Info & Facts
Where we are
The Turks & Caicos Islands lie some 575 miles southeast of Miami – approximately 1 1/2 hours flying time – with the Bahamas about 30 miles to the northwest and the Dominican Republic some 100 miles to the southeast.
The country consists of two island groups separated by the 22 mile wide Columbus Passage. To the west are the Caicos Islands: West Caicos, Providenciales, North Caicos, Middle Caicos, East Caicos and South Caicos. To the east are the Turks Islands: Grand Turk and Salt Cay.
The Turks & Caicos total 166 square miles of land area on eight islands and 40 small cays. The country’s population is approximately 35,000.
There are international airports on Grand Turk, North Caicos, Providenciales and South Caicos, with domestic airports on all of the islands except East Caicos.
At this time, all of the major international carriers arrive and depart from Providenciales International Airport. American Airlines flies twice daily from Miami and from Dallas on Saturday. U.S. Airways offers daily service from Charlotte, with two flights on Saturday; they offer service from Philadelphia on Friday, Saturday (two flights) and Sunday, and from Boston on Saturday. JetBlue Airways offers daily service from New York/JFK and two flights from Boston on Saturday. United Airlines offers flights on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday from Newark. Delta Air Lines flies from Atlanta on Sunday, Monday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday (two flights).
Air Canada travels from Toronto on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, from Montreal on Sunday and from Ottawa on Monday; West Jet hosts flights from Toronto on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, with a flight from Montreal on Friday. British Airways travels on Sunday from London/Heathrow via Nassau.
Bahamasair flies to Nassau on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday; Air Turks & Caicos travels on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Air Turks & Caicos travels to the Dominican Republic and Haiti daily and to Jamaica on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Tortug Air flies to Cap Haiten daily. (Schedules are current as of February 2013 and subject to change.)
Inter-island service is provided by Air Turks & Caicos and Global Airways. Sea and air freight services operate from Florida.
Eastern Standard Time/Daylight Savings Time observed
The United States dollar. The Treasury also issues a Turks & Caicos crown and quarter. Travellers cheques in U.S. dollars are widely accepted and other currency can be changed at local banks. American Express, VISA and MasterCard are welcomed at many locations.
The average year-round temperature is 83ºF (28ºC). The hottest months are September and October, when the temperature can reach 90 to 95ºF (33 to 35ºC). However, the almost-constant easterly trade winds temper the heat and keep life comfortable.
Casual resort and leisure wear is accepted attire for daytime; light sweaters or jackets may be necessary on some breezy evenings. It’s wise to wear protective clothing and a sunhat and use waterproof sunscreen when out in the tropical sun.
Passport. A valid onward or return ticket is also required. Check your airline for luggage restrictions.
Visitors may bring in duty free for their own use one carton of cigarettes or cigars, one bottle of liquor or wine and some perfume. The importation of all firearms, including those charged with compressed air, without prior approval in writing from the Commissioner of Police, is strictly forbidden. Spear guns, Hawaiian slings, controlled drugs and pornography are also illegal.
Returning residents may bring in $400 worth of merchandise per person duty free. A duty of 10% to 60% is charged on most imported goods and forms the major source of government revenue.
A valid driver’s license from home is suitable when renting vehicles. A government tax of US $15 is levied on all rental contracts. (Insurance is extra.) Driving is on the left-hand side of the road, with traffic flow controlled by round-abouts at major junctions. Please don’t drink and drive! Taxis are abundant throughout the Islands and many resorts offer shuttle service between popular visitor areas. Scooter, buggy, ATV and bicycle rentals are also available.
LIME Ltd. provides service on a totally digital 4G network, including pre-paid phone cards, pre-paid cellular phones, credit card and calling card options. Broadband Internet service, with speeds as fast as 8Mbps, connects the Islands to the world. Many resorts offer wireless Internet connection and there are several private Internet “cafés.” Newcomers Digicel and Islandcom Wireless operate GSM mobile networks. Islandcom Wireless provides the full suite of 4G service to the Turks & Caicos. They are the local carriers for CDMA roaming on US networks such as Verizon and Sprint. North American visitors with GSM cellular handsets and wireless accounts with AT&T or Cingular can arrange international roaming.
120/240 volts, 60 Hz, suitable for all U.S. appliances.
US $60, for all persons two years and older, payable in cash or traveller’s cheques. It is typically built into the cost of your ticket.
Delivery service is provided by FedEx, with offices on Providenciales and Grand Turk, DHL and UPS.
The Post Office and Philatelic Bureau in Providenciales is located downtown at the corner of Airport Road. In Grand Turk, the Post Office and Philatelic Bureau are on Front Street. The Islands are known for their varied and colorful stamp issues.
Multi-channel satellite television is received from the U.S. and Canada and transmitted via cable. Local station WIV-TV broadcasts news, talk shows and local events on Channel 4 . People’s Television Channel 8 now offers country-wide 75 digitally transmitted television stations, along with local news and talk shows. There are also a number of local radio stations, magazines and three newspapers.
There are no endemic tropical diseases in TCI. In April 2010, large, modern hospitals opened on Grand Turk and Providenciales. In tandem, a National Health Insurance Plan has been instituted to cover citizens, residents and foreign workers. Both hospitals offer a range of services including: 24/7 emergency room, operating theaters, diagnostic imaging, maternity suites, dialysis suites, blood bank, physiotherapy and dentistry.
In addition, several general practictioners operate in the country, and there is a recompression chamber, along with a number of private pharmacies.
A resident’s permit is required to live in the Islands. A work permit and business license are also required to work and/or establish a business. These are generally granted to those offering skills, experience and qualifications not widely available on the Islands. Priority is given to enterprises that will provide employment and training for T&C Islanders.
TCI is a British Crown colony. There is a Queen-appointed Governor, HE Damian Roderic Todd. Elected government came back into force on November 9, 2012, in what turned out to be the closest general election in TCI history. At press time, the Progressive National Party (PHP) narrowly came out on top with eight seats, while the People’s Democratic Movement (PDM) won seven. The PDM won three of the five At-Large (country-wide) seats. PNP Leader Dr. Rufus Ewing became the country’s third premier, while Akierra Mary Deanne Missick became the first woman deputy premier.
The legal system is based upon English Common Law and administered by a resident Chief Justice, Chief Magistrate and Deputy Magistrates. Judges of the Court of Appeal visit the Islands twice a year and there is a final Right of Appeal to Her Majesty’s Privy Council sitting in London, U.K.
There are currently no direct taxes on either income or capital for individuals or companies. There are no exchange controls. Indirect taxation comprises customs duties, stamp duty on certain transactions and vehicle, gasoline and departure taxes.
Historically, TCI’s economy relied on the export of salt. Currently, tourism, the offshore finance industry and fishing generate the most private sector income. The Islands’ main exports are lobster and conch, with the world’s first and only commercial conch farm operating on Providenciales. Practically all consumer goods and most foodstuffs are imported.
The Turks & Caicos Islands are recognised as an important offshore financial centre, offering services such as company formation, offshore insurance, banking, trusts, limited partnerships and limited life companies. The Financial Services Commission regulates the industry and spearheads the development of offshore legislation.
Citizens of the Turks & Caicos Islands are termed “Belongers” and are primarily descendants of African slaves who were brought to the Islands to work on the salt ponds and cotton plantations. The country’s large expatriate population includes Canadians, Americans, Brits and Europeans, along with Haitians, Jamaicans, Dominicans, Bahamians, and most recently, Chinese, Filipinos, Mexicans and South Americans.
Churches are the center of community life and there are many faiths represented in the Islands, including: Adventist, Anglican, Assembly of God, Baha’i, Baptist, Catholic, Church of God of Prophecy, Episcopal, Faith Tabernacle Church of God, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Methodist and Pentecostal. Visitors are always welcome.
There is no quarantine period for incoming pets. However, you will need to present an import permit, current signed veterinary certificate stating that the animal is in good health, free of infectious disease and vaccinated against rabies and distemper to the Public Health Inspector upon arrival.
The National Bird is the Brown Pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis). The National Plant is Island Heather, (Limonium bahamense) found nowhere else in the world. The National Tree is the Caribbean Pine (Pinus caribaea var. bahamensis). The National Costume consists of white cotton dresses tied at the waist for women and simple shirts and loose pants for men, with straw hats. Colors representing the various islands are displayed on the sleeves and bases of the dresses. Scarfs, sashes and hat bands correspond to the color representing the wearer’s island home. The National Song is “This Land of Ours,” by Rev. E.C. Howell, PhD. Peas and Hominy (Grits) with Dry Conch is revered as symbolic island fare.
TCI Waste Disposal Services currently offers recycling services through weekly collection of recyclable aluminum, glass and plastic. Check your resort for drop-off locations. The TCI Environmental Club is spearheading a campaign to eliminate single-use plastic bags, which not only serve as roadside eyesores, but are damaging to marine life. Do your part by using a cloth bag whenever possible. Keep TCI “Beautiful by Nature” by not littering!
Sporting activities are centered around the water. Visitors can choose from deep-sea, reef or bonefishing, sailing, glass-bottom boat and semi-sub excursions, windsurfing, waterskiing, parasailing, sea kayaking, snorkelling, scuba diving, kiteboarding, stand up paddleboarding and beachcombing. Pristine reefs, abundant marine life and excellent visibility make TCI a world-class diving destination.
Tennis and golf — there is an 18 hole championship course on Providenciales, as well as a miniature golf course — are also popular.
The Islands are an ecotourist’s paradise. Visitors can enjoy unspoilt wilderness and native flora and fauna in 33 national parks, nature reserves, sanctuaries and areas of historical interest. The National Trust provides trail guides to several hiking trails throughout the Islands, as well as guided tours of major historical sites. There is an excellent national museum on Grand Turk, with a future branch planned for Providenciales. A scheduled ferry and tour operators make it easy to take day trips to the outer islands.
Other land-based activities include bicycling, horseback riding and football (soccer). Personal trainers are available to motivate you, working out of several fitness centres. You will also find a variety of spa and body treatment services.
Nightlife includes local bands playing island music at bars and restaurants and some nightclubs. There is a casino on Providenciales. Stargazing is extraordinary!
Shoppers will find Caribbean paintings, T-shirts, sports and beachwear, shells and locally made handicrafts, including straw work and conch crafts. Duty free outlets sell liquor, jewellery, watches, perfume, leather goods, crystal, china, cameras, electronics, brand-name clothing and accessories and Cuban cigars.
What's Inside The Latest Edition?
Cover photographer Christine Morden works for Paradise Photography www.myparadisephoto.com , a full service boutique company based in the TCI. She especially enjoyed the Rejouvenance photo shoot to learn about the benefits of coconuts and to smell the amazing scents of their hand-crafted products.