Though it has only been a tourist destination of note since 1980, Turks and Caicos is what some would consider the epitome of a Caribbean vacation destination. Beautiful beaches and tropical lands, a storied history and interesting cultural attractions, and exotic animals and colorful coral draw visitors to the islands.
|Currency||The official currency is the U.S. Dollar (USD).|
|Electricity||The islands use the same 110 volt system as the U.S. Mainland, so most North American visitors will not need adapters.|
|GDP Per Capita||The average per capita income is $11,500(USD).|
|Island Size||The total land area of this island group is about 191.1 square miles.|
|Language||English is the official language of the islands.|
|Population||The eight inhabited islands of the Turks and Caicos Islands are home to about 46,400 people; the country also sees about 165,200 tourists annually, with 76 percent hailing from the U.S.|
|Entry Requirements||Citizens of all nations, including those of the Caribbean, will need a current passport as well as a return or on-going ticket to enter Turks and Caicos.|
Turks and Caicos is comprised of two groups of forty islands and cays; the Turks Islands and the Caicos Islands, which are located in the West Indies. The Turks and Caicos Islands are separated from one another by Turks Passage, and while each island is different, main topographical features include low-lying limestone, marshes, and swamps. The islands have a total area of 193 square miles. Only eight islands in the chain are inhabited.
The people of the Turks and Caicos Islands speak English, but with a Caribbean lilt that may make it difficult for traditional English speakers to understand. Certain phrasing and expressions may seem odd at first, but context usually helps visitors to understand meaning. Once you become accustomed to this dialect, it will feel like second nature.
The main eight islands are home to most of the English speakers. Native people who make up the remainder of the population are descendants of African slaves who were originally brought to the island to grow cotton. These people, nicknamed "Belongers," are kind-natured, friendly, and very religious.
The expatriate population is a community of people who have moved here from all over the world, including the Americas, the U.K., Scandinavia, and various Caribbean islands. This variety gives the islands an international flavor and culture. "Ex-pats" move to the island for its relaxed attitude, which any visitor will come to know and love.
...observe tropical wildlife either by hiking, mountain biking, or kayaking...
Turks and Caicos is known for experiencing 350 sunny days a year, and averages about 21 inches of rain annually. Temperatures remain remotely unchanged throughout the year, at around 80 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit each day. Low humidity and trade winds keep the heat at bay, making most days perfectly pleasant.
The beautiful weather means that active vacationers can spend long hours outdoors without heat exhaustion. This is great, because there is so much to do outdoors in Turks and Caicos. There are 33 nationally protected areas including parks, sanctuaries, and historical sites for tourists to visit. Eco-tours have become more and more popular in recent years. On these tours, guests can explore the local iguana sanctuary, observe tropical wildlife either by hiking, mountain biking, or kayaking, and explore the coral reef with your snorkel. Scuba diving in Grace Bay is another great way to experience marine life in Turks and Caicos, and whale watching tours are typically very successful at producing a whale sighting. Boating, parasailing, fishing, and golfing are other popular outdoor activities.
Tourists who enjoy learning about history and culture won't want to miss a visit to Cheshire Hall, Grand Turk Lighthouse, Turks and Caicos National Museum, and Wades Green Plantation. A suggested method of exploring the area is island hopping, which will give you a well-rounded taste of the various elements of the different islands. American guests will be pleased to learn that communication on the island is easy, the official language of Turks and Caicos is English. Additionally, the local currency is the US Dollar, so travelers don’t have to worry about dealing with the hassles currency exchanges.
Many people believe that the perfect Caribbean vacation is centered on relaxation. Lazy days spent searching for souvenirs yield excellent deals, as the islands have no sales or luxury tax, and many items are duty free. There's no better way to relax than a day at the spa, and there are 18 in Turks and Caicos that excel in facials, massages, and full body treatments. Guests of Turks and Caicos never have to worry about safety while enjoying a tropical vacation; the area has one of the lowest crime rates in the Caribbean. Without the need for stressing about pickpockets and con artists, travelers are able to fully relax and soak in the tranquility of Turks and Caicos.
...local foods...some of the best meals in the Caribbean, like meat stew, corn bread, fried plantains, freshly caught conch...
Travelers eager to sample new tastes will be thrilled by the culinary offerings in Turks and Caicos. While vacationers should be prepared to pay a pretty penny for a good meal, guests will be able to find a wide variety of cuisines to suite any palette. If you’re looking for comfort foods, the islands boast everything from hamburger joints to pizzerias. Don’t waste your time looking for a fast food chain; they are non-existent in this region. Those eager to try local foods will be impressed by some of the best meals in the Caribbean, like meat stew, corn bread, fried plantains, freshly caught conch and more. Due to the infertile land, a vast amount of tourists’ food is flown in from neighboring islands on a daily basis. Adult travelers should enjoy some of the local beers and rums that are sure to put a spring in your step.
The Turks and Caicos are serviced by qualified medical practitioners and nursing staff. In the unfortunate circumstance of critical illness, individuals are evacuated to Nassau or Miami by an on-call airlift. Petty theft is a slight problem, but no more so than in any other city; if belongings are left unattended they are liable to be snatched up. As always, follow basic safety precautions. Although the water is filtered in the Turks and Caicos, it may be preferable to stick with bottled water, as changes even in clean water can upset the stomach of many Western travelers.
A visit to nearly any island in the Caribbean will most likely be filled with days on gorgeous beaches, but a trip to the beach in Turks and Caicos is almost like something out of a dream. In fact, Grace Bay Beach on Providenciales has been named the “World's Leading Beach” by the World Travel Awards numerous times. If the only reason you go to Turks and Caicos is to spend your days on the beaches, you wouldn't have wasted a trip. With both bustling beach hotspots and secluded stretches of sand, seaside enthusiasts of all sorts will be able to locate their ideal beach destination on the islands.
Exceptional weather, world-class beaches, exciting attractions, and gorgeous beaches make Turks and Caicos a more popular tourist destination each year. Why not see for yourself what others have been discovering about Turks and Caicos while you've been home dreaming about it – that the islands truly are a Caribbean paradise.
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