948 sq km (366 sq miles).
51.8 per sq km.
Cockburn Town, Grand Turk.
British Overseas Territory.
Head of state:
HM Queen Elizabeth II since 2015, represented locally by Governor Peter Beckingham since 2013.
Head of government:
Premier Rufus Ewing since 2012.
110-120 volts AC, 60 Hz. North American-style plugs with two flat pins (with or without third grounding pin) are used.
Blessed with an abundance of natural riches – white powdery beaches, pellucid waters and some of the best reefs in the Caribbean – the Turks and Caicos Islands have a reputation for exclusivity. That may not be entirely fair, but this 40-island archipelago is certainly skewered towards the well heeled, with its credit card-melting hotels and private island resorts, where the rich and famous go to escape the hoi polloi.
If your bank balance can’t stand the heat, there are affordable options to be found on the likes of Grand Turk, the largest island, where visitors can take in the delights of Governor’s Beach or head offshore to bathe on Little Sand Cay, a tiny island comprised of white sand and a handful of swaying palms.
A visit to Salt Cay off Grand Turk offers a rare opportunity to view migrating humpback whales. Come on a full moon and you could also be treated to a natural light show courtesy of the bioluminescent glowworms, which inhabit the local waters. Swimming with stingrays off Gibbs Cay and kayaking through nearby salt marshes are just some of the other diversions.
It’s not all about the coast, though. There are numerous parks, reserves and historic attractions inland, such as Cheshire Hall, a crumbling colonial plantation where guides regale visitors with historical anecdotes about the islands.
Those seeking culture should head to Grand Turk, where you will find the archipelago’s capital, Cockburn Town, which is home to exquisite colonial era buildings, a smattering of museums and a handful of restaurants. A sophisticated, more upbeat vibe prevails on the island of Providenciales, which boasts lively beach bars, some excellent restaurants and the venerable Provo Golf & Country Club, one of the Caribbean’s finest. Those who fancy escaping the crowds can hop on a ferry to nearby North Caicos, an island of few people and many flamingoes.
Last updated: 19 October 2015
The travel advice summary below is provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the UK. ‘We’ refers to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. For their full travel advice, visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.
The level of crime on Providenciales, the first point of arrival into the Turks and Caicos Islands for most visitors and the territory’s economic hub, is higher than on the other islands where incidences of serious crime are rare. Most crime tends to be as a result of opportunistic burglary and theft, although an increase in the incidence of more serious robberies has been reported recently. There have also been a number of armed robberies. Victims of robberies may suffer injuries if they resist.
Safeguard your possessions and take normal precautions to ensure your personal safety. Avoid carrying large amounts of cash and valuables. Take particular care of your passport as this can’t be replaced locally. Use hotel safety deposit facilities where possible.
See the Turks and Caicos crime-stoppers website for more crime prevention tips.
If you go to isolated spots or remote islands, or go diving/snorkelling, leave details of your trip and an expected time of return with a friend, relative, or hotel receptionist. Avoid isolated spots at night.
Standard taxi fares exist for most destinations on the principal islands. Charges may be applied per person. Clarify the fare with the driver before beginning a journey.
You can drive using a British Driving Licence or an International Driving Permit for a period of one month. After this you should get a local licence from the Department of Road Safety.
Most hire cars and jeeps are left-hand drive. Remember to drive on the left. Observe speed limits (20mph in town, and 40mph elsewhere). Don’t drink and drive. Use seat belts on all journeys. Accidents, sometimes serious, are on the increase on the Leeward Highway (Providenciales), especially at night.
The Turks and Caicos Islands is a British Overseas Territory so does not have formal British consular representation. All emergency assistance needed by British nationals is delivered by the Turks and Caicos Islands government.
If you’re a victim of crime, contact the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police on 911.
Birth, Death and Marriage registration enquiries:
Telephone: + (649) 946 2801
Immigration, passport and visa enquiries:
Check the Ministry of Border Control and Labour website
Visit the One Stop Shop, Three Degrees, Grand Turk
Telephone: + (649) 946 2801