Perhaps the first thing that may distinguish the Turks and Caicos Islands is their odd shapes and the relative lack of natural landscapes often seen in some other Caribbean islands like Saba and Dominica. Despite these irregularities, the Turks and Caicos Islands have emerged from quietly secluded beginnings to become among the best diving and snorkeling destinations in the world.
Some historians believe the Turks and Caicos Islands were the first ones visited by Christopher Columbus during his 1492 voyages while others think otherwise and instead focus on the more concrete facts like the Taino tribes that lived there until the Europeans overtook the islands in the mid 1600s.
Like other Caribbean islands, the Turks and Caicos became heavily contested territory. At any given time they were being controlled by the British, French or the Spanish and this tug of war continued for some time until Great Britain finally took control for good. Despite this, Great Britain did very little with the island until the late 1600s when a few settlers began exporting lumber and salt, the latter becoming integral towards the development of the Turks and Caicos.
A rise in the popularity of the Turks and Caicos Islands also caught the attention of less unsavory characters, namely pirates who began pillaging wealthy Turks of their salt fortunes. This lead the French to come in and intervene which caused the Turks and Caicos to once again become contested territory for several years until Great Britain gained back control.
Despite its well documented and turbulent history, the Turks and Caicos Islands didn’t really come into global prominence until the nineteenth century. After a Club Med was established on the islands in the 1980s however, popularity and tourism soared and today the Turks and Caicos Islands have numerous resorts, dining establishments, condominiums and a healthy tourism industry.
Even as the Turks and Caicos grow in popularity, they still favor vacationers who want a quiet and relatively secluded experience. While Club Med does provide high energy entertainment and nightlife, it’s the appeal of Grace Bay Beach and the more laid back activities like having drinks by the oceanfront that define the appeal of the Turks and Caicos Islands. The people are friendly yet they tend to leave foreigners alone for the most part.
Speaking of Grace Bay Beach, it’s famed for being one of the most serene beaches in the Caribbean since boats and watercrafts are not permitted near the coastline due to the delicate and elaborate coral reefs. It’s also the best spot to learn why the Turks and Caicos Islands have consistently been rated as one of the top ten diving destinations in the world. The aforementioned coral reefs and fascinating marine life have delighted visitors for years and almost makes it hard to believe that they were once remote islands nobody paid much attention to.
Turks and Caicos is an overseas territory of Britain but is most often frequented by U.S. citizens and Canadians. The island's close relationship with North American and European nations has led to a booming tourist industry with thousands visiting annually. Oddly enough with their cacti and thorny acacia trees, Turks and Caicos seems like an unpleasant stream of islands to visit but upon further investigation many discover the hidden beauties of this island paradise that is growing in popularity. Amidst the exotic plant life of Turks and Caicos are pristine beaches, beautiful scenic vistas and colorful coral reefs surrounding the islands.
Even though the Turks and Caicos are considered to have high-quality Caribbean property, the government has recently made initiatives to buff up real estate development. A larger port is being built to draw in additional tourists and expose them to the beauty of their beaches and coral reefs. Additionally, more hotel-resorts are on the way along with beachfront home communities.
The Turks and Caicos real estate market is fairly versatile with property for sale and for rent and plenty of vacant land. Turks and Caicos properties, while adhering to Caribbean culture and style, are relatively modern. Residential features, appliances and amenities are state-of-the-art and supply residents with a uniquely ultra-convenient Caribbean lifestyle. Homes in the Turks and Caicos often resemble beachfront holiday villas with spacious two bedrooms, a roomy bathroom, and floor to ceiling windows with fantastic oceanfront views. They often come with a brand new patio, pool and balcony as well.
Resort-hotels in the Turks and Caicos are extremely popular and range from international hotel franchises to bed and breakfast-style homes providing amenities like multiple in-house restaurants, bars, pool, tennis courts, spa, fitness center, Jacuzzi, and babysitting service. Resort-hotel communities such as The Palms, Grace Bay Club and Parrot Cay Resort have served celebrities like Dick Clark, Ben Affleck, Bruce Willis and Eva Longoria.
Grace Bay Club
Parrot Cay Resort
The official currency of Turks and Caicos is the U.S. Dollar (US$).
Calling Code: 1 (649)
Top Level Domain: (.tc)
Turks and Caicos is an overseas territory of Britain headed by a local governor and premier.
Valid Travel Documents: Required upon Exit and Entry
Government Issued Photo ID: Required
Climate: Temperature in Turks and Caicos ranges from 27°C (80°F) in January to 32°C (90°F) in July and lows consistently about 5-6°C (around 10°F).
Tips when you get there:
Big name airlines like American Airlines have direct flights to Providenciales International Airport in Provo. Upon arriving in Turks and Caicos, due to the lack of public transportation the best way to get around is to use taxis. Taking a tour of the island after you settle into your residence is a good way to get yourself acclimated with the surrounding environment. Ferries go between Turks and Caicos daily but if you'd rather travel by air you can island hop using Bahamasair and Turks and Caicos Airways.
What to do
Turks and Caicos used to be a sleepy Caribbean destination with incredible natural surroundings, but now construction is booming and new hotels, restaurants, bars and shops are springing up monthly. But even with all the new facilities Turks and Caicos' twelve-mile-long Grace Bay Beach is still the main attraction. Turks and Caicos also have festivals, museum, a zoo and a national park.
The coral reef laden islands of Turks and Caicos provide excellent scuba diving snorkeling along with other water sports like jet skiing, water skiing, sailing and fishing. But Turks and Caicos beaches far outweigh anything else in terms of popularity. These beaches benefited from the fact that Turks and Caicos until recently was relatively unknown and are perhaps the most pristine of all the Caribbean beaches.
The Turks and Caicos have plans for big development. Hotels, restaurants, golf courses, shops and an entire tourism infrastructure are forming, especially along Grace Bay Beach. This once sleepy Caribbean nation is becoming a word-renowned Caribbean vacation destination.