General Information – Turks and Caicos
The Turks and Caicos Islands consist of 40 islands and cays, eight inhabited. The islands are located 550 miles southeast of Miami, Florida. Technically, the Turks and Caicos are located in the Atlantic Ocean, not the Caribbean Sea. The islands are home to roughly 30,000 full-time residents and welcome more than 200,000 tourists annually.
Turks and Caicos Islands and Cays
The Turks and Caicos consist of several sister islands and cays.
- Grand Turk
- North Caicos
- South Caicos
- Middle Caicos
- Salt Cay
Private Islands and Cays:
- Parrot Cay
- Pine Cay
- Ambergris Cay
Turks and Caicos Language
The general population in the area speaks English as their first language.
The US dollar is the official currency of Turks and Caicos. Most hotels, restaurants, and taxi services accept traveler’s cheques, and banks accept most cards and offer ATMs and cash advances on credit cards. You should tip waiters, taxi drivers, maids, and porters at least 15%.
Eastern Standard Time and Daylight Savings Time are observed from April to October.
One hundred ten volts/60 cycles, suitable for U.S. appliances.
Turks and Caicos Climate
The average temperature ranges between 85 and 90 0F from June to October, sometimes reaching the mid 90’s, in late summer. From November to May, the average temperature is 80 to 84 0F. The water temperature in the summer is 82 to 84 F, and in winter, about 74 to 78 F. A constant trade wind keeps the climate very comfortable. There is an annual rainfall of 21 inches on Grand Turk and South Caicos. In contrast, the average rainfall could increase to 40 inches as you go west. In an average year, the Turks and Caicos have 350 days of sunshine.
Turks and Caicos Islanders are mostly descendants of Africans brought in to work the salt pans or cotton plantations. The expatriate population consists of British, Canadians, Americans, French, Bahamians, people from Hispaniola, and virtually everywhere.
Turks and Caicos Economy
The economy of the TCI relies on the tourism industry, real estate development, and seafood exportation. Various financial services are available, including company formation, offshore insurance, banking, trusts, limited partnerships, and limited life companies. The Financial Services Commission regulates, develops, and promotes the industry in major world markets.
The Turks & Caicos Islands are a British Crown Colony. The Queen appoints a Governor, who presides over the locally-elected Executive Council. Government offices are in Grand Turk, with branches on other Islands as needed. The legal system is based on English Common Law.
Daily delivery service is provided by FedEx, with offices in Provo and Grand Turk. DHL and UPS also provide service.
Satellite television service is provided throughout the islands, with most major American networks available.
As on many islands, our fresh water is precious, and we depend upon rainfall or desalinated water produced by reverse osmosis for the supply. Therefore, please be conservative in using water.
Turks and Caicos Telephone Service
Local and international service is provided by Cable & Wireless and Digicel (wireless only). Telex, facsimile, Internet, and cellular phone services are provided. You may use your credit card or a debit PhoneCard at public phone booths. The country code is 649. The network is through Cable and Wireless. Payphones, calling cards, facsimiles, Internet, and cell phones for rent at various locations.
If you have cell service in the USA, please bring your phone. Do you have an International Roaming service with a cellular carrier with a roaming agreement in the Caribbean? If yes, your phone can make and receive calls in Turks and Caicos. You can make calls using the credit card platform if you do not have roaming.
First of all, post offices are located on all inhabited islands. All of the mail comes in by air transport. There are many different issues and denominations of stamps for enthusiasts to collect. Philatelic Bureaus are located in both Provo and Grand Turk.
Turks and Caicos | Driving License Requirements
Visitors from the British Commonwealth Countries, The United States of America, and Canada and holders of International driver’s licenses may drive for 30 days on their respective licenses. Visitors from all other countries must have a Visitor’s Permit. The permit is available at the Road Safety Department on Good Street, Grand Turk, and the office on Old Airport Road, Providenciales.
These Islands boast one of the lowest crime and highest crime-solved rates in the Caribbean. However, do not let down your guard against opportunist-type theft. Do not leave valuables unattended. Lock doors and windows, and use the hotel safe for storing valuables. These simple precautions should prevent the loss of cash, jewelry, and identification. Therefore, confrontation and violent crimes are extremely rare. Report any issues to the Royal Turks and Caicos Police.
Shorts are acceptable in town and on the beach during the daytime, and it is advisable also to wear sunhats and sunscreen. Light sweaters and jackets may occasionally be necessary for winter evenings. Most restaurants accept dress shorts; others require pants with a collared shirt for gentlemen and dress slacks or dresses for ladies. Above all, public nudity is illegal throughout the islands.
Turks and Caicos | Customs and Immigration
You may bring duty-free goods to the Islands. These include up to 50 cigars, 200 cigarettes, 1.136 liters of spirits or wine, and perfume for personal use. There are no restrictions for travelers on the import of cameras, film, or sports equipment. (Except spear guns and Hawaiian slings.) Consequently, to bring in firearms of any type, you must have written approval from the Commissioner of Police. Controlled drugs and pornography are illegal.
Effective January 8, 2007, all US Citizens traveling by air to the Turks & Caicos Islands will be required by the US Government to have a valid US passport. Cruise ship passengers have until June 1, 2009, to meet the requirement. Visitors from other countries require passports, but no visas are necessary except those of the former Eastern Bloc.
All visitors must hold a round-trip ticket.
If you are a visitor, you may stay for 30 days, renewable once. Consult your airline for luggage restrictions.
There is now a modern hospital system comprising two state-of-the-art medical centers. InterHealth Canada manages each of them. This includes the Cheshire Hall Medical Centre on Providenciales and Cockburn Town Medical Centre on Grand Turk. Services provided include emergency care, dental, dialysis, internal medicine, surgical, orthopedic, obstetric, endoscopic procedures, physiotherapy, and diagnostic imaging. Providenciales also has several private general practitioners, and all other islands have community clinics.
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