Located in the British West Indies, the Turks and Caicos Islands lie east of the Bahamas, north of the Dominican Republic and Haiti, and 575 miles southeast of Miami. A total of forty islands and cays comprise the chain, but only eight are inhabited. The twenty-two mile wide Turks Island Passage separates the Turks Islands from the Caicos Islands.
Most of the islands are flat with sand dunes and lush green vegetation. Salt Cay, Grand Turk, South Caicos, East Caicos, Middle Caicos, North Caicos, West Caicos and Providenciales are the largest in the archipelago chain, which resides in the Atlantic Ocean. Yet, its islands offer the best of the Caribbean: the world’s third largest coral reef-after those off the coasts of eastern Australia and Belize-230 miles of white sandy beaches, and clear, warm turquoise waters.
Hurricane season from July to October can bring severe weather, but Turks and Caicos is a year-round destination. Visitors should anticipate an average temperature of 83F. During September and October, the hottest months, temperatures reach 95F (33 to 35C), but consistent trade winds from the east help keep life comfortable. Only 35″ of annual rainfall guarantee that you’ll spend your days sunbathing on the beach, not marooned indoors.
If you’re looking for tranquility, not crowds, then the Turks and Caicos is your destination in the Caribbean. The islands follow Eastern Standard Time, and the US dollar is their official currency. The locals, or “belongers,” as they call themselves, speak English and are known for friendliness.
Though Grand Turk is the capitol, Providenciales, or “Provo,” features the twelve miles of Grace Bay Beach and is the most popular tourist destination in the Turks and Caicos Islands. It has an area of 38 square miles, or 98 square kilometers, and a population of 31,000.
Flights from Miami to Providenciales depart twice daily and take less than 90 minutes. Other major cities, such as New York, Charlotte, Fort Lauderdale, and Atlanta, also offer daily service to Provo. Other direct flights from London, Boston, Toronto, Philadelphia, Montego Bay, and Nassau arrive on a daily, weekly, or bi-weekly basis. Flight schedules are subject to change, so be sure to check with airlines directly. The code for Providenciales International Airport is PLS.
Effective October 1, 2007, an expired passport, original or notarized copy of a birth certificate, and government issued photo ID will no longer be sufficient. U.S. and Canadian citizens must carry a valid passport to enter and leave Turks and Caicos. As of January 23, 2007, all air and sea travel to or from Canada, Mexico, Central & South America, the Caribbean, Bermuda, and the Bahamas requires a valid passport. Citizens of commonwealth countries require a passport, and citizens of non-commonwealth countries require a passport and Visa. A valid return ticket is also required.