If you’re planning a trip to the Turks and Caicos and you want the scoop on the islands, this is the post for you!
1.The most visited (not on a cruise ship) island is Providenciales (Provo) and it’s probably where you’ll want to go. It has beautiful beaches and plenty of places to stay. While the cruise ships go to Grand Turk, they don’t come to Provo because of the reef.
2.Provo (and TCI in general) is one of the most expensive islands in the Caribbean. While islands in general aren’t cheap, TCI is still near the top price wise so be prepared to pay more than usual for everything (hotel rooms, rental cars, gas, and food), but don’t worry, good deals can still be found!
3.Most of the resorts and condos on Provo are on Grace Bay. This 12-mile beach is home to many accommodation and dining options so this is where the majority of visitors gravitate, however because it is such a large beach, it never feels overly crowded.
4.TCI is a British Overseas Territory so you’ll need a passport but they do speak English (duh!) and accept American dollars and the majority of tourists are Americans so it’s very accessible.
5.Most flights to Provo connect through Miami but there are a few direct flights through major airports (DFW, etc.). Many of these airlines only fly out once a week or so though (usually on Saturdays) so if you can, plan ahead and snag one of those. Minimizing your connections not only means less time in airports but less chance of missing your last flight!
6.Saturday is the most popular day to arrive and depart the island, so plan plenty of time at the airport. It’s recommended to leave for the airport three hours before international flights and you’ll probably need it. I’ve never been in a more crowded airport than the tiny one on Provo!
7.They drive on the left side of the road. It sounds scary at first, but if you drive slow and stay focused, you’ll get used to it pretty fast. Also, if there are two lanes, the right one is for passing/faster speeds (reverse of in the states).
8.Taxis charge per person (usually $10-$20) so it’s not cheap to get around that way. Rental cars are about $60/day. Do the math. If you only want a car for a day or two, it’s very easy to arrange. There are a few rental companies located in Grace Bay and they can send a shuttle to pick you up.
9.There are a lot of good restaurants on Provo but a lot of them require reservations (and book up during busy times) so plan ahead. If you arrive early enough, it’s possible to get in a lot of places without a reservation though.
10.High season (most expensive and crowded) is winter, but we were there in March (spring break) and it was crowded! The weather is pretty temperate all year long. During hurricane season (officially June-November, but mostly late July through October), the crowds really thin out and you can get great deals but a lot of restaurants and such close down for repairs and time off.
11.Bring a Go Pro, waterproof camera, or waterproof case for your phone. Most of the things you’ll do in the TCI involve water and you’ll definitely want pictures!
12.There’s a super nice grocery store on Grace Bay, which is pricey (not out of line with other Caribbean islands) but has all of the brands you’re used to and a really good selection.
13.The locals (called “Belongers”) are super friendly so be sure to chat with anyone you come across to really get a feel for the local culture.
14.The TCI is home to the world’s third largest barrier reef so snorkeling/diving is a must do here. If you want to experience diving, you should get certified before you arrive. If you’re not certified, don’t worry. There is plenty to see just by snorkeling.
15.Conch and lobster are major staples in the TCI. Lobster season is spring/summer and conch is available all year long. Try Da Conch Shack for some of the island’s best.
16.If you’re looking for shopping, you’ll find it in the shopping centers along Grace Bay. The Thursday Fish Fry is also a good place to pick up souvenirs made by local entrepreneurs.
17.Grace Bay, the most popular beach in TCI, is one of the most beautiful beaches in the world and perfect for a laid back do-nothing beach vacation. The resorts on Grace Bay have plenty of umbrellas and beach chairs and you’ll find nothing better to do in TCI than wile away hours with a good book and rum punch.
Are you planning a trip to the Turks and Caicos? If you have any questions, hop on over to Facebook and ask away!