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Turks and Caicos Islands travel guide

About Turks and Caicos Islands

Blessed with an abundance of natural riches – white powdery beaches, pellucid waters and some of the best reefs in the Caribbean – the Turks and Caicos Islands have a reputation for exclusivity. That may not be entirely fair, but this 40-island archipelago is certainly skewered towards the well heeled, with its credit card-melting hotels and private island resorts, where the rich and famous go to escape the hoi polloi.

If your bank balance can’t stand the heat, there are affordable options to be found on the likes of Grand Turk, the largest island, where visitors can take in the delights of Governor’s Beach or head offshore to bathe on Little Sand Cay, a tiny island comprised of white sand and a handful of swaying palms.

A visit to Salt Cay off Grand Turk offers a rare opportunity to view migrating humpback whales. Come on a full moon and you could also be treated to a natural light show courtesy of the bioluminescent glowworms, which inhabit the local waters. Swimming with stingrays off Gibbs Cay and kayaking through nearby salt marshes are just some of the other diversions.

It’s not all about the coast, though. There are numerous parks, reserves and historic attractions inland, such as Cheshire Hall, a crumbling colonial plantation where guides regale visitors with historical anecdotes about the islands.

Those seeking culture should head to Grand Turk, where you will find the archipelago’s capital, Cockburn Town, which is home to exquisite colonial era buildings, a smattering of museums and a handful of restaurants. A sophisticated, more upbeat vibe prevails on the island of Providenciales, which boasts lively beach bars, some excellent restaurants and the venerable Provo Golf & Country Club, one of the Caribbean’s finest. Those who fancy escaping the crowds can hop on a ferry to nearby North Caicos, an island of few people and many flamingoes.

Key facts


948 sq km (366 sq miles).


34,904 (UN estimate 2016).

Population density:

53 per sq km.


Cockburn Town, Grand Turk.


British Overseas Territory.

Head of state:

HM King Charles III since 2022, represented locally by Governor Nigel Dakin since 2019.

Head of government:

Premier Washington Misick since 2021.

Travel Advice

The Turks and Caicos Islands is a British Overseas Territory, so there is no British Embassy, and the Turks and Caicos Islands government will support you if you need help.

Before you travel

No travel can be guaranteed safe. Read all the advice in this guide and any specific travel advice that applies to you:

Travel insurance

If you choose to travel, research your destinations and get appropriate travel insurance. Insurance should cover your itinerary, planned activities and expenses in an emergency.

About FCDO travel advice

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) provides advice about risks of travel to help British nationals make informed decisions. Find out more about FCDO travel advice.

Follow and contact FCDO travel on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. You can also sign up to get email notifications when this advice is updated.

This information is for people travelling on a full ‘British citizen’ passport from the UK. It is based on the UK government’s understanding of the current rules for the most common types of travel.

The authorities in the Turks and Caicos Islands set and enforce entry rules. If you’re not sure how these requirements apply to you, contact the Turks and Caicos Islands Government London Office.

COVID-19 rules

There are no COVID-19 testing or vaccination requirements for travellers entering the Turks and Caicos Islands.

Passport validity requirements

To enter the Turks and Caicos Islands, your passport must have an ‘expiry date’ at least 6 months after the date you arrive and at least 2 blank pages. 

Check with your travel provider that your passport and other travel documents meet requirements. Renew your passport if you need to.

You will be denied entry if you do not have a valid travel document or try to use a passport that has been reported lost or stolen.

Visa requirements

You can visit the Turks and Caicos Islands without a visa. On arrival, the immigration department will normally give you permission to stay for up to 90 days.

At border control you may need to show a return or onward ticket.  

You need a permit to work on any of the islands. See details on applying for a work permit.

Vaccine requirements

For details about medical entry requirements and recommended vaccinations, see TravelHealthPro’s Turks and Caicos Islands guide.

Customs rules

There are strict rules about goods you can take into or out of the Turks and Caicos Islands. You must declare anything that may be prohibited or subject to tax or duty.

Taking money into and out of the Turks and Caicos Islands

Declare cash or other forms of payment if the value is more than 10,000 US dollars.


Make sure you carry any medication in the original packaging and bring the prescription.


Importation of firearms, ammunition (including stray bullets) and other weapons is strictly prohibited unless you have the written approval of the Commissioner of Police. Penalties include a minimum custodial sentence of 12 years. Declaring a weapon or ammunition in your luggage with an airline carrier does not grant permission to bring these prohibited items into the Turks and Caicos Islands.

Search your luggage before you travel to the Turks and Caicos Islands to ensure you do not bring in forbidden items.


There is a high threat of terrorist attack globally affecting UK interests and British nationals, including from groups and individuals who view the UK and British nationals as targets. Stay aware of your surroundings at all times.    

UK Counter Terrorism Policing has information and advice on staying safe abroad and what to do in the event of a terrorist attack. Find out how to reduce your risk from terrorism while abroad.

Terrorism in the Turks and Caicos Islands

Although there’s no recent history of terrorism in the Turks and Caicos Islands, attacks cannot be ruled out.


Levels of crime across the Turks and Caicos Islands are relatively low. Providenciales and Grand Turk have seen higher levels of gun-related crime than other islands. While risks are generally lower in tourist areas, always take local advice and be aware of your surroundings.

Protecting yourself and your belongings

Most other crime is opportunistic, such as burglary, theft and muggings. You can take steps to reduce your personal risk by:

  • not carrying large amounts of cash or valuables
  • avoiding isolated areas, particularly at night
  • taking care when using an ATM
  • keeping your passport in a hotel or villa safe if possible – you will not be able to get a replacement passport locally
  • not resisting if you’re attacked


Avoid taking unregistered taxis (‘jitneys’).

Laws and cultural differences

The Turks and Caicos Islands is a British Overseas Territory and has its own laws.

Illegal drugs and prison sentences

Do not become involved with drugs of any kind. There are severe penalties for possession of even a small amount. You could be arrested and face fines of up to 5,000 US dollars and 2 years imprisonment.

LGBT+ travellers

Same-sex relationships are legal in the Turks and Caicos Islands. However, there’s no provision in law for same-sex marriages or civil partnerships.

Public attitudes are tolerant but conservative. Some people may not approve of same-sex couples showing affection in public. 

Read more advice for LGBT+ travellers.

Outdoor activities and adventure tourism

Swimming safety and water sports

Many visitors take part in water sports. The rate of accidents is very low, but they do occur.

See water safety on holiday from the Royal Life Saving Society.

Scuba diving 

Check the conditions on your insurance policy – some policies require dive instructors to have certain qualifications. Always:

  • ask to see a dive operator’s credentials
  • make sure safety equipment looks to be in good condition
  • make sure oxygen is available on the boat

Get advice on the safe depth for your dive. If you have not had any previous diving experience, check what to do if something goes wrong, including how to call for help while at sea.

If you go diving or snorkelling, leave details of your trip and an expected time of return with a friend, relative, hotel receptionist or villa staff.

Transport risks

Road travel

If you are planning to drive in the Turks and Caicos Islands, see information on driving abroad.

You can use a UK photocard driving licence to drive in the Turks and Caicos Islands for one month. If you still have a paper driving licence, you may need to update it to a photocard licence or get the correct version of the international driving permit (IDP) as well.

Hire car companies often have stricter requirements for their customers, such as a year of driving experience, a higher minimum age and holding an IDP. Check the licence requirements with your provider.

Driving standards

Driving is on the left, but be aware that most rental cars are left-hand drive. 

There is an increasing number of accidents on Leeward Highway on Providenciales, particularly at night. Take care when driving as livestock – goats, cows, donkeys and horses – regularly wander on to the road, especially on Grand Turk. 

Street lighting is limited, particularly away from the main roads.  

The speed limit in Turks and Caicos is 20mph in towns and 40mph elsewhere.


There are standard taxi fares for most destinations on the main islands. You may be charged per person. Confirm the fare with the driver before starting a journey.   

Extreme weather and natural disasters

Find out what you can do to prepare for and respond to extreme weather and natural hazards.


The hurricane season in the Turks and Caicos Islands normally runs from June to November.

Monitor storms on the US National Hurricane Center and the Department of Disaster Management and Emergencies, and follow advice from local authorities.

You can also download Department of Disaster Management and Emergencies app (‘DDME Alert’) to get real-time alerts and updates.


Earthquakes could be a risk. See more information from the Department of Disaster Management and Emergencies.

Before you travel check that:

  • your destination can provide the healthcare you may need
  • you have appropriate travel insurance for local treatment or unexpected medical evacuation

This is particularly important if you have a health condition or are pregnant.

Emergency medical number

Call 911 and ask for an ambulance.

Contact your insurance company quickly if you’re referred to a medical facility for treatment.

Vaccine recommendations and health risks

At least 8 weeks before your trip:

See what health risks you’ll face in the Turks and Caicos Islands, including:

  • Zika virus
  • dengue
  • chikungunya


Pharmacies on all islands are usually well stocked. However, less common medication may only be available from the hospital or pharmacies on Providenciales.

If you need more prescribed medicine, you need to go to a registered physician, who will either countersign your UK prescription or give you a new one. You will usually have to pay up front, then claim for reimbursement through your insurance.

The legal status and regulation of some medicines prescribed or bought in the UK can be different in other countries.

Read best practice when travelling with medicines on TravelHealthPro.

Healthcare in the Turks and Caicos Islands

There are hospitals on Providenciales and Grand Turk. They provide a range of services including diagnostic services, primary care and outpatient speciality clinics, emergency services and inpatient care. If the local hospitals cannot treat a patient, they can make a medical referral. The referral is usually regional, but could be to South America or the USA. Make sure your insurance is comprehensive and covers medical evacuation. 

Travel and mental health

Read FCDO guidance on travel and mental health. There is also mental health guidance on TravelHealthPro.

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) cannot provide tailored advice for individual trips. Read this travel advice and carry out your own research before deciding whether to travel.

The Turks and Caicos Islands is a British overseas territory, so there is no British Embassy, and the Turks and Caicos Islands government will support you if you need help.

Emergency services in Turks and Caicos Islands

Telephone: 911 (ambulance, fire, police)

Contact your travel provider and insurer

Contact your travel provider and your insurer if you are involved in a serious incident or emergency abroad. They will tell you if they can help and what you need to do.

Refunds and changes to travel

For refunds or changes to travel, contact your travel provider. You may also be able to make a claim through insurance. However, insurers usually require you to talk to your travel provider first.

Find out more about changing or cancelling travel plans, including:

  • where to get advice if you are in a dispute with a provider
  • how to access previous versions of travel advice to support a claim
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