The Turks and Caicos islands may be smaller than their Caribbean neighbours, but there are plenty of opportunities for having fun. Whether you’re planning your first vacation, or you’re a repeat visitor, there’s always something new and exciting to discover.
If you’re looking for the very best things to do in Turks and Caicos, here’s a rundown of must-do activities to try…
- Beaches and islands
- Snorkeling and diving
- Other water sports
- Land sports and activities
- Historic attractions
- Tours and daytrips
- Natural attractions
- Shopping and spas
- Eating and drinking
- Entertainment and nightlife
Beaches and islands
Take a trip to the beach
From the expansive main bays, to the lesser-known cays and coves, the beaches in Turks and Caicos are all equally stunning. Brilliant white sand is the norm and the sea is crystal clear, with intense turquoise hues that have to be seen to be believed. Wherever you are on the islands, a trip to the beach is a must.
Head to a child-friendly cove
With its clear calm shallows and powdery soft sands, this picturesque cove in Providenciales is an excellent place to visit with kids. Sheltered from the southeast trade winds by the small Ocean Point peninsula, the beach is very safe with no underwater currents and only a few conch shells and small rocks in the sand.
Find the finest beach in the world
Providenciales, or ‘Provo’ as it is also known, offers a fantastic selection of beaches. Grace Bay and Leeward Bay are often voted the finest beaches in the world, yet Sapodilla Bay, Long Bay, Malcolm’s Road Beach and Bight Beach all deserve a visit. Most Turks and Caicos villas are located in Provo, at top spots along the coast.
Visit the Governor’s beach
When the cruise ships aren’t in town, Governor’s Beach in Grand Turk is one of the most idyllic and peaceful beaches on the island. The sand is lined with casuarina trees and the surrounding area is home to a host of attractions such as the old Governor’s residence and the island’s capital Cockburn Town. You can find out more about the cruise ship schedule here.
Explore rugged bays
If you’re looking for something a little more rugged and remote then head to the North and Middle Caicos beaches. The scenic Mudjin Harbour and Bambarra Beach are the best on Middle Caicos, and the number of visitors is so low you won’t have to share them with hardly anyone. In North Caicos, Hollywood Beach, Whitby Beach and Pumpkin Bluff Beach are the best, with shallower water that makes them perfect for snorkeling.
Snorkeling and Diving
Learn to scuba dive
Diving is one of the most popular things to do in Turks and Caicos, so it’s no surprise that most dive companies on the islands offer Padi dive courses. You can complete your basic certification at most dive centers, and you can take advanced courses too. Blue Water Divers in Grand Turk lets you do your bookwork online at home, and your water-based training on vacation.
Go diving in West Caicos
The uninhabited island of West Caicos is home to spectacular beaches and unparralled diving. On the west side you’ll find some of the best wall diving in the region, with sheers drops from about 40 feet down to the ocean floor. The north and eastern sides offer excellent diving too, and plenty of shallows for snorkelling.
Go kid-friendly snorkeling
If you’re looking for things to do in Turks and Caicos with kids, why not take the little ones snorkeling? The Coral Gardens snorkeling area, or Bight Reef as it is also known, is the easiest reef to snorkel for kids and beginners. The snorkeling trail is located just off Grace Bay and it is clearly marked with safety ropes. What’s more, the fish are quite tame as they’re used to to humans swimming around them.
Freediving (diving whilst holding your breath) can be one of the most relaxing ways to discover the underwater world, and with a bit of pratise and training you can reach depths of around 50 feet or more. It is less cumbersome than regular diving as you don’t need much equipment, and many people who practise the sport say they feel more at one with nature. Dive Provo offers freedive instruction.
Sample snuba diving
Why not explore the pristine coral reef around Turks and Caicos on a snuba diving tour? Yes it’s snuba not scuba, and unlike conventional scuba diving, you’ll be equipped with an air hose attached to your scuba mask, so you can go deeper than regular snorkeling and can see more, too. Snuba diving is suitable for children as young as 8, and is great fun for adults as well.
Snorkel like 007
Power snorkelling is a relatively new way to snorkel, where you hold a special power unit that propels you along effortlessly underwater – like you may have seen in James Bond movies! This one-of-a kind experience is an exciting way to explore the coral reef, and is offered by most water sports providers.
Dive with sharks
You can have an up-close encounter with small passive sharks, as well as turtles, stingrays and other sea life on a deep sea dive. Aqua TCI runs diving excursions for certified divers at top dive spots like Northwest Point, West Caicos, Sandbore Channel and French Cay. A 3-tank dive option is available for those who wish to head to deeper, less visited sites.
Other water sports
Go kayaking through mangroves
One of the best ways to explore the shallow waters and winding mangrove channels around the Turks and Caicos is on a kayaking tour. Big Blue Unlimited offers a variety of guided eco tours for both novices and avid kayakers alike.
Kitesurf all year round
The consistent trade winds across the Turks and Caicos islands make them a great destination for kitesurfing all year round. Long Bay Beach on Provo is one of the best places for novices to kite as the water is clean, clear and shallow. While experienced riders should head to the extensive flatwater just off the island.
SUP board through a national reserve
Stand-up paddle boarding, or SUP boarding as it is also known, is a great way to spot local wildlife around the island’s national reserves. And as you’re standing up on your board you can get a much better view of what’s going on underneath and around you. The best places to head for SUP boarding are Grace Bay, and the region’s national parks and nature reserves.
Sail into the sunset
Due to its calm turquoise seas and great year-round weather, sailing is one of the top things to do in Turks and Caicos. Sail Beluga offers private catamaran charters from Providenciales with family, romance and honeymoon packages available.
Design your own excursion
Water sports fans and nature lovers alike will love the customised excursions offered by Silly Creek Water Sports. You can design your very own private excursion with wakeboarding, waterskiing and tubing included. Once you’ve pitted your wits against the water, you can head to the surrounding beaches and cays for rock jumping, wildlife spotting and exploring.
Sail a Hobie Cat
Hobie Cats are a lesser-known type of sailboat, like small easy-to-sail, unsinkable catamarans. It’s easy to learn how to use a Hobie Cat, and most beginners can learn the basics in around an hour. Grace Bay is the main area for Hobie Cat sailing, and Long Bay also offers great conditions.
Go swimming – on horseback!
You can explore the region’s natural beauty on a horseback riding excursion, both on land and in the ocean. You’ll take a leisurely ride along the beach first, then unsaddle your horse and ride bareback into the water for an exhilarating riding experience. Provo Ponies offers a variety of group and private riding packages.
Land sports and activities
Hire a scooter
Hiring a scooter is a great way to explore the local area and head off the beaten track. Paradise Scooter offers guided island tours around Provo, or if you prefer to head out on your own, you can hire a scooter for around $60 per day. If you’re not quite ready for the thrill of riding a scooter, you can hire an electric bike instead.
Surf on a wave simulator
A ride on the Grand Turk Flowrider is a great way to pack in some adrenaline-fuelled excitement to any afternoon. Located in the huge lagoon pool at the Grand Turk Cruise Center, this self-contained water attraction provides the perfect conditions for surfing and bodyboarding on an artificial wave. When you’re done you can do some duty-free shopping, grab a bite to eat or just relax by the pool.
Quad bike along a cliff top
If you want to head off the beaten track, a quad biking tour is a great way to explore areas that other vehicles can’t reach. Funtastic Tours operates quad bike excursions around Grand Turk, with routes around the town, as well as the surrounding beaches and clifftops.
Go on a dune buggy safari
Guided tours are one of the most popular things to do in Turks and Caicos, and off-road dune buggy rides are definitely a fun adventure option. Similar to quad bikes, you can explore some fantastic locations, although much of the tour takes place on paved roads so it’s a smoother ride.
Tee off on a top golf course
Consistently voted as one of the top 10 golf courses in the Caribbean, Provo Golf Club is home to a fantastic 18-hole championship golf course. Open to residents and visitors alike, the course offers excellent facilities including a full-service pro shop, putting areas, a flood-lit tennis court and a restaurant.
Cycle around Provo
If you want to rent a bike and cycle around the Provo, the Caicos Cyclery in Grace Bay offers great-value bike rental for all the family.
Walk the local dogs
Potcakes are super-cute mixed breed dogs found on most Caribbean islands. There are a number of homeless Potcake dogs at the Potcake Place rescue center, and visitors are welcome to pop in and take one for a walk along the beach. If you really get on, you can even adopt one!
Learn about the bygone salt industry
The remnants of the country’s old salt industry can be seen at the salt evaporation ponds on Grand Turk. Also known as salinas, these huge partially-restored production ponds were once used to produce sea salt – one of the largest exports from the islands in the early 1900s. For those interested in the history, there’s a free exhibit at the Salt House museum on Grand Turk.
Visit the old lighthouse
Built in 1852, the Grand Turk Lighthouse is the region’s most famous landmark. This beautiful structure is located high on a clifftop along the northern coast of Grand Turk, and accessed via a scenic coastal path with stunning views over the sea.
See where Christopher Columbus landed
No Turks and Caicos vacation would be complete without a visit to the region’s capital, Cockburn Town. This charming town is home to some fascinating historic attractions. It’s also thought to be the site where Christopher Columbus first landed on his New World voyage in 1492.
Go to prison!
For anyone interested in the history of Turks and Caicos, Her Majesy’s Prison in Grand Turk offers a fascinating look into the country’s Colonial past. Built in the 1830s to hold just 6 prisoners, the facility was expanded to a capacity of around 50 by the time of its closure in the early 1990s. It’s now one of the island’s top tourist attractions.
Visit a cotton plantation
The Wade’s Green Plantation is the best surviving cotton plantation in the Turks and Caicos, and it is open to the public for daily tours. Located in Kew, in North Caicos, it is has been described as one of the finest examples of Colonial plantation history in existence.
See an ancient shipwreck
The Turks and Caicos National Museum is an essential stop if you want to find out about the history and culture of the islands. Located in Cockburn Town, the museum is home to some fascinating exhibits from the Molasses Reef Wreck (the oldest European shipwreck excavated in the western hemisphere) as well as other cultural artefacts like old Spanish coins and ancient Lucayan Indian relics.
Tours and day trips
Visit the world’s only conch farm
If you’re looking for unique things to do in Turks and Caicos, how about learning everything you need to know about the Caribbean Queen Conch? The Caicos Conch Farm in Provo is the only conch farm in the world, and it offers daily guided tours. You can even purchase fresh local conch to take away.
Go on a guided tram tour
Sit back, relax and enjoy the sights and sounds of Grand Turk on a tram tour around the island. Island Trams offers a variety of guided tours that take you around Grank Turk’s top tourist attractions. You can learn about the region’s fascinating Colonial history, and stop off along the way for a spot of shopping.
Spot humpback whales
If you’re looking for things to do in Turks and Caicos during the winter months, you should definitely consider a whale watching excursion. Salt Cay and Grand Turk are the best areas to spot humpback whales, with regular sightings during migration season from around January to April. Quite a few local businesses offer whale watching tours, with snokeling and diving included.
Get a bird’s-eye view
A helicopter tour is one of the best ways to get a bird’s-eye view of the Turks and Caicos islands. You can arrange a narrated 4-person tour over Grand Turk and the nearby uninhabited cays with Mountain Air Helicopter.
Try reef fishing
The waters around Providenciales are excellent for a variety of fishing including traditional rod fishing, bottom fishing and deep-sea sport fishing. Reef fishing is a great choice for families as it’s the most likely to result in an easy catch. You can find some amazing bone fishing in the region too, usually in the flats around Provo.
Most visitors stay on the main island of Provo, but it’s easy to arrange a boat charter or hop on a ferry to the surrounding islands. There’s the laid-back capital Grand Turk, the tropical island of North Caicos and the larger island of Middle Caicos with its gorgeous beaches and vast underground cave system. East Caicos is swampy but has great views, and South Caicos is the fishing capital.
Swim with stingrays
Gibbs Cay, or Stingray City as it is known locally, is a stunning little island where you can snorkel and swim with hoards of friendly stingrays. Many people are initially wary, however the ones at Gibbs Cay are so used to being fed and stroked by tour guides that they flock to the area and are relatively tame. Many tour companies offer day trips to Gibbs Cay with lunch and snorkeling gear included.
See more iguana than you ever thought possible
Located a short boat ride from Provo, the quaint island sanctuary of Little Water Cay is home to the endangered Turks and Caicos Rock Iguana. You can also spot a variety of tropical birds as well as stingrays and small sharks.
Visit a national park
There is a vast system of protected national parks and nature reserves in Turks and Caicos, and you’ll find different types of local terrains across them all. The Chalk Sound National Park is a beautiful turquoise lagoon on the southwest tip of Provo, and it is said to be one of the most beautiful national parks in the country.
Explore ancient caves
The Conch Bar Caves in Middle Caicos are the largest and oldest underground caves in the entire Caribbean region. This vast cave system is fascinating to explore with its underground lagoons, and stalactites and stalagmites that jut from above and below. The caves are home to ancient Lucayan Indian artefacts, as well as bats and other wildlife.
Shopping and spas
Enjoy some retail therapy
As a relaively small country, the Turks and Caicos doesn’t have the extensive shopping options that other larger tourist detinations offer. There are a small number of upscale shopping malls in Providenciales, as well some gift and souvenir shops. There are some shops in Grand Turk too, mainly at the Grand Turk Cruise Center and at smaller sites like the Salt House Museum and the Turks and Caicos National Museum.
Pick up some duty-free
You can do some great duty-free shopping while you’re in Turks and Caicos. The best selection of duty-free shops can be found in Grace Bay, Providenciales, at the Saltmills Plaza, the Regent Village shopping center and the Ports of Call Plaza. You’ll find great branded items like clothing, watches, jewellery, perfumes and accesories, as well as liquor, cigarettes and cigars.
Relax at a spa
If relaxing on the world’s best beaches isn’t enough, why not head to a luxury spa? There are a number of spas around Grace Bay offering a variety of treatments including body wraps, massages, manicures, and makeup artistry. A few companies also provide a mobile service, so if you’re staying in one of our Turks and Caicos villas, they can come to you.
Buy a sea-salt souvenir
Hundreds of years ago, locally harvested sea salt first put the Turks and Caicos on the map. The salt was cultivated at specially built salinas and was one of the main Caribbean exports. Today it is still harvested on the islands, although on a much smaller scale. Small bags of Turks and Caicos sea salt make great souvenirs – you can buy them at most food stores and supermarkets.
Eating and drinking
Taste your way around Provo
Providenciales is the undisputed dining capital of the Turks and Caicos, home to a fantastic range of restaurants to suit every taste and budget. The local cuisine mostly revolves around seafood – namely conch – although there are a good selection of restaurants that serve international cuisines like Japanese, Indian, Thai and Italian. The best restaurants in Turks and Caicos are located around the Grace Bay and Turtle Cove area, although there are some hidden gems on all the islands.
Grab a burger in Grand Turk
The dining scene on Grand Turk is very different to that on Provo as the majority of tourists visit for just a few hours straight from the cruise port. Most of the places to eat are casual dining shacks and restaurants serving burgers, pizzas and seafood. As may be expected though, they tend to get quite crowded when the cruise ships stop off.
Sample fresh local fare
North and Middle Caicos don’t have a huge selection of restaurants, but there are some top choices if you fancy sampling fresh local fare. Many of the restaurants combine fresh seafood with locally grown vegetables from the Government farm in North Caicos. Most places are closed on Sunday, although several will open by reservation if you book in advance.
Sample the local rum
Bambarra rum is the islands’ signature rum brand, and it’s a must-try tipple during a Turks and Caicos vacation. You can buy it in any bar or rum shack, or you can stock up on bottles in most supermarkets and liquor stores.
Grab an ice-cold beer
The ale and lager of the Turks Head Brewery in Provo are the only beers brewed in the entire country. The brewery isn’t open to the public, but you can buy the bubbly flavourful Turks Head beer from any bar, restaurant or supermarket. We think it’s best enjoyed ice cold with a slice of lime.
Entertainment and nightlife
Party at a conch festival
The Turks and Caicos Conch Festival is a celebration of…you guessed it…the conch! The conch is the country’s reigning delicacy, and one of its largest exports. The festival is a family-friendly event with live calypso music, great entertainment and local food and drink – a must-do on any Turks and Caicos vacation list.
Hang out at a fish fry
The nightlife in the Turks and Caicos can’t compete with the revelry of, say, Barbados, but this laid-back island still offers plenty of entertainment. The beach shacks along Blue Hills Beach in Provo are a great place to hang out, as is the Thursday night fish fry in Bight Park.
Have a flutter at the casino
It was once illegal on the islands, but the casino action has picked up in the Turks and Caicos in recent years. The Casablanca Casino in Provo offers roulette, blackjack and baccarat and is open from lunchtime to 5am.
Kick back at a beachside bar
There are some terrific beachside bars and lounges in Providenciales, so you can kick-back with a cocktail and watch the sun go down. The newest and best can be found along the beachfront at Grace Bay and many have DJ nights, dancing and happy hours.
Drink beer and watch the game
There’s a great sports bar in Provo called Danny Buoy’s. You’ll find great food, a good selection of beers and nightly entertainment including a DJ, live bands and karaoke. There are 22 TVs, 10 satellites and surround sound so if you want to catch a game you’re in luck!
Get married on the beach
If you’re thinking of getting married in Turks and Caicos, there are endless ways to tie the knot. You can have a service barefoot on the beach, or get hitched on a sailboat – or in one of our luxury Turks and Caicos villas. If you fancy the boat option, Sail Provo can organise a wedding on one of its larger catamarans for up to 100 people. Alternatively, the Top Villas concierge team can help you arrange the wedding of your dreams in one of our Turks and Caicos vacation homes.
Set sail to a deserted cay
If you want to get away from it all, you can rent a boat and set sail to the tiny Leeward Cays between Provo and North Caicos. There’s Parrot Cay and Fort George Cay, where abandoned cannons off the northwest shore make for great snorkeling. Dellis Cay is home to an abandoned resort, and Little Water Cay is a nature reserve for Turks and Caicos rock iguana.
Dine on a tiny island
The tiny island of Salt Cay is home to just 3 restaurants, but the food is great and the atmosphere is cosy and romantic. The restaurants all offer good food at decent prices, especially considering that much of it has to be imported from the larger islands. You’ll find a heavy seafood influence on the menus, as well as the more common meat and vegetable dishes. It’s a good idea to book in advance to let them know you’re coming, and it’s likely it will be just the two of you there.
Have a Turks and Caicos honeymoon
The Turks and Caicos islands may be relatively small in size, but they offer an abundance of once-in-a-lifetime experiences for couples to enjoy together. The country boasts plenty of things to do while retaining an intimate charm unlike many other mainstream honeymoon destinations. You can read our Turks and Caicos honeymoon guide here.
If you’re thinking of booking a Turks and Caicos vacation and you need advice on the best places to stay then contact us today. Additionally, our dedicated concierge team can arrange any added extras you need such as great-value car hire. You can see all of our Turks and Caicos villas here.