Visitor Information & Local Services
English is the official language in the TCI, however there are a number of citizens, "Belongers", who speak Creole (spoken in the Haitian community), French and Spanish. As well, the numerous accents and languages of the various "expatriates" are heard and spoken throughout the Islands.
The Turks & Caicos Islands are an archipelago of forty islands and cays which lie 575 miles southeast of Miami, one hundred miles north of the Dominican Republic and thirty miles southeast of the Bahamas. Just ninety minutes flying time from Miami, the TCI cover a land area of 193 square miles. Each island is surrounded by a continuous coral reef.
TCI is five hours behind Greenwich Mean Time. Eastern Standard Time October to April; Daylight Savings Time April to October.
The country enjoys year-round sunshine with a prevailing easterly breeze from the Atlantic trade winds. The average temperature in the summer is 83˚F (28˚C) and 70˚F (21˚C) in the winter months. The seasons are usually dry receiving an average of only twenty to forty inches of rain per year. The average humidity is 35%. During the summer months the sun rises at approximately 6 am and sets at 7:30 pm. In the winter sunrise is at 6:30 am and sunset is at 5 pm. The hottest months are July to October when the trade winds are low. The hurricane season runs June through November. Visitors are advised to wear sunscreen at all times to ensure comfort and healthy skin.
There are four international airports in the Turks & Caicos Islands located on Providenciales, Grand Turk, South Caicos and North Caicos. American Airlines, Jet Blue, and Continental are the primary international carriers. Bahamas Air and Air Jamaica offer regular flights. British Airways, Air Canada and a number of other international carriers offer regularly scheduled charter flights to Providenciales. Travel to the Islands is also possible by way of the Cuba, Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Regularly scheduled service and charter flights connect the islands to one another. To few more flight information, feel free to visit www.visitprovidenciales.com.
A passport and valid onward or return ticket are required for entry. Visitors from North America may enter without a passport if they have a birth certificate and one piece of photo identification. Visitors from Eastern Bloc countries will also need a Visa. Visitors wishing to reside in the Islands need a residency certificate. A business license or a work permit is required of any visitor wishing to establish a business or work in the TCI.
Visitors are allowed to bring into the TCI the following items free of duty: one quart of alcohol or two liters of wine; either 200 cigarettes, 100 cigarillos, 50 cigars or 12.5 grams of tobacco; and 50 grams of perfume or 0.25 liters of toilet water. Firearms, controlled drugs and pornography are not permitted in the Islands. Returning residents are permitted US$400 worth of personal merchandise, duty free. Residents must pay 10 to 30% duty on most imported goods.
There are no health regulations on visitors to the Islands. There is no quarantine period for incoming pets. The Public Health Inspector examines all animals upon arrival. Individuals carrying animals or pets into TCI will require a signed veterinary certificate, dated within one month of travel, stating that the animal is in good health, free of contagious or infectious disease and vaccinated against rabies and distemper.
The United States Dollar is legal tender. American Express, VISA, Master Card and other major credit cards are widely accepted. Traveler's cheques are accepted in most establishments and currency is easily changed at the banks.
Taxes & Tipping
No major taxes exist in the Islands; there are no direct taxes on either income or capital gains for either individuals or businesses. However, there is an 9% hotel and restaurant tax and a 10% gratuity charge added to your hotel bill. Some restaurants will automatically add a gratuity charge on your dining bill, usually 10 to 15%.
US$23 is levied on passengers.
One Hundred and Ten volts, 60 cycles-suitable for North American electronic appliances.
Emergency: Dial 999 or 911 to be automatically connected to the police, fire department and/or ambulance service.Telecommunications: Worldwide direct dialing, telex, telegram and facsimile services are available. Cellular telephones, internet services and credit card calling are also available in the Islands. Local and international telephone services are provided by Cable & Wireless. Public telephones are setup in numerous locations on all the islands. Phone cards and cellular phones are sold through various businesses. Public internet access is provided by a number of internet cafés.
On most of the islands, the main source of water supply comes from rain water collected on roof tops and kept in cisterns. Providenciales has purified water available via pipes to homes and businesses. In addition, some hotels have reverse osmosis stations. Bottled water is readily available in hotels and stores.
A variety of health care services are available. There are two government hospitals; one in Providenciales and one in Grand Turk. In addition, there are a few private medical clinics in Providenciales. Other services available include: dental, chiropractic, physiotherapy, optometry and a recompression chamber. The national hospital is located on the island of Grand Turk. The smaller islands have smaller clinics with government doctors, midwives and nurses. In medical emergencies, patients are air evacuated to hospitals in Grand Turk, Nassau or Miami, depending on the severity.
There is general postal delivery to homes and businesses on all of the islands, however, most residents of Providenciales and Grand Turk have post office boxes. If you have mail to post, hotel employees can assist you, or you can go directly to the post office. Stamp collectors will be interested in our fine selection of collectable stamps. All international mail is transported by air and routed through Miami. Post Office business hours are: Providenciales and Grand Turk: Monday-Thursday 8 am - 4 pm; Friday 8 am - 3:30 pm. All other islands: Monday-Thursday 8:30 am - 12:30 pm and 2 pm to 4:30 pm; Fridays 8:30 am - 12:30 pm and 2 pm to 4:30 pm (3:30 pm on Fridays). Providenciales' Post Office is located downtown on the corner of Airport Road. The locations of the Post Offices on the other islands are as follows: North Caicos-Bottle Creek and Kew, Middle Caicos-Conch Bar, District Commissioner's Office, South Caicos-Regatta Square, Grand Turk-Government Complex, Front Street, and Salt Cay-District Commissioner's Office.
Multi-channel satellite cable television is available throughout the Islands. WIV-TV provides Providenciales with thirty-three channels from the USA and Britain (BBC) 24 hours per day. Grand Turk Cable TV offers 20 channels from the USA. Satellite dishes are utilized on the other islands.
The following stations are available 24 hours per day on FM radio: WPRT FM radio broadcasting on 88.7, country music on 90.5, classical music on 89.9, easy listening and jazz on 89.3 and contemporary music on 92.5. National Radio Turks and Caicos broadcasts during the daytime hours on 1460Khz.
The Turks & Caicos Islands boasts one of the lowest crime rates in the Caribbean and one of the highest crime resolution rates. Although our crime rate is low, tourists are advised to keep expensive personal belongings in hotel safety deposit boxes. Valuables should not be left unattended and hotel, condo, or villa windows and doors, and vehicles should be kept locked at all times.
Drivers in the Turks & Caicos Islands follow the British way: that is, we drive on the LEFT SIDE and give way to those on our immediate right. Visitors will require a valid driver's license from their country of residence.
Houses of Worship
The Turks and Caicos Islands is home to many religions. Services are offered at many churches and temples of different denominations. Check the Real TCI Yellow Pages for a list of churches.
The Registrars Office
Front Street, Grand Turk (649) 946-2800
Facsimile: (649) 946-2821
Sam's Sq, Providenciales (649) 946-4258/5123
Visitors must be in the TCI for a minimum of 24 hours prior to applying for a marriage license. There is a two to three day waiting period for the license. If either party is under the age of 21 years, parents consent is required. Applicants should have an affidavit stating that they are single, signed by a Justice of the Peace or Notary. If divorced or widowed, proof is required. Fee for the marriage license is US$50. For further information, contact The Registrars Office.
Victoria's Public Library
Front Street, Grand Turk (649) 946-2716
Facsimile: (649) 946-2716
Call for information on hours and services.
Traveller's cheques & Credit Cards
Traveller's Cheques and major credit cards are widely accepted at many attractions, restaurants, grocery stores, shops and other businesses.