March 2018–Turks and Caicos Islands
Let’s be honest, coming to Turks and Caicos on a budget is difficult, but it is definitely doable. It’s by far the most expensive Caribbean Island I’ve visited, but it also takes my reward for the most stunning Caribbean Island I’ve explored. I recently spent four nights in Providenciales, the most developed and populated island in the Turks and Caicos, for a relaxing beach getaway. I knew coming to the Islands would be expensive but with a few travel tricks, I managed to pinch my pennies and enjoy the beautiful island on a budget.
Choose a hotel off the beach. Most hotels are located on Grace Bay Beach and start at $300+/night and go much higher from there, averaging around $600/night. Hotels nearer to the airport or away from the beach are less that $200/night. Many of these hotels also offer a shuttle daily that heads down to Grace Bay Beach at your convenience.
Rent a car. Getting around the Providenciales is really easy. It’s a small island, at only 38 square miles (98 km sq). Renting a car enables you to view the many beaches, pop into shops, drive to restaurants, and of course explore places you wouldn’t otherwise see. Driving around the island is fun! I found many rocky roads, tucked away from the main road, with hidden beaches and beautiful views.
Bring snacks along for the day, and buy food from the grocery stores. Eating out really busts the wallet with most plates averaging $20-$40, and a much needed island cocktail for $10-$20. Save your money for one meal out a day by packing snacks and a having a kitchenette/refrigerator in your room. I usually pack cliff bars, peanut butter to-go, and nuts when traveling. When I arrive I’ll pick up water, bread, fruit, lunch meat, and a few other necessities to for quick and easy cheap meals.
Buy a bottle of wine/alcohol at duty free before you board your flight. Drinks were really expensive on the island, and their traditional rum punch was no exception. So if you like your cocktails, come prepared!
Travel during low season. Like any tourist destination prices are much lower during the off-season. Turks and Caicos is no exception. Low season for this island is around June through November when the temperatures are high, and hurricane season is threatening. I should have taken my own advice for this tip, but instead traveled during a typical American ‘spring break’ where prices are at there highest.
Travel with a group of people and book a vacation rental home. Although the prices for rentals can be a bit high, when you can split the cost with others, you’ll be saving yourself some money for adventures! The rental homes are all around the island, from the beaches, to the highest point in Providenciales. Most, if not all, I saw were well maintained and suitable for a vacation home.
Plan ahead, and book early. The island is small and can fill up fast, especially during high season. Another piece of advice I should have followed for myself, as I struggled to find a suitable hotel with a reasonable price. I did succeed though, and was very pleased with my hotel near to the airport.
I truly enjoyed my budget holiday in Turks and Caicos, and hope you can do the same!