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Turks & Caicos

A British Overseas Territory, the Turks and Caicos lie between the southernmost Bahamas and the Dominican Republic, a 90-minute flight southeast of Miami. Home to some of the most captivating white-sand beaches and pristine shallow-water coral reefs in the Americas, the archipelago consists of eight ...

A British Overseas Territory, the Turks and Caicos lie between the southernmost Bahamas and the Dominican Republic, a 90-minute flight southeast of Miami. Home to some of the most captivating white-sand beaches and pristine shallow-water coral reefs in the Americas, the archipelago consists of eight inhabited islands and several dozen deserted cays. Tourism and offshore banking are the key sources of revenue, there being no income, capital gains or inheritance taxes levied on the islands’ 49,000 inhabitants.

The climate is mainly dry from December to June. The August-September hurricane season is best avoided.

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Destination Information


DIRECT DIAL CODES

To phone hotels in Turks and Caicos, dial 1 +649 (Turks and Caicos code) + local numbers in listings.

CURRENCY

The U.S. dollar is the officially recognized currency.

WHEN TO VISIT

The climate is mainly dry from December to June. The August-September hurricane season is best avoided. 

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS

Passport. Visit travel.state.gov, and for travelers’ health information, cdc.gov.

U.S. EMBASSY

None. There is a U.S. consular agency, Tel. (649) 946-5713 (temporarily closed). U.S. Embassy is located in the Bahamas, Tel. (242) 322-1181.

EDITOR TIPS

Snorkling & Wall-Diving

Home to the world’s third-largest barrier reef system and miles of 6,000-foot vertical drop-offs, Turks & Caicos is a must-visit destination for snorkeling and wall-diving enthusiasts. This area is enhanced by Princess Alexandra National Park, whose boundaries include large sections of marine territory in which all fishing, commercial and sport, is banned. For snorkelers in particular, Provo has two clearly delineated trails, one at Smith’s Reef, the other at Bight Reef — both easily accessible — that take you through a fairyland of reef formations that are very close to the surface and abound in brilliantly colored fish. For divers, the must-see sight is the great wall off Grand Turk Island, covered in coral and home to an amazing array of animals.

Mudjin Harbor

One of my favorite beaches in the Caribbean is Mudjin Harbor. A hidden gem on Middle Caicos, this 3-mile-long stretch of beach is blessed with turquoise waters, powdery beaches and no crowds. Though the ocean can often be too rough for snorkeling and swimming, there are excellent hiking trails as well as two large sea caves that can be accessed from the beach.

Conch

Considered a local delicacy, conch is the seafood of choice in Turks & Caicos, which is home to the world’s only conch farm. Its rich island history makes it a must-try food. There are several ways that the fish is served, my favorites being breaded-and-fried conch fritters or thinly sliced raw conch to make a tangy ceviche.

Restaurants for Dinner

My two favorite restaurants are best saved for dinner. Coyaba is an open pavilion with gingerbread trim and tile floors that looks out onto lovely gardens. The frequently changing menu employs locally sourced ingredients and offers contemporary twists on Caribbean favorites. Among the standouts are a spicy scallop ceviche accompanied by tobiko, sriracha and seaweed salad, and a broiled corvina fillet served with basil, marcona almonds and creamed cauliflower. 

Coco Bistro is set in a pomegranate-red, adobe-style house with a garden of towering palms. A sophisticated menu combines island and international cuisine. Among the starters, the ahi tuna poke, set atop crispy wonton skins and paired with native avocado, scallion, endive and a wasabi mayo, is especially recommended. As for the mains offered, opt for the unique conch dumplings served in a miso and roasted dashi broth, or the porcini- and caicos-coffee-crusted beef tenderloin drizzled in a bacon marmalade and peppercorn gastrique.

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