How To Be Getting Around Turks and Caicos
So your visualization and goal-planning has paid off and you've arrived at your tropical island dream destination of Turks and Caicos; so now what? You've got the right shoes for traveling; something comfortable with a good sole so you can wear them on the plane for hours without complaint and stroll from gate to gate if need be. You've brought a pair of thongs or flip-flops for kicking around your resort. You've picked up your luggage at the baggage terminal at Providenciales International Airport and breathe in deeply the tropical marine air with its surprisingly low and pleasant humidity. But first you must get to your resort...
Depending on your resort's location you'll either be hailing a taxi, renting your own car, or being shuttled direct by your hotel. However you end up getting there, keep in mind that Turks and Caicos is a genuine laid-back Caribbean island and the stereotypes of "Island Time" apply - generally people aren't ever in a rush and you'll get there when you get there. This, however, is part of the charm of your vacation and while to some it may be mildly annoying, we recommend embracing the journey and the present moment. After all, one of the main reasons why you're here is to" lime" (hang out). That being said, it's quite smooth.
Getting Around Turks and Caicos via Taxis
Most of the accommodation on Providenciales are located an easy 15- to 20-minute taxi ride from the airport. You'll find a taxi queue/rank ready to take you wherever you're heading. The days of the free hotel transfers to and from the airport are pretty much over, as part of a legal agreement to protect the local taxi driver industry that relies on airport fares. However, you can arrange for taxi transfers with your hotel for a charge or a fee included in your accommodation. And there are three exceptions to the rule: Point Grace (offers shuttle included in rate), Amanyara Resort (as it is 45 minutes on the far other side of Provo from the airport), and Parrot Cay (which requires an included shuttle and a ferry). Cabs are metered and rates are set by the government so there's no need to haggle. It is, however, always a good idea to agree on the fare before you start driving. You can expect to pay from $20-$25 (plus) per couple for a cab ride from the airport to the central Grace Bay area. Most taxis are vans equipped to carry more than one group of passengers, so the more people on board, the lower the rate per couple.
While staying in Grace Bay means most everything is in walking distance, you may wish to hire a taxi every now and then for after dinner or a day trip to a remote beach. Taxis are expensive -- just jumping from one section of Grace Bay to another can run into double figures -- and they're plentiful on Provo, but there are no designated taxi stands. It is possible to hail taxis from the road but it's better to have your hotel or restaurant call one for you. And if you find a driver you especially like, just get his card and you've got yourself your own driver who will be happy to tour you around the island (after you negotiate the price upfront, of course).
REMINDER: As part of the British Empire, all cars on all the islands drive on the left. You only need a valid driver's license from your home country to rent a vehicle.
While not a popular option for reasons of impracticality and cost, you can rent a car from three international rental outlets. Cars rent for $40 to $225 a day (depending on the vehicle) and collision-damage insurance costs $10 to $12 a day. The government will collect a $16 tax for each rental contract, regardless of the number of days you keep the car. For booking rental cars online, the best deals are usually found at rental-car company websites, although all the major online travel agencies also offer rental-car reservations services. There area also the smaller local agencies that rent jeeps, vans, and SUVs.
If you're contemplating renting a car while on vacation, consider the following pros and cons.
- The ultimate mobility, flexibility, and self-reliance - easily touring the island and its shops and restaurants without having to walk long distances or worry about relying on taxis.
- You can pick up supplies and food from the Graceway Gourmet, the Graceway IGA, and other food suppliers to take back to your fully-equipped kitchen and whip up meals in your home away from home.
- Taxis are pricey!
- If you're North American, you have to quickly master the nuances of left-side driving and navigating roundabouts.
- Parking is limited at many resorts.
- Most, if not all, tour operators include hotel pickup as part of their excursion packages already.
- Bike riding is an ideal way to get around and perfectly meshes with the eco-friendly island vibe. Some resorts offer complimentary bikes or you can rent a bike or a scooter.
- Taxis are plentiful. Plus, more cars mean more congestion.
- Rental cars can be pricey!
Bicycles & Scooters
Bicycling is an ideal way to get around the flat Grace Bay area, especially now that the roads have been beautifully paved with nice sidewalks running on both sides. Many resorts, including Royal West Indies, the Grace Bay Club, and the Sands at Grace Bay, offer complimentary bikes for their guests - otherwise bikes are about $15 per day. A bike trip makes for a fun way to experience the island and get some exercise while you're at it. You can also rent two-person scooters to motor around and feel the wind on your face.
Getting Around Turks and Caicos On Foot
The 19km (12 miles) of Grace Bay Beach make for lovely strolls, especially at sunset, and the roads around the area are well paved these days. Since you're now on Island Time yourself, maybe don't worry about getting somewhere so fast. Enjoy the ride. Enjoy the present moment. However you choose to get around, congratulations - you've made it.