19 Things to know before your Turks & Caicos Vacation
I just got back from Turks and Caicos last month and it was definitely a trip I’ll never forget! If you’re planning a trip there, you’ve made a great choice.
Turks and Caicos (TCI) is currently ranked #3 for being the Best Caribbean Beaches according to US Travel. It’s located in the Atlantic Ocean, 575 miles south-east of Florida and 90 miles north of the island Hispaniola. I spend my time visiting Providenciales which is the larger of the two islands.
1. Expect Gorgeous weather
This island has very little temperature fluctuation. They don’t experience seasons like we do in the US. The average temperature is 80°F, however, May to October are considered to be the hotter months while November to April are considered to be the cooler months. There is an average variation of about 10°F.
2. When to visit?
This really depends on the experience you are looking to have for your trip.
High season is when most Tourists visit the island and this is between November to April. Prices are higher and beaches will be more crowded during this time. This is because people want to experience calm waters and don’t want to risk being caught in a hurricane. I visited the island in March, and I definitely experienced the crowd’s higher prices.
End of August to October is considered low season. If you visit at this time you will have more of the island to yourself because there will be less tourists traveling to the island around this time. This period of time is hurricane season so prices drop and some businesses temporarily close.
3. They speak English!
English is the language spoken on this island. A lot of the locals have an accident related to being local Islanders as their ancestors were brought over from surrounding countries. This history has contributed an accent over their English Language which has become a local accent.
4. What currency do they use?
On this island, you will be able to use the USD. There is no need for conversion if this is your primary source of currency. We were happy about.
5. What if you forget something at home?
There was a centralized grocery store we visited plenty of times. It is called Graceway Smart. It was very easy to get to and is located off what seemed to be the main road. When visiting this grocery store, you will find high priced items so try not to forget anything. They also don’t sell alcohol on Sundays.
6. Where is the best place to stay?
If you’re looking to Book a hotel, stay at one of the resorts, expect to pay between $1000-$2000 a night. Room rates are higher between the months of Jan – Early April. They decrease during the middle of April to early December.
During festive season which is from Christmas to New Year’s, rates are at their peak. It’s most expensive to find a hotel here between late December and early January. Another more affordable option is booking an Airbnb. We had an amazing stay, and absolutely loved our host. She gave us amazing tips as to where to go and visit. I feel like we would’ve never known about a lot of these places if we’ve stayed at a resort.
The roads to the resorts and hotels seem to be really well paved but some other locations are a little off the beaten path. But they are very simple to get to you because there are few roads.
7. Is a rental car necessary?
I would say yes, a rental car is necessary if you plan on visiting a lot of beaches. This is because different activities are offered at different beaches and all of these beaches are located on various parts of the island. Although there’s not much traffic, I didn’t see many sidewalks so I would not recommend walking for safety reasons. However, if you plan on staying at the resort and only want to go to the same beach in front of your building, and the resort grocery store, you won’t likely need to rent a car.
8. Limited rental cars
During high season, there is a limited supply of rental cars. Because of this, I would recommend booking your rental car well in advance. I however did not do this, but when I showed up I was given the opportunity to rent a car from a local rental company. I got my car from a local rental car company recommended by the man at the counter when he told me Avis Rental Cars was out of Cars. All that was left where high-priced minivans with the well-known rental car companies. The locals were looking out for me!
9. What is there to do on the island?
There are various activities to take part in on the island. These range from water sports like diving and snorkeling to land activities like riding excursions. Nightlife is also pretty interesting, to say the least. Find things to do on Turks and Caicos here.
10. What to pack?
Make sure to pack clothes that favor tropical conditions. This means sun hats, sunblock, and lightweight and light colored clothing. Don’t forget your sandals and beach bag. To find out what else to pack specifically for a vacation that Turks and Caicos, check out my article on What to pack for Turks and Caicos.
11. Protect yourself and the environment
Make sure to pack sunscreen that not only has a high SPF but is safe for the coral reef. A lot of the sunscreen products have chemicals that are damaging to the environment. It’s highly recommended to wear sunscreen such as honest mineral sunscreen that does not contain these harsh chemical products.
12. Be prepared to spend big bucks
Most things are imported on this island so that means prices are high. We saw a case of Corona for $70. I also spent about $20 to fill 1/8 (or lower) of my gas tank. These examples can give you an idea of how high prices will be when traveling here. However this wasn’t always the case so just be vigilant when looking at prices.
13. Get used to driving on the other side of the road
Steering wheels are on the right side of the car, and you drive on the left side of the road. There’s also a different license plates for tourists that are different from the locals. Rental cars have yellow letters on their license plate while local drivers have cars with red letters. I believe this is so that locals can watch out for Tourists in the road. Apparently tourists cause a majority of the car accidents on the road in TCI.
14. What to eat
Conch is the must try food on the Island. I wasn’t brave enough to try it but you can find it at local restaurants like Bugaloos and Da Conch Sack. Lobster is also a must try on this island as well.
15. Health and safety
Although I felt very safe on this island, I would not recommend solo traveling here. The guy I rented my car from kept adamantly insisting that I not to leave any belongings in the car. There were also comments made by locals that revolved around tips for safety on the island that lead me to believe there is a decent amount of crime and theft that takes place. Also that tourists are targeted.
The CDC also recommends getting certain shots before visiting this island. It’s also recommended to wear plenty of mosquito repellent since Dengue and Zika virus are present on this island which are transmitted by mosquitoes.
16. Clear and Blue Waters
This island has some of the most beautiful ocean water that I’ve ever seen. The water is absolutely clear in shallow waters and turns into various shades of blue and aqua depending on the time of day and the beach you are visiting. Some beaches have water that does not go above your waist until you travel a few hundred feet into the ocean! You can simply walk all the way out in the shallow water for as far as the eye can see.
17. Thursday is the big party night
According to the locals, Thursday is the best time to go out. There are a lot of events and celebrations on Thursdays on the island. Make sure your trip here includes at least one Thursday.
18. Learn “island time”
Islanders don’t go by exact time. If you ask a local islander how long it will take to get from one place to another, you won’t get an exact time.
19. The sunsets are breathtaking
You will see some of the the most beautiful sunsets from this island. They last a long time and they will take your breath away. They are typically visible from any location on the island.
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With love from the pacifice,