Turks And Caicos Islands Travel Guide
Turks and Caicos Islands Travel: General Information
Sparkling turquoise waters, immaculately white sandy beaches, coral reefs, isolated cays, coves and lakes full of marine life, nature reserves and national parks with abundant flora and fauna – that’s Turks and Caicos Islands for you, a perfect paradise on Earth; it is no wonder that every year the British Overseas Territory in the Caribbean receives tourists more than double the number of its inhabitants (termed ‘Belongers’).
There is no room for doubts that the Caribbean archipelago is ever over-crowded, because out of the 40 or so islands, only eight are inhabited and you will never be disappointed if you really prize your privacy. Then there are the lures of sundry pleasure activities like birding, fishing, golfing, whale-watching and a whole host of water-sports. There’s even history awaiting you in the Turks and Caicos Islands that had gained notoriety in the 18th century as pirate-hideouts.
Turks and Caicos Islands Travel: Key Facts
Capital City: Cockburn Town
Area: 417 sq km
Monetary Unit: USD
Official Language: English
International Dialing Code: 1-649
Turks and Caicos Islands Travel: Popular Tourist Destinations
- Cockburn Town: The capital city situated on the Grand Turk Island is not only the seat of government but also a cultural and historical center. A visit to the Turks & Caicos National Museum in the waterfront area is a must and the greatest attraction here is the centuries-old Molasses Reef Wreck. City-Streets like Duke Street and Front Street have some of the finest examples of colonial architecture – mostly 18th and 19th century houses with gardens. The nearby reefs make the place ideal for diving.
- Providenciales: The chief urban center in the entire archipelago, Providenciales stands in the center of the island (in the Caicos Group) of the same name. Although the town of Providenciales does not promise much sight-seeing, it is the hub of Turks & Caicos Islands’ tourism and is just full of hotels and resorts and shopping malls. As for the island, it is not just scenic but a sporting-heaven. The island is home to the famous Chalk Sound National Park.
- Other Tourist Destinations: Each island in the archipelago has its unique beauty and attraction but some no-miss among these are the isles of East Caicos, West Caicos, North Caicos, South Caicos, Little Water Cay, Pine Cay, Parrot Cay and Salt Cay. While a visit to an island like the Salt Cay will promise you seeing giant humpback whales, the South and West Caicos Islands assure you unparalleled diving and fishing experiences. The Pine Cay has some of the best beaches and reefs and then there are its Avian and Piscean populations. The East Caicos and the Parrot Cay have historical significance – while the former has some caves with petroglyphs, the latter was where legendary pirates would hole up back in the 18th and 19th centuries.
Turks and Caicos Islands Travel: Economy and Infrastructure
The economy of the Turks and Caicos Islands is based chiefly on the tourism-sector, a sector that saw its beginnings in the 1960s following the arrival of American millionaire, Theodore Roosevelt III. Today, Turks and Caicos Islands receive most tourists from the United States, followed by Canada. Fishing and Off-shore Financial Services have also contributed significantly to the economy of the British Dependency. Turks and Caicos Islands imports a variety of commodities, right from food and beverages to clothing and construction materials, etc. The two chief exports are lobster and conch.
The islands have been undergoing serious infrastructural developments since the 1990s as part of the government’s plan of turning the islands into true tourism heavens. Today, the islands have seven airports, with the Providenciales International Airport being the central point of entry. Providenciales also has an international port. Although there is an airport on each of the inhabited islands, boast/ferry-services are available to and from the individual isles. Construction of hotels and resorts (even in some of the uninhabited islands) has done much to boost tourism. GSM mobile service is available on the islands and you will also have access to telephone lines.
Turks and Caicos Islands Travel: Culture
The inhabitants of Turks and Caicos Islands are mostly of African descent but you will also come across people of European or North American lineage. Protestantism is the religion followed by the majority of the population and English is the official language of the British Dependency (although the Turks and Caicos Islands’ dialect is also in use). The islanders are passionate about their traditional dances and music and Ripsaw Music is what gives the Turks and Caicos Islands recognition world-wide. The islanders have also kept their native arts and crafts like basket weaving, net-making, hat-making alive and hope to pass these to future generations.
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