Where to Stay in Turks and Caicos
If endless white sand beaches and breathtaking turquoise ocean water is on your list of travel must haves, then the Turks and Caicos Islands should be your next destination to visit. Whether you are looking for a family vacation, the perfect honeymoon spot, or a girl’s getaway, there is a beach with your name on it!
Comprising 40 main islands and cays, there are only 9 inhabited islands in the Turks and Caicos. The most populated and most visited is Providenciales, followed by Grand Turk, North Caicos, South Caicos, Middle Caicos, Salt Cay, Pine Cay, Parrot Cay, and Ambergris Cay.
Choosing which island in the Turks and Caicos is best for your vacation will be centered on several factors since each island has different vibes, accommodation options, dining, and activities. Accommodation options vary from rental villas to all-inclusive resorts to high-end luxury hotels.
Traveling in December through March is prime for tourist season. Off-peak travel months often lend to better rates for accommodations. Weather is typically steady with tropical temperatures throughout most of the year, however, hurricane season in the Turks and Caicos is June through November.
See the complete list of the best All-Inclusive Resorts Turks and Caicos here!
Choosing Which Island or Cay is Best to Stay in the Turks and Caicos
Being the most inhabited island and most popular with tourists, the island of Providenciales is most known for one of the world’s best beaches, Grace Bay. The Grace Bay area is notably the center of tourism with most hotels and resorts, dining and shopping being on this island.
This island gives you the biggest range of options for accommodation from vacation villas, boutique hotels, luxury resorts, and all-inclusive resorts. There are a total of four all-inclusive resort options catering to both adult-only and family-friendly vacations. Villas and smaller, boutique options are found away from Grace Bay in Leeward, the Bight, Long Bay, and Turtle Cove areas.
Provo is the culinary hub of the Turks and Caicos. There is a large variety of over 60 restaurants to delight any palette. There are no fast-food restaurants on the island.
Watersports, golf, and boat charters are the highlights when not lounging on a world-renowned, pristine beach. Surrounding reefs lead to fabulous diving and snorkeling with a variety of depths. Kayaking or paddleboarding is a great non-motorized watersport option to see magnificent marine life.
Known for being the only cruise ship port in the Turks and Caicos opened by Carnival Cruise Lines. The Grand Turk Cruise Center offers duty-free shopping, restaurants, bars, and attractions. The swimming pools are only for use by cruise guests. This island can get quite busy when cruise ships are in port.
This 2nd most inhabited island is also home to the capital city, Cockburn Town. This island is filled with history from the salt industry and has a lighthouse, the Grand Turk Lighthouse, which is the only lighthouse in the Turks and Caicos.
Villas and small hotels are the main places to stay. You can also find laid-back hotels that cater to scuba divers that want to experience some of the best wall sites in the Atlantic ocean, with vibrant marine life and healthy corals.
There are a limited number of restaurants found at the Grand Turk Cruise Center, but most focus on Lunch to cater to cruise-goers such as Margaritaville and Jack’s Shack. Cockburn Town is the area where most of the local restaurants reside in or near the inns and hotels, such as: The Bird Cage Restaurant, Secret Garden Restaurant, Turks Head Inne, and the Sandbar Restaurant.
Lazing on one of the top exquisite beaches could be a fantastic way to relax and spend your vacation.
Governor’s Beach is often rated as the island’s top beach due to the pristine clear waters and white sand.
Cruise Center Beach is popular due to the convenience to the Cruise port and offers complimentary lounge chairs to bask near the calm, turquoise waters.
Cockburn Town Beach is most convenient to the beachfront Front Street and also is a short distance from many of the inns, small hotels, and restaurants.
For ultimate seclusion for your beach day, try Pillory Beach or English Point.
East Side Beach and White Sands Beach are not ideal for swimming since they are on the eastern side of the island, but great for beachcombing.
Scuba diving, visiting the lighthouse, and Turks and Caicos National Museum are other activities on this island that are sure to please. Snorkeling can be done here, but other islands have more vibrant snorkeling sites.
North Caicos & Middle Caicos
Although technically considered 2 separate islands, the North and Middle Caicos islands function as one. A road causeway connects both islands. Visits to these islands are for people who are nature-oriented and outdoorsy. The terrain consists of beaches, cliffs, caves, and lush reserves. There are no large shopping centers on these islands.
Perfect for those wanting seclusion in vacation rental homes or villas. There is a wider variety of small hotels on North Caicos than Middle Caicos.
There are limited dining options in Middle Caicos compared to North Caicos. Dining options focus on fresh seafood and vegetables.
In North Caicos, dining options include: Higg’s Cafe, Barracuda Beach Bar, and Miss B’s Island Restaurant. In Middle Caicos, the two dining options are Mudjin Bar and Grill and Sea View Cafe. Most restaurants are closed on Sundays. Please call ahead to the establishment to confirm they are open, times and if reservations are needed.
North Caicos does have 3 small grocery food stores for basic needs. Middle Caicos only has a few locations to find drinks and snacks. If you plan to stay overnight or rent a villa or home in the Middle or North Caicos, it is advisable to bring necessary supplies and food needs from Providenciales, as it may be difficult to obtain or find on these islands.
Hike to see nature at its finest. Kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding are unmatched. For land exploration due to some roads being unpaved, it is helpful to have a Jeep or 4×4 vehicle in some areas, but it is not necessary. Al’s Rent A Car offers rental vehicles in North Caicos.
If off-the-beaten path vacations are desired, this is the island to explore. South Caicos is known as the fishing capital of the Turks and Caicos, with many uninhabited smaller cays.
There are 2 luxury resorts, 1 hotel, and vacation rental homes on South Caicos.
The tranquil island of South Caicos is known for amazing seafood. Although dining options are limited and many restaurants are at the local resorts, food options are elevated for the most eclectic palettes. For gourmet meals featuring local seafood and international cuisines, try Blu Bar and Grill at East Bay Resort or The Great House Restaurant at the Sailrock Resort. Dinner reservations are often necessary so we advise making reservations in advance.
Many accommodations on the island have full kitchens or kitchenettes, especially in rental homes. Be sure to stop by one of the three local grocery stores to stock your vacation pantry for your vacation. Fresh produce items and gourmet items may be limited on this island and it is advisable to purchase them in Providenciales.
If seclusion, nature, and admiring gorgeous stretches of beaches are what you desire, then this is the island for you. There are no luxury shopping centers or nightlife. Saltwater flat fishing, hiking, exploring nature, and kayaking the wetlands are the most popular activities. Scuba diving is prime around this island. Scuba to unique sites of wreckage such as the Convair CV-440 aircraft, magnificent wall, and gully sites, along with the vibrant marine life, and discover why the South Caicos island is truly worth visiting.
Discover Long Cay, easily accessible on a day trip from South Caicos with a local boat charter such as Jedi Kite or Okeanos Charters. This uninhabited island features some of the most visibility clear waters in the Caribbean and is a convenient boat trip from Cockburn Harbour. Be sure to bring your snorkeling gear on this day trip, as you may often spot turtles, stingrays, sharks, and other colorful marine life. On the island, you may even spot rock iguanas. They have an abundant population here! Packing for your day trip to Long Cay, we recommend an umbrella, plenty of water, and snacks.
Tranquility and seclusion top the reasons to visit this island. Although it used to be prime in the salt industry, today, only remnants of the salt Salinas and history remain. The only UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Turks and Caicos. There are no paved roads. Most people use bicycles or golf carts for transportation.
The only options available are villa rentals. However, most villas offer additional amenities such as bicycles, non-motorized water sport gear, kitchens, etc.
There are only 3 restaurants in Salt Cay, which all serve predominantly seafood options: Coral Reef Bar and Grill, Oceanaire Bistro and Pat’s Place. Reservations are recommended, especially for dinner. For drinks and pre-packaged snacks, there are three small stores, but options are limited to basic products. It is recommended to bring all necessary food and supplies from either Grand Turk or Providenciales for your stay.
If you are lucky enough to travel between January through April, Whale-watching should be on your must do list! During these months, humpback whales are often seen around the area migrating through from the Atlantic Ocean down to the Caribbean to the warmer waters. Imagine seeing a whale pod or a mother and her calf swimming peacefully in the sea from your small boat tour. For an even more exciting and unforgettable experience, snorkel with the whales. Tour companies that offer these exciting and unique whale watching experiences are Crystal Seas Adventures and Salt Cay Divers. Shared and private tours can be arranged.
Scuba diving is also a fantastic attraction in Salt Cay. Salt Cay Divers is currently the only diving tour operator. Please contact them in advance to reserve your diving tour.
Celebrities and anyone with an unlimited budget come here for the private island feel. Ferry boats are the only way to reach this cay since there is no airport. Electric golf carts are available, however, the island and resort is easily walkable.
The island has only 1 exclusive, luxury, resort, COMO Parrot Cay Resort. This private resort offers an array of amenities that focus on relaxation and wellness. Luxury rental villas and homes are the other accommodation options.
There are only 2 fine dining options at Parrot Cay Resort: The Terrace and Lotus. Private dining and room service can be arranged.
The resort offers non-motorized water sports, but spa and wellness treatments are the best activities for the tranquil vibes that this island is known for. Tours to other islands are available for off-island excursions.
Pine Cay is a laid-back, peaceful, private cay that encompasses one of the most beautiful beaches. It is most accessible by ferry, but there is a small airstrip. Transportation around the island is by golf carts and bicycles, as no cars are allowed.
Pine Cay (originally The Meridian Club), is a boutique, all-inclusive private resort. There are also private vacation rental villas.
The resort offers a gourmet restaurant, otherwise there are limited dining options.
Activities really revolve around what the resort offers. There are complimentary non-motorized water sports for resort guests and a daily snorkeling trip. Excursions for watersports, such as diving, and boating tours can be arranged on neighboring islands.
This is another private island, similar to the feel and style of Parrot and Pine Cay. Nature reserves, beaches, and sandbars make this little gem a prime destination. Getting to this island is best by charter plane, with golf carts being the method of choice once on the island.
You’ll find the upscale, all-inclusive Ambergris Cay Resort comprising stand-alone villas versus traditional hotel buildings.
For lavish dining, discover the sole restaurant at the Ambergris Cay Resort. Guests of Ambergris Cay Resort have full access to all dining amenities and 24 hour room service.
Relax and Enjoy! The setting is serene, and any trip here will help you reset. If you want to get off that sunbed though, the resort offers a wide range of included activities. Other activities and excursions can be arranged on neighboring islands.
How to Choose Where to Stay in the Turks and Caicos
Ready for your relaxing or adventurous vacation to Turks and Caicos? First, decide on your vacation style and what activities may interest you. Do you want an all-inclusive stay, boutique hotel or relax independently in your vacation villa? Want to lounge on one of the world’s top beaches and spend all afternoon basking in the sun by the turquoise water? Rather discover vibrant marine life and wall sites with depths of adventure on your scuba exploration? While some islands are more secluded than others with varying amenities and activities, salt air and breathtaking beaches can be experienced on them all.
How to Get There and Get Around
Passports are needed for international travel to the Turks and Caicos. The primary airport for all international visitors will be Providenciales International Airport (PLS).
Since the Turks and Caicos Islands have no public transportation, Uber or Lyft, it is recommended to hire a taxi or rent a car if you feel like exploring the main islands.
Most islands are not extremely walkable since many restaurants and activities can be spread out over distances. Unless you stay at an all-inclusive resort and plan to remain onsite for the duration of your vacation, it is wise to consider your transportation options.
Some prominent areas, such as Grace Bay, may be walkable to restaurants and shops from the resorts. Often, bicycles and scooters are convenient and affordable ways to get around the islands. In Salt Cay, methods of transportation consist solely of bicycles or golf carts.
See the complete list of the best All-Inclusive Resorts Turks and Caicos here!
Should you want to venture around and island hop, surrounding islands and cays are accessible by ferries, small planes, or boat excursions.