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TURKS & CAICOS

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Grace Bay Beach, Turks and Caicos
Grace Bay Beach, © Can Stock Photo / jsnover

The Turks and Caicos (TCI) are a British territory located north of Haiti, east of Cuba and south of the Bahamas.  TCI is two sets of islands forming one country and altogether there are more than 40 islands.  The Caicos Islands include the West, East, South and Middle Caicos, plus the Providenciales (Provo) and Parrot Cay.  The Turk Islands include Grand Turk and Salt Cay.  Geographically, the Turks and Caicos form part of the series of islands with the Bahamas.  The indigenous Taino populations were enslaved by the Spanish upon their arrival in the late 1400s.  Slaves were also brought to the islands from Africa, resulting in a significant proportion of blacks today.  The population of Turks and Caicos is under 50,000 people with most people living on Provo in the Caicos Islands.  There were no cars in Provo until the 1960s.  The capital of the Turks and Caicos is Cockburn Town (pronounced 'Coburn') on Grand Turk with a population of around 8,000.  Cockburn Harbour, on South Caicos, has a population under 3,000.  The official language of the islands is English and, despite its British heritage, the currency is interestingly the US dollar.  Electricity is 110 volt/60 cycles.   Providenciales International Airport is the access point by air and Grace Bay is the center for tourist resorts.  Cruise ships regularly visit Grand Turk.  There are no visa requirements for visits less than 30 days, provided that proof of round trip travel arrangements are documented.

Weather:

The Turks and Caicos experiences a typical Caribbean climate, although technically its location is in the Atlantic.  Temperatures in the summer months, around July, average 30 C (95 F) for highs, while the summer lows average 27 C (85 F).  In the winter months, temperatures are 3 - 5 degrees cooler.  The rainy season extends from September to December.  September and October mark the height of hurricane season.  The most popular months to visit are February and March, when the temperatures are comfortable, the rainfall is lowest, hurricane season has passed and North American tourists are seeking spring break destinations.  The islands are popular for their beaches, coral reefs and uninhabited islands.  Turks and Caicos has become a world class location for hotels, spas and restaurants.

Attractions in Provo, Turks & Caicos:

Things to see and do:

Although Provo (Providenciales) is the most populated island in the Turks and Caicos, it doesn't have a clearly defined city.  It is about 15 miles long (25 km) and narrows at points to 2 miles in width.  Provo is the resort center of the Turks and Caicos and the site for the international airport.

  • Grace Bay is the location for most of the resorts in the Turks & Caicos.

  • Visit a beach.  The beach at Grace Bay is the best beach in Provo.  It blends into the beach at the Bight, which has a children's park and snorkeling at Bight Reef.  Other beaches in Provo include Northwest Point, Malcolm Road, West Harbour, Taylor Bay, Sapodilla Bay, Turtle Tail, Long Bay (kiteboarding) and Leeward.  These beaches are all within 25 minutes of each other.

  • Snorkeling at the Bight Reef, Smith's Reef and NW Point.

  • Kayaking and stand up paddle boarding at Mangrove Cay.  Try Big Blue Unlimited.

  • Chalk Sound National Park - a lagoon for kayaking and pontoon boat rides.

Cockburn Town, Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos

Cockburn Town, Grand Turk, © Can Stock Photo /  SFphoto

  • Dive at Pine Cay, Grace Bay, NW Point, French Cay, West Caicos and Sandbore Channel.  Try Provo Turtle Divers.

  • Princess Alexandra Land and Sea National Park.  The park includes Little Water Cay.  See iguanas and osprey.  Nearby is Half Moon Bay.  Caicos Dream Tours offers snorkeling and conch shell cruises, iguanas sightings on Little Water Cay and fishing excursions.  Caicos Dream Tours has a desk at the Alexandra Resort.

  • Cruise on the Atabeyra.  On the third night after the full moon, take an evening cruise on the Atebayra and see the glow worms.

  • National Environmental Centre on Lower Bight Rd.

  • Casablanca Casino on Grace Bay Rd.

  • Provo Ponies - horseback riding at Long Bay Beach.  Also visit the Hole at Long Bay - get lowered by rope into a 40 foot wide limestone swimming hole that's 80 feet deep.

  • TCI Ferry Service from Walkin Marina on Leeward Hwy to North Caicos, Middle Caicos or South Caicos.

Grace Bay Beach, Turks and Caicos

Grace Bay Beach, © Can Stock Photo / jsnover

Things to see and do in Grand Turk, Turks & Caicos:

Grand Turk is the cruise ship port for the Turks & Caicos.  The island is about 7 miles long and 1.5 miles wide.  

  • Grand Turk Cruise Center - right beside the cruise ship dock.  Lounge at the beach.  Swim in the ocean or their freshwater pool.  Rent a cabana. Visit Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville, go shopping or try surfing on the FlowRider.  This is a tourist theme attraction and not an escape to the solitude of uninhabited islands that make the Turks and Caicos so special.

  • Governor's Beach – located in Columbus Landfall National Park between the cruise terminal and Cockburn Town.  The debate is still on about whether this is the location where Columbus first landed in the Caribbean.  Good snorekling and swimming, plus beach chair and umbrella rentals.  Not many services here.

  • Duke and Front Streets in Cockburn Town have historic 18th and 19th century buildings.  The Columbus Monument is located in a small plaza here.  Also visit the Turks and Caicos National Museum and the Turks and Caicos Islands Philatelic Bureau of Cockburn Town.

  • Diving and snorkeling.  Take a boat excursion to Gibbs Cay to spend time at the beach and to feed the stingrays.  Dive at more than 20 sites on the western leeward side of the island, including Black Forest, Coral Garden, Rolling Hills, Tunnels, the Library and MacDonald's. Try Oasis Divers or Chukka Tours

  • Pillory Beach - great snorkeling off the beach or whale watching tours provided by Bohio Dive Resort

  • Grand Turk Light House - at the northern tip of the island.

  • Visit Salt Cay - a community ferry makes day trips possible 3 times a week.  Alternately book an excursion.

Savor the Tastes of the Turks and Caicos

  • Peas & grits

  • Conch & Grits

  • Penn on - depends on the catch of the day.

  • Turks Head Lager

  • Las Brisas Restaurant and Bar at the Neptune Villas in Chalk Sound, Provo.

Grand Turk Tours:

Providentiales Tours:

Hotels in the Turks & Caicos:

Take That Vacation Recommendations for Turks & Caicos:

Booking.com General Hotels in the Turks & Caicos


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