I recently celebrated another birthday and continued the tradition of traveling to another island with my cousin. For my 30th, we were introduced to some of our roots in Barbados, last year we enjoyed food and beaches in Martinique, and this year we visited Providenciales island in Turks and Caicos. Turks and Caicos had been on my cousin’s list for a while so we were excited to find a flight deal last November from NYC to Providenciales. I received a number of questions from about my trip from followers via Instagram so today I’m sharing a travel guide you can use for planning a trip to Turks and Caicos.
About the Turks and Caicos Islands
The Turks and Caicos Islands are a series of islands known for their luxury hotels, coral reefs, and smooth white sand beaches. If you’re a frequent cruiser, there is a cruise terminal on Grand Turk island. Since they are a series of islands, it is possible to travel between the islands for a day trip via flight or ferry.
The Turks and Caicos islands are located in the Atlantic and have a tropical climate. When planning a trip to Turks and Caicos, keep in mind that hurricane season is June-November. Temperature highs are in the 80’s and averages in the 70’s for the low. The busiest tourist season is the Winter (December-March). Visiting at the end of April was a benefit in finding a flight and hotel that met our budget.
People & Language
The main language of Turks and Caicos is English, but being a Caribbean-American from NYC it is easy to notice different dialects. In addition to interacting with locals, we met a lot of people with Haitian, Jamaican and Bahamian backgrounds that lived and worked in Grace Bay.
Turks and Caicos in a British Overseas Territory, but the main currency is the U.S. Dollar. Most of the restaurants we went to accepted credit cards, but there were some small shops that were cash only. If you’re using your card, remember to call your bank to let them know you’re using your card when traveling.
Planning a Trip to Turks and Caicos – Where to Stay
I’ve had a few friends visit Providenciales so I received a number recommendations when planning the trip. We stayed at Villa del Mar in the Grace Bay area which was close to many restaurants, bars, shops and the beautiful Grace Bay Beach. There are some all-inclusive resorts such as Beaches and ClubMed, but be prepared to spend a lot of money. The Ritz Carlton will soon have a waterfront resort this fall.
Getting Around Turks and Caicos
Another important part of planning a trip to Turks and Caicos is getting around. Common methods of transportation in Turks and Caicos are renting a car, taking a cab, hiring a local driver, renting a bike or scooter or just walking. If you are comfortable with driving on the left side of the road, renting a car is the cheapest option. Cab fare is per person and can add up over time. We met a number of people that offered to be our personal driver, but we walked almost everywhere. Another option is to ride a bike. Most resorts offer bikes to guests for free or a small rental fee.
Related: 5 Ways to Stay fit on Vacation
Things to do in Turks and Caicos
Learn about Turks and Caicos History
I LONGED for a museum and found through research that Providenciales has a former cotton plantation at Cheshire Hall. To learn more about the country’s history, it is best to visit Grand Turk which has many historical sites and the Turks and Caicos National Museum.
Eat and Drink
The Thursday Fish Fry was also a great option for cheap eats and entertainment. I couldn’t help but sing along with the live band, wine up to the sweet sounds of soca music and finally getting a taste of conch fritters. For added spice, make sure to eat it with some Peppa Joy, the local pepper sauce. Turks and Caicos is also home to the only conch farm in the world that raises conch for local and international use. Conch is a type of sea mollusk locals use to make popular dishes such as conch salad and conch chowder. For the drinkers, drink a glass of rum punch with Bambarra Rum which is the official spirit of Turks and Caicos. You can also head over to Turks Head Brewery for tasting and tours.
Go on a Nature Walk
Bird watching is very popular in Providenciales. The best areas for birdwatching are West Harbour Bluff, Frenchman’s Creek and Pigeon Pond Nature Reserve and Northwest Point. These National Parks are great for hiking too. If you’re an avid hiker, take the ferry to Middle Caicos, South Caicos or Salt Cay. Whale watching is also a seasonal attraction of migrating humpback whales mostly seen from December-March.
Enjoy the Beach and Watersports
All of the beaches in Turks and Caicos are free and accessible to the public. If you’re a wanderer like me, Providenciales may not be for you, but it is great for people that like to lay back and relax. Most things to do in Providenciales are beach and water activities like snorkeling and scuba diving, sport fishing, jet skiing, parasailing, paddle boarding and more.
Important Things to Know When Planning a Trip to Turks and Caicos
It is Expensive!
One of the things I learned about visiting Providenciales was you visit the island to spend money or make money. I thought visiting Martinique was pricey, but Providenciales was hella expensive! As we spoke to the locals they told us a lot of products are imported so it is reflected in the prices. Price ranges for hotels and resorts usually range from $400-2000+ a night depending on the season alone. To save some money, stay in a hotel that offers free breakfast and free non-motorized water sports. When visiting the grocery store for fruit and snacks, they were charging as much as $8 for strawberries. As mentioned earlier cab rides are per person so staying in an area close to everything will work better for your pockets. I usually bring home gifts for myself or friends and family, but everything in the gift shops was just too much.
Bring Bug Spray!
The mosquitos in Providenciales are no joke! When you are planning your trip to Turks and Caicos, make sure to pack insect repellant wipes or an equivalent spray. On our first night, my cousin and I went for a walk on the beach and the mosquitos had a feast! As it gets cooler in the evenings, have a light shirt, cardigan or wear clothing that covers your legs to reduce the number of mosquito bites.
Wear Sunblock and Stay Hydrated
We never had a cloudy day and the sun was beaming so remember to bring sunblock and drink enough water. Our resort offered complimentary bottled and iced water by the pool and beach areas so we made sure to stay hydrated as much as possible. When venturing out, I made sure to purchase bottled water from the grocery store which was about .60 a bottle.
I hope these tips for planning a trip to Turks and Caicos were helpful. If you enjoyed this post, make sure to share it with your social community.