Haggling is not a recognized part of doing business in TCI.
Dangers & Annoyances
TCI is one of the safest countries in the Caribbean, but of course natural precautions should be taken.
- A few robberies and muggings take place each year – almost all on Provo, and almost all against locals.
- Avoid leaving anything of value in cars, especially at remote sites and beaches.
- Locals recommend leaving your hire car unlocked, to avoid broken windows.
- Drunk driving is common in Provo, especially on weekend nights and after the Fish Fry. Be extra cautious at these times.
- Driving in general can be erratic, especially from jitneys (unlicensed taxis) who will stop, pull out or change lanes abruptly.
Electrical current 120V, 60Hz. Sockets are two- or three-prong US standard.
Embassies & Consulates
Only Jamaica, Germany, Haiti and the US have consular representation in TCI; the UK is represented by the office of the governor, on Grand Turk. Other countries are generally represented in Nassau (the Bahamas) or Kingston (Jamaica).
Emergency & Important Numbers
Country Code 649
Entry & Exit Formalities
TCI imposes specific requirements for the export of conch and other shells: permits must be acquired from the Department of Economic and Maritime Affairs. For conch, these permits can only be obtained during the open season for the species.
All visitors need a valid passport to enter the country. Proof of onward transportation may be required at entry.
No visas are required for citizens of the US, Canada, the UK, Commonwealth countries and most of the EU. ESTA authorization or a visa is required to transit through the USA.
Most residents are predominantly Christian, and can be quite conservative, especially in islands beyond Provo. They're well used to overseas visitors, however, and are welcoming and understanding of cultural differences. Overall, there are no secrets: openness, basic politeness and respectful behavior is all you need to remember.
As in most Caribbean destinations, the attitude toward gay and lesbian travelers in the Turks and Caicos is not progressive. While totally legal, gay sex remains a taboo subject here, particularly with reference to gay men. As more visitors arrive, and brave locals normalize identities and behaviors beyond the hetero-norm, some degree of acceptance has been forthcoming. However, there is still no openly gay scene to speak of, and LGBT travelers may decide to fly under the radar.
Internet access in the Turks is getting easier all the time. Wi-fi is offered free of charge in nearly all hotels and most restaurants and bars, while internet cafes and in-house terminals are getting rarer. It’s a good idea to bring a smart phone or laptop with you to guarantee ease of access.
TCI law derives largely from UK common law, with the limitations on powers of arrest and recognition of habeas corpus that entails. If you are arrested, you must be informed of the charge, can have your consular representative notified and are entitled to legal representation (at your own expense).
Recreational drugs are illegal to buy, sell or consume: any of these activities can result in fines and/or jail time. The blood-alcohol limit for drivers is 0.08, but there is little enforcement of this (consequently drunk drivers can be a real issue, especially in Provo, and especially on weekend nights).
- Television Aside from cable services from neighbors (particularly the USA), TCI is served by 4NEWS and Channel 8 from Provo, and Turks and Caicos Television from Grand Turk.
- Newspapers Weekly, digital and regional publications include Turks & Caicos Weekly News (http://tcweeklynews.com), Caribbean News Now (www.caribbeannewsnow.com) and TCI Enews (www.enews.tc).
- Radio There are over 20 AM and FM radio stations throughout the islands, including 107.7 Radio Turks & Caicos FM, 99.9 Kiss FM and 93.9 Island FM.
- Magazines Key publications covering dining, accommodations and culture are Where When How (www.wherewhenhow.com) and Times of the Islands (www.timespub.tc).
ATMs are found in Providenciales and Grand Turk, but are less common elsewhere. Always carry some cash – the US dollar is the official currency. Turks and Caicos crowns and quarters are issued for small change.
For current exchange rates, see www.xe.com.
Tip 15% in restaurants and for taxi drivers. However, check your bill, as many restaurants add a service charge automatically.
Expect limited hours away from Provo or touristy areas.
Businesses 9am-5pm Mon-Sat
Restaurants breakfast from 8am, lunch from noon, dinner 6:30pm-9pm
New Year's Day January 1
Commonwealth Day Second Monday in March
Good Friday March/April
Easter Monday March/April
National Heroes’ Day Last Monday in May
Her Majesty the Queen’s Official Birthday June 13 (or nearest weekday)
Emancipation Day August 1
National Youth Day Last Friday in September
National Heritage Day Second Monday in October
National Day of Thanksgiving Fourth Friday in November
Christmas Day December 25 (or nearest weekday)
Boxing Day December 26 (or nearest weekday)
As of April 2016, smoking is banned in public places in Turks and Caicos, including beaches and national parks. Bars, restaurants, casinos and other liquor-licensed premises can still provide noncovered smoking areas.
Taxes & Refunds
All services incur a nonrefundable 12% tax.
The country code (649) isn't required for interisland calls within TCI.
Most cell phones will work in the Turks and Caicos; you can either set your phone up for global roaming prior to leaving home or purchase a SIM card (for unlocked phones) once you get here. Global roaming is both easier and more expensive; be sure to check rates with your phone company prior to dialing.
Phonecards of various values can be bought from Flow outlets, as well as from shops and delis. You can also top up using your credit card at www.topupflow.com.
TCI is on permanent Eastern Daylight Time (GMT/UTC–4).
Standard Western sit-down toilets are the norm, but public conveniences are few and far between. Outside Provo, they're nonexistent.
Travel with Children
TCI is a fantastic place to take kids. Although you may struggle to find specific programs and activities for youngsters outside major resorts, that's not such a problem when you consider the beaches, reefs, water sports and general freedom they'll enjoy. And all-inclusive megaresorts such as Beaches have so many diversions and activities for kids that the trick will be getting them to leave.
Kids not yet old enough to dive will be able to snorkel at reduced rates with outfits such as Big Blue; those too young (or too timid) even for that can still come face-to-face with reef life, riding the Undersea Explorer.
One difficulty for those with infants in strollers is the scarcity of sidewalks. Beyond Grace Bay, Turtle Cove and similarly tourist-rich areas of Provo, sidewalks don't exist, and you can be forced to walk on the shoulder of the road. The saving grace here is that, Provo excepted, traffic is negligible throughout the islands.
Dedicated changing facilities won't be found outside modern resorts and one or two restaurants and transport hubs. Prepare to improvise.
Overall, any difficulties you meet will be outweighed by the pleasures of taking kids to a warm, relaxed, beach-bedizened place where children are welcome everywhere (except perhaps the swankiest 'adult' restaurants).
Little is done in TCI to make public spaces more accessible to those with disabilities, and there are no support or advocacy organizations. Individual hotels and resorts, especially the larger and pricier ones, should have accessibility provisions, but it's important to inquire before booking.
You can connect with humanitarian and environmental initiatives in the TCI looking for volunteers through organizations such as Volunteer Match (www.volunteermatch.org) and the Earthwatch Institute (www.earthwatch.org).
Weights & Measures
Imperial and metric systems are both in use.
It is not easy for foreigners to secure the right to work in TCI. You'll need to be 18 or older, and be explicitly endorsed by a local employer for the job you intend to hold. Permits must be secured before you arrive in TCI, and will depend on your ability to prove your identity and nationality, good health and clean criminal record. Applications cost $200 (nonrefundable) and should be lodged with the Ministry of Border Control and Employment (www.gov.tc/bordercontrol).