Almost all visitors arrive in Turks and Caicos by air at Providenciales International Airport , unless they are on a cruise ship, in which case they will arrive in Grand Turk. Those visitors who are not picked up by a shuttle to take them to their report or hotel will have a number of options to get them to their vacation villa. Most people like to have the independence to travel around the island and see the sights. Renting a vehicle is the best option for this as the taxis can be very expensive. A trip of just 5-6 miles will cost $25 or so plus a tip. Other options such as using the illegal taxis, known and “jitneys” is not recommended. They can be unreliable and unsafe due to the condition of the vehicles.
Scooters are also available for rent however, these are not too different in price from a small car rental and do not offer the safety or protection from the sun that a rental car does. Some of the villas and resorts offer bicycles to their guest too. These can be fun for short trips to the beach or around the shopping areas, but it is not a good idea to use them on the more major roads where speeding and careless driving habits can be commonplace.
So, a rental car is the preferred option for exploring the island. You can find out how best to rent a vehicles in our car rentals in TCI page. Once you have your car there are a few things to know about when driving. Of course the first is that like the UK and many of its associated territories, Turks and Caicos traffic drives on the left side of the road. Some people find this daunting but in fact it is very easy to get used to. You may find it hard to figure out the indicators and windshield wiper controls!
The main highway on the island, Leeward Highway, runs from the airport area right up the spine of the island to the North Caicos ferry terminal at the most easterly point of Providenciales. The main roads in theory have a speed limit of 40 mph but its not often that you will see this being observed. Many of the other main roads, particularly around the Grace Bay area are fully paved. Lesser routes in the outlying areas are rougher unmade tracks. Until 1964 there were no cars at all on Providenciales and the paved road made an appearance around 2000. Even today some of the roads have some deep potholes and there are a numerous speed bumps around the built up areas and schools. These can be a big jolt for your car if they catch you by surprise and you hit them too hard.
On leaving the airport you will soon find that there are a number of roundabouts. Many North American visitors are unfamiliar with these road features. To navigate a roundabout in a left hand drive environment you should always yield for the traffic coming round the roundabout from the right. This simple rule will help you overcome any problems.