be rented at many hotels and concessions but are
limited to unwieldy one-speeders. They're fine for tooling
around but a hard slog on longer trips. A valid driver’s
license from your place of residence is required when
renting a vehicle.
Getting between the islands is easiest by plane. All
the islands except West and East Caicos are served by
air from Grand Turk and Provo. Sky King, InterIsland
Airways and Turks & Caicos Airways fly between the
islands on a quasi-scheduled basis. A sole ferry, the
Caicos Express, operates sporadically between Provo
and Sandy Point on North Caicos. It stops en route by
request at Pine Cay, Parrot Cay and Middle Caicos. Sand
Dollar Tours has a private boat service between Salt
Cay and Grand Turk.
Shorts are worn in town as well as on the beach, but
bathing suits should be restricted to beach and pool
areas. During the day, it is advisable to wear sun hats
and sunscreen. In the evenings, light sweaters and jackets
can occasionally be worn, and those wishing to visit
some of the island's more elegant eating establishments
may want to bring along more formal attire. Nudity is
illegal throughout the islands but some hotels do allow
Electricity follows the U.S. standard: 120/240 Volts/60
The water is safe to drink, but it tastes different.
The Islands enjoy direct worldwide telephone access.
Available telecommunications devices include fax machine,
telexes, cellular phones, and Internet connections.
Public phones operate by phone cards.
Country code is 649. Network is through Cable and Wireless.
Pay phones, calling cards, facsimile, Internet, cell
phones for rent at various locations.
If you have cell service in the USA please bring your
phone with you because if you have International Roaming
service with a cellular carrier that has a roaming agreement
in the Caribbean then your phone will be able to make
a receive calls while in the Turks and Caicos. If you
do not have roaming then you will be able to make calls
using the credit card platform.
Turks and Caicos is on EST and Daylight Savings Time
is observed from April to October.
Bring your sunscreen. The Turks and Caicos average 350
days of sunshine per year. The tropical climate and
cool island breezes are comfortable year round. Temperatures
range from 80 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Water temperatures
rarely dip below 74 degrees. It’s like taking a bath.
There is an annual rainfall of 21 inches on Grand Turk
and South Caicos, but as you go further west the average
rainfall could increase to 40 inches. In an average
year the Turks and Caicos has 350 days of sunshine.
Hurricane season can vary but usually runs from June
15 percent gratuity is standard for wait staff, drivers
and housekeeping personnel.
There is a hospital on Grand Turk, and an emergency
care facility on Provo.
Excellent visibility, pristine reefs, abundant tropical
flora and fauna, fish and other marine life, quality
diving services and easy conditions make the Turks and
Caicos Islands a world class dive destination. World
famous walls are lushly landscaped in rich marine decor
and play host to a tremendous variety of sea creatures.
Shipwrecks, old and new further enhance these islands
as an outstanding diving destination.
Turks and Caicos has assured that for generations to
come, divers will be able to enjoy this underwater wonderland.
A series of marine parks and nature reserves have been
set aside to protect these beautiful and fragile areas.
A system of moorings is in place which protect the reef
from anchoring damage at popular dive sites.
*From late December through April, the entire Atlantic
herd of 2,500 Humpback Whales pass through the shores
on their annual migration to the Mouchoir Bank, just
20 - 30 miles southeast. During this period divers can
listen to an underwater concert of the whale's' songs.
The beautifully located course Waterloo is a must for
golfers in Grand Turk. The course is situated adjacent
to Governors House constructed in 1815 and right by
one of Grand Turk’s finest beaches, Governors beach.
At the Provo Golf Club, you can enjoy one of the best
places to play in the Caribbean. The eighteen hole championship
course designed by Karl Litten opened in 1992. The course
features Fairways bar and grill, tennis, a pro shop,
driving range, professional instruction and a four tee
position system that offers a formidable test to all
golfers. The course watered by state of the art irrigation
system combines lush greens and fairways, rugged limestone
outcroppings and freshwater lakes.
Most of the islands are quite flat and offer a nice
relaxing ride to enjoy the views. There are several
off road areas with a rough terrain for the mountain
Many say that Turks and Caicos fishing is the finest
in the Caribbean and this is demonstrated by the ever
increasing numbers of angling professionals who fish
in the annual Bill Fish tournament in Providenciales
and the Heineken Game Fishing Tournament in Grand Turk
in July. The Atlantic Blue Marlin is plentiful all year
and ranges in weight from 100 to 400 pound or more.
It is the big game trophy fish each year when it seems
new records are continually being set. What makes the
fishing here extra special is that on the private charters
you can ask your captain to arrange for your catch to
be prepared at any one of the country’s fine restaurants.
Tennis is a popular sport for visitors and residents.
Many hotels and resorts have very nice courts, some
with lighting for early evening play in cooler temperatures.
The clear and calm waters offer excellent opportunities
for windsurfers to perfect their technique. Equipment
and instruction is available for all levels.
Sail charters are available as well as regular sail
trips. People can sail away for a whole day, explore
an uninhabited island, have a picnic, go on a sunset
or dinner cruise or even a Sunday brunch. There is a
large variety of boats available from monohull, catamaran
and trihull vessels.
The salt ponds and inland marshes serve as excellent
feeding grounds for resident and migratory birds. Search
for Great Blue Herons, Flamingos, Osprey and Pelicans
alongside Egrets, Terns, Frigates, Boobies and other
water birds. As part of the National Parks system more
than twelve small cays have been set aside and protected
for breeding grounds.
170 species of bird can be found in the Turks and Caicos
Islands from Pelicans and Flamingos to Osprey and Cuban
Crows. The variety is staggering and the photographs
that have been taken here have been published across
the world. On North Caicos in particular the tidal flats
on the South side of the island attracts scores of birds
including wild Pink Flamingos that regularly inhabit
the aptly named Flamingo Pond.
Guided horseback riding, trail riding, pony rides and
even sunset riding can be enjoyed in the Turks and Caicos
Islands. Riding lessons can also be arranged and all
ages are welcome.
In Providenciales there are three main shopping centers:
Ports of Call; Market Place; Central Square which all
include a place to buy souvenirs as well as clothing,
beach and sportswear. Resorts also offer boutiques for
those in need of a little ‘retail therapy’ during their
For arts and crafts there are a number of places to
visit in Providenciales and in the family islands. You
will notice smaller art and craft outlets as you travel
around the Islands. Innovative work can be found by
artists who use the natural environment to create designer
mirrors, lamps and other household as well as fashion
items. Craft work, especially the beautiful handmade
straw hats, bags and baskets can be purchased on all
the islands. These items are highly regarded in the
region and are extremely high quality.
There are about 70 restaurants throughout the Turks
and Caicos Islands offering local cuisine, seafood,
conch, lobster and other specialties and Caribbean dishes
as well as a selection or restaurants offering more
Mediterranean, Italian, British and American dishes.
Little Water Cay, Providenciales
The only place in the world to see the endangered rock
iguana in its natural habitat.
Caicos Conch Farm & Inland Sea Centre
This smelly place near the northeastern tip of Provo
claims to be 'the world's only conch farm'. It strives
to protect the Caribbean queen conch (Strombus gigas)
from extinction and also raises the mollusks commercially
for export and local use. The farm was the brainchild
of Chuck Hesse, an environmentalist who after years
of research can now produce a consumable mollusk in
28 months, from egg to adult conch. Chuck reckons he
has 2 million conchs in the ponds and an additional
1 million offshore in 'pastures' fenced to keep predators
at bay. Annual production is over 750,000 conchs a year,
with 10,000 harvested weekly. They're worth US$1 apiece!
You can learn how conchs are grown from egg to adults
on a tour.
Northwest Point Beach, Providenciales
White sand beach with clear, calm waters, best known
for its excellent diving opportunities and the tiki-huts
that line the coast for a South Pacific atmosphere.
Princess Alexandra National Park, Providenciales
Thirteen miles of undeveloped, protected beach, part
of an effort to preserve the natural beauty of the islands.
Water Cay, Providenciales
Wildlife is the star attraction on this island, featuring
hundreds of attention-loving iguanas and the famously
friendly dolphin, JoJo.
Island Sea Centre, Providenciales
Center with exhibits on marine wildlife, including an
interesting and unusual conch breeding area.
Conch Bar Caves National Park
This park protects 24km (15mi) of underground caverns
-- one of the largest cave systems in the Caribbean
region. Some have lagoons and stalactites and stalagmites,
often dramatically plaited in curtains. Most have colonies
of bats. They were used as sacred sanctuaries by the
Lucayan Indians, who left petroglyphs on the walls.
There are at least 38 pre-Columbian Lucayan sites on
the island, many of which have been excavated by archaeologists.
The most notable is the Armstrong Pond Village Historical
The largest of the Caicos islands is also some of the
least developed, with barely a handful of vehicles and
no convenience stores or nightclubs. But the fishermen
and farmers in the tiny hamlets of Conch Bar, Bambarra
and Lorimers give visitors a warm welcome.
The southern half of the island is composed of vast
intertidal swamplands. Off-shore, Vine Point & Ocean
Hole Nature Reserve protects a frigate-bird breeding
colony, plus a massive marine blue hole favoured as
a hangout by turtles and sharks. The paved road from
the airfield to Lorimers is good for bicycling, with
plenty of beachside stops along the way.
The island boasts miles of beaches, large freshwater
lakes and lavish pine forests accessed by trails along
the north coast as part of the Middle Caicos Reserve
& Trail System.
Little-visited North Caicos is of prime interest to
ecotourists. It gets more rainfall than other islands
and hence has lusher (though unspectacular) vegetation.
It has traditionally been the bread basket of the island
chain. Farms evolved in colonial times and fine sloops
were built to transport the crops to the other fruits
and vegetables still thrive beside sugar apples and
There are four tiny settlements, notably Kew, near the
island's centre, and Bottle Creek, on a breezy coastal
bluff 2 miles south of the airport. The Kew area has
several historic ruins, including the Wades Green Plantation,
granted to a British Loyalist by King George III. North
Caicos hosts the Festarama Festival each July.