Turks And Caicos Transportation— The Best Way To Get Around Providenciales
So, you’ve decided to spend your next holiday in the Caribbean, and you’ve chosen Turks & Caicos for its unparalleled beaches. Well, you’re in luck! Residents of the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada can easily travel to Turks & Caicos!
There are several convenient options to get to Turks and Caicos; via commercial flight, with several direct flights from major cities; by cruise ship, where you will dock at Grand Turk’s ship port; by yacht, where you will need to dock at the designated ports of entry; if you have a private plane, you may land in Providenciales and choose from the available fixed-base operators (FBO).
But the question is, how do you get around once you’ve finally landed in Provo? Let’s explore the different rental options available to get you around Providenciales and its neighboring islands.
How Do You Get Around Turks and Caicos
The primary mode of transportation when getting from one island to the next is via domestic flights and passenger ferries.
Providenciales International Airport (PLS), and Grand Turk JAGS McCartney International Airport (GDT) are the only two international airports in Turks and Caicos, with Providenciales being the major airport accepting international flights.
In the event that your final stop isn’t Provo, you’ll have to connect to your island destination through a domestic flight or ferry. The interCaribbean and Caicos Express serve as domestic carriers in Turks and Caicos.
North Caicos, on the other hand, can be reached by charter and private flights. Since there are no flights or ferries to Middle Caicos, you’ll have to drive from North Caicos to Middle Caicos via the Causeway—a 1.6-kilometer-long limestone quarry.
There are three short domestic passenger ferry routes to take you in between islands.
- Providenciales to North Caicos
The ferry service between Providenciales to North Caicos is by far the busiest. Two companies operate this 30-minute trip multiple times per day. The ferry shuttles from Heaving Down Rock Marina (Walkin Marina) on Providenciales to Sandy Point Marina or Bellefield Landing on North Caicos. Rates are $55 per person roundtrip as of 2020.
- Providenciales to South Caicos
There are two businesses that operate a Providenciales, and South Caicos ferry route several times a week. It shuttles from Heaving Down Rock on Providenciales to Cockburn Harbour on South Caicos. Rates are $110 per person roundtrip as of 2020.
- Grand Turk to Salt Cay
A ferry travels three times a week between South Dock on Grand Turk and Dean’s Dock on Salt Cay.
It’s important to take note that the country does not have large ferries for vehicles. However, once you get to your island destination, rental vehicles and taxis are the most frequent modes of transportation. There is no public transit available, such as a bus or a train.
Car Rentals in Turks and Caicos
Because the Islands of Turks and Caicos are relatively small, navigating a car around any of the islands is rather simple.
Car rentals or jeeps are the most convenient way to tour the islands of Turks and Caicos. Since there are no car ferries, it is typical to rent separate cars for each of the islands. So, if you are planning an overnight or a day trip to another island, renting a car rather than using a taxi will save you money.
If you want to rent a car outside of Providenciales, we suggest making a reservation ahead of time to ensure availability. There are several island-specific car rental companies to choose from on each island.
As for Providenciales, although taxis are readily available, we still highly recommend renting your own vehicle. Taxis can be very expensive, and a lot of the scenic locations are not within walking distance. We recommend picking up your rental car at the Providenciales International Airport when you arrive.
There are several car rental companies that are within walking distance of the resorts and hotels in Grace Bay. Most rental companies offer low daily rates as well as a wide variety of models to choose from. To mention a few, there are compact and economy cars, full-size cars, minivans, SUVs, jeeps, and pickup trucks. We suggest checking the reviews of each rental before making a reservation as there are several with a poor reputation.
Caicos Wheels, Avis, Tropical Auto Rentals, and Grace Bay Car Rentals are just a few of the local companies. Other well-known international rental companies are also available such as Hertz, Enterprise, and others. However, the best rates are often from the local businesses with rates starting at less than $50 per day including taxes and other necessary fees.
Since most of the main roads in Providenciales are paved, there is no need for a 4×4 or high clearance vehicle; unless you are staying at or planning a trip to the scenic Turtle Trail area. The Turtle Trail is only accessible by an unpaved route that is several miles long. Therefore, a jeep or SUV will allow you to travel at a faster pace and in a shorter amount of time.
The minimum age required to rent a vehicle is 25 and we drive on the left! Here is everything you need to know before renting a car in Turks and Caicos. And before you drive around the islands, be sure to read through the driving information.
Jeep Wranglers, 4×4 buggies, and Mini Moke beach cruisers are also available for rent in Providenciales. But due to their higher value and maintenance costs, they are much more expensive than typical small automobiles. The rate per day starts at roughly $40, including tax and other costs.
The best areas to take your 4×4 are West Harbour Bluff and Bonefish Point, which have cliffs, rock inscriptions, a small cave, and an exquisite beach; Malcolm’s Road Beach, which is great for snorkeling and catching some surfing waves; and Northwest Point National Park, which has wildlife sightings and is great for birdwatching.
We understand how thrilling driving a 4×4 can be, but please, don’t be reckless and too carried away. Always remember to stay on established roads and tracks. Driving off-road can easily damage Turks and Caicos’ fragile beaches, coastlines, wetlands, and salt flats. These damages can take decades or longer to mend. Driving on the beach is also against the law!
Scooters and Mopeds
Driving around on a scooter is an interesting and unique way to get around Providenciales. There are several companies in Grace Bay that rent out scooters and even offer quick lessons.
Scooters and Mopeds are generally safe to drive in the tourist districts of Grace Bay, the Bight, Turtle Cove, and Leeward. However, we advise avoiding Leeward Highway, South Dock Road, Long Bay, Turtle Trail, and Discovery Bay when driving in scooters and mopeds due to the busy and unpaved roads.
Rates for scooters are unfortunately not cheaper than renting a car. Rates range from $55 per day for a basic scooter and $90 for a specialty scooter like a Vespa.
Taxis in Turks & Caicos are almost always shared, especially when traveling from the airports.
Small taxi cars, which are widespread in other parts of the world, are not common here. Most taxis are larger vans, such as Ford E-Series or Chevrolet Express vans. These cars have plenty of room and can comfortably transport up to seven passengers including luggage.
It is important to note that taxi meters are not used in Turks and Caicos. We advise that you inquire about your total price for all passengers including luggage. Some taxis are notorious for charging a per person rate, so make sure to clarify if the price is per person or as a total.
There are also outlying locations where taxis charge a higher fare if it’s unlikely to have a passenger on the return trip, so be prepared.
Taxis may be easy to come by, but they are very expensive. We recommend looking at this list of shared taxi fares. And if you ever find yourself with a driver who is driving recklessly above 40mph (65 KPH), remind them to drive within the speed limit.
The Conch Cab is a new riding service that only started operating in October 2021. It operates just like your regular Uber, where riders can book online via phone (at Conch.Cab) by simply typing in your destination and confirming your ride. Once the driver accepts your journey, you’ll be able to see your cab location and progress. Rates can also be seen before booking.
Conch Cabs are so easy to recognize with their eye-catching signature giant conch and conch hood ornament.
At the moment, cash is the only form of payment accepted, and only offers rides on the eastern side of Providenciales. Service at Chalk Sound and Blue Hills is not available. Furthermore, Conch Cab is unable to pick up customers at the airport due to government restrictions imposed on the Community Cab class of service.
A Convenient Accommodation
Aqua Divina is easily accessible from Providenciales International Airport (PLS). We’re also only a few minutes’ drive away from Grace Bay— the tourist center, and where local rental companies abound.
We offer free parking for your rental vehicles! Naturally, we want to make sure you have the most hassle-free worthwhile luxury accommodation. Plus, you get free use of our onsite water sports facilities when you book a villa today!