The average temperature ranges between 85 and 90 degrees (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 (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 at a very comfortable level.
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 can vary but usually runs from June to October.
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
not formal most restaurants accept dress shorts while others require
pants and collard shirt for gentlemen and dress slacks or dresses for
Nudity is illegal throughout the islands but some hotels do allow it.
The US dollar is the official currency of Turks and Caicos. 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
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
There are no restrictions for travelers on the import of cameras, film
or sports equipment except spear guns.
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.
Electricity follows the U.S. standard: 120/240 Volts/60 Cycles.
Visitors from U.S.A. and Canada may enter without a passport, if they
have an original birth certificate (or, a notarized copy) and a photo id
(e.g.. Driver's License). Visitors from other countries do require
passports, but no visas are necessary except from countries of the
former Eastern Bloc. They are advised to contact the nearest British
All visitors must hold a round trip ticket.
Visitors are allowed to stay for 30 days; this is renewable one
DEPARTURE TAX: $23 is levied on all persons over the age of 2.
For luggage restriction, individual airlines should be consulted.
The total land area of the main islands is 193 square miles.
There is a hospital on Grand
Turk, and an emergency care facility on Provo.
The Islands enjoy direct worldwide telephone access. Available
telecommunications devices include fax machine, telexes, cellular
phones, and Internet connections. Public phones operate by phone cards.
Country code is 649. Network is through Cable and Wireless. Pay phones,
calling cards, facsimile, Internet, cell phones for rent at various
If you have cell service in the USA please 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 a 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.
Turks and Caicos is on EST and Daylight Savings Time is observed from
April to October.
The islands are arrayed around the edges of two large limestone
plateaus, the Turks Bank, with deep offshore waters that serve as major
transit points for Humpback Whales, spotted Eagle rays, Manta Rays and
Turtles. Anglers who are fishing for Tuna, Wahoo and Blue Marlin use
these same rich waters. Bordering the edges of the islands are lines of
coral reef and some of the most impressive walls of coral in the
In the last decade on Turks and Caicos, divers have begun to discover
some of the finest coral reefs and walls in the world. From the
legendary walls of Grand Turk, West
Caicos and Provo's Northwest Point to the historic wrecks south of Salt
Cay, a dozen world-class walls have become Mecca for the serious
From late December through April, the entire Atlantic
herd of 2,500 Humpback Whales pass through the shores on their annual
migration to the Mouchoir Bank, just 20 - 30 miles southeast. During
this period divers can listen to an underwater concert of the wale's'
songs. During the summer, divers encounter Manta Rays cruising the face
of the walls. Encounters with Dolphin are not uncommon.
The salt ponds and inland marshes serve as excellent feeding grounds for
resident and migratory birds. Search for Great Blue Herons, Flamingos,
osprey and Pelicans alongside Egrets, Terns, Frigates, Boobies and other
water birds. As part of the National Parks system more than twelve small
cays have been set aside and protected for breeding grounds.
On some of the less disturbed and smaller islands such as Little Water
Cay or Great Sand Cay, it is the Turks island Iguana that dominates the
The Iguana is endangered and delicate but it thrives on these deserted
islands, away from the influence of man. These islands are also
protected by the National Parks system.
The National Parks were designed to protect the scenic environment and
habitats, to preserve and conserve them for future generations as well
as make them available for public recreation.
In 1992 the government set aside 33 specific protected areas, a list
that include nature reserves, sanctuaries and historical sites totaling
more than 325 square miles. 210 square miles of this total amount are
sensitive and ecologically essential wetlands ratified under the
international Ramsar Bureau. Other protected areas include marine
replenishment areas as well as breeding grounds for turtles, seabirds
and other creatures. A marine mooring buoy system is just one of the
many projects currently underway.
Grand Turk is the capital of Turks and Caicos, Cockburn town is the
capitol city. This island is also the financial center of the islands.
It has the second largest population of around 3,720 people. Grand Turk
is one of the main historical points of Turks and Caicos. You will find
many Burmudian and Colonial style buildings and ruins, along with The
Turks and Caicos National Museum.
Grand Turk's main attraction is diving; with many
dive operators and schools it can cater from novice snorkels to
experienced divers. The major income for the island
is dive orientated tourism. There is an outstanding protected coral
reef, which drops to 8,000 feet and is close enough to shore for beach
dives. There are 6 major accommodations as well as casual restaurants
which feature local entertainment.
Cockburn Town is the administrative capital and the historic and
cultural center of the islands. It is strongly reputed to be the
landfall island of Columbus during his discovery of the New World in
1492. The town itself is well suited for a walking tour. Duke and Font
Streets are lined with historic 18th and 19th century
landmarks that reflect the Bermudan style architecture of the salt era.
Two of these buildings are now popular inns, another is the governor's
residence, as well as other government offices, the public library,
churches, private residences and fraternities.
At the Turks and Caicos National Museum you will find a central exhibit
that tells the story of the Molasses Reef Wreck, the oldest European
shipwreck discovered in the Western Hemisphere (dated around 1505). It
also discloses the rich cultural and natural diversity of the islands.
Other historic sites include the Lighthouse, Fire Hill and the Hawks
North Caicos is the lushest of all the islands because of the abundant
rainfall. The population of around 1,400, mostly farmers live in the
settlements of Bottle Creek Village, Whitby, Kew and Sandy Point. Bottle
Creek Village borders a lagoon on the northeast of the island, and is
protected from the ocean by a long ribbon of sand.
Like Middle and East Caicos, swampland and
tidal flats dominate the southern part of the island. North Caicos boasts the
largest flock of Pink Flamingo in the islands.
There are Loyalist plantation ruins, the grandest of which is Wades
green. Lucayan artifacts were found in the caves near Sandy Point.
Cottage Pond at Sandy Point is a large pool of tropical vegetation.
There are flocks of Flamingo at Flamingo Pond and Mud Hole Pond.
You will find ospreys and their nesting sites on the adjacent Three Mary
Cays, and a wide variety of other birds on the islands extensive nature
reserves and sanctuaries. Iguanas on the nearby East Bays Cays are an
outstanding example of the natural diversity of this green island. You
can also visit the crab farm where King Crab is grown from the egg to an
East Caicos is an uninhabited island but is large in size being 18
square miles. Swamps and mangroves inundate a majority of the island,
you can find the highest point of the islands here. There is a splendid
17 mile beach on the north
coast of the island, this is usually only used by Sea Turtles to lay
their eggs because of the large mosquito population.
Near Jacksonville on the north west of the island there are a series of
caves that used to be used for mining bat guano, and petroglyphs shows
early evidence of settlers on the island.
Once home to a large sisal plantation and cattle industry, East Caicos
is now deserted. The ruins of the abandoned town of Jacksonville,
railroad tracks and cave artwork are testaments of former life.
Being the largest of the islands Middle Caicos is 48 square miles of
natural beauty. There are 3 settlements on the island, Conch Bar,
Bambarra and Lorimers with a population of about 275. The coastline
around Middle Caicos is more dramatic than that of the other islands; to
the north there are Limestone cliffs with long sandy beaches. The south
is dominated by swampland and tidal flats which almost covers half the
Rain is plentiful on Middle Caicos, which is why the island is so green
and ideal for agriculture. Middle Caicos is home to the largest caves in
all Turks and Caicos at Conch Bar. There are 2 small but comfortable
Mudjin Harbour, a half-moon lagoon with in the ocean and a picturesque
beach that juts out from the land to link up with an offshore Cay is a
most dramatic feature. The huge limestone caves feature stalactites,
stalagmites, bats, owls and salt lakes that link up with the sea, are
considered to be one of the most extensive cave systems in the region.
There are also the remains of huge Lucayan Indian settlements. One site
excavated near Armstrong Pond in 1978 contains a Lucayan ball court,
unknown elsewhere in the Lucayan islands. Artifacts recovered from the
caves suggest that they were used either as shelter or sacred places.
Middle Caicos also contains ruins of Loyalist plantations such as the
Holloa Plantation with ruins of chimneys and homes, and a well shaped
like a horse with steps running down the walls. There is also a trail
that links Middle caicos with North Caicos.
During low tide you can actually walk between the two islands. The
Frigate Bird colony resides on south side of the island and you will
also find Flamingos, Egrets, Sand Pipers. A large blue hole just
offshore in shallow water features an abundant variety of marine life.
The island's Northwest Point is a combination of beautiful inlets,
marshes, mangroves and in land ponds, which serve as a haven for bird
Providenciales, or more commonly known as "Provo", covers an
area of 38 miles and is the most developed island in Turks and Caicos. Surrounded
by beautiful white sand beaches we have ranked "Best
Beach" by Conde' Nast magazine. Found on the west side of the
islands Provo offers all modern conveniences, including superb hotels, a
casino and a Golf Club, and full service grocery store. Although Provo is
the most mature of the islands, it is still a destination for those who
want to escape their busy schedules and relax. There is a population of
over 6,000, and Provo has the largest non-native population made up of
Haitians, Dominicans, French, Canadians, Germans and Americans. The
growing population is mainly due to the completion of the airport in
1984, which is capable of dealing with large planes.
To the north of the island, near Sapodilla Bay, you will find the most
beautiful beaches, as well as a
long coral reef, which is rich in aquatic life. Towards the south of the
island you will find Chalk Sound, a large lake with striking turquoise
water and an array of small cays. The island's commercial port, South
Dock, is found east of Sapodilla Bay and has the capability to deal with
The two main and oldest settlements on the island are Bight and Blue
Hills, and are built around fresh water supplies. Both locations give a
real feeling of Caribbean villages. If you wish to do some shopping,
Provo can offer a good range of boutiques at Turtle Cove. Down Town you
will find the likes of retail shops, business offices and banks.
Provo has attracted many hotel and resort developers, you will find most
accommodations and recreational facilities here.
What to do in Provo…
Grace Bay which features the famous 12 mile Grace Bay beach is the
location for most of
the tourism infrastructure, the Princess Alexandra Marine Park, and the
playground of " Jo Jo " the famous bottlenose dolphin.
Visitors to the Islands Sea Center discover how to grow Conch from tiny
veligers to four-year-old adults. This is where most of the water sport
activities take place from diving to deep sea
fishing and everything in between. The island is also home to the Bamboo
Gallery, the art center of the Turks and Caicos Islands and Ports of
Call the main shopping area. Stones engraved by shipwrecked sailors (or
waiting ship wreckers) can be found on the hilltop overlooking the
Marina Inn near Chalk Sound and Sapodilla Bay. If you like old ruins
that are not to difficult to get to, visit 2 sites of plantation houses
built by Loyalists, Cheshire Hall and Richmond Hill. "The
Hole" at Long Bay is a deep and wide Limestone chimney with a
mysterious depth of salt water at the bottom.
It has the air of a frozen moment, a place where time stands still. Salt
Cay a mere 2.5 square mile island was the center of the Bermudan salt
industry, the mainstay of the Turks and Caicos economy from the late
1600's until the early 1960's. When the salt industry stopped, the tools
fell where they were being used. Declared a World Heritage Site by
UNESCO, Salt Cay is a time capsule from the days "when Salt was
king." The island is largely
divided into squares controlled by windmills and Salinas with only 60
residents - this is the ultimate get away from it all.
Twelve cars wander her roads, soft beaches border much of her shoreline,
and herons feed in the Salinas and others in the marshland to the south.
The distinctively Bermudan style homes, all with dusty but neatly swept
yards, set a tone, and possess an undeniable style. The White House,
owned by descendants of Bermudan salt rakers, is a
landmark and contains the original antique furniture.
Salt Cay also hosts relics of the whaling industry that once existed.
The whaling station at Taylor's Hill has long been lying in ruins,
visitors to this land in the winter stare in amazement at the gigantic
Humpback Whales that pass in February and March. The residents are very
friendly and are always ready with a bit of conversation. This is old
Turks and Caicos, a direct line to a simpler and slower time.
South Caicos is an 8.5 square mile island and is the fishing capital of
the islands, and boasts the best natural harbour and several fishing
plants, processing most of the nation's
seafood harvest of lobster, conch and fish for export and local
Other features of the island include the 18th century Commissioner's
House, old salt works, and the Boiling Hole, which fed the saltpans that
once made South Caicos the islands' largest producer of salt.
Scuba divers delight in the variety of coral and marine life such as
loggerhead turtles, spotted rays, octopus and barracudas.
Said to have the most beautiful diving spots
in Turks and Caicos, West Caicos is a 9 square mile island that is
uninhabited. West Caicos is a favorite for picnics and Dive Operators
with sandy coves and beautiful waters. There are
no accommodations on West Caicos but the island is visited frequently.
The ruins of Yankee Town, crested by an osprey's nest, its sisal press,
railroad and steam engine are evidence of the small civilization that
once existed on West Caicos.
Lake Catherine is natures reserve that is home to a variety of bird
A number of other islands and cays remain in their natural state,
without human influence, and serve as protected natural habitats for sea
birds, Iguanas, Turtles and other wildlife.
The Turks and Caicos Islands are surrounded by one of the most
extensive coral reef systems worldwide (65 miles across and 200 miles
A 22 mile-wide channel, the Columbus Passage, separates the Turks
Islands from the Caicos Islands. This 8,000 foot deep passage serves
as major transit lines for migrating Humpback Whales, Spotted Eagle
Rays, Manta Rays, Turtles and Dolphins.
Excellent visibility (up to 200 feet), pristine reefs, abundant
tropical flora and fauna, fish and other marine life, quality diving
services and easy conditions make the Turks and Caicos Islands a world
class and award-winning diving destination. There is exceptional wall
diving starting in shallow turquoise water and dropping off into the
giving a real thrill. The reef is relatively close to the beach which
makes for accessible beach dives. Shipwrecks, old and new further
increase the multiplicity of the islands as an outstanding diving
Under the National Parks Ordinance, vast areas have been set aside as
marine park and fisheries reserves, replenishment, and mooring buoys
have been established at all dive sites and mooring areas to avoid any
possible damage from anchors. As part of the general preservation and
protection drive, divers visiting Turks and Caicos are encouraged to
observe, respect an enjoy the pristine natural beauty of the marine
environment and to leave the reef as healthy as they found it.
Summer waters (82 to 84 degrees Fahrenheit at the surface) are
certainly warm enough for swimsuits, protection in the form of a light
wet suit (such as Lycra, Darlexx or Polartec) is welcomed by most
divers. In the winter, water temperatures of 74 to 78 degrees
Fahrenheit would suggest the use of a 2 to 3mm (1/8 to 3/16 inch)
wetsuit. Computers are an advantage owing to the multi-level nature of
diving in the Turks and Caicos.
Diving equipment is available for rent, P.A.D.I. certification
recognized. Diving instruction is available to visitors who want to
learn to Scuba Dive. Most properties offer both diver and non diver
packages. Inquire with your travel agent or with the property
Grand Turk represents a wealth of tremendous
experiences for the diver. Less than a quarter of a mile off shore and
starting in just 25 to 45 feet of water a coral wall
runs the full length of the island, with profiles ranging from steeply
sloping terrain to interesting coral undercuts and perfectly vertical
The sponge growth and fish population are spectacular and distinctively
different from the other Turks and Caicos sites. You can expect Manta
Rays in the summer, Turtles year-round and Whales in the winter. This is
a primary corridor for migrating Humpback Whales from December through
The remarkable walls of the Northwest Point Marine Park, starting at
just 50 - 60 feet of water features vertical structures laden with
elaborate, thick clusters of multi-colored sponges. Watch for schooling
fish, Turtles, Spotted Eagle Rays and much more.
To the north of
the island is a well-developed spur and grove system, with thick fingers
of coral sloping from 30 feet to a minimum of 60 feet. This drops
abruptly to a sand shelf at 100 feet and is well decorated with soft
corals, Black corals and
thick growths of gorgonians. Many dive sites and packages as well as
certification are available. Each year brings Manta Rays, Humpback
Whales, Dolphins and Whale Sharks. You may be lucky to spot JoJo our
local dolphin who loves to play with the divers.
Blessed with a wall running the length of its western shore, sites
include deep sponge draped ledges as well as shallow coral gardens.
Turtles, rays, Dolphins and Groupers are all encountered
here. During Whale season (December through April), this is prime
territory for Whale watching.
To the south of Salt Cay lie the remains the HMS
Endymion, a British warship that went down in the late 1700s. She now
lies in less than 30 feet of water, an ancient, unsalvaged wreck site.
More than a dozen cannons and several large anchors mark her.
This a focal point for Provo based dive operators and live-aboard dive
vessels. A wall running 2 miles along the western shore offers some of
the finest diving in
the islands, featuring some of the most mature sponge formations
Expect the Turks and Caicos trademark of clusters of Purple Tube Sponges
and strands of Antler Sponges wrapped in cloaks of brilliant Rope
Sponges, along with visits by Sharks, Eagle Rays, Turtles and bigger
fish. The wall structure varies from dramatically sloping to