Turks and Caicos Islands

The Turks and Caicos Islands are located 575 miles southeast of Miami, 100 miles north of the Dominican Republic, and 30 miles southeast of the Bahamas. The TCIs have a land area of 193 square miles. A continuous coral reef system surrounds the islands. Despite being divided by sea, the two groups of islands that make up the TCIs have comparable vegetation and terrain formation. The terrain is well worn and the islands are made of limestone.

Most of the islands’ southwestern coastlines are punctured by streams, mangrove swamps, and tidal flats. Most people who identify as “Belongers” are descended from Africans who were brought to the Caribbean in the 1700s by Bermudians to work on the salt pans and later by Loyalists to work on cotton plantations. Additionally, there is an increase in the population of “expatriate” citizens of North American, European, and Asian heritage.

The official language of the Turks & Caicos Islands is English, however, many foreigners who live there also know French, Spanish, and Creole, a language used by the Haitian community.

History

Islands of  Turks & Caicos Islands were home to Taino and Lucayan Indians long before Christopher Columbus set foot on Grand Turk, the nation’s capital island, on his journey of discovery of the new world in 1492. These first settlers left behind a rich legacy of farming, salt raking, and sailing that is still evident today. The Arawak language is the source of words like “canoe,” “Caicos,” and “Caribbean.” These original people are even responsible for the country’s name.

Caicos is derived from the Lucayan name “caya hico,” which means a string of islands, while Turks is a reference to the native Turk’s head cactus.

The TCIs were briefly taken from the Bermudians by the French and Spanish in 1706. A sanctuary for pirates and British Loyalists escaping the American Revolution, the islands were eventually taken back by the British for Bermuda four years later. By the turn of the century, Britain had finally acquired the island nation as part of the Treaty of Versailles. Turks & Caicos, which had previously been ruled by the Spanish, French, and British, joined the Bahamas colony and fell under Bahamian rule in 1766. 

After “the Great Bahamas Hurricane” wrecked much of the island chain in 1874, efforts to unite the two distinct societies were unsuccessful, and the Turks & Caicos Islands were annexed by the British Crown Colony of Jamaica. Turks and Caicos continued to be a British Crown colony when Jamaica gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1962. Providenciales and Turks & Caicos, in general, did not start to develop into viable tourist destinations until the early 1980s, when Club Med Turkoise Resort debuted.

Turks & Caicos is currently poised for an exciting future with the Caribbean’s fastest-growing economy and tightly regulated development to safeguard the island’s history as a pristine haven for both locals and visitors to enjoy for the next millennium.

Turks ands Caicos Island
Christopher Columbus on Grand Turk in 1492

Things to do in Turks and Caicos

1. Scuba Diving, Snorkeling and Whale watching:

In TCI, you may go scuba diving, snorkeling, and whale watching. The two groups of islands, which are bordered by the third-largest barrier reef in the world and are washed by the Atlantic Ocean, make this location one of the most gorgeous spots to snorkel and scuba dive.

On Grand Turk, the nation’s capital, experience unmatched diving. The historical and peaceful island, also known as “The Diving Capital,” draws expert divers to experience one of the best wall-diving phenomena in the world, with a drop of around 7,000 feet. The large barrier reef is situated on Duke Street, only a quarter mile from the beach. Numerous Dive Operators are available to quench your appetite for the sea thanks to this attraction’s popularity. 

Snorkeling tours are perfect for novice divers who are younger. The TCI Barrier Reef offers breathtaking scenery, displaying an abundance of coral and rock formations as well as aquatic life including sea turtles, starfish, and eagle rays. Smith’s Marine Life, Malcolm’s Road Beach, and Bright Reef Coral Gardens are all well-liked and exciting snorkeling locations.

Come and explore our underwater dream paradise in TCI, which radiates treasures both above and below the surface!

Scuba at Turks and Caicos
Scuba at Turks and Caicos

2. Bird Rock Heritage:

This attraction is the perfect place for you if you like off-trail hiking and nature treks. One of the island’s few remaining undeveloped places is The Bird Rock Heritage Field, which is situated on Providenciales’ southernmost point. The unique rocky mangrove environments, tiny sandy bays along the coastline, and sparse coral reefs and sea grass beds just offshore can all be found at this eco-tour destination.

Enjoy incredible bird-watching opportunities in addition to hiking at Bird Rock Point, which is home to a variety of local fauna and birds. This hiker’s paradise is perfect for those who enjoy the outdoors because it offers an alternative to beaches and gives locals and guests the chance to admire the local flora and fauna in a peaceful, unspoiled environment.

For more details on the history of Bird Rock, go to https://www.nationaltrust.tc/, the website of the Turks & Caicos National Trust.

Bird Rock Heritage

3. Chalk Sound:

Chalk sound is a  naturally occurring lagoon southwest of Providenciales that is very picturesque. This national park has hundreds of tiny rocky islands surrounded by a shallow, stunning turquoise sea.

Despite being almost completely landlocked, Chalk Sound is connected to the ocean and the Caicos Banks to the south of Providenciales through a tortuous waterway.

Sapodilla Bay, the perfect place to spend a couple of hours with young kids, is accessible from Chalk Sound by walking a short distance. Taylor Bay is close by if you prefer more seclusion. It’s quieter, and you can even leap from the cliff if you suddenly feel fearless and twenty. While you’re there, take a SUP, a kayak, or the pontoon at Las Brisas to explore the blue waters of Chalk Sound.

4. Salt Cay: 

The Turks and Caicos Islands’ Salt Cay is the smallest populated island. This island of adventure, which has a land area of 2.7 square miles, is home to a tight-knit population, and delicious confections, and serves as the ideal island escape.

Salt Cay, a lovely eco-haven, stands for the island of solitude, adventure, and retreat. The old buildings and communities have not changed from their original layout, and the amiable donkeys can now roam without needing to pull any carts. including Taylor’s Hill’s ruins, where you may take in the breathtaking views of the island. In addition to being a spectacular island to visit, Salt Cay offers a wide range of water activities, including scuba diving and the renowned activity of humpback whale watching.

Salt Cay needs to be preserved because UNESCO has designated it a world historic site. The fact that there aren’t many cars on Salt Cay adds to its attractiveness. This makes the island more environmentally friendly by lowering its carbon impact. You can either hire a golf cart for a simple self-tour excursion or choose to walk around the island.

Salt Cay has long been a fortuitous treasure that is rich in ancestry. Come on down and take part in a unique adventure!

Salt Cay

5. Island Fish Fry:

After a break of more than two years during the pandemic, Island Fish Fry is back. Visitors to our islands travel to the PTV Headquarters at Stubbs Diamond Plaza every Thursday at around 5:30 p.m. to experience some local culture.

The most sought-after weekly event is The Island Fish Fry, which brings together more than a dozen food and gift vendors, a live band, and cultural performances to create an evening of “all things Turks & Caicos.”

For many islanders, going to Fish Fry on Thursdays for supper or to start their night out has become a ritual. The evening culminates with Junkanoo (a traditional procession of masqueraders in costume dancing to the rhythm of drums, cowbells, and other native instruments). 

Anyone can participate in the fun.

It’s a bustling environment like it should be at an island gathering.

Put on your dancing shoes and head over for some foot-tapping calypso and reggae music fun on Thursday nights when you’re on the island.

Guanahani Beach

6. Visit These Five Beaches on Our Sister Islands:

Turks & Caicos once again received the prestigious prize for the Caribbean’s Leading Beach Destination at the 2020 Caribbean & North America Gala of the World Travel Awards, which was held in January. The best beaches in the world may be found in TCI, according to both tourists and residents of these “Beautiful by Nature” islands.

Guanahani Beach

Christopher Columbus is said to have made his first landfall in the West Indies on this beach, which is situated in the nation’s capital Grand Turk. Guanahani Beach provides guests with a lovely private beach experience even though Grand Turk’s Governor’s Beach is more well-known, particularly with cruise travelers.

 

Bambara Beach

My list of the TCIs’ top beaches has Bambara Beach at the top. The annual Valentine’s Day Cup model sailboat competitions take place at the beach on Middle Caicos, the largest island. Bambara Beach is renowned for its calm, crystal-clear ocean and fine sand.

 

Long Bay Beach

Long Bay Coastline, which is located on the island of Providenciales’ southeast coast, has three miles of gorgeous, undeveloped beach. Long Bay Beach is well known for kiteboarding, but it’s also a paradise for families seeking calm, shallow, crystal-clear water that’s perfect for swimming. The shipwreck of the La Famille Express off the coast is also a beautiful and risky excursion.

Bell Sound Beach

Although South Caicos is frequently referred to as the “Fishing Capital” of these islands, not much is said about the area’s stunning beaches. Bell Sound Beach is a favorite among locals and offers pristine shorelines and stunning scenery.

North Bay Beach

In the winter, from December through April, Salt Cay, our own little island of adventure, provides thrilling whale-watching expeditions and chances to swim with them. Additionally, Salt Cay is home to some excellent beaches, such as North Bay Beach, which is the ideal location for snorkeling and relaxation.

The TCIs have a large number of additional beaches to discover. It comes as no surprise that the location is becoming the most sought-after in the Caribbean and the preferred location for upscale tourists.

Bambarra beach

7. Experience with Food

In the Turks & Caicos Islands, there are many fantastic restaurants and bars to suit every taste. Our restaurants in TCI provide world fare, traditional Caribbean fare, and regional specialities. The Turks & Caicos Islands’ well-known casual eating establishments are ready to greet you. Enjoy delectable meals and beverages from all around the world while relaxing in a laid-back setting with a welcoming staff. While visiting TCI, there are several casual restaurants, sports bars, and beach bars.

A memorable experience will be had dining with friends and family in such a setting. You’ll find just what you’re searching for, whether you want a fast, inexpensive snack or some more upscale, pricey meal. 

A real one-of-a-kind opportunity to witness chefs and winemakers from a variety of culinary backgrounds collaborating on Providenciales in celebration of Caribbean cuisine is provided by the Caribbean Food & Wine Festival.  Click here for more information on the festival.

Useful information for visitors

Immigration:

 As of May 1st, 2022, the Turks & Caicos Islands government has released its amended admission requirements, which are as follows:
All Those who are over 18 must provide confirmation of vaccination (to airline and TCI Immigration) with returning residents must provide residency documentation. 

The good news is that visiting the island will no longer require a COVID test, insurance, or an assured TCI gateway.
One thing to keep in mind, though, is that every visitor must have a round-trip ticket, and guests are only allowed to stay for 90 days, which can only be extended once.

 

Passport:

The TCI require a passport for all tourists.
Passports must be valid for at least three (3) months beyond their expiration date in order to enter the Turks and Caicos Islands. With effect from May 1, 2021, this policy will be in place for one (1) year before being revisited.

 

Required Visas Document :

  • Application form for a Turks and Caicos visitor visa requirements (Fully Completed).
  • 2 photos (must be Certified by a Justice of the Peace).
  • A most recent police report from the country of origin (must be translated if not in English).
  • Work Letter (if Self-Employed Proof of Company Business License).
  • Genuine Bank Reference Letter on behalf of Applicant Passport (must be Valid Six Months prior to Expiration Date).
  • Identification Document Copies (must be Certified).
  • Covering letter from the Surety making a Visa Request on the Applicant’s behalf.
  • Original school letter.
  • Parents’ Legal Status (in the nation in which they reside).
  • Evidence of Surety’s Legal Status in TCI.
  • Administrative Fee of $100 (non-refundable)
  • Additional Payment of $150 (upon Approval)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      To download the application form please click here.

 

 

travel visas

If you’re planning a Caribbean holiday, the Turks and Caicos Islands should definitely be on your list! The sun, the sand, delectable local cuisine, and picturesque sailing spots await you!

There are plenty of other reasons to travel to the majestic Turks & Caicos Islands besides the lovely weather. The Turks and Caicos Islands are your destination if you’re seeking a charming place to unwind. Enjoy its food, environment, beaches, and numerous outdoor activities.

To explore more about Turks and Caicos Island check our other blogs on 7 Best Places to Visit in the Turks and Caicos Islands in 2022       Best Times to Visit the Turks and Caicos in 2022 and Year-round Fun-activities!