The Turks and Caicos Islands feature crystal clear turquoise seas and white sand beaches, and unspoiled Caribbean tranquility.
Language Spoken: English
Currency: U.S. dollar
Electricity: 110 Volts (no adapter needed for U.S. visitors)
Located 575 miles southeast of Miami, the Turks & Caicos Islands constitute a small archipelago of eight major islands and numerous cays. The islands are relatively flat and consist of 193 square miles. Only eight of the islands are inhabited. On the north side, facing the Atlantic Ocean, a long barrier reef protects the islands while providing superlative scuba diving opportunities.
Turks & Caicos has long maintained a relationship with the British Crown and became a British Commonwealth Colony in 1962. The country is now officially termed an “Independent Overseas Territory.” The Turks & Caicos’ governor is appointed by the Queen, who is responsible for law and order on the islands. The seat of the locally elected government is in Grand Turk, the capital of the Turks & Caicos Islands.
Unlike several of the other Turks & Caicos Islands, Providenciales has never had a strong industry based around salt production (salinas) or agriculture. Consequently, only approximately 400 people lived on the island until 30 years ago. Today’s population of nearly 16,000 is employed primarily by the island’s two main industries: tourism and offshore banking (the islands do not levy personal or corporate taxes).
The highlight of the island is beautiful 12-mile Grace Bay beach, which is dotted by Turks and Caicos hotels, upscale vacation homes and upscale condominiums.
In contrast to some better-known Caribbean islands, the Turks & Caicos benefit from a pleasant low-humidity climate and off-shore winds. Providenciales is especially temperate and comfortably dry year-round. Temperatures average in the mid-seventies in winter and in the mid-eighties in summer.
The Turks & Caicos Islands were discovered by the tourism industry in the ‘80s as visitors began to build private homes. In 1993, the luxury Grace Bay Club, two additional Turks and Caicos Hotels, and the Provo Golf Course opened, attracting American Airlines as the first international airline to Provo and putting the Turks & Caicos on the map as a destination for international vacationers.
The Turks & Caicos Islands appeal to vacationers looking for a secluded and serene Caribbean destination, as well as sports fishermen and divers who appreciate the crystal-clear waters, spectacular reefs and rich sea life. The absence of a cruise port on Providenciales and the island’s low-key nightlife maintain its exclusivity.