An In-Depth Guide to Turks and Caicos

Our travel guide to Turks and Caicos gives you the advice and information you need for your TCI getaway. This guide details historic and cultural facts, relevant travel tips, and essential advice regarding medical emergencies and crime, plus so much more.

Turks & Caicos Overview: The islands are most well known for their Ripsaw Music. Music festivals ignite the small population of just over 36,000 every year. These festivals include celebrities from both the Caribbean and the United States. The national sport is cricket. Other favorite activities include fishing, sailing and football.

The temperature throughout this set of islands stays consistent throughout the year. Summertime sees a high of 33C (92F), and winter time sees a varying temperature between 20 and 27 C (68 and 80 F). Turks & Caicos has one of the longest coral reefs in the world, which gives it an edge in the difficult tourism industry. This industry has been picking up steadily, with the building of new five star resorts, the addition of a cruise port, and the addition of a racetrack for the Indy Racing League. Other popular tourist activities include diving, golfing, music festivals, and deep sea fishing.

Travel Tips and Info for Turks and Caicos

Entry/Exit
Taxes & Fees
Medical
Crime
Getting Around
Culture
Landmarks
Safety

Anthem:British: God Save The Queen, US: "Virgin Islands March"
Capital:British:  Road Town, US: Charlotte Amalie
Time Zone: UTC -4
Languages: English
Power Outlets: 115V, 60 Hz
Currency: US Dollar (USD) (On both US and British Islands)
Credit Cards: All major credit cards accepted
Traveler Checks: Traveler checks accepted
Side of road to drive on: Left

: : ENTRY/EXIT REQUIREMENTS

General Information:

- Be sure to declare and bring receipts for all valuable personal belongings (ie. laptop, watch, etc.) or you could have to pay taxes on it when you leave.

Entry:

- You are allowed to bring clothing and personal products for your stay. Anything deemed as excessive may be subject to duty (taxes).
- Those of age may bring 1.136 liters of alcohol.
- Those of age may bring 200 cigarettes, and 20 cigars.
- Narcotics and firearms are prohibited. If wishing to import forearms you must have permission from the police commissioner of Turks and Caicos before entry.

Departure:

- You should verify allowable items to return to your own country with customs regulations (available at the information desk at your port of departure).

Prohibited items include:
Uncanned food and derivatives;
Earth, plants, flowers, etc.

: : Sales Taxes & Fees

Sales Tax:

Approximately 10% (exports are subject to an additional 1%).

Airport Taxes:

-Airport taxes are almost always included in your airfare. Verify with your airline before booking.
-Departure Tax is approximately $15 USD (depending on aircraft, and airport).

This tax is exempt for:
Children under the age of 2;
Diplomats (except Ecuador);
Transit passengers complying with TWOV conditions;
Airline crew travelers;
Residents of Aruba

: : MEDICAL INFORMATION

Bringing in Prescription Drugs:

- Prescription drugs are allowed. You must have a doctor's prescription or note indicating that the medicine is needed, the patient's name, and the medication(s) name.

Vaccinations:

- No vaccinations are required.
- Certain vaccinations are recommended. You should visit a travel clinic 4-6 weeks before departure. They are: Hepatitis A Yellow Fever, Measles, mumps, rubella (MMR), Tetanus-diphtheria

Hospitals:

Grand Turk Hospital and Emergency Room
Turks and Caicos Islands Government Hospital, Grand Turk
Tel: 649-946-2040/1212 Emergency: 649-946-2333

Myrtle Rigby Hospital / Myrtle Rigby Clinic
Leeward Highway, Providenciales
Tel: 649-941-3000

Emergency Contacts:

Associated Medical
Call 946 4242 - answer machine tells you who is on call
Dr Menzies 946-4242 (Leeward Highway)
Dr Bourne 231-0000 (Leeward Highway)
Dr O'Sullivan 231-1350 (Chalk Sound) Providenciales

Bottle Creek Police Station
Royal Turks & Caicos Police Station 946-7116 North Caicos

Grace Bay Medical
Grace Bay Medical 941 5252
Dr Slattery 231 0525 ( Long Bay ) Providenciales

Grand Turk Fire Station
Call 946-2233 Grand Turk

Kew Police Station
Royal Turks & Caicos Police Statiion 946-7261 North Caicos

Middle Caicos Police Station
Royal Turks & Caicos Police Station 946-6111 Middle Caicos
Myrtle Rigby Government Clinic (currently only ambulance service) 941-3000 Providenciales

Provo Police Station
Provo Police Station 112 Providenciales

Salt Cay Police Station
Police Station 946-6929 Salt Cay

South Caicos Police Station
Royal Turks & Caicos Police Station 946-3299 South Caicos

Turks & Caicos Fire Rescue
Carlton Jennings (fire chief) 231-0866
Main Office, Industrial Park - 941-8090

Airport location - 946-4444 Providenciales

: : CRIME

Crime rates are very minimal. However petty crime has been reported. Even when anchoring a boat or yacht, there are reports of personal items being stolen. Stay smart and keep an eye on your money, purse, wallet, etc. Use the same common sense you would in any city while in here. Review our Travel & Safety Tips section for more information.

Victims of Crime:

Contact the local authorities AND your consulate/embassy (Embassies are listed in this itinerary). Do not rely on third parties such as the hotel to report crimes on your behalf. Always retain a copy of the police report.

Criminal Offences:

If arrested you must immediately notify them of the country you are from and request they contact your embassy. They are obliged to contact your embassy or consulate by international law.

While in Turks and Caicos you are subject to their legislation, penalties, and judiciary methods.

If you have a criminal offense from your own country and would like to visit Turks & Caicos it is at their discretion to allow you in. It is unlikely to cause a problem as long as you are not wanted for a crime and have all ready served your sentence. If you have been accused of something, but have not gone to trial, and do not have a travel ban you should also be fine for travel.

If traveling through or over the United States of America and you have any type of criminal record it is up to the US if they will allow you through or over their country. If worried, you should contact the local immigration offices of the countries that affect your travel and verify before booking a ticket.

: : TRANSPORTATION

Driver's License:

- A valid driver's license from your country is required to drive.

- It is still recommended to get an international drivers license, even though it is not required. You must obtain this in your home country before departure for any trip.

Insurance:

- It is highly recommended to have rental car insurance. It costs approximately $10/day.

Car Rental:

- In order to rent a car in Turks and Caicos you must have a valid driver's license from your own country, a working credit card, and be a minimum of 25 years old. Some car rental agencies may rent to those younger than 25, however you should contact them ahead to book.
-Cars, SUVs, Vans, Motorcycles and Scooters are generally available.
-Always verify someone will be available at your time of arrival so you may get your vehicle immediately.
-Even with insurance you may be liable for a $500 deductible. Be sure to verify the insurance terms.
-As with all car rentals inspect the car before driving away. Make notes (take pictures if possible) of any scratches, dings, etc while in the presence of the car rental worker. It is preferable to have the car rental worker sign something attesting to the condition of the car.

Taxi:

- Taxi cabs are plentiful in Turks and Caicos.
- Negotiate your rate before departure.

: : CULTURAL INFORMATION

Smokers:

- Smoking is permitted in public areas. Verify with your hotel if it is smoking or non-smoking if you have a preference.

Wardrobe:

- Generally, there are no requirements or dress code. Although one should use common sense. If going to a restaurant it is not appropriate to wear a bathing suit. Some restaurant do have dress codes, so you should verify when you make a reservation.

Etiquette:

- Keep in mind that no one is in a rush in Turks and Caicos. Expect slow service; don't become impatient or rude, as this is their way of life.
- Never give someone the middle finger, it is considered extremely rude.
- Handshakes are appropriate when first meeting someone, no matter the gender.
- Sun tanning nude or topless is illegal.
- Direct eye contact is considered polite.

Tipping:

- 15-20% is expected. Check list of items to bring on vacation (what you'll need)

: : POPULAR LANDMARKS

Grace Bay

Don't forget to visit this beautiful beach

This world famous beach is a must visit! The turquoise waters contrast with the white powder beaches. Grace Bay beach is continuously rated as one of the best in the world, and along its shores you will find luxury hotels, resort, and villas. Activities available include fishing, scuba diving, and snorkeling. Relaxing with these stunning surroundings is irreplaceable.

Provo Ponies

Horse Riding Tour in Turks and Caicos

Provo Ponies is a small riding stable located on the southeast end of the island of Providenciales. This is a great excursion for everyone; whether traveling with friends, family, or romance! Combining an activity and tour together is always preferable. The horses are gentle, and love to get out and about on the island - especially for the swim time in the ocean!

Chalk Sound

Visiting Chalk Sound Lagoon in TCI

Visit this beautiful lagoon made up of a brilliant blue ocean surrounded by rocky cliffs. It's the Blue Lagoon off Turks and Caicos. The idyllic scenery is enchanting, and many travelers report leaving with a deeper sense of self.

: : TRAVEL AND SAFETY TIPS

- Always walk like you know where you are going, even if you don't. This means keep your back upright and eyes straight ahead. When asking for directions keep your voice low so others don't know you are lost.

- Take precautions. Do not wear a lot of jewelry or conspicuous clothing while traveling to avoid being a target of crime.

- Be cautious when taking a taxi and always look for the appropriate documentation which should be posted in eyes view. Never take a cab from the airport that is off by itself.

- If your hotel or resort recommends staying on their property you should follow these precautions.

- Never leave valuables in a soft material. The seam can easily be cut. Often the crime takes place long before it is noticed. This applies to purses, bags and luggage.

- Do not invite strangers to your hotel room.

- Do not agree to meet strangers by yourself. Even those you consider new friends and fellow tourist's.

- Plan for the unexpected, this includes extra money and medication that is required should your stay be extended.

: : TRAVEL CHECKLIST

Passport / Visa
Health book / record of immunizations
Photocopy of all travel documents. (Do not keep this in the same place as your passport, visa, etc)
Airline tickets
Drivers license
Fax, telex or letter stating that your visa will be available upon arrival for countries who do not issue visas outside their country. (I.e. UAE, Oman, etc.).
Traveler checks
Major international credit cards (i.e. American Express, Diners, and VISA/MasterCard)
Airline frequent travel cards
Telephone numbers at destinations
Commercial invoice for laptop computers, etc. - check with the destination office on this.
Roof of travel/medical/car insurance
Prescription medicines in clearly labeled containers
Small first aid kit
Card listing allergies and medical conditions
Luggage
Camera/extra batteries
Cell phone/charger

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