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Die Turks- und Caicosinseln, ein Paradies in der Karibik, Bild: Ariane27 / shutterstock

Paradise and back: The Turks and Caicos Islands

Unknown, dreamlike beauties like the Turks and Caicos Islands possess so much charm and appeal precisely because of their obscurity. The idyll is still a lesser-known holiday destination and actually you don’t want to report so much about such a place, preferring to keep the secret. On the other hand, however, every person should be given the opportunity to go to paradise and back again.

Beauty in the Atlantic

Geographically, the large archipelago of the Turks and Caicos Islands is part of the Caribbean. It is located in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean and is an offshoot of the Bahamas. A little more than 100 kilometers to the south are the far more famous Caribbean islands of Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Some islands are completely uninhabited. Most of the locals can be found on the island of Providenciales . The capital of the Turks and Caicos Islands is called Cockburn. It is located on the island of Grand Turk in the western part of the archipelago. The archipelago includes the Turk Islands to the east and the Caicos Islands to the west. Both islands are divided by the so-called Columbus Passage. With about 320 days of sunshine and very little rainy season thanks to its special location in the Atlantic, the Turks and Caicos Islands are a true paradise for sun worshippers, active vacationers, those seeking relaxation and families. Thanks to endless white sandy beaches, bright blue skies and many palm trees, you get pure Caribbean feeling here.

The Turk Islands

In the east of the archipelago are the two Turkic islands Grand Turk and Salt Cay, which are also inhabited. These two islands are the busiest and there are not only endless beaches to see. Grand Turk, for example, is 18 square kilometers in size and is home to the small but beautiful capital city of Cockburn Town. Pastel-coloured cottages are reminiscent of the colonial era of the archipelago and the friendly and cheerful inhabitants of the island are particularly convincing. If you are looking for deserted beaches and tranquility, you should visit Cotton Cay, East Cay and Gibbs Cay beaches.

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On busier beaches, sports are often offered on and around the water, such as jet skiing, diving and beach volleyball. On the northern tip of Grand Turk is a pretty old lighthouse. From here you have a magnificent view over land and sea and with a bit of luck you can also see a few passing humpback whales between December and April. If you are a history enthusiast, you can learn a little more about the history of the archipelago in Salt Cay and visit ancient ruins.

The Caicos Islands

Grand Turk Island
Grand Turk Island, Image: Claude Huot / shutterstock

The Caicos Islands also attract with miles of white beaches, but also with some action. The busiest place is on the island of Providenciales, which is also the tourist center of the entire archipelago. From here you can go on beautiful day trips or book snorkeling and diving tours. And you can also reach and visit other islands of the group with small planes or boats. Providenciales also includes the Chalk Sound lagoon to the south, a group of small rocky islands that you can paddle through by kayak. An absolute highlight on the island is the Thursday Fish Fry in Bight Park. As the name suggests, this small event always takes place on Thursdays.

There are many local street food offers, accompanied by Caribbean music and in the company of many nice people – both locals and tourists. Unspoiled nature and beauty can be found on the Caicos Islands of East Caicos, West Caicos, South Caicos, North Caicos and Middle Ciacos. On the highest point of the islands, East Caicos, you will find breathtaking nature, mangrove forests, swamps and the remains of the abandoned city of Jacksonville. West Ciacos is home to a nature reserve on Lake Catherine with many species of waterfowl and reefs for diving. The flamingos are native to the populated North Caicos, where there is more lush vegetation than on the other islands, as it rains more frequently. South Caicos thrives on fishing and there are delicious culinary seafood dishes. The sleepy harbour town of Cockburn Harbour is well worth a visit. The largest of the Caicos Islands is Middle Caicos with its imposing limestone cliffs and mystical cave systems.

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How do you get to paradise?

The main airport for international flights to the Turks and Caicos Islands is Providenciales International Airport, PLS. Flights from Europe usually go via London Heathrow. For entry and a maximum stay of 90 days, you need a passport valid for at least 6 months at the time of entry and a return ticket. You can rent a rental car or scooter on site, but you need an international driver’s license for them. Domestic flights are offered between the islands or you can continue by ferry or boat. There is no public transport on the islands, but there are plenty of taxis.

Tips for the perfect stay

  • Shopping: The national currency in the Turks and Caicos Islands is the US dollar (USD). There is no VAT on the archipelago. If you like shopping, you are most likely to find it in Grace Bay on Providenciales or in the Grand Turk Cruise Center on Grand Turk. Souvenir shops and smaller shops are usually found in the hotel complexes and at tourist destinations.
  • Sport: There are countless diving spots and snorkeling opportunities on the archipelago. Here you will also find one of the largest coral reefs in the world (Coral Gardens Reef) and steep wall diving areas. Surfing and kitesurfing are best done at Long Bay Beach and horseback riding along the beach is also offered. If you like action, you can abseil down to The Hole, a huge limestone hole at the bottom of which you can swim. Although there are hardly any major cultural sights or highlights on the archipelago, it offers a lot of peace, a lot of nature, a lot of sun and the feeling of being in paradise.