Places in Turks and Caicos Islands
Chalk Sound Islands - Turks & Caicos Islands
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Chalk Sound Islands - Turks & Caicos Islands

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Turks and Caicos Islands Travel Guide

Key Facts
Area

948 sq km (366 sq miles).

Population

34,904 (UN estimate 2016).

Population density

53 per sq km.

Capital

Cockburn Town, Grand Turk.

Government

British Overseas Territory.

Head of state

HM Queen Elizabeth II since 2015, represented locally by Governor Nigel Dakin since 2019.

Head of government

Premier Washington Misick since 2021.

Electricity

110-120 volts AC, 60 Hz. North American-style plugs with two flat pins (with or without third grounding pin) are used.

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.

Travel Advice

Coronavirus travel health

Check the latest information on risk from COVID-19 for Turks and Caicos Islands on the TravelHealthPro website

See the TravelHealthPro website for further advice on travel abroad and reducing spread of respiratory viruses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Entry and borders

See Entry requirements to find out what you will need to do when you arrive in Turks and Caicos Islands and read the new TCI Assured guidance in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Returning to the UK

When you return, you must follow the rules for entering the UK.

You are responsible for organising your own COVID-19 test, in line with UK government testing requirements. You should contact local authorities for information on testing facilities.

Be prepared for your plans to change

No travel is risk-free during COVID. Countries may further restrict travel or bring in new rules at short notice, for example due to a new COVID-19 variant. Check with your travel company or airline for any transport changes which may delay your journey home.

From 1 September 2021, any fully vaccinated tourist testing positive whilst in TCI must self-isolate at their own expense for a period of ten days (10) and undergo a COVID-19 mandatory test on day seven (7) prior to being released.

Plan ahead and make sure you:

  • can access money
  • understand what your insurance will cover
  • can make arrangements to extend your stay and be away for longer than planned

Travel in Turks and Caicos Islands

All travellers to Turks & Caicos aged 16 and above must be fully vaccinated and all travellers aged 10 and above (including those fully vaccinated) will be required to upload on to the TCI Assured Portal (TCI Assured guidance) one of the following professionally administered test results for entry to the TCI:

  • Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction Tests result (RT-PCR);
  • Nucleic Acid Amplification test result (NAA);
  • RNA or molecular test results; or
  • an Antigen test result

Tests and results need to have been completed within three days of the date of arrival into Turks and Caicos.

Please also note that each person travelling will need to upload their information on to the TCI Assured Portal

Health screening is in place at all seaports and airports.

NHS vaccine cards and/or a letter from your GP or professional body where you were fully vaccinated will be accepted as proof of your vaccination in the UK.

A number of regulations are in place in the Turks and Caicos Islands. Any contravention of these regulations is considered an offence, which may result in a fine of up to $1000, or imprisonment of up to three months. Regulations include:

With effect from 5am on Wednesday 1 December 2021 until 28 February 2022, unless otherwise stated:

  • Face coverings are required to be worn in all public places, including inside buildings such as supermarkets, shops, restaurants, hotels, holiday accommodations and government buildings. A US$550 fine will be imposed on individuals for not wearing a face mask/covering
  • Taxi operators and community cabs are permitted to carry up to 10 passengers subject to adherence of health protocols, and there being no more than two separate families on board.

Regulations vary dependant on the venue and type of event. Please check with venue management and event organisers for up to date regulations.

More detailed information on local measures in place is available on the TCI Government website.

Accommodation

Hotels and private villas have re-opened across the Turks and Caicos Islands in line with the travel and movement restrictions noted in the “Travel in Turks and Caicos Islands” information above. You are advised to contact the hotel direct to inform yourself on Covid-19 specific measures and requirements they have in place.

Healthcare in Turks and Caicos Islands

Your emotional and mental wellbeing is important. Read guidance on how to look after your mental wellbeing and mental health.

View Health for further details on healthcare in Turks and Caicos Islands.

See also the guidance on healthcare if you’re waiting to return to the UK.

If you think you have COVID-19 symptoms call the Coronavirus hotline on 333-0911 or 2329444. Call 911 to get medical attention immediately. Do not go to a doctor’s office, pharmacy or hospital.

COVID-19 vaccines if you live in Turks and Caicos Islands

The UK Government has been supplying vaccines to the people of the UK’s Overseas Territories. The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is the UK authority responsible for assessing the safety, quality and efficacy of vaccines. MHRA has temporarily authorised under Regulation 174 of Human Medicines Regulations 2012, the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for supply in the UK, Crown Dependencies and Overseas Territories for use in Turks and Caicos Islands.

Finance

For information on financial support you can access whilst abroad, visit our financial assistance guidance.

Further Information

Further information and COVID-19 guidance for the Turks and Caicos Islands is available from the Ministry of Health. If you need urgent assistance, see Emergency assistance

Crime

Levels of crime in the Turks and Caicos Islands are relatively low. However, the level of crime on Providenciales, the first point of arrival into the Turks and Caicos Islands for most visitors and the territory’s economic hub, is higher than on the other islands where incidences of serious crime are less frequent. Most crime tends to be as a result of opportunistic burglary and theft, although an increase in more serious robberies against individuals has been reported. Victims of robberies may suffer injuries if they resist.

Safeguard your possessions and take normal precautions to ensure your personal safety, including when using ATM machines, especially at night. Avoid carrying large amounts of cash and valuables. Take particular care of your passport as this can’t be replaced locally. Use hotel safety deposit facilities where possible.

See the Turks and Caicos crime-stoppers website for more crime prevention tips.

Local travel

If you go to isolated spots or remote islands, or go diving/snorkelling, leave details of your trip and an expected time of return with a friend, relative, or hotel receptionist. Avoid isolated spots and unlit roads at night.

Standard taxi fares exist for most destinations on the principal islands. Charges may be applied per person. Clarify the fare with the driver before beginning a journey.

Road travel

You can drive using a British Driving Licence or an International Driving Permit for a period of one month. After this you should get a local licence from the Department of Road Safety.

Most hire cars and jeeps are imported from the US and so are left-hand drive even though driving is on the left (as in the UK). Remember to drive on the left. Observe speed limits (20mph in town, and 40mph elsewhere). Don’t drink and drive. Use seat belts on all journeys. Accidents, sometimes serious, are on the increase on the Leeward Highway (Providenciales), especially at night. Be aware of cyclists and, even, cars driving at night without lights.

Emergency assistance

The Turks and Caicos Islands is a British Overseas Territory so does not have formal British consular representation. All emergency assistance needed by British nationals is delivered by the Turks and Caicos Islands government.

If you’re a victim of crime, contact the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police on 911.

Birth, Death and Marriage registration enquiries:
Telephone: + (649) 946 2801

Email: infobordercontrol@gov.tc
Immigration, passport and visa enquiries:
Check the Ministry of Border Control and Labour website

Visit the One Stop Shop, Three Degrees, Grand Turk
Telephone: + (649) 946 2801

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

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 more about the global threat from terrorism.

There’s a heightened threat of terrorist attack globally against UK interests and British nationals, from groups or individuals motivated by the conflict in Iraq and Syria. You should be vigilant at this time.

The Turks and Caicos Islands is a separate legal jurisdiction to the United Kingdom and has its own laws.

Don’t become involved with drugs of any kind. There are severe penalties for possession of even a small quantity.

Homosexuality is legal under Turks and Caicos Islands’ law. However, there’s no provision for marriage or civil partnerships between same-sex couples. Attitudes in the main tourist destination of Providenciales are tolerant. Throughout Turks and Caicos, hotels and resorts are generally welcoming regardless of sexual orientation. Outside the tourist areas local attitudes can be conservative and some people may not approve of public displays of affection between same-sex couples. See our information and advice page for the LGBT community before you travel.

This page reflects the UK government’s understanding of current rules for people travelling on a full ‘British Citizen’ passport, for the most common types of travel.

The authorities in Turks and Caicos Islands set and enforce entry rules. For further information contact the embassy, high commission or consulate of the country or territory you’re travelling to. You should also consider checking with your transport provider or travel company to make sure your passport and other travel documents meet their requirements.

Entry rules in response to coronavirus (COVID-19)

Entry to Turks and Caicos Islands

Anyone arriving to the Turks and Caicos Islands is required to obtain pre-travel authorisation via the Turks and Caicos Islands Assured Portal. All travellers to Turks & Caicos aged 16 and above must be fully vaccinated and all travellers aged 10 and above (including those fully vaccinated) will be required to upload on to the TCI Assured Portal, one of the following professionally administered test results for entry to the TCI:

  • Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction Tests result (RT-PCR);
  • Nucleic Acid Amplification test result (NAA);
  • RNA or molecular test results; or
  • an Antigen test result

Tests and results need to have been completed within three days of the date of arrival into Turks and Caicos.

Travellers will also be required to provide proof of health/travel insurance with COVID-19 cover and a completed health screening questionnaire. All visitors aged 16 and above will also need to provide evidence of full vaccination against COVID-19 on arrival to TCI. NHS vaccine cards and/or a letter from your GP or professional body where you were fully vaccinated will be accepted as proof of your vaccination in the UK.

Any fully vaccinated tourist testing positive whilst in TCI must self-isolate at their own expense for a period of ten days (10) and undergo a COVID-19 mandatory test on day seven (7) prior to being released.

Any returning resident that is not fully vaccinated must submit a negative, pre-arrival Covid-19 test, and self-quarantine for a period of seven (7) days, including their household, and undergo a mandatory test (required to be negative) on day five (5) prior to being released.

You should not use the NHS testing service to get a test in order to facilitate your travel to another country. You should arrange to take a private test. All visitors will be required to wear masks on arrival to the Turks and Caicos Islands. More information on pre-travel authorisation to the Turks and Caicos Islands is available online.

Regular entry requirements

Visas

If you need further information about entry requirements, contact the local immigration authorities. You should also check with your airline or travel company for the latest information.

Visas are not required if you have a valid UK Passport. The Turks and Caicos Islands Immigration department will normally give you permission to stay for up to 90 days. You will need a permit to work on any of the islands.

For more information on visa requirements, visit the website of the Turks and Caicos Islands Ministry of Border Control and Employment.

Passport validity

You must hold a valid passport to enter Turks and Caicos. Your passport should be valid for a minimum period of 6 months from the date of entry into Turks and Caicos.

UK Emergency Travel Documents

UK Emergency Travel Documents are accepted for entry, airside transit and exit for Turks and Caicos Islands.

Customs regulations

There are restrictions on the import and export of agricultural, food and marine products. Before arrival, all flight passengers will be asked to complete a form providing details of products they are bringing into the country. This form should be handed to a customs official on arrival.

There are no restrictions for travellers on the import of cameras, film or sports equipment. To bring in firearms of any type (including spear guns and Hawaiian slings), you will need written approval from the Commissioner of Police.

Travelling with medicines or any controlled drugs must be accompanied by a doctor’s prescription. Keep all medication in original packaging to avoid confusion and questioning at ports of entry.

The hurricane season in the Caribbean normally runs from June to November.

You should monitor the progress of storms on the website of the US National Hurricane Centre and follow the advice of the local authorities. Direct hits are, historically, rare. Hotel management and local radio stations will pass on government advice if a hurricane is forecast.

See our tropical cyclones page for advice about how to prepare effectively and what to do if you’re likely to be affected by a hurricane or tropical cyclone.

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Check the latest information on risk from COVID-19 for Turks and Caicos Islands on the TravelHealthPro website

See the healthcare information in the Coronavirus section for information on what to do if you think you have coronavirus while in Turks and Caicos Islands.

At least 8 weeks before your trip, check the latest health advice from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) on the TravelHealthPro website. Each overseas territory page has information on vaccine recommendations, any current health risks or outbreaks, and factsheets with information on staying healthy abroad. Guidance is also available from NHS (Scotland) on the FitForTravel website.

General information on travel vaccinations and a travel health checklist is available on the NHS website. You may then wish to contact your health adviser or pharmacy for advice on other preventive measures and managing any pre-existing medical conditions while you are abroad.

The legal status and regulation of some medicines prescribed or purchased in the UK can be different in overseas territories. If you are travelling with prescription or over-the-counter medicine, read this guidance from NaTHNaC on best practice when travelling with medicines. For further information on the legal status of a specific medicine, you’ll need to contact the local territory government.

While travel can be enjoyable, it can sometimes be challenging. There are clear links between mental and physical health, so looking after yourself during travel and when abroad is important. Information on travelling with mental health conditions is available in our guidance page. Further information is also available from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC).

Health risks

UK health authorities have classified Turks and Caicos Islands as having a risk of Zika virus transmission. No cases of Zika infection have been reported in Turks and Caicos Islands since January 2017. For information and advice about the risks associated with Zika virus, visit the National Travel Health Network and Centre website.

Cases of dengue fever and chikungunya virus have been confirmed in the Turks and Caicos Islands. You should take steps to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes. For more details about this outbreak, see the website of the National Health Network and Centre.

Medical treatment

There are hospital facilities on Providenciales and Grand Turk, both operated by Interhealth Canada. They provide a range of services including diagnostic services, primary care and outpatient specialty clinics, emergency services and inpatient care. Serious cases are still referred overseas, usually to Miami or Nassau. Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation.

If you need emergency medical assistance during your trip, dial 911 and ask for an ambulance. You should contact your insurance/medical assistance company promptly if you are referred to a medical facility for treatment.

If you need to obtain further supplies of your prescribed medicine whilst you are in the Turks and Caicos Islands, you will firstly need to visit a registered physician, who will either countersign your UK prescription or issue a new one. It is likely that you will have to pay for your medical appointment and the full costs of your medicine up front then submit a claim for reimbursement through your travel insurance.

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

If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission. If you need urgent help because something has happened to a friend or relative abroad, contact the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) in London on 020 7008 5000 (24 hours).

Foreign travel checklist

Read our foreign travel checklist to help you plan for your trip abroad and stay safe while you’re there.

Travel safety

The FCDO travel advice helps you make your own decisions about foreign travel. Your safety is our main concern, but we can’t provide tailored advice for individual trips. If you’re concerned about whether or not it’s safe for you to travel, you should read the travel advice for the country or territory you’re travelling to, together with information from other sources you’ve identified, before making your own decision on whether to travel. Only you can decide whether it’s safe for you to travel.

When we judge the level of risk to British nationals in a particular place has become unacceptably high, we’ll state on the travel advice page for that country or territory that we advise against all or all but essential travel. Read more about how the FCDO assesses and categorises risk in foreign travel advice.

Our crisis overseas page suggests additional things you can do before and during foreign travel to help you stay safe.

Refunds and cancellations

If you wish to cancel or change a holiday that you’ve booked, you should contact your travel company. The question of refunds and cancellations is a matter for you and your travel company. Travel companies make their own decisions about whether or not to offer customers a refund. Many of them use our travel advice to help them reach these decisions, but we do not instruct travel companies on when they can or can’t offer a refund to their customers.

For more information about your rights if you wish to cancel a holiday, visit the Citizen’s Advice Bureau website. For help resolving problems with a flight booking, visit the website of the Civil Aviation Authority. For questions about travel insurance, contact your insurance provider and if you’re not happy with their response, you can complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service.

Registering your travel details with us

We’re no longer asking people to register with us before travel. Our foreign travel checklist and crisis overseas page suggest things you can do before and during foreign travel to plan your trip and stay safe.

Previous versions of FCDO travel advice

If you’re looking for a previous version of the FCDO travel advice, visit the National Archives website. Versions prior to 2 September 2020 will be archived as FCO travel advice. If you can’t find the page you’re looking for there, send the Travel Advice team a request.

Further help

If you’re a British national and you have a question about travelling abroad that isn’t covered in our foreign travel advice or elsewhere on GOV.UK, you can submit an enquiry. We’re not able to provide tailored advice for specific trips.

Visa and passport information is updated regularly and is correct at the time of publishing. You should verify critical travel information independently with the relevant embassy before you travel.