The Turks and Caicos is a Caribbean archipelago made up of eight islands and dozens of smaller cays. Every island is unique in its own way and each can be a destination in and of itself. However, if you have varied interests and are up for experiencing the country in its entirety and all of its Caribbean beauty, island hopping the Turks and Caicos is going to give you an experience unlike any other.
Why Island Hop the Turks and Caicos?
How you want to enjoy your Caribbean holiday will greatly influence which Turks and Caicos island you want to go. For example, if you like scuba diving, there are some excellent dive sites near Grand Turk island. Or if you’re a history buff, you might be more interested in the Middle Caicos island where you can explore the abandoned plantations and salt flats.
Here are some ways you can choose which Turks and Caicos island to add to your island hopping itinerary.
How to Choose which Turks and Caicos Island to Visit
You want an Instagrammable beach
If you’re going to be in the Caribbean, you almost HAVE to reserve some time in your schedule to just lay on some of the finest, white sand in the world. The beaches of Providenciales Island (or Provo) are world renowned and consistently earn top marks and being among the top beaches in the world.
You have kilometres of beaches that gently slope into the some of the most startling blue waters you will ever see. Some would argue that you don’t know the true color of turquoise until you’ve visited Grace Bay Beach.
Every picture you post on social media is so perfect that you can always tag the photo with #nofilter.
You are a nature lover
The Turks and Caicos isn’t a paradise to just humans. There are scores of aquatic, marine, land, and flying animals that make their home on the islands. While you’re here, you have a great opportunity jump from island to island to watch animals in their native environment.
For example, you can take kayak or stand up paddleboarding eco-tours to explore and learn all about the serene mangrove habitats, various nursery grounds, iguana sanctuary, marine life, island birds, and coastal ecology.
If you want to get closer to life under the sea, then you basically have your pick all around the Turks and Caicos. The waters around the islands blooms with life as the reefs and sea walls are natural havens for countless number of fish, sharks, turtles, and coral.
Some of the best islands to experience nature include Providenciales (so you can paddle to Little Cay—also known as Iguana Island), North Caicos, Middle Caicos, and Caicos Cays.
You’ll go wherever the wind blows—literally
The Turks and Caicos is the premier destination for kiteboarding, because it is situated in the crossroads of year round trade winds. Long Bay beach on Providenciales is a great destination for the sport because it allows riders to travel for kilometres.
You want to experience the history and culture
The cultural centre of the Turks and Caicos can be found on North, Middle, and South Caicos. With Providenciales taking the lion’s share of resorts and tourism, these islands are able to retain their history and preserve a non-tourist-centric lifestyle.
If you island hop to these islands, you’ll see remnants of the cotton plantations and salt industries.
Grand Turk Island is the capital island of the Turks and Caicos archipelago and is home to Cockburn Town, the capital city. Here, you can visit museums and historical sites.
How to Island Hop the Turks and Caicos?
Island hopping the Turks and Caicos Islands can be an incredible experience and make for a memorable holiday. You’ll get to try a little bit of everything that makes the Turks and Caicos such a popular Caribbean destination.
Island hopping the Turks and Caicos by plane
Unfortunately, not all Turks and Caicos islands have commercial airports, so flying can only be a part of your island hopping strategy. However, there are many flights to and from the larger islands.
Providenciales International Airport (PLS) is the Turks and Caicos largest airport and has many international departures and arrivals. Providenciales island is the best place to start your island hopping adventures.
The other international airport in the Turks and Caicos is the Grand Turk JAGS McCartney International Airport (GDT).
There are other airports around the islands that will help in your island hopping itinerary. You can fly charter or private flights to these airports, which include:
- North Caicos Airport (NCA)
- Middle Caicos Airport (MDS)
- South Caicos Airport (XSC)
- Salt Cay Airport (SLX)
- Pine Cay Airport (PIC)
Island hopping the Turks and Caicos by boat
Charter flights can give a fantastic view of the islands, but boats are definitely the best way to truly experience the Turks and Caicos.
If you’re arriving internationally by boat, you’ll have to pass through a port-of-entry—there are several on Providenciales. If you’re island hopping Turks and Caicos in your own craft, you will need to apply for a one-week permit or a longer 90-day Cruising Permit from the harbourmaster.
You can also schedule your own private charters to explore the Turks and Caicos. Depending on your boat captain or charter company, you can go practically anywhere.
Many charter companies even have fleets that carry their own snorkeling, diving, or kayaking equipment so you can jump into the water whenever you need some freedom.
Ready to Island Hop Turks and Caicos?
Turks and Caicos charters and excursions are very popular and spots fill up fast. It’s important that you book early so you can secure a captain or guide to help you customize your itinerary specific to your interests.