The Turks and Caicos Islands consist of over 40 islands and cays, eight of which are inhabited. The islands are located 575 miles southeast of Miami, Florida, just below the Bahamas chain and just to the east of Cuba and the Dominican Republic/Haiti.) Technically, the Turks and Caicos Islands are located in the Atlantic Ocean, not the Caribbean Sea. The islands are home to roughly 30,000 full time residents, and welcome more than 200,000 tourists annually.
Language - English
Currency - The US dollar is the official currency of TCI. Most hotels, restaurants, and taxi services accept traveler’s cheques, which can be cashed at local banks. Most credit cards are accepted, and banks offer ATM's as well as cash advances on credit cards. Tipping is normally paid to waiters, taxi drivers, maids and porters at 15%.
Time Zone - Eastern Standard Time. Daylight Savings Time is observed from April to October.
Electricity - 110 volt/60 cycle, suitable for U.S. appliances.
Climate - The average temperature ranges between 85 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit (29-32 degrees celsius) from June to October, sometimes reaching the mid 90's (35 degrees celsius), especially in the late summer months. From November to May the average temperature is 80 to 84 degrees Fahrenheit (27-29 degrees celsius). Water temperature in the summer is 82 to 84 degrees (28-29 degrees celsius) and in winter about 74 to 78 degrees (23-26 degrees celsius). A constant trade wind keeps the climate very comfortable.
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 runs from June 1 to November 30th.
People - Turks & Caicos Islanders are mostly descendants of Africans who were brought in to work the salt pans or the cotton plantations. The expatriate population consists of British, Canadians, Americans, French, Bahamians, people from Hispaniola (Dominican Republic and Haiti) and virtually everywhere in the world.
Economy - The economy of the TCI relies on the tourism industry, real estate development and the exportation of seafood. A wide variety of financial services is available, including company formation, offshore insurance, banking, trusts, limited partnerships and limited life companies. The Financial Services Commission regulates, develops and promotes the industry in major world markets.
Government - The Turks & Caicos Islands are a British Crown Colony. A Governor is appointed by the Queen and presides over an Executive Council formed by an elected local self-government. Government offices are located in Grand Turk, with branches on other Islands as needed. The legal system is based on English Common Law.
Courier Service - Daily delivery service is provided by FedEx, with offices on Provo and Grand Turk. Service is also provided by DHL and UPS.
Cable Television - Satellite television service is provided throughout the islands, with most major American networks available.
Water - As on many Islands, our fresh water is precious. We depend upon rainfall or desalinated water produced by reverse osmosis for our supply. Please be conservative in using water.
Telephone Service - Local and international service is provided by Cable & Wireless, as well as Digicel who provides wireless only. Telex, facsimile, internet and cellular phone services are available. You may use your credit card or a debit PhoneCard at public phone booths. The country code is (649). Network is through Cable and Wireless. Pay phones, calling cards, and cell phones are for rent/sale at various locations, as well as fax and internet services.
If you have cell service in the USA, you may 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 and receive calls whilst in the Turks and Caicos. If you do not have roaming then you will be able to make calls using the credit card platform.
Postal Service - Post Offices are located on all inhabited islands. All mail is transported by air. There are many different issues and denominations of stamps for enthusiasts to collect. Philatelic Bureaus are located on both Provo and Grand Turk.
Driving License Requirements - Visitors from the British Commonwealth Countries, The United States of America, Canada and holders of International drivers licenses are permitted to drive for 30 days on their respective license. Visitors from all other countries are required to posses a Visitors Permit, which can be obtained at the Road Safety Department, located on Good Street, Grand Turk, and at the office on the Old Airport Road, Providenciales.
Crime - These Islands boast one of the lowest crime rates and highest crime-solved rates in the Caribbean. Common sense prevails though; do not leave valuables unattended, lock doors and windows, and use the hotel safe for storage of valuables. These simple precautions should prevent the loss of cash, jewelry and identification. Confrontation and violent crimes are extremely rare. Any problems should be reported immediately to the Royal Turks and Caicos Police.
Clothing - Shorts are worn in town as well as the beach during the day. It is advisable to also wear sunhats and sunscreen. In the evenings, light sweaters and jackets may be occasionally needed in the winter. Dinner is usually not formal; most restaraunts accept dress shorts while some require pants and a collared shirt for gentlemen, and dress slacks or dresses for the ladies. Public Nudity is illegal throughout the islands.
Customs and Immigration - Duty free goods that may be brought in to the Islands include: 50 cigars, 200 cigarettes, 1.136 liters of spirits or wine and perfume for personal use.
There are no restrictions for travellers on the import of cameras, film or sports equipment, except spear guns and Hawaiian slings.
To bring in firearms of any type (including spear guns and Hawaiian slings), you must have written approval from the Commissioner of Police. Controlled drugs and pornography are illegal.
Effective January 8, 2007 all US Citizens traveling to the Turks & Caicos Islands are required by the US Government to have a valid US passport. Visitors from other countries do require passports, but no visas are necessary except from countries of the former Eastern Block. They are advised to contact the nearest British Consulate Office.
Pets - There are some restrictions on bringing domestic pets into the Turks and Caicos Islands. All pets should be up-to-date with vaccinations and pet owners should ensure that they have completed the standard documents required for their pet's international travel.
Download documentation here:
Conditions of Importation:
Health Care - There is a hospital on Providenciales, and one on Grand Turk. A number of private general practitioners are present on Providenciales as well as an emergency care facility. All of the other islands have community clinics.
Other health services available include: emergency room, dental, chiropractic, physiotherapy, optometry, pharmacy, X-ray, ultrasound, recompression chamber and air ambulance service.