Transportation Options for the Turks and Caicos

Turks and Caicos transportation options are as easy as they are enjoyable

Photo credit: © The Birkes

Visiting another country is exciting, even if your goals are to lie on the beach and relax in the sun during your entire stay. To customize your experience, choose a mode of transit that fits your style. Sometimes the fastest route is best, other times the journey can be part of the adventure.

Keep one thing in mind when you're in the Turks and Caicos: getting around can be easy, but you may lack a few options. Providenciales, the most visited island by tourists, has the largest number of transportation options of any of the islands. 

Air Travel

Scheduled flights heading towards Turks and Caicos depart from around the United States every week, but there are fewer options from other countries. Most overseas travelers must first fly to the United States then make a connecting flight on to Turks and Caicos.

There are eight inhabited islands in Turks and Caicos, each with its own airport, though most are quite small.  Only two airports are equipped to handle international air traffic: Providenciales International Airport and JAGS Mccartney International Airport (also known as the Grand Turk International Airport).   From there, travelers can hop on a smaller commuter plane to the other islands, such as Salt Cay


By far, the most adventurous way to reach the Turks and Caicos is by sailing there yourself. Whether you are an experienced sailor and have your own yacht or you charter services from another location nearby, you can experience a one-of-a-kind vacation aboard a ship and visit any of the islands you wish to see. Seasoned sailors do this on their own, but visitors with less experience or who are looking to relax while someone else runs the ship can hire a captain and crew. 

Those who plan to make the journey on their own should be on the lookout or the reefs that infamously surround the islands, and arrive with all the appropriate documentation in hand and ready to hand over to custom officials upon entering Turks and Caicos waters.


Sea cruises are not quite as easy to plan for vacationers headed to Turks and Caicos. While cruises to the islands are available, they are slightly harder to find.  When you choose to cruise to Turks and Caicos, be aware that you will likely be visiting several other vacation spots, and your stay may be short.  This is great for those who want a little taste of several Caribbean islands, but a slight disappointment for those who are really more interested in exploring Turks and Caicos.  Cruisers quickly discover that the journey to the islands is just as important a part of the fun that comes with vacationing.  There is plenty to do aboard these floating resort hotels to keep travelers occupied along the way.

Rental Cars

If you'll be spending the bulk of your time on Providenciales or Grand Turk, a rental car is a probable option for you.  Unavailable on any of the other Turks and Caicos islands, there are plenty of rental companies stationed on the two most populous islands.  Those who do rent a car should note that the roads on these islands are older and unmaintained, which can make them difficult to navigate, roundabouts are common, and the speed limit is generally set at between 20 and 40 miles per hour.

Many active travelers love the idea of biking around the islands, feeling the wind in their faces and the power of their body taking them from one location to the next.  These people will find pleasure in renting a bicycle for a day of exploring any of the islands.  Typically, you can get bikes from your hotel, or a local sporting goods company.  If you prefer to ride on something with two wheels and a motor, bikes, mopeds, and scooters may be rented as well, but only on Providenciales.


Taxis, on the other hand, are available on every island of the chain, and may be the most common and reliable form of transportation.  Taxis are metered on the islands, which is a relief to tourists who do not enjoy haggling with drivers.  If you're interested, many cab drivers are trained and knowledgeable enough about their island that they can provide tours for an extra fee. 


Buses are almost completely unavailable on the islands except for on Providenciales. There you'll find limited city bus routes as well as a tourist charter bus.  Providenciales also has something known regionally as a "jitney" bus.  These buses are unregulated and in fact illegal, so it is advised that if you do encounter one, you do not get one.  Instead, you'll have to take advantage of other forms of transportation, like taxis and rental cars.


Day trips between the islands are made possible by ferries that travel between many of them. North Caicos, South Caicos, and Providenciales are connected via several ferry services, and tourists can then travel from Grand Turk to Salt Cay on good-weather days.    The cost of these ferries can be pricey compared to some of the other ferry services throughout the Caribbean; they remain less expensive than if you were to travel via plane.

Whether you arrive by air or sea, your vacation in the Turks and Caicos Islands is bound to recharge your batteries.  Prepare yourself for a relaxed vacation, but be ready to use taxis if you leave Providenciales to visit any other Turks and Caicos Islands.


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