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Yello’s Bite-sized Guide to the Caribbean: Turks & Caicos Islands

by Karen Rollins Sep 5, 2022

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Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI)

Yello knows the Caribbean! We are based in 20 countries across the region, and each one of them is quintessentially Caribbean while also offering visitors a one-of-a-kind cultural experience. 

Our British, French, and Dutch colonial past can be seen in our food, art, fashion, music, and languages. Yet as a region, we are also slowly developing our unique Caribbean identity based on our distinct geography, values, and experiences.

It’s time to appreciate our shared Caribbean culture and learn more about the countries in our region – come with us to the Turks & Caicos Islands (TCI).

Capital: Cockburn Town (Grand Turk Island)

Background: The Turks & Caicos Islands (were originally inhabited by the Taino and Lucayan Indians for around 700 years. They lived mainly on Middle Caicos and Grand Turk. Christopher Columbus arrived in 1492 and within a few decades the indigenous population was wiped out.

During the 1670s, settlers from Bermuda arrived on TCI to establish a solar-evaporated salt industry. In the 1700s, the islands were fought over by the French, Spanish, and British before being eventually retained by the British as part of the Treaty of Versailles. 

In 1766, Turks & Caicos became part of the Bahamas colony. It was managed by the Bahamian government until 1874 when the islands became dependencies to the British Crown Colony of Jamaica.

After Jamaica gained independence in 1962, TCI became a British colony on its own and still has that status today.

Getting around: If you want to explore Providenciales (commonly known as Provo) you will have to hire a car or get a taxi. There is no public transport on TCI. 

Renting a vehicle on Grand Turk, North and Middle Caicos and the South Caicos islands will be quite expensive so you should consider using local taxis.

Island hopping is relatively easy due to regular ferry services operating from Providenciales to North Caicos and South Caicos and from Grand Turk to Salt Cay. However, there are no direct ferries between Provo and the Turks Islands. 

Ferries between Provo and North Caicos cost $25 (US) one-way.

Flying between islands is a pricey option but there are several international airports on TCI including the main point of entry on Providenciales. Other islands, except for East Caicos, have smaller airstrips for domestic flights.

Must-see place of interest: Bird Rock Point Trail on the eastern point of Providenciales offers a scenic and tranquil getaway especially for nature lovers and walkers. 

A 1.3km hiking trail has been created by the Turks & Caicos National Trust. It is not strenuous and enables visitors to appreciate the area’s plant and animal life at their own pace. Expect to see several species of birds including green herons, Antillean nighthawks, bananaquits, ospreys, and mangrove cuckoos.

Must-do annual event: The TCI Conch Festival is a celebration of all thing’s conch! 

Taking place in the Blue Hills in November, this weekend-long event sees local chefs preparing conch – TCI’s national symbol and number one export – in every way imaginable. 

A lucky panel of experts get to taste some of the meals to decide who can claim the coveted title of ‘best conch chef’!

Motto: ‘Beautiful by Nature’

Fun fact: Since 2002, TCI’s Grace Bay has come either first or second on TripAdvisor’s list of the best beaches in the world.

Want to know more about TCI before you go? Visit the official tourism authority website – https://turksandcaicostourism.com

Sources: Britannica.com, Turks and Caicos National Trust and U.S. News