Electricity

Electricity is the same as in the US: 120/240 volts, 60 Hz.

Language

The national language is English, but some words are pronounced in a way unique to the islands.

Money

The US dollar (USD) is the official currency, which is divided into 100 cents. Local banks and most big hotels, restaurants and taxi services accept travellers cheques and credit cards. Banks offer ATMs as well as cash advances on credit cards.

Tipping

Tips of around 15 percent of the bill are the norm for waiters, taxi drivers and bar tenders. Hotels usually include a service charge of 10 to 15 percent.

Health

No vaccinations are required for entry to the islands, except for those coming from a yellow fever area that must hold proof of vaccination. A vaccination for hepatitis A should be considered. Medical facilities are limited and comprehensive travel insurance, including coverage for transfer by helicopter, is recommended for all travellers. Serious cases are usually evacuated to Miami or Nassau. There is a small hospital on Grand Turk and some private general practitioners on Providenciales.

Safety

Visits to the Turks and Caicos Islands are usually trouble-free, and crime is generally of a petty and opportunistic kind. The crime rate is low but on the favourite tourist island of Providenciales there have been incidents of burglary and theft, so visitors should take precautions with valuables. Robberies have occurred on Grace Bay Beach. Hurricane season generally runs from June to November.

Local customs

Culture in the Turks and Caicos Islands is relaxed and hospitable if not overly friendly, and islanders are known for their good manners. Address strangers with respect and note that the use of titles is considered normal and appropriate. Things happen slowly on the islands and attempting to rush service will only annoy.

Visitors should cover beachwear when off the beach and men need to wear long pants at smarter restaurants. Topless and nude sunbathing is illegal. Gay and lesbian relationships are legal, but tend to be discreet and public displays of affection may be frowned upon.

Doing business

The Turks and Caicos Islands are subject to English Common Law and business is conducted in a similar manner to the United Kingdom. Suits are only necessary for the most formal of occasions. Business hours are generally 8.30am to 4.30pm, Monday to Friday.

Duty free

Travellers may enter the Turks and Caicos Islands with the following goods without paying customs duty: 200 cigarettes or 100 cigarillos or 50 cigars or 220g of tobacco products; and 1.136 litres of alcohol.

Communications

The country's direct dialling code is +1 followed by 649. WiFi is usually available in hotels, cafes and restaurants, while mobile coverage is provided by Flow and Digicel.

Passport & Visa

All visitors must hold a return or onward ticket, all documents required for their next destination and sufficient funds. As part of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI), all travellers travelling between the United States and Canada, Mexico, Bermuda, and the Caribbean region are required to present a passport or other valid travel document to enter or re-enter the United States. If departing from the USA, a valid passport will be required by immigration authorities. Your passport should be valid for a minimum period of 6 months from the date of entry into Turks and Caicos. Immigration officials often apply different rules to those stated by travel agents and official sources.

Entry requirements

US citizens do not require a visa for stays of up to 90 days, provided they hold a passport valid for the period of intended stay.

British nationals require a passport that is valid for six months from the date of entry, but no visa is required to enter the islands for a stay of up to 90 days.

Canadian citizens do not require a visa for stays of up to 90 days, provided they hold a passport valid for the period of intended stay.

Australian citizens do not require a visa for stays of up to 90 days, provided they hold a passport valid for the period of intended stay.

South African citizens do not require a visa for stays of up to 90 days, provided they hold a passport valid for the period of intended stay.

Irish nationals do not require a visa for stays of up to 90 days, provided they hold a passport valid for the period of intended stay.

New Zealanders do not require a visa for stays of up to 90 days, provided they hold a passport valid for the period of intended stay.

Useful contacts

Turks and Caicos Tourist Board, Grand Turk: +1 649 946 2321 or www.turksandcaicostourism.com

Emergencies: 911

Embassies / consulates in other countries

Turks and Caicos Island Foreign Representation, London, United Kingdom: +44 (0) 20 7034 7845

Embassies / consulates in Turks and Caicos Islands

US Embassy Nassau, The Bahamas (also responsible for Turks and Caicos): +(242) 322-1181 ext. 4406.

UK Governor's Office, Grand Turk: +1 649 946 2309.

Canadian High Commission, Kingston, Jamaica (also responsible for Turks and Caicos Islands): +1 876 926 1500

Australian High Commission, Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago (also responsible for Turks and Caicos Islands): +1 868 822 5450.

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