Turks and Caicos Facts
- People: top
Citizens of the Turks & Caicos (termed "Belongers") 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, Dominicans and Bahamians.
- Customs: top
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 $200 worth of merchandise per person duty free. A duty of 10% to 30% is charged on most imported goods and forms the major source of government revenue.
- Time Zone: top
The islands are in the Eastern Time zone, and daylight saving time is observed. GMT/UTC minus 4 hours
- Location: top
Caribbean, two island groups in the North Atlantic Ocean, southeast of The Bahamas. Geographic coordinates: 21 45 N, 71 35 W
- Telephone Code: top
From North America, dial 1 + 649 + the seven-digit local number. From elsewhere, dial your country's international direct dialing prefix + 1 + 649 + the seven-digit local number.
- Entry Requirements: top
U.S. and Canadian citizens must have a passport or a combination of a birth certificate and photo ID, plus a return or ongoing ticket, to enter the country. The photo ID could be an official driver's license with a photograph or a voter's registration card with a photograph. These entry requirements are subject to change, so always confirm what the latest entry requirements are before heading for a foreign country. We always recommend bringing your passport whenever you're visiting a foreign country. Citizens of the United Kingdom, Commonwealth countries of the Caribbean, the Republic of Ireland, and EU countries must have a current passport. Citizens of all other countries must have a visa in addition to a valid passport. Visas for the Turks and Caicos Islands may be obtained from the British High Commission or various consulate offices in the United States.
- Climate: top
Average 83 degrees - tropical; marine; moderated by trade winds; sunny and relatively dry.
Our climate can best be described as an eternal summer with almost continuous ocean breezes from the trade winds and with constant sunshine, making the islands an ideal year-round vacation destination. The temperature rarely drops below 25° C (77° F) or rises above 28° C (83° F) average. The cool breezes make for comfortable sleeping without air conditioning. North Caicos has a rainfall of about 40 inches per year and the vegetation is more lush compared to the neighboring islands. North Caicos is known as the Garden Island.
The islands receive approximately 21 inches of rainfall annually. The Turks and Caicos's mean monthly temperature is 80°F, and the winter water temperature ranges from 72°F to 80°F. Since the climate is largely the same as that in The Bahamas.
As part of the fall rainy season, hurricanes occasionally sweep through the Caribbean. Check the news daily and keep abreast of brewing tropical storms. The rainy season consists mostly of brief showers interspersed with sunshine. You can watch the clouds come over, feel the rain, and have the sun to dry you off, all while remaining on your lounge chair. A spell of overcast days is unusual, as everyone will tell you.
Casual resort and leisure wear is accepted attire for daytime; light sweaters or jackets may be necessary on some breezy evenings. Visitors are advised to wear protective clothing and a sunhat and use waterproof sunscreen when out in the tropical sun.
The following are the normal daily temperature ranges for Turks and Caicos:
January 62-77°F (17-25°C); February 63-78°F (17-26°C); March 64-80°F (18-27°C); April 66-82°F (19-28°C); May 70-87°F (21-30°C); June 74-90°F (23-31°C); July 75-91°F (24-32°C); August 75-92°F (24-33°C); September 74-89°F (23-31°C); October 72-85°F (22-29°C); November 68-82°F (20-28°C); December 64-79°F (18-26°C).
The Caribbean high season is traditionally winter -- from December 15 to April 14 -- when northern weather is at its worst. During this season, travelers are guaranteed the most entertainment at resorts and the most people with whom to enjoy it. It's also the most fashionable, expensive and popular time to visit. As a result, most hotels are heavily booked. Make reservations at least two or three months in advance for the best places (sometimes a year in advance for the most exclusive spots). Hotel prices drop 20%-50% after April 15.
The only time to consider not going to the Turks and Caicos is the sweltering four months of August to November, when the daily average high is 32°C (90°F); when the trade winds die it nudges over 38°C (100°F). Probably the best time to visit is between mid-April and July.
- Departure Tax: top
There is a departure tax of $15, payable when you leave the islands.
- Dress Code: top
Dress is informal. Light sweaters are useful for breezy evenings. The Island is in the tropics and the sun is much hotter than in Florida, so bring your sun protection creams.
- Tipping: top
Hotels usually add 10% to 15% to your bill automatically, to cover service. If individual staff members perform various services for you, it is customary to tip them something extra.
- Visas: top
No visas are required for citizens of the USA, Canada, UK and the EU. Most other nationalities require a visa. US citizens need proof of citizenship (a valid passport, voter's registration card or birth certificate) with photo ID. Everyone else, including UK citizens, needs a valid passport. Proof of onward transportation is required upon entry.
- Currency: top
The US dollar, the Turks and Caicos crown and quarter are also legal tender. There are branches of major banks on Provo, along with a few ATMs; but in the outlying islands, banks and ATMs are scarcer, so bring enough cash or traveler's checks with you.
- Immigration: top
Those wishing to live in the Islands need a resident's permit. For those intending to work or establish a business, a work permit or business license is also required. These are generally granted to those offering skills, experience and qualifications not widely available on the Islands. Priority is given to business enterprises that will provide employment and training for Turks & Caicos Islanders.
- Government: top
Dependent territory of the UK.
Legal system: based on laws of England and Wales with a small number adopted from Jamaica and The Bahamas
- Departure Tax: top
There is a departure tax of US $23.00 per person when you leave the Islands.
- Safety: top
Although crime is minimal in the islands, petty theft does take place here the same as anywhere, so protect your valuables, money, and cameras. Don't leave luggage or parcels in an unattended car. Beaches are vulnerable to thievery, so don't take chances.
- Taxes: top
The government collects an 8% occupancy tax, applicable to all hotels, guest houses, and restaurants.
- Water: top
Don't drink from the tap and avoid drinks with ice that was made from tap water. Don't even use tap water to brush your teeth. Most hotels provide safe drinking water.
- Island Location: top
The Turks & Caicos Islands lie some 575 miles southeast of Miami--about 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 group: West Caicos, Providenciales, North Caicos, Middle Caicos, East Caicos and South Caicos. To the east are the Turks group: Grand Turk and Salt Cay.
The Turks & Caicos total 166 square miles of land area on eight islands and 40 small cays. The Islands' population is approximately 23,000.
- About The Turks and Caicos: top
The Turks and Caicos Islands are two groups of over 40 islands and Cays surrounded by virgin coral reefs. The islands are divided by the 22-mile-long Christopher Columbus Passage. The Turks islands are towards the east and the Caicos islands towards the west. These are larger than the Turks islands. Seclusion and tranquillity is the order of the day and vacationer can enjoy a wide variety of sports.
There are six main islands with a population of about 14,000 that visitors can explore as well as the other uninhabited ones with their rare qualities. The capital of these are Cockbourn Town and Grand Turks, the latter of which was historically a administrative and political capital but now serves as the financial and business centre.
- Taxes: top
There are 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 departure tax.
- Medical Services: top
There are no endemic tropical diseases in TCI. In addition to the government clinic on Providenciales and a small hospital on Grand Turk, the Islands have several private general practitioners. Other services available include: emergency room, dental, chiropractic, physiotherapy, optometry, pharmacy, X-ray, ultrasound and a recompression chamber. In a medical emergency, patients are f own to full-service hospitals in Miami or Nassau via air ambulance.
- Electricity: top
The electric current on the islands is 120 volts, 60 cycles, AC. Same is in the USA.
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