Turks and Caicos Islands - Abbey Travel, Ireland

Turks and Caicos Islands


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Welcome to Turks and Caicos Islands

Turks and Caicos Islands

The friendly Turks and Caicos islanders, known as the 'belongers', rely almost solely on tourism for their livelihood and therefore welcome visitors to this Caribbean British Crown Colony with open arms.

The 'TCI', as the archipelago is known colloquially, is situated at the end of the Bahamas chain, 575 miles (925km) southeast of Miami, Florida. The Turks, with their dry, scrubby landscape, are divided from the more lush Caicos Islands by the Christopher Columbus Passage.

The pristine white beaches, vast coral reefs and crystal clear warm waters that surround this set of eight inhabited islands and numerous deserted cays draw honeymooners, divers and vacationers in droves. Everyone leaves smiling and de-stressed, and most return again and again to enjoy the tranquillity of this tropical island paradise.

The most popular islands for holidaymakers are Grand Turk (site of the quaint capital, Cockburn Town) and Providenciales ('Provo' for short), both well equipped with modern hotel, condominium and spa complexes offering every tourist amenity. The other islands offer more rustic accommodations suited to romantics who want to get away from it all. Clocks, televisions and radios are hard to find on the laid-back cays, and nightlife consists of stargazing.

If you have ever dreamed of escaping from the rat-race and becoming a castaway, this is the place to lose yourself in.

Information & Facts


The Turks and Caicos Islands are subject to English Common Law and business is conducted in a similar manner to the United Kingdom, however suits are only necessary for the most formal of occasions. Business hours are generally 8.30am to 4.30pm Monday to Friday.


Trade winds ensure that the islands maintain a comfortable warm temperature, which varies little between winter and summer. Between June and October the temperature hovers between 85°F and 90°F (29°C to 32°C), dropping only a few degrees in winter. The water is almost as warm as the air. The westerly islands have a high annual rainfall, and hurricanes are possible between June and October, but on average the islands have 350 days of sunshine a year.


Cable & Wireless Ltd. provides the island, and most of the Caribbean, with a digital network of telecommunications, including GSM cellular coverage and Internet connections. The country direct dialling code is +1 followed by 649. The outgoing code is 011 followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 01144 for the United Kingdom). Public phones operate with phone cards.


Culture in the Turks and Caicos Islands is relaxed and hospitable if not overly friendly, and islanders are known for their good manners. Address strangers with respect, including ma'am, miss, and sir. Things happen slowly, and attempting to rush service will only annoy. You should cover beachwear when off the beach, and men need to wear long pants at smarter restaurants. Topless and nude sunbathing is illegal. Gay and lesbian relationships are legal, but tend to be discreet.

Duty Free

Travellers may enter the Turks and Caicos Islands with the following goods without paying customs duty: 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 125g of tobacco products; and 1 litre spirits or 2 litres wine. Spearguns are strictly prohibited.

Electricity is the same as in the US: 120/240 volts, 60 Hz.
Getting Around

It is easy to get around the islands on one of the many forms of hire vehicles available, from cars to scooters. Taxis are freely available and can be hired by the day for excursions. Agree on price before the journey. Requirements for hiring a car are a full, valid driving licence from your country of origin. Drivers must be at least 23-25 years old, depending on the hire company.


There is no risk of disease on the islands and no vaccinations are required for entry. Medical facilities are limited. Serious cases are usually evacuated to Miami or Nassau. There is a small hospital on Grand Turk and some private general practitioners on Providenciales. Adequate insurance to cover air ambulance charges is highly recommended.

The national language is English, but some words are pronounced in a way unique to the islands.

The US dollar (USD) is the official currency, which is divided into 100 cents. Local banks and most hotels, restaurants and taxi services accept travellers cheques. Most credit cards are accepted and banks offer ATMs as well as cash advances on credit cards.

Passport Visa

All visitors must hold a return or onward ticket, all documents required for their next destination and sufficient funds. As part of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI), all travellers travelling between the United States and Canada, Mexico, Bermuda, and the Caribbean region are required to present a passport or other valid travel document to enter or re-enter the United States. If departing from the USA a valid passport will be required by immigration authorities. It is highly recommended that passports have at least six months validity remaining after your intended date of departure from your travel destination. Immigration officials often apply different rules to those stated by travel agents and official sources.


Visits to the Turks and Caicos Islands are usually trouble-free. The crime rate is low, but on the favourite tourist island of Providenciales there have been incidents of burglary and theft, so visitors should take precautions with valuables. Robberies have occurred on Grace Bay Beach. Hurricane season generally runs from June to November.

Local time is GMT -5 (GMT 4 between April and October).

Tips of around 15% of the bill are the norm for waiters, taxi drivers and bar tenders. Hotels usually include a service charge of 10-15%.

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