Turks and Caicos are a series of islands controlled by the British government in the Caribbean. Its gentle waves are perfect for families with young children, and much of the main island of Providenciales has plenty of unspoiled nature to explore.
However, the Caribbean has very different safety standards than the United States or Europe. Countries like Jamaica and the Bahamas have many crimes, particularly those that focus on tourists.
So, to answer the big question…
Is Turks and Caicos Safe to Visit?
Yes, as long as you practice good safety and keep an eye on your belongings, it is safe. While there are some things you should watch out for, such as armed robbery, most crime takes place in isolated areas at night.
You should have no issues on your trip if you avoid such situations. The only things you need to look out for once you’re there are petty theft (standard in all tourist destinations) and taxis overcharging you.
Crime in Turks and Caicos
When planning your trip, you should avoid isolated rental villas. Why? Well, because armed thugs sometimes hold up such isolated places. Scary, yes, but this happens 0-6 times a year in Turks and Caicos.
Rental villas rented out by tourists are prime targets for armed robbery. So, the easiest way to avoid this crime is to steer clear of rental villas, particularly ones in isolated or remote areas.
You should pick a hotel or resort with good reviews and safety measures, or if you still have your heart set on a private villa, pick one in a gated neighborhood with security. Armed robbery happens at dusk or nightfall in the alleyways and less populated areas of Providenciales.
The best way to avoid this is to be back at your hotel or resort by sundown, take a taxi or rental car around at night, and stay in crowded touristy areas after the sun goes down.
Petty theft and pickpocketing can also happen, so only carry what you need with you and keep everything valuable in your hotel safe. Keep a close eye on your belongings when out in public, and don’t keep valuables in plain sight in cars.
Parked cars at beaches or downtown are prime targets for theft, and many insurance policies don’t cover damage from broken windows and doors.
Ensure your auto policy does cover this type of damage on rental cars, and avoid placing valuables within plain sight in your car. While this may seem like a lot, it’s more common sense than anything.
Avoid alleys and sketchy neighborhoods, especially at night, pick a safe location to sleep, and avoid looking like a target. You should follow these guidelines no matter where you choose to go.
Avoiding Bad Neighborhoods
In all honesty, there aren’t any bad areas in Providenciales. All the areas of the city are safe to walk through during the day, and they aren’t too bad at night, although you’re still at an increased risk.
However, you should avoid all alleyways and dark streets at night, and try to avoid walking around, the same logic you’d use in any large city. Another important note is to beware of the isolated natural parks on the island’s western end.
While this area has less crime than the developed parts, it’s also more isolated, so it will take longer to receive help if any crime occurs. It’s the same idea as the rental villas; because it’s remote, they can be targeted.
Don’t pick up hitchhikers, even lone women, as it’s often part of a larger scheme. If you use your head and remain aware of your surroundings, you should be perfectly safe exploring the city. Just pick up a map from the front desk, so you don’t get lost and wander.
On the other hand, if you want to avoid most crimes altogether, head to another island. Providenciales has the highest crime rate, and the other islands don’t struggle with crime.
You could visit the North and Middle Caicos while island-hopping, stay in the South Caicos for a truly isolated getaway, or visit the adorable towns on Grand Turk or Salt Cay. They’re all a lot safer than the main island of Providenciales while having everything you could want in a Caribbean vacation.
Taxis in Turks and Caicos like to overcharge tourists. So, settle on a fare before getting into a cab. If you’re riding with multiple people, specify that the fare is for everyone and won’t be multiplied.
If you’re comfortable driving on the left side of the road, most driver’s licenses are valid for one month in Turks and Caicos. Anything beyond this, and you’ll have to get a local permit, but it should be excellent for short vacations.
However, you should have auto insurance covering damage and crashes. Most main roads are in good condition, but things can get rough once you get off the beaten path.
In populated areas, taxis and minibusses often speed and ignore road safety. Drive cautiously, especially at intersections. The last thing you want is to be caught up in a crash that takes time away from enjoying paradise.
While you should be careful while driving, a rental car is still the best way to get around. It’s convenient, and you can explore the island at your leisure, including the more natural, isolated parts.
Best of all, you no longer have to negotiate rates with taxi drivers who constantly try and rip you off. While you should spring for the extra insurance, rental rates are pretty good on all the islands, so it’s cheap, easy, and safe as long as you drive carefully.
June through November is hurricane season in the Caribbean. But you shouldn’t let that keep you from visiting. Hurricanes are a reasonably rare occurrence, and while you should keep an eye on the news and weather, you shouldn’t let it freak you out.
If you happen across nasty weather, stay calm. There are plenty of hurricane shelters on every island. It may be the hotel you’re visiting! Then, you can ride out the weather with the locals as they swap stories and complain about water damage.
In a way, you’ll be getting the whole Caribbean experience! Of course, if you do plan on going during hurricane season, you should be flexible in your planning.
Bad weather can delay or cancel flights, so you may end up stranded in Turks and Caicos longer than you thought or have to cancel your trip. But this rarely happens, so you should have no issues on your trip as long as you are prepared.
Armed Robbery: Rental Villas and Alleyways
As previously mentioned, armed robbery is rare on the islands, but it does happen, mainly on Providenciales. The best way to avoid it is to avoid walking at night, especially if you’re alone, avoid alleyways after dark and sundown, and stay away from isolated areas after dark.
If you’re getting a rental villa, ensure it’s in a good area with good security. Gated communities with security guards are preferable.
If your villa isn’t in one of these areas, know who it is before you open your door. If someone you don’t know comes knocking, don’t let them in. It’s not a good idea, no matter where you are.
Taking a Taxi: Inflated Rates
There’s no public transportation on the island. However, there are relatively cheap taxis and minibusses you can take to get around if you don’t want a rental car or don’t have a license.
The problem comes when the drivers see you aren’t from around there and try to charge you through the nose for a ride. Taxis and minibusses tend to overcharge tourists for their services. Since tourists don’t know any better, they frequently pay inflated rates.
Always settle on a fare before you get into a taxi or minibus. And ensure that the fare covers all the riders, as another frequent scam is to multiply that fare by the number of people riding and not tell you until you’re at your destination.
Scummy, yes, but you can still get cheap fares by negotiating and showing you’ve done your homework on how much taxis cost.
Traffic safety isn’t as bad as in other countries where drivers ignore lights and road signs. Taxis in Turks and Caicos tend to drive recklessly, but they still obey signs and lights.
Take that for what you will, but if road safety is a big concern of yours, you can offer to pay more if they drive safer than they normally would. It’s a shame you’d have to pay more for a safer ride, but that’s just the roads around Turks and Caicos.
Things to Consider
While the Turks and Caicos are some of the safest islands to visit in the Caribbean, it’s still be best to practice good safety while you’re there:
- Keep valuables out of sight and only carry the cash you need for the day
- Pick a hotel or resort with good reviews and safety measures
- Don’t walk alone at night; take a cab or be at your hotel
- Beware of scams, and never pick up hitchhikers
- Be aware of your surroundings, especially in isolated parts of the island.
- Be wary when walking alone around dusk
- Don’t leave valuables within sight in your car
- Drive cautiously, and have good insurance
Frequently Asked Questions
Turks and Caicos make for a beautiful Caribbean getaway. The ideal tropical getaway is the soft sandy beaches, gentle waves, tons of coral reefs, and wildlife sanctuaries.
And since it’s one of the safest destinations in the Caribbean, it’s perfect for families with young children still learning to swim.
Most visitors to Turks and Caicos are cruise ship passengers who only stay one or two nights before moving on to their next destination. But Turks and Caicos are also perfect for more extended getaways and vacations.
Are Turks and Caicos beaches safe?
Yes, Turks and Caicos have some of the safest beaches in the world. Turks and Caicos are coral islands built up by coral reefs over a long time. Coral reefs still ring the islands themselves to this day.
These reefs break up waves and currents coming in from the ocean, creating gentle lapping waves and clear still water that perfectly shows the bottom of the sea. The sloping sandy shores make a gentle incline into the warm waters, making it the perfect place for children to learn how to swim.
Is Turks and Caicos safe outside of resorts?
Yes, Turks and Caicos are very safe. While you won’t want to walk into alleyways or at night by yourself, most neighborhoods of Providenciales are perfectly safe during the day.
If you’re still concerned about crime and safety, try one of the other many islands that make up Turks and Caicos. There are dozens to choose from, and they all make great getaways without the crime of the main island of Providenciales.
Is it safe to walk in Turks and Caicos at night?
No, you shouldn’t walk around at night. On Providenciales, most of the crime occurs at dusk or nighttime, so if you stay out, you’re just increasing your chances of becoming a victim.
However, it’s still an increased risk. You can still walk around at night, and nothing might happen. By and large, Turks and Caicos are safe, even at night.
What are the dos and don’ts of Turks and Caicos?
In general, you want to practice good safety while on the islands, but you shouldn’t let that get in the way of your vacation, so don’t forget to have a good time. Also, the tap water is safe to drink but doesn’t taste very good.
It’s made with desalination processes that convert ocean water to drinkable water, and it just doesn’t taste great. You should buy water in jugs from convenience and grocery stores for the best tasting water at the best price.
Also, buy whatever you need off the island and bring it with you. Turks and Caicos have no natural harbors, which means no large import ships.
And since most of the island is unsuitable for farming, this hikes up the prices of all imports, including food. Expect to pay three or four times more on everything than you would back home.
What is the best time of the year to visit Turks and Caicos?
July. Everything is cheaper and fewer crowds. You can get up to 40% off of your stay. December is the worst time for tourist season, so everything is expensive. Most hurricanes happen in August or September, so July is also relatively safe.
So, Is Turks and Caicos Safe to Visit?
Yes, it’s one of the safest Caribbean islands you can visit. The low crime rate and the gentle beaches make it perfect for families with young children, while the natural environment is ideal for everyone else. Happy travels!