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Turks and Caicos Travel Tourism: Grand Turk Island

Grand Turk Island is a beautiful Caribbean island that is easy to access. Located in the Turks and Caicos archipelago, Grand Turk can be reached by air or sea. For international travelers, flights arrive at JAGS McCartney International Airport in Cockburn Town.
Grand Turk Island

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Grand Turk Island is the name of one of the islands that are part of the Turks and Caicos archipelago.

It is the bigger of the two islands that comprise the Turks Islands Archipelago, which is the smaller of the two archipelagos known as the Turks Islands. The island has an area of 18 km2 (6.9 sq mi). Grand Turk is home to both Cockburn Town, the territorial capital, and JAGS McCartney International Airport. Grand Turk is also the name of the island. In 2012, there were more than 4,831 people living on this island, making it the island with the second-largest population out of all the islands. In addition to these functions, it is the administrative, historical, cultural, and economic center of the area.

The Turk’s Cap Cactus, also known as Melocactus introitus, is a species of cactus that is unique to the island. It got its name from the peculiar cap that it has, which resembles a fez from the Ottoman Empire. In this article, we will explore all there is to know about the fabulous Grand Turk Island!

Table of Contents

History of Grand Turk

The Lucayans were the first people to occupy the island, and it was they who gave the island its name, Abawana, which means “the First Small Land.” It wasn’t until later that the Spanish christened it, Amuana.

In the year 1681, Bermudians were the first people to settle on Grand Turk and develop a salt industry there. In the year 1766, it was given the role of serving as the nation’s capital. At least up to the beginning of the 19th century, the island of Grand Turk was once referred to as Grand Cay. This is not to be confused with Grand Cay in the Bahamas or Grand Cayman.

History of Grand Turk Island

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How Can You Reach Grand Turk?

The Turks and Caicos Islands are two distinct island groups: the Turks Islands and the Caicos Islands. The bulk of the Turks Islands is made up of Grand Turk and Salt Cay. These islands are situated in the region of the Caribbean Sea that is between the Caicos Islands and the Turks Islands Passage, which is about 20 miles wide (32 kilometers wide).

It is about 70 miles (113 km) from Providenciales, which is the biggest of the Caicos Islands, to Grand Turk, which is located around 50 miles (80 km) away from North and Middle Caicos. Due to the great distance between Grand Turk and the other islands, there is no public ferry service accessible from Grand Turk to any of them other than Salt Cay.

By Sea

The most convenient way to go to Grand Turk is by taking a cruise ship. Because the cruise line handles all matters pertaining to immigration and customs, landing is a breeze. As a result of time constraints, passengers aboard cruise ships to Grand Turk are unable to make side trips to any of the other significant islands in the country while they are there.

Grand Turk Beach

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By Air

Every single regularly scheduled international aircraft that arrives in Turks and Caicos lands at the Providenciales International Airport as its final destination (PLS).

You will need to take a flight on one of the country’s planes in order to go from Providenciales to Grand Turk. Two local airlines, Caicos Express Airways and interCaribbean, are responsible for operating a regular flight schedule. Flights from Grand Turk to Providenciales normally take half an hour, and one-way tickets can often be purchased for between $100 and $190. (depending on time, airline, and refundable ticket class).

By Yacht

Once you have arrived in the country, the very first place you must go is a port of entry. On Grand Turk, there is just one freighter dock, and it is run by the government. The harbormaster could allow you to stay for a week, but if you wish to stay for a longer amount of time, it is not difficult to get cruising permission which is good for ninety days.

Due to the presence of reefs, rocks, and shallow water in the waters around the Turks and Caicos Islands, having accurate charts (and a GPS!) is very necessary. Waveyline Publishing is the most important provider of both printed charts and digital charts.

“Set sail for adventure. Discover Grand Turk by yacht today!

What is The Best Time to Visit Grand Turk?

Are you curious about the times of year that are most suited for a trip to Grand Turk? February, March, and April are wonderful months to plan the perfect spring break vacation for families with younger children since these months provide more flexibility.

Additionally, May, June, and July are fantastic choices for spending a vacation on the island’s beaches. The most hectic time of the year is December, especially during the winter holidays. If you plan on going to the island for Christmas, you should be sure to book your flights, hotels, and any excursions you may be interested in doing in advance since the island is quite congested at this time of year.

Where Can I Stay in Grand Turk?

Discover some of the best lodging options in Grand Turk and get a taste for the island’s laid-back, leisurely pace of life by attending some of the island’s welcoming local festivals, listening to live music at one of the island’s many restaurants, or enjoying some of the island’s delectable seafood.

Osprey Beach Hotel

The Osprey Beach Hotel is a comfortable seaside hotel that offers a wide variety of suites and rooms, many of which include four-poster beds and private balconies.

The hotel offers diving packages in conjunction with three different dive schools, and both the restaurant by the pool and the bar, which is fully equipped, has an invitingly lively atmosphere. If money is limited, you may want to look at staying in a room that overlooks the courtyard.

Osprey Beach Hotel​

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Salt Raker Inn

The Salt Raker Inn, located in the heart of Old Grand Turk, has thirteen affordable rooms available for guests.

Verandah Café is a favorite of the locals and is located near a number of beaches as well as diving stores.

Bohio Dive Resort

Bohio Dive Resort can be found on Pillory Beach, which is widely regarded as having the most pristine and beautiful sands of any beach on the island.

The bright, whitewashed apartments include individual balconies and great views of the ocean, and the ground level houses a beach bar and restaurant that is always bustling with activity. The hotel’s diving school is the primary draw, as it offers a variety of vacation packages that cater to couples, families, individuals, and small groups.

Turks Head Inn

The Turks Head Inn, a historic property that has been refurbished, is a chic boutique hotel that is only a few steps away from Front Street.

The front of the home is painted blue, but behind that are luxurious flats that are furnished with antiques and have modern baths. A cozy garden café and a bar serving up excellent cocktails are also available.

Turks Head Inn​

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Fun & Adventurous Things To Do on Grand Turk Island

Explore Gibbs Cay

Gibbs Cay is a beautiful island that is 2.8 hectares in size and is completely uninhabited. Here, you may swim and dive amid stingrays.

Gibbs Cay is known for its pristine beaches with white sand, its gorgeous shoreline, and the hill in the middle of the island that is covered with sea oats. It is the best place in the Turks and Caicos to see southern stingrays and engage in feeding and other behaviors with them.

Lighthouse of Cockburn

The only lighthouse that can be found on Grand Turk is the Cockburn Town Lighthouse, which is also referred to as the Grand Turk Lighthouse.

In order to assist ships in safely traversing the treacherous shallow reefs that are located off the northern end of the island, it was built in the 1850s. Despite the fact that it is no longer operational, the lighthouse on Grand Turk is nevertheless considered to be one of the most important historical landmarks on the island.

Lighthouse of Cockburn​

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National Museum

The Turks National Museum in Cockburn Town is a great place for families to visit since it focuses on the history of the Turks Islands in the Caribbean and is a lot of fun.

The museum has been open since 1991 and has a fascinating collection of exhibits and artifacts relating to the island located in the tropical Atlantic.

Governor's Beach

Grand Turk serves as the administrative, cultural, historical, and economic center of the Turks and Caicos Islands. It is also the largest of the islands.

The famous Governor’s Beach, which is located exactly in the middle of the route between the Cruise Center and Cockburn Town, has the classic Caribbean combination of soft, white sand and calm, blue waters.

Duke Street

Duke Street is the most important thoroughfare in Cockburn Town, which is the capital city of the Turks and Caicos Islands.

There are a variety of tourist attractions that may be discovered in this area, including hotels, gift shops, restaurants, and pubs.

Duke Street​

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Salt Cay

At the salinas, also known as salt pans, visitors may learn more about Salt Cay island’s once-thriving salt industry before admiring the windmill pumps that have been left in their lovely abandoned states (destroyed by a 2008 hurricane).

The most populous region of the island is located in Balfour Town, which is also home to a wide array of colonial-style buildings that exude a lively and endearing sense of character.

In addition to its pristine beaches and warm, crystal-clear waters, Salt Cay is home to a number of reefs in the surrounding waters that are fantastic for snorkeling. Those who have the good fortune to visit the island during the peak whale-watching season may be able to see humpback whales breaching as they go along their migratory route.

Take a leisurely hike up to Northwest Point for some of the most breathtaking sunsets in the area, as well as dramatic vistas back over the jagged cliffs and beach below. It is widely agreed upon that North Bay Beach is the beach with the most breathtaking scenery. They could also be lucky enough to watch humpback whales breaching while they are on their migration.

Salt Cay​

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Grand Turk Wall

The Turks and Caicos Islands are a popular location for snorkeling and diving for a variety of reasons, many of which may be attributed to the islands’ geographical characteristics. Snorkeling is at its best in the seas immediately next to the beaches of the archipelago since the islands are located on a shallow underwater plateau.

After passing this plateau, the seabed continues to slope downward, eventually reaching depths of up to 2,100 meters.

The Grand Turk Wall, which is located one kilometer offshore, is the one that attracts the most visitors. Divers get the chance to watch immense schools of tropical fish, massive marine monsters, and a breathtaking variety of coral at this reef structure, which is the third biggest coral reef structure in the world.

Divers have a good chance of seeing a wide range of marine species, such as manta rays, eagle rays, groupers, tuna, and barracuda, as well as reef sharks, hammerheads, and manta rays.

Grand Turk Wall​

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Chalk Sound National Park

Chalk Sound National Park has a vast lagoon that extends along the southwest coast of Providenciales.

This lagoon is located south of the island’s airport and city, and it is inland from Sapodilla Bay. The lake is separated from the coast, which it surrounds for a distance of five kilometers, by a sandbar that is the size of a small peninsula and is studded with resorts (3 miles).


Although it is just six miles (ten kilometers) long and quite a little island, Grand Turk is the economic, political, and cultural center of the Turks and Caicos Islands. Despite its size, Grand Turk looms large.

It is possible that the population of the island’s capital, Cockburn Town, might more than triple in the span of a single day as a direct consequence of the island’s deepwater port, which serves as a popular stop for cruise ships traversing the Caribbean. 

Despite this, it is well worth one’s time to spend an hour wandering about the town, which is filled with a variety of gift shops and much more!

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