Are you looking for an ultimate Turks and Caicos Travel Guide? I am glad you stopped by here. I will help you learn everything you need to know before visiting Providenciales, Turks and Caicos.
Turks and Caicos (TCI) Islands are one of the dreamiest Islands to visit. With its stunning white-sand beaches, luxury resorts, excellent year-end temperature, and the world’s third-largest barrier reef system, it is a highly desirable destination for couples and families.
Like most, Turks and Caicos has been in our bucket list and before heading there I took some time to deep dive into researching all about the Providenciales island, best things to do, best resorts, best places to eat, and how to travel on budget. Now I want to share everything I learned and experienced with you in this Turks and Caicos Travel Guide.
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Turks and Caicos Travel Guide
Somewhere between the Bahamas and the Dominican Republic is a beautiful country with one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) is a British Oversees territory and mainly known for its white-sand beaches, luxury resorts, and pristine marine environment.
While TCI consists of 40 different islands, only eight are inhabited, the most popular tourist destination is Providenciales, also “Prove,” where most resorts, restaurants, and the world-famous Grace Bay Beach are found.
Flying to Turks and Caicos
Providenciales International Airport (PLS) makes it super easy for International travelers to arrive in Provo. The major US cities such as New York, Boston, and Philadelphia are less than 4 hours away, which makes the trip incredibly convenient if you are traveling from one of the east coast cities in the USA.
If you are cruising instead of flying to TCI, all ships arrive on Grand Turk Island, and If you want to visit Providenciales from Grand Turk or vice versa, you must take a short local connecting flight.
Things to Know Before Visiting Turks and Caicos
Transportation – There is no public transportation in TCI. The best way to get around is by car or taxi.
Language & Visa – English is the official language of Turks and Caicos. US citizens do not require visas to enter turks and Caicos. However, if you are planning an extended stay (Over 90 days) or are not a US citizen, you may need to apply for a visa. For more information, click here.
Currency – Although the TCI is a U.K. territory, the United States Dollar (USD) is the official currency.
Electricity – The Turks and Caicos Islands use 120v, 60Hz electricity, and U.S.-style power plugs. Thus, no adapters or converters are needed if you visit the USA.
Climate – Like other Caribbean islands, TCI is blessed with all-year-round warm temperatures ranging from 74-84 Fahrenheit. Hurricane season usually takes place between August to October.
Safety – The Turks and Caicos are among the safest countries in the Caribbean. However, that does not mean you should not take any precautions. Avoid leaving your valuables unattended, walking in the dark, and visiting remote or isolated areas.
Food – Conch is the National Food of the Island Nation. The most popular conch food choice is the conch fritters. I am not a big seafood person, but I was pretty pleased with those!
Best Time to Visit Turks and Caicos
The best time to visit TCI is between February and May when weather is warm, still mostly dry and with less crowd. December and January are very highly demanded months due to holidays so expect big rise in prices. From August to November it is a hurricane season when weather is expected to be more rainy but prices drop significantly making it a good choice for budget travelers.
There is no public transportation in the Turks and Caicos Islands. The best way to get around is by taxi or car rental. You won’t find Uber or Lyft here, but you will spot conch cabs that operate similarly on the Island of Providenciales.
The most budget-friendly option is to rent a car, but check your travel itinerary first and see if you need one. TCI is U.K. territory. Therefore, you will have to drive on your left side, which could be quite an adjustment for some.
We did not rent a car on this trip. Our hotel had a shuttle to the main town, where we shopped for groceries and our excursions and organized our transportation. We called a taxi when we ate outside the resort, but that was about it.
Where to Stay in Turks And Caicos
Providenciales Island (Provo) is the most popular tourist destination in TCI. The world’s famous 12-Mile long Grace Bay Beach has many luxury resorts, turquoise water, and beachfront restaurants.
I recommend staying here if you are visiting Turks and Caicos for the first time. If you have enough time to explore TCI, consider taking day trip or two from Providenciales to other neighborhoods such as South Caicos, North Caicos, Middle Caicos, Grand Turk, Salt Cay, Pine Cay, or parrot Cay.
Where to Stay in Providenciales
As mentioned earlier, Providenciales is well known for its beautiful Grace Bay beach. Also, did you know that Grace Bay Beach was voted the #1 best beach in the World by Tripadvisor’s Traveller’s Choice Awards in 2022? It’s surreal to think that we were just there!
Turks and Caicos Resorts
For more flexibility, you can choose from multiple hotels in Grace Bay Beach, from well-known Beaches Resorts to Airbnb vacation rentals. Below, I list a few of the best options for couples and families.
Beaches Turks & Caicos – Beaches Resort is an all-inclusive Caribbean paradise, offering families the ultimate fun. With its 45,000 sqr feet water park, 21 gourmet restaurants, and ten swimming pools, you will not get bored here.
Windsong on the Reef – We stayed in this resort. We found Windsong a little more budget-friendly and quiet, with large rooms and suites with a kitchen! The resort owns 133 meters of private beach and a private reef for guests.
Seven Stars Resort & Spa – This resort has the only heated saltwater pool on the Island. In addition, It is equipped with water sports, basketball, and tennis courts. Perfect for couples and families looking to stay on Grace Bay Beach.
Como Parrot Cay – Top luxury boutique hotel in Turks and Caicos. Guests have their private balconies or terraces attached to their suites. You will undoubtedly enjoy their open-air yoga classes in the morning if you love yoga. In addition, the resort has a holistic spa, Japanese baths, and an infinity pool to add to the luxury and relaxation.
The Oases at Grace Bay – A more affordable option in the laid-back Grace Bay of TCI. The Oases at Grace Bay is a boutique hotel with only sixteen suites and excellent water and land activities to keep you busy.
What to do in Turks and Caicos
The best thing you can do in TCI is to relax! As a travel blogger and always on the go, I do not remember the last time I had so much time to stay in one place and do nothing. Much needed.
While relaxing is unavoidable in TCI, you can choose from plenty of activities to cross off your bucket list. I am listing our favorites!
Snorkeling in Turks and Caicos
Snorkeling is a must! TCI has the third-largest barrier reef in the world. So get ready to experience stunning marine life from adorable sea turtles, starfish, eagle rays, and colorful corals. We snorkeled right in front of our resort by the shore most days.
If you want to take the snorkeling experience from the shore to another level, we highly recommend signing up for Caicos Dream Tours. Our experience with them was beyond amazing.
The tour included a snorkeling adventure into the barrier reef and a stop at Half Moon Bay to see Iguanas. While I did not go snorkeling and stayed with my son on the boat (he insisted), we could still see plenty of fish from above.
My husband went with the tour and brought back some underwater footage, including chasing reef sharks with a go-pro that he still cannot stop talking about. Check out Instagram highlights.
This snorkeling tour was full of fun, laughter, snacks, and drinks and was very family-friendly!
Hang Out With Iguanas at Little Water Cay
Little Water Cay, also called the Iguana Island, is one of the top tourist attractions in Providenciales. You will find many boats and charters coming here. Here you will find rock iguanas relaxing at the beach, not caring about humans walking among them (but remember not to feed them). Suppose you happen to visit Half Moon Bay instead; no worries. We spotted at least 10 Iguanas relaxing at the beach when we arrived. They usually find their way here from Little Water Cay.
Relax at Half Moon Bay
Between Little Water Cay and Water Cay, you will find the Half Moon Bay beach. Another popular place for picnics and excursions. The water on the beach is beyond turquoise. Our tour stopped here to check out Iguanas and relax at the beach for about an hour, but time flew quickly! We loved the beach a lot!
Semi Submarine Tour
Undersea Explorer is fantastic for families with smaller kids. It feels like a short trip through the reefs, but it is just enough and well worth the investment. A guide and the captain were on the lookout to help us navigate. For the entire 45 minutes, we were excited to find turtles, stingrays, and many different types of fish, and we even got to see a nurse shark.
Tip: if you feel uncomfortable with the closed space for too long, you may go upstairs anytime for fresher air and return.
Go Horseback Riding at the Beach
if you search on the web for the best thing to do in TCI, you will most likely end up with horseback riding in Providenciales as the top thing to do. Make sure you pre-schedule your tour, as it is a very demanding excursion. We could not experience it due to age restrictions for our toddler, but everyone we asked about the experience had something positive to say.
Experience Clear Kayak
Have you ever dreamt of being in a transparent kayak surrounded by nothing but turquoise water? Take your water adventure to another level and sign up for one of the most popular clear kayak tours around Mangrove Cay.
If you are not up for a few hours of excursion because of age restrictions in the family or other reasons, there is another way to experience the transparent Kayak. You can sign up for a drone photoshoot. Since we had a small kid with us, we chose this option.
Fish Fry Festival
This popular festival/event takes place in Providenciales every Thursday, and it is free! This is where locals, vendors, and tourists come together. Here you will have some delicious food and drinks and enjoy live entertainment. Due to Covid-19, the event was closed when we visited. Make sure you check it out when you visit!
Chase the Sunset
Sunsets are beautiful, but sunsets on Grace Bay Beach are extraordinary. Enjoy it every evening if possible.
Turks and Caicos Travel Guide: Where to eat
Da Conch Shack If you have never tried the conch, chances are you will try one in Turks & Caicos. There is a variety of those offered on their menus. But if you try, do it at the Conch Shack Restaurant. The Conch Shack restaurant & bar is on the beach, loaded with all types of seafood you can ask for besides the conch. It is a casual environment. There is a stand outside with all the conch decor and island things for sale, so check them out before you head back.
Somewhere Cafe & Lounge – hands down, our favorite restaurant in TCI. Located right on Grace Bay beach, this two-story casual cafe was our go-to for lunch and dinners. (they also offer breakfast). It was only a 5-minute walk from our resort. The food was very reasonably priced and delicious. Our favorites were burritos and tacos. From drinks, the Island’s specialty rum punch! Watch their Facebook page for live music schedules and other events.
Coco Bistro – Do you have a special occasion or want to experience something a little more unique? Then head towards the Coco Bistro for the delightful island ambiance. It is located in the center of Grace Bay and within walking distance from most resorts. Here you will find tables under the beautiful palm trees with coconuts hanging, and the culinary experience is one of the best in Turks & Caicos.
Coco Van – For more affordable and casual evenings, try coco van! A fantastic option for someone who wants quality food and drinks with reasonable spending.
Gateway Gourmet – You may have heard that Turks & Caicos is not very cheap for food. Our hotel offered a service once a day. I highly recommend visiting a local grocery store to stock up on snacks and drinks.
Turks and Caicos Travel Guide: Is TCI Kid Friendly?
Absolutely! If your kids love he beach, sand, boat rides, and chasing beautiful fish, Turks and Caicos is an ideal destination for kids. Check out some of my top family friendly friendly resorts in TCI offering all inclusive vacation or a blend or relaxation for parents and kids clubs for kids.
What to Pack For Turks and Caicos
Here are some must-bring items, but check out the ultimate beach vacation packing list for the complete guide and product recommendations.
- Dry Bag
- Rashguards for kids
- Waterproof Bag
- Water Shoes
- Reef Safe Sunscreens
- Light Layers for evening
- Lightweight umbrella (for wet season)
How to Visit Turks and Caicos on Budget?
There is no arguing that Turks and Caicos is a luxury travel destination. Depending on your itinerary, you can easily spend $1,500-$5,000 per person here (for a week-long vacation). While things can certainly add up, you can ensure that your holiday does not exceed your budget and stick to your plan.
- Plan your trip as early as possible and use travel points.
- Travel during off-peak season. March and May are usually lower in prices and crowd.
- Opt out of all-inclusive hotel deals. While those are very convenient, you will save more when booking services individually.
- Shop local groceries and stock up on snacks and breakfast/lunch items. Skip eating at restaurants three times a day. Food in Turks and Caicos is mainly imported and not cheap. Try local restaurants. Keep in mind beachfront restaurants are more expensive.
- Rent a car to avoid the taxi costs if you travel a lot.
- Cut on some excursions. There are many beautiful things to do and see but pick something that will not break the bank.
- Skip travel agents and put your trip yourself.
Turks and Caicos Travel Guide Summary
Here it is. Your perfect family friendly Turks and Caicos travel guide packed with all of my recommendations. If you have not yet decided on accommodations, check out my list of best resorts that you can choose on Gace Bay Beach! Have fun and share in comments when are you visiting and what are you most excited about?