Grand Turk Island Facts

Location: Grand Turk is a British Overseas Territory and the capital of the Turks & Caicos Islands located 575 miles southeast of Miami, Florida and 30 miles south of the Bahamas.Grand Turk is one of 40 islands that form the Turks and Caicos archipelago.

Size: The island is approximately 7 miles long and 1.5 miles wide.

Climate: The average temperature ranges between 85-90 degrees F / 29-32 degrees C from June to October, sometimes reaching the mid 90s / 35 degrees C, especially in the late summer months.

From November to May, the average temperature is 80-84 degrees F / 27-29 degrees C.

A constant trade wind keeps the temperature at a comfortable level. In an average year, Grand Turk enjoys 350 days of sunshine.

Population & Language: Approximately 4,500 inhabitants make Grand Turk their home. The island’s primary language is English however there are certain phrases that vary from the English language and certain terms that give a Turks & Caicos flavor to the spoken word.

Currency: The U.S. dollar is the official currency of the Turks & Caicos. Most local hotels, restaurants and shops accept traveler’s checks. All stores at the cruise center accept credit cards. ATMs are available with the closest one less than a mile from the cruise center.

Time: Grand Turk is on EST (UTC/GMT -5 hours) and observes Daylight Savings Time from March 14th -November 1th (UTC/GMT -4 hours).

History: Columbus was said to have discovered the Turks and Caicos Islands in 1492, but some still argue that Ponce de Leon arrived first.The first people to truly discover the islands, however, were the Taino Indians, who unfortunately left little behind but ancient utensils.The Lucayans eventually replaced the Tainos.The late17th century saw the arrival of settlers from Bermuda, who established a booming salt trade on Grand Turk, Salt Cay and South Caicos.The American Revolution almost one hundred years later brought about another influx of immigrants, American Loyalists who attempted to recreate their plantation lifestyles by growing cotton and sisal with varying degrees of success. In 1766, after being controlled by the Spanish, French and British, the Turks and Caicos became part of the Bahamas colony; but attempts to integrate failed and were abandoned in 1848 when they became self-governing under the administration of Jamaica. In 1872, they were formally annexed by Jamaica and following another association with the Bahamas, the Turks and Caicos became a British overseas territory in 1973. Grand Turk also has an interesting history regarding N.A.S.A and the Mercury space program. During the 50's & 60's there was a U.S.A.F. base and space tracking station located near the cruise center. Several astronauts including John Glenn and Scott Carpenter trained at the base and they were both brought to Grand Turk after splashing down in the Atlantic after their historic space missions. To commemorate the connection to the Mercury space program and Grand Turk there is a replica of John Glenn's capsule Friendship 7 on display at the entrance to the airport.

Shore Excursions: There are a variety of shore excursions available on Grand Turk.Please refer to the Shore Excursion section of this website for additional information. Adjacent to the main pier at the cruise center is a purpose-built excursion dock ready to help whisk you away to any number of water based adventures including: snorkeling, diving, self-drive boating, deep sea and flats fishing.

Land-based tours include beach horseback riding, bicycling, beach breaks, 4x4 vehicle adventures, island tours and off road adventures.

Getting Around: A valid driver’s license from your place of residence is required when renting a vehicle. Please note that according to British custom, vehicles operate on the left-hand side of the road. Numerous taxis and rental cars are also available at the cruise center.

Dining: There are a variety of restaurants throughout Grand Turk offering local and Caribbean cuisine, fresh seafood, conch, lobster and other specialties. There is also a Jimmy Buffett's “Margaritaville” restaurant at the Grand Turk Cruise Center.

Shopping: Smaller arts and crafts outlets can be found throughout the island. Innovative work can be found by artists who use the natural environment to create designer mirrors, lamps and other household decorations. If you collect stamps or know a stamp collector, a visit to the Philatelic Bureau located within the cruise center is a must; the brightly colored stamps are highly sought after by collectors around the world.

Attractions: Cockburn Town is the centerpiece of the island with several historical buildings and an unforgettable rustic charm. It is also the seat of Government for the TCI. Here, visitors will find many Bermudian and Colonial-style buildings. Grand Turk also has a well-earned reputation of being one of the finest diving destinations in the world. There is an outstanding protected coral reef that drops to 7,000 feet along the west side of the island.

Beaches: This tropical paradise has been blessed with clear, turquoise waters and numerous beautiful beaches, making it heaven for the beach enthusiast. All beaches are open to the public, free of charge.

Ecotourism: Come and explore ecotourism from the mangroves to the bio-diversity and ecology of the island’s underwater world. Grand Turk has spectacular coral reefs and crystal clear waters. It also boasts interesting natural attractions such as migrating humpback whales (January-April), pink flamingos and many other wading and migratory birds. The topography of the island ranges from beautiful beaches to limestone plateaus. Low profile tropical vegetation is abundant in the undeveloped areas of the island.

For additional tourist information:

Turks and Caicos Islands Tourism Authority Information:


Useful Government Agencies

Civil Aviation Department
All Departments: (649) 946-2801/ 2138
Fax: (649) 946-1185
Director of Civil Aviation: (649) 946-2137
Grand Turk Control Tower: (649) 946-2570
Grand Turk Airport: (649) 946-2233

Customs Department
Grand Turk Airport: (649) 946-2345

Harbor Master
Grand Turk: (649) 946-2325/South
Dock: (649) 946-2993

Fisheries Dept
Grand Turk: (649) 946-2970/2801

TCI Chief Customs Officer
Customs Department
South Base, Grand Turk
Tel: (649) 946-2993/4
Fax: (649) 946-2887

Customs Collector
GT: (649) 946-2993/2994
Fax: (649) 926-2887

Environmental and Coastal Resources
To visit their website, click here

Immigration Department
South Base, Grand Turk
Tel: (649) 946-2939
Fax: (649) 964-2924

Police Headquarters
Tel: (649) 946-2499

Turks and Caicos Tourism Board
To visit their website, click here