Turks and Caicos Islands Basics

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The Basics

Time: Local time is GMT -4

Electricity: Electricity is the same as in the US: 120/240 volts, 60 Hz.

Money: The US dollar (USD) is the official currency, which is divided into 100 cents. Local banks and most big hotels, restaurants and taxi services accept travellers cheques and credit cards. Banks offer ATMs as well as cash advances on credit cards.

Currency Exchange Rates

USD1.00 = USD 1.00GBP 0.82CAD 1.33AUD 1.48ZAR 15.14EUR 0.91NZD 1.58
Note: These rates are not updated daily and should be used as a guideline only.

Language: The national language is English, but some words are pronounced in a way unique to the islands.

Entry requirements for Americans: US citizens do not require a visa for stays of up to 90 days, provided they hold a passport valid for the period of intended stay.

Entry requirements for UK nationals: British nationals require a valid passport, but no visa is required to enter the islands for a stay of up to 90 days.

Entry requirements for Canadians: Canadian citizens do not require a visa for stays of up to 90 days, provided they hold a passport valid for the period of intended stay.

Entry requirements for Australians: Australian citizens do not require a visa for stays of up to 90 days, provided they hold a passport valid for the period of intended stay.

Entry requirements for South Africans: South African citizens do not require a visa for stays of up to 90 days, provided they hold a passport valid for the period of intended stay.

Entry requirements for New Zealanders: New Zealanders do not require a visa for stays of up to 90 days, provided they hold a passport valid for the period of intended stay.

Entry requirements for Irish nationals: Irish nationals do not require a visa for stays of up to 90 days, provided they hold a passport valid for the period of intended stay.

Passport/Visa Note: All visitors must hold a return or onward ticket, all documents required for their next destination and sufficient funds. As part of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI), all travellers travelling between the United States and Canada, Mexico, Bermuda, and the Caribbean region are required to present a passport or other valid travel document to enter or re-enter the United States. If departing from the USA, a valid passport will be required by immigration authorities. Your passport should be valid for a minimum period of 6 months from the date of entry into Turks and Caicos. Immigration officials often apply different rules to those stated by travel agents and official sources.

Getting around: It is easy to get around the islands on one of the many forms of hire vehicles available, from cars to scooters. Taxis are freely available and can be hired by the day for excursions. Agree on a price before the journey. Requirements for hiring a car are a full, valid driving licence from your country of origin. Drivers must be at least 23 to 25 years old, depending on the hire company. The islands are linked by ferries and the services of numerous tour companies.

Travel Health: No vaccinations are required for entry to the islands, except for those coming from a yellow fever area that must hold proof of vaccination. A vaccination for hepatitis A should be considered. Medical facilities are limited and comprehensive health insurance, including coverage for transfer by helicopter, is recommended for all travellers. Serious cases are usually evacuated to Miami or Nassau. There is a small hospital on Grand Turk and some private general practitioners on Providenciales.

Tipping: Tips of around 15 percent of the bill are the norm for waiters, taxi drivers and bar tenders. Hotels usually include a service charge of 10 to 15 percent.

Safety Information: Visits to the Turks and Caicos Islands are usually trouble-free, and crime is generally of a petty, opportunistic kind. The crime rate is low, but on the favourite tourist island of Providenciales there have been incidents of burglary and theft, so visitors should take precautions with valuables. Robberies have occurred on Grace Bay Beach. Hurricane season generally runs from June to November.

Local Customs: Culture in the Turks and Caicos Islands is relaxed and hospitable if not overly friendly, and islanders are known for their good manners. Address strangers with respect and note that the use of titles is considered normal and appropriate. Things happen slowly on the islands and attempting to rush service will only annoy. You should cover beachwear when off the beach, and men need to wear long pants at smarter restaurants. Topless and nude sunbathing is illegal. Gay and lesbian relationships are legal, but tend to be discreet and public displays of affection may be frowned upon.

Business: The Turks and Caicos Islands are subject to English Common Law and business is conducted in a similar manner to the United Kingdom; however, suits are only necessary for the most formal of occasions. Business hours are generally 8.30am to 4.30pm, Monday to Friday.

Communications: Cable & Wireless Ltd. provides the islands, and most of the Caribbean, with a digital network of telecommunications, including GSM cellular coverage and internet connections. The country direct dialling code is +1 followed by 649. The outgoing code is 011 followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 01144 for the United Kingdom). Public phones operate with phone cards.

Duty Free: Travellers may enter the Turks and Caicos Islands with the following goods without paying customs duty: 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 220g of tobacco products; and 1 litre spirits or 2 litres wine. Spearguns are strictly prohibited.