Turks and Caicos IslandsTravel Guide

A tropical island vacation with white sand beaches, turquoise water and glorious sunshine on your radar? Ever heard of the Turks & Caicos Islands? Well, if you head to the West Indies, you’ll find this archipelago of 40 coral islands south-east of the Bahamas.

Surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean with top snorkelling and diving spots, beaches that go on for miles, delicious Caribbean cuisine and a local rum called Bambarra, Turks & Caicos is what island vacation dreams are made of. There’s also no shortage of attractions for nature lovers and those who like a cultural immersion.

Our Turks & Caicos Islands travel guide tells you all you need to know about the activities, restaurants, beaches and shopping to be found in this tropical paradise.

Turks and Caicos Islands quick facts


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Explore Turks and Caicos Islands

Where to stay in Turks and Caicos Islands?

From busy tourist resorts to more quiet historical corners, luxury stays to budget bed-downs, you’ll easily find accommodation that suits your needs (and pocket) in Turks & Caicos.

Providenciales, the archipelago’s most densely inhabited island has the most lavish resorts, breathtaking beaches and exciting shopping opportunities, making it a tourist hotspot. At the award-winning Grace Bay Beach, named one of the best in the world, The Tides boutique hotel offers 20 stylish suites a few steps away from the ocean. The four-star Blue Haven Resort is another great option, with a 24/7 gym, vast sea views and an infinity pool.

True to its name, Middle Caicos is an island at the heart of Turks and Caicos and one of its biggest. It’s also linked to North Caicos by a causeway road if you're hiring a rental car. Middle Caicos is popular with adventurers and nature lovers as it borders forest nature reserves.

On a budget? Shangri-La is a three-star beach apartment in Bambarra, close to the Conch Bar Caves. Dragon Cay Resort offers both cottages and villas and a variety of complimentary equipment, including bicycles, paddleboards and kayaks for making the most of the outdoors.

The historical core of Turks & Caicos, Grand Turk is where you’ll find Cockburn Town, with access to plenty of entertainment and fine-dining options. Breiji Hills is a budget-friendly villa if you want to be in the centre of the action in Cockburn Town. It’s within walking distance of both East Side Beach and the Turks & Caicos National Museum. Then there’s La Grande Pettite Villa, with its ocean and garden views, right next to the Grand Turk Lighthouse.

If crowds just aren’t your thing, Pine Cay is a fantastic option. Privately owned, and right on the edge of the world’s third-largest barrier reef, Pine Cay is renowned for its secluded beaches and upmarket hotels. Pine Cay Resort is the only accommodation option for this cay, providing 12 rooms and suites on the beachfront, a clubhouse, a freshwater swimming pool and a tiki beach bar (this is a themed bar serving cocktails and rum-based drinks).

Believe us when we say, this is just the start. Book your accommodation today!

  • Bird eye view of a beach in Turksand Caicos islands
    • People in a cave with a torch shining on cave wall
    • An Iguana siting on a beach with tree branches on the ground behind
  • Bird eye view of a beach in Turksand Caicos islands
    Bird eye view of a beach in Turksand Caicos islands
    Bird eye view of a beach in Turksand Caicos islands
  • People in a cave with a torch shining on cave wall
    People in a cave with a torch shining on cave wall
    People in a cave with a torch shining on cave wall
  • An Iguana siting on a beach with tree branches on the ground behind
    An Iguana siting on a beach with tree branches on the ground behind
    An Iguana siting on a beach with tree branches on the ground behind

Things to do in Turks and Caicos Islands

We won’t lie … it’s all about the beaches in Turks & Caicos islands. However, if you do manage to drag yourself away for even a day or two, there are other activities to enjoy and some interesting sights to explore. Here are some that we think deserve a spot in your itinerary:

Pull on some sturdy walking shoes and make your way to the Conch Bar Caves, a cave system above the ground and the largest of its kind in the Bahamas-Turks and Caicos island chain. You’ll be met by a Turks & Caicos National Trust tour guide, who’ll lead you along the rocky pathways and tell you about its history, starting in the late 1880s when bat manure was mined as a fertiliser from these caves. You’ll be able to see some names and dates that have been carved into the cave walls from that time.

Little Water Cay has been aptly nicknamed “Iguana Island”. Here you’ll find thousands of scaly, docile endangered rock iguanas, found only in Turks and Caicos, sunning themselves on the rocks or scuttling about the white sand or surrounding vegetation. You need to rent a kayak or take a boat tour to get to Little Water Cay, which is part of the adventure, and we recommend you buy a pre-paid ticket from your tour operator. National Trust wardens will meet you on arrival, there are trails and signs to follow, but please note that feeding or touching the iguanas is not allowed.

We’ve already highlighted two of the most popular Turks & Caicos National Trust’s heritage sites: Little Water Cay and the Conch Bar Caves. But there are many more to get excited about! Visit Wade’s Green Plantation – a well-preserved cotton plantation dating back to 1789, or check out the Bird Rock Point Trail – a scenic trail through coastal and marine wetlands. And flamingo lovers shouldn't miss Flamingo Pond on North Caicos where, yes, flamingos are abundant. Planning on visiting a few of these sites (or maybe all of them)? Then it’s worthwhile buying a membership – a great way to give back as a responsible tourist while getting full access to all the heritage sites.

Why not opt for a leisurely cruise to Turks & Caicos? The majority of cruises dock in Grand Turk, the largest Turks island and the archipelago’s primary cruise ship port.

Unique to the Turks and Caicos Islands, this is a weekly bash in Providenciales where islanders and tourists come together to sample local food, drinks such as the local Bambarra Rum, and enjoy live bands, cultural performances and a traditional dancing procession. There are souvenir and food vendors galore, and you guessed it, the popular local dish of fried fish is a highlight. The event is a wonderful family-friendly celebration of all things Turks and Caicos.

Constructed in 1852, the Grand Turk Lighthouse is the only lighthouse in the entire archipelago and one of the historical landmarks most popular with tourists even though it's no longer in operation and you’re not allowed inside. Once you’ve appreciated it and snapped a few photos, pop into the adjacent lightkeeper’s house, which has been transformed into a shop, where you can buy yourself a snack or a souvenir.

Providenciales has the most popular snorkelling and dive sites. Head to Smith’s Reef or Bight Reef for a spot of snorkelling while diving hotspots accessible from Providenciales include Grace Bay, West Caicos, Northwest Point, and Sandbore Channel. Finding dive shops with accredited instructors is easy.

Looking for an immersive experience? Then a tour is the way to go.

Flights to Turks and Caicos Islands

Turks and Caicos Islands food and drink

Foodies among you will be in heaven with the many incredible restaurants across the islands and in Providenciales, in particular. Choose from an array of seafood restaurants, upmarket eateries, steakhouses, cafés and beachfront restaurants.

Le Bouchon du Village in Grace Bay’s Regent Village guarantees a gastronomic experience to remember. It’s a French restaurant with a variety of fresh seafood on the menu, along with fine wine.

Mangrove Bay Restaurant in Providenciales focuses on local delicacies, including lobster, whole steamed fish, conch, souse and pea ʹn rice, while at Coco Bistro you can dine under palm trees and a starry sky in true island style. The menu features the best of Caribbean cuisine with seafood delicacies like shrimp and lobster.

If you’re more carnivore than pescatarian, a posh “steakhouse” is waiting for you at the Ritz-Carlton, also in Providenciales.

Rated among the best in Turks & Caicos, Lemon 2 Go in Providenciales is known for delicious breakfasts and lunches and an extensive coffee menu whipped up by baristas. Another goodie in the neighbourhood is Shay Café offering al fresco dining in the courtyard.

Get a real taste for the local cuisine by booking a tour.

Turks and Caicos Islands through your eyes

Where to shop in Turks and Caicos Islands?

Souvenirs, seashells, fashion, beach essentials – there are tons of items to spend your money on when holidaying here. You can choose to hit the island “malls” or support beachside vendors and craft markets.

Unsurprisingly, you’ll find most of the islands’ shopping plazas on Providenciales – and in Grace Bay, in particular. Drawing inspiration from the shopping streets of London, Regent Village and the adjacent Saltmills Plaza are a must-visit for shopaholics looking for upmarket goods. Situated in the heart of Grace Bay,they are known for their boutiques, jewellery shops and galleries.

Take home something unique for your friends and family. From gift shops at the resorts or tourist hotspots to craft markets dotted across the islands, you’ll find handmade jewellery made of conch shells, woven mats and baskets, scarves and sunglasses. We recommend the Middle Caicos Co-op in North Caicos for authentic handmade souvenirs crafted in the same way and with the same materials used for over 100 years. Their creations include hats, bags, dolls, model sailboats and other toys.

Looking for a safe and simple way to bring your money when you travel? Our Travel Money Card has you covered!

When is the best time to travel to Turks and Caicos Islands?

The weather in Turks & Caicos is blissful almost every day all year – one of the biggest selling points of this archipelago. But there are some months that are considered “better” than others.

Most travellers who’ve already been there will agree that the “best” time of year to visit Turks and Caicos is for a spring break during February to March when temperatures range between 23°C and 28°C (73 and 82°F). While still bustling with sun-worshipping holidaymakers, this time of year isn’t as busy as December and January, which is considered high season.

With these islands being in the Caribbean, hurricanes are prevalent – and if they do hit, it’s usually between mid-summer (June) through to the end of November.

Want to avoid crowds and have the powdery white sand beaches and coral reefs all to yourself? Head to Turks & Caicos in autumn from September to November when temperatures range from 24°C to 31°C (76 to 88°F). But keep in mind that both hurricane season and the rainy season are in full force.

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How to get around Turks and Caicos Islands

There is no public transport and getting around in Turks & Caicos Islands differs from island to island. In Providenciales, since it’s the main tourist hub, you’ll have no trouble finding taxis or even private VIP transport.

There’s also the option of hiring a moped, Jeep or 4x4. Note that you’ll need to drive on the left and that a Jeep or 4x4 is a must if you’re visiting a national park where the terrain tends to be rugged.

Keep an eye out for rental bicycles or golf carts when visiting the smaller islands, such as South Caicos and Salt Cay. Some resorts also offer them to guests.

For some island-hopping there are passenger ferry services available, such as TCI Ferry.

Let us help you organize your own wheels for exploring. Hire a car today.

What are the best beaches in Turks and Caicos Islands?

So many gorgeous, picture-perfect beaches, so little time… We’ve chosen our favourite three in three locations to help you out. Because we’re nice like that. Read on.

Grace Bay Beach is one of the best beaches in the world (we just had to mention that again!) and set in what’s known as “resort central” – Grace Bay. If diving is what you’re after, you’re in the right place at Grace Bay.

The beach stretches along the north coast of Providenciales for 12km (7.5 miles), so there’s plenty of space for everyone and it’s never overcrowded. The water is calm, the seafloor is smooth and sandy and among than the many water sports you can enjoy there's kayaking, paddleboarding and horse riding on the shore.

Half Moon Bay is a secluded beach sandwiched between Water Cay and Little Water Cay, which started out as a sandbar that “grew” as time went one. There’s a stunning beach on the north side while on the south side there’s a lagoon with warm, inviting shallow water. Dotted along the beach are miniature palm forests – fun to explore. Just a heads-up that there are no amenities here, so come prepared with your picnic basket, umbrella and water.

If you’re spending some time on Middle Caicos, Mudjin Harbour is a must visit close to Conch Bar Caves. The landscape here is pretty dramatic with caves and towering limestone cliffs encircling the harbour. At low tide you can reach a very small dragon-shaped island called Dragon Cay just across a sandbar.


Turks and Caicos Islands Frequently asked questions

It all depends on what kind of a traveller you are. Do you love a little luxury? Grace Bay is packed with luxury resorts, spas, and fine dining restaurants. Do you want to be spoiled for choice with restaurants and amenities? If that sounds like you, the capital city, Cockburn, is your best bet for bustling bars, restaurants and nightlife. If you’re seeking something a little more laidback, the Bight Settlement or Leeward Settlement might be for you. You really can’t go wrong in Turks and Caicos, but if you have a specific vacation in mind, talk to us today and we can help make it happen.

Think beach vacation when stacking out your suitcase – swimwear, sunscreen, sunnies and sandals is just about everything you’ll need to enjoy your time in Turks and Caicos.

If you are seeking a beach vacation with a little bit of luxury, Grace Bay Beach on Providenciales island is a dream come true! Soft, white sandy beaches, turquoise water, high-end hotels and great restaurants await you in this little slice of paradise. If you’re seeking something a bit off the beaten track and adventurous, you could try North Caicos and Middle Caicos, where you’ll be spoiled with untouched beaches and an array of water activities to keep you entertained.

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Grace Bay and Leeward Beach consistently rate as the best beaches in Turks and Caicos, but there are so many gorgeous beaches on this little archipelago that choosing a favourite is a very hard task indeed. Why not go beach hopping and make up your own mind!

Turks and Caicos is a destination you can enjoy all year round, thanks to its balmy tropical weather. The dry season tends to run from December to June. August to November is considered the rainy season, but even then the rain doesn’t last long. As with all Caribbean destinations, Turks and Caicos is susceptible to hurricanes, which would usually hit around August/September (if at all).

Your mission in Turks and Caicos is relaxation! Your Turks and Caicos vacation will involve a lot of ‘vitamin sea’ – enjoy swimming in the crystal-clear waters of the Caribbean, discover a colourful underwater world by snorkelling and diving, jump on board a boat or kayak and enjoy the salty sea air. When you step off the beach, enjoy fine dining, bustling bars and a spot of shopping.

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