Although small in size, the Turks and Caicos Islands are a big getaway for tourists. A great climate, breathtaking sand and surf coupled with a laid-back vibe make it a perfect escape from a hectic lifestyle. And boasting the world’s third largest barrier reef, there are no end of prime scuba diving and snorkelling opportunities.
Only 37 miles long, the Turks and Caicos are a British Overseas Territory of 40 islands and cays, of which only 12 are inhabited. The currency is the US dollar and English is the main language. The 31,000 friendly islanders welcome over a million tourists every year.
Low crime rate
Turks and Caicos has one of the lowest crime rates in the Caribbean. While extremely safe, don’t leave valuables in plain view and arrange holiday insurance. If you go to remote islands, leave details of your trip with someone and avoid isolated spots at night.
There are over 75 miles of roads on the islands. You can drive using a British Driving Licence and most hire vehicles are left hand drive. If you prefer, take a local taxi. Standard taxi fares are the norm on the main islands and drivers often act as tour guides.
There are over 140 places to stay from deluxe hotels to guest houses. High season is January to April. During the off-season, rates are much lower, though you can still find special deals during the peak season. Shop around.
Things to do
The picture-perfect beaches are so popular that you may have to get up early to get a beach chair. There are plenty of non-beach activities to do. You can visit historic sites, museums, nature reserves, go on guided walks, trips to uninhabited islands, kayak, cycle, whale watch on Salt Cay, golf on Providenciales or celebrity spot for free in this haven for the jet set crowd.
Grand Turk is the islands’ historic and cultural centre. Walk right off a cruise ship onto beautiful beaches and shop for duty-free goods and local crafts. Potter around the old colonial buildings in the islands’ capital city, Cockburn Town, or visit the lighthouse overlooking North Creek, which was shipped in pieces from the UK and reassembled.
Glamorous Providenciales, known as “Provo”, is the country’s major tourist hub. Provo’s main tourist centres are Grace Bay and Turtle Cove. With a 12-mile sweep of ivory white sand, Grace Bay’s coral reef is home to an abundance of marine life and Turtle Cove’s peaceful harbour and many restaurants offer the perfect spot for a relaxed meal.
On island to island, you’ll be spoilt for choice. Don’t say you haven’t been warned.
Photo Credit: Tim Sackton