Turks and Caicos Islands

Turks and Caicos Islands

A British overseas territory; separate Colony 31st March 1962.

Capital: Cockburn Town; Largest city: Providenciales.
Official Language: English. Currency: US $. Area: 238 sq miles.
Time zone: UTC – 05:00 (EST). Telephone code: +1 649 - ….


The Turks and Caicos Islands (abbreviated TCI) are a British Overseas Territory consisting of the larger Caicos Islands and smaller Turks Islands, two groups of tropical islands in the Lucayan Archipelago of the Atlantic Ocean and northern West Indies. They are known primarily for tourism and as an offshore financial centre. The resident population was 31,458 as of 2012 of whom 23,769 live on Providenciales in the Caicos Islands; July 2018 estimates put the population at 53,700. It is the third largest of the British overseas territories by population.
The Turks and Caicos Islands lie southeast of Mayaguana in The Bahamas island chain, northeast of Cuba, and north of the island of Hispaniola (Haiti and the Dominican Republic). Cockburn Town, the capital since 1766, is situated on Grand Turk Island about 1,042 kilometres (647 mi) east-southeast of Miami, United States. The islands have a total land area of 430 square kilometres (170 sq mi).
The Turks and Caicos Islands were inhabited for centuries by native Amerindian peoples. The first recorded European sighting of the islands occurred in 1512. In the subsequent centuries, the islands were claimed by several European powers, with the British Empire eventually gaining control. For many years the islands were governed indirectly through Bermuda, the Bahamas, and Jamaica. When the Bahamas gained independence in 1973, the islands received their own governor, and have remained a separate autonomous British Overseas Territory since.

Cockburn Town, Grand Turk.

1. Port of Entry. The Customs and Immigration office is adjacent to the Commercial jetty in the “Customs Warehouse” at the entrance to the commercial dock/jetty at south end of the island; easy to anchor off commercial jetty further south at the cruise liner terminal area but there is no dinghy jetty -. (210 25’.97N – 710 09’.01W). It appears they work on an “On Call” basis and their numbers are: Customs: +1 (649) 232-4920; Immigration +1 (649)232-3014.
a. They work Monday to Friday and appear to close at 1500 hours.
b. They will respond at weekends and after hours but this will incur an overtime charge of $65 for Customs and $15 for Immigration. Otherwise entry for 7 days or less is free.
c. Any stay over 7 days requires the purchase of a $300 Cruising Licence valid for 3 months.
2. Anchorage.
a. The main anchorage is entered through Town Cut. Clearly shown on the chart and straight forward entry but needs eye-ball navigation and a calm sea to get close to and into the deeper anchorage (3-4m) off the jetty. The bottom appears mainly thin sand over flat rock with a few small coral heads/rock patches. The anchor should be checked to ensure it is not just “hooked” on a small rock!
b. The Dive Boat mooring area off Sands Bar offers a second anchorage entered through Kittina Cut. \bottom mainly sand with some coral banks reducing depth by 2 to 2.5m in places; such rock/coral patches are obvious in clear water. (210 27’.725N – 710 08’.951W). No dinghy dock here but can run the dinghy up the beach which shelves quite steeply.
c. The Cruise Liner Terminal has a good anchorage for yachts adjacent to the Freighter Dock (north or south) but there is no dinghy landing and the ladders on the main jetty have rusted away and not a viable means of accessing the high jetty. 210 25’.97N – 710 09’.01W.
3. Ashore.
a. There is a substantial jetty here but no cleats on the landing and it is a bit of a step up (good mantle shelf move for climbers!) – no ladders available.
b. There are 2 supermarkets on the main road (one back from the beach road) and to the left of the jetty.
c. A friendly bar (Sands Bar) and 2 restaurants (Turks Head and Sea View) plus the Osprey Hotel (Bar, Restaurant, Wifi), along with 3 dive shops, are 1.5km right (south) along the beach road.
d. Wifi is available at the restaurants and the Osprey hotel.
e. Bicycles can be hired at one of the dive shops. Diving is expensive compared to other Caribbean islands; despite the Cronovirus recession we were quoted $150 for a 2-tank dive with rented equipment. That said the diving is excellent on the extensive wall/drop off close to shore.
f. Electric buggies can be hired locally, the businesses would deliver and as at 20.03.20 the 2 agents we were given are: Omar - +1 (649) 346-2450 and Tewanda - +1 (649) 343-7002
g. The National Museum is 100m north from the jetty (Red British Telephone Box in the front garden) is excellent and well worth the $5 entry fee.
h. There is a petrol/diesel station and supermarket on the main road 100m inland from the Osprey Hotel; south end of main town area.
i. The Cruise

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