warm white beaches; warm, clear waters in a dozen shades of turquoise; and a gentle breeze characterizes the paradise that is the Turks and Caicos Islands. With direct flights from many US cities, this Caribbean gem promises the vacation of a lifetime.
If you’re planning to travel to the Turks and Caicos Islands in the coming months, be sure to take advantage of these insider tips, travel guidelines, and other essential information as you plan to visit Heaven-on-Earth.
Airports and Airlines
The Turks and Caicos Islands offer three airports with international service in Grand Turk, Providenciales and South Caicos. Providenciales International Airport is the most popular and receives the majority of international flights and visitors.
You have several airline options, including American Airlines, Bahamas Air, British Airways, Delta Airlines, Spirit Air, and US Airways. All operate flights to and from the islands. However, to travel to other Caribbean destinations from the Turks and Caicos Islands, you must first stay in Florida, most often Miami.
customs and immigration
The islands require all US visitors to bring a valid passport. If you are from Canada, an original or notarized copy of your birth certificate and photo ID are sufficient for entry. Your visit can extend your visit to 30 days with a one-time renewal. All visitors to the island must present evidence of a return ticket.
Most visitors, including those from the United States, Canada, or the United Kingdom, do not need a visa, but some other international visitors must obtain visas. Be sure to double check your country’s requirements and give yourself plenty of time to obtain any required documentation.
For more specific questions about immigration and visitation guidelines, you may contact the Turks and Caicos Immigration Department directly by phone at (649) 946-4233 or by fax at (649) 941-5696.
Customs in Turks and Caicos allows typical tourist items such as cameras, sports equipment such as fishing rods, golf clubs, and tennis rackets, and even certain types of food. Pornography and controlled drugs are illegal, and visitors may only bring firearms with the written consent of the Commissioner of Police.
All the resorts and hotels on the islands will welcome you with open arms, and some will charge you through the nose for their world-class amenities and services. The islands offer a wide range of accommodation to suit all tastes and budgets.
An excellent resource for searching for different hotels and resorts is TripAdvisor. Guests leave reviews about their experiences and rate properties with stars. TripAdvisor also offers ratings for Bed and Breakfasts.
The year-round average temperature in the Turks and Caicos Islands is 77 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter and 90 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer. The average annual precipitation of the islands amounts to only 21″.
With mostly sunny weather, be sure to bring extra sunscreen, a hat, and a long-sleeved shirt or two for extra sunscreen.
Pack mainly leisure wear. The islands’ dress code is decidedly casual, although some of the best restaurants require closed shoes and a collared shirt. Foodies should bring a decent set of clothes, just in case. Bathing suits worn away from the beach or pool are generally frowned upon.
The official currency of the islands is the US dollar and the islands do not place any restrictions on the amount of money brought into the island.
Traveler’s checks are accepted on the island, although some companies may charge a 5% transaction fee for traveler’s checks.
Credit cards are generally accepted
In tourist places like Providenciales and Grand Turk, you will have no problem using your credit card. Remember to alert your credit card company about international transactions to prevent your card from being “frozen”, and if you plan to visit some of the less traveled islands, keep a cash reserve.
In restaurants, it is customary to tip 15%, just like in the US However, don’t be surprised if some restaurants include a 10% service charge on the bill. Tipping personal services and taxis is also a generally accepted practice.
All pets brought to the island require a rabies vaccination certificate. Be prepared to have your pet examined by a public health inspector upon arrival. Double check with his hotel to make sure he and his staff are pet friendly.
Although planning an international trip always presents some challenges, the 12 miles of Grace Bay Beach offer ample reward for trips to the Turks and Caicos Islands. The hardest part will be leaving.