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  • Flag                                  Coat of Arms                           Tourist Board

    The Turks and Caicos Islands consist of 40 cays and islands and eight of them are inhabited. The islands are situated 550 miles southeast of Miami, Florida, south of the Bahamas and to the east of Cuba and the Hispaniola (Dominican Republic and Haiti.) The Turks and Caicos Islands are located in the Atlantic Ocean, not the Caribbean Sea. 30,000 full time residents live in the Turks and Caicos Islands and more than 200,000 tourists visit every year.

    With its friendly locals, ideal weather year-around, easy access via a short 90-minute flight from Miami, and breathtaking sandy beaches and blue waters, Turks and Caicos are considered a top Caribbean destination.

    Turks and Caicos provide an environment that makes it easy to relax in without the many distractions the typical daily distractions found at home. Visitors can breathe the sun-kissed air, swim or dive in warm clear water alive with beautiful marine life.

    Turks and Caicos offer world-class restaurants and spas to cater to all of its guests’ senses. Turks and Caicos boast the fastest growing economy in the Caribbean matched with strictly controlled development to protect the islands’ pristine sanctuary atmosphere.

    Geography
    The islands are situated 550 miles southeast of Miami, Florida, south of the Bahamas and to the east of Cuba and the Hispaniola (Dominican Republic and Haiti.) The Turks and Caicos Islands are located in the Atlantic Ocean.

    The eight main islands and more than 299 smaller islands have a total land area of 238 square miles. The primary natural resources are spiny lobster, conch and other shellfish. The two separate island groups are divided by the Turks Passage.

    Climate
    The constant warm weather is matched by easterly breezes that assure an ambient and comfortable temperature. The coolest months average in the 70s in the winter and the warmest months average in the low 90s in the late summer. A median annual rainfall of less than 40 inches ensures there are plenty of sunny days.

    Culture and History
    The Turks and Caicos Islands are named after the Turk's-cap cactus and the Lucayan term “caya hico” meaning string of islands. The first people of the islands were the Arawakan-speaking Taíno who came over from Hispaniola sometime from 500 to 800. Around 1200, the Turks and Caicos were resettled by Classical Taínos from Hispaniola.

    Soon after the Spanish arrived in the islands in 1492 and began capturing the Taíno and Lucayan people as slaves for nearby Hispaniola. The Turks and Caicos were completely depopulated by about 1513, and remained so until the 17th century.

    The first European to sight the Turks and Caicos were Juan Ponce de León in 1512. During the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries, the Turks and Caicos passed from Spanish, to French, to British control but none of them ever established any settlements.

    The People
    The people of the Turks and Caicos are mostly African descendants who were brought in to work the salt pans and the cotton plantations. The expatriate population consists of people from England, Canada, America, The Bahamas, Jamaica, Philippines, Mexico, China, Hispaniola and virtually everywhere in the world.

    Cuisine
    Due to its many cultural influences, the cuisine of the Turks and Caicos is one of varied flavors from around the globe. Perhaps the most-lauded delicacy of the Turks and Caicos is the conch and it is prepared in a many, mouth-watering ways and served alongside Jamaican specialties like jerked chicken and curried goat.

    Things to Do
    The open air calls whether visitors yearn to enjoy the water, take an educational ecological tour or simply shop for something special to bring home.

    Renowned for its world-class diving, Turks and Caicos cater to both the newbie and the more advanced diver with its many dive shops and classes. For visitors who prefer speed and an adrenaline rush, there are waves to ride on wake boards and surf kites.

    For history buffs, a visit to the pirate caves and with their fictional buried treasures is appropriate. For those who want to end the day on a relaxing note, a sunset cruise to wind down after all the excitement is ideal.

    Useful Links
    Click here for Travel Information to the Turks and Caicos Islands. Go to the Turks and Caicos tourism page for information on Events and Things to Do in the Turks and Caicos. Visit the Turks and Caicos Tourist Board website for more information about this Caribbean destination.

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    Fast Facts

    Capital: Cockburn Town

    Motto: “Beautiful By Nature, Clean By Choice”

    Anthem: “God Save the Queen”

    Population Approximately 31,500, with approximately 27,000 live on Providenciales in the Caicos Islands.

    Language: English

    Time Zone: Eastern Standard Time and Daylight Savings Time is observed from April to October.

    Currency: The US dollar is the official currency of Turks and Caicos. Most hotels, restaurants and taxis accept travelers’ checks. Most credit cards are accepted and local banks offer ATMs and also cash advances on credit cards.

    Tipping: 15% gratuity is normally paid to waiters, taxi drivers, maids and bellman.

    Electricity: 110 volt/60 cycle, suitable for U.S. appliances.

    Climate: The average temperature is between 85 and 90 degrees F from June to October, sometimes reaching the mid-90s in late summer. From November to May the average temperature is 80 to 84 degrees F.

    Water temperature in the summer is 82 to 84 degrees F and in winter about 74 to 78 degrees F. A constant trade wind keeps the temperature at a very comfortable level.

    There is an annual rainfall of 21 inches on Grand Turk and South Caicos. The Turks and Caicos offer 350 days of sunshine a year on average.

    Hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30th.

    People: Turks and Caicos Islanders are mostly descendants of Africans who were brought to work the salt pans and the cotton plantations. Expatriates to the Turks and Caicos come from the U.K., Canada, the U.S.A., France, Bahamas, people from Hispaniola and many other global nations.

    Economy: The economy of the Turks and Caicos is based primarily on the tourism industry, real estate development and seafood exportation. The Financial Services Commission regulates, develops and promotes the financial services industry in major world markets.

    Government: The Turks and Caicos are a British Crown Colony. The Queen appoints a Governor and he/she presides over an Executive Council formed by an elected local self-government. The legal system is based on English Common Law.

    Water: The limited fresh water supply relies on rainfall or desalinated water produced by reverse osmosis. Bottled water is readily available for drinking.

    Clothing: Shorts are worn in town as well as the beach during the day. In the evenings, light sweaters and jackets may be occasionally needed in the winter. Dinner is usually casual and most restaurants allow dress shorts. Some more formal restaurants require pants with a collared shirt for gentlemen and dress slacks or dresses for ladies. Public Nudity is illegal throughout the islands.

    Travel Information
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    By Air
    The Turks and Caicos Islands currently have 2 full service international airports, Providenciales and Grand Turk, and limited entry facilities in North and South Caicos. All other islands have domestic airports except for East and West Caicos, which are uninhabited (an airstrip is currently under construction on West Caicos to serve the Ritz Carlton resort being developed there).

    Most visitors fly into Providenciales upon entry to the islands and then can easily take a commuter flight to the other islands. It is a modern, full service facility that welcomes dozens of international flights every week from North America, Europe and other Caribbean Islands. It is also the gateway to the rest of the Turks & Caicos Islands. Check the airport web site for up to date flight schedules and route maps.

    Passports
    All U.S.A. citizens traveling by air or sea to the Turks and Caicos are required by the U.S.A. Government to have a valid U.S.A. passport. Visitors from other countries do require passports but no visas are necessary except from countries of the former Eastern Bloc. Visitors can contact the nearest British Consulate Office for details. All visitors must hold a round trip ticket. Visitors are allowed to stay for 30 days; this is renewable one time only.

    Visitors from all other countries are required to get a Visitors Permit, which can be obtained at the Road Safety Department located on Good Street, Grand Turk and at the office on the Old Airport Road, Providenciales.

    Customs and Immigration
    Duty free goods that may be brought in to the Islands include: 50 cigars, 200 cigarettes, 1.136 liters of spirits or wine and perfume for personal use.

    Driving License Requirements
    Visitors from the British Commonwealth Countries, The U.S.A., Canada and holders of International driver’s licenses are permitted to drive for 30 days on their respective license.

    Useful Links
    Click here for an Overview of the Turks and Caicos Islands. Go to the Turks and Caicos tourism page for information on Events and Things to Do in the Turks and Caicos Islands. Visit the Turks and Caicos Tourist Board website for more information about this Caribbean destination.

     

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