While you may not have heard of the Turks and Caicos Islands, you will certainly know about the currency they use. This happens to be the US dollar, so with that in mind you will probably know the basics of this most famous currency. We will find out more about the islands themselves in this article as well.
What coins and notes are available for this currency?
You may well already know some of the coins and notes available for the US dollar, but we will cover them here just in case. Each dollar is divided into 100 cents and there are coins available for both the unit and the subunit. You can get cent coins denominated in values of 1, 5, 10, 25 and 50 cents, while there is a dollar coin available as well.
The smallest dollar value banknote is the one dollar note. There is a $2 note too but this is so rare as to not be seen at all. Aside from these you can also find the $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100 notes in circulation.
From past to present – the history of the Turks and Caicos Islands US dollar
The Turks and Caicos Islands are actually a British Overseas Territory. As such you might think it is more convenient for them to use the British pound, but this is not the case. The main reason why they chose the US dollar as their official currency is because they do plenty of business with the US. Choosing that currency therefore makes it easier to do business because it keeps things simple working with the same currency all the time.
Interestingly enough, the Turks and Caicos Islands also now use the Bahamian dollar. This has been the case since 2013, although the US dollar is still recognised at its official currency.
How to get hold of the Turks and Caicos Islands US dollar
Since the islanders use the US dollar, you can imagine it is pretty easy to get hold of this particular currency. You can of course do so before you get to the islands, which makes life easier for you. One thing to be aware of is the need to get organised and to get the US dollar before you go on holiday there though. There is a good reason for this. While the banks on the islands will change your own currency for the US dollar, the fees involved in doing so are likely to be quite pricey. In addition you may find yourself standing at the end of a very long queue for the privilege of paying so much to exchange that currency!
As such you are bound to find a much better and more competitive rate for your US dollars at home. Check a variety of bureaux de change to make sure you can locate a good deal. Assess how much cash you think you will need ahead of time too, since this will make it easier to be prepared. The crucial point to remember here is to assess how much cash you think you will need in advance of planning your trip, so you can go prepared. Remember too that these islands tend to be expensive so always allow more cash than you think you will need. Traveller’s cheques are good to get before you leave home too; again, make sure they are denominated in US dollars. You will find plenty of places to cash them quite easily when you are in the Turks and Caicos Islands.
The good news is you can also pay for purchases by credit card when you are on holiday there. Most outlets will take either Mastercard or Visa (or both) but you may want to check for the smaller outlets since not all of them will happily accept card payments.
How to find out the latest exchange rate between your home currency and the Turks and Caicos Islands US dollar
Since we are talking about the US dollar here you might already have a rough idea of how far your own currency will go when changed into the US dollar. However you can get an up-to-date figure by using your preferred currency converter. This is easy enough to do since you will find the US dollar on every currency converter you can think of (even the more basic ones). Try and find one that gives you an updated figure on a regular basis though, instead of once a day or so. Remember too that your actual exchange rate will be dependent on the rates and fees charged by the bureau de change you opt to change your money at.
Most people will find out a little about the place they want to visit prior to actually going there. This is good to do with these islands too, especially since the latest travel advice will provide information on the latest events and things to be aware of. The Turks and Caicos Islands travel information page on the official UK government website is updated as and when necessary with details about the islands. You can visit the page at https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/turks-and-caicos-islands.
Travelling safely with the Turks and Caicos Islands US dollar
The good news is the majority of tourists who visit the Turks and Caicos Islands have a great trip and nothing amiss occurs during the time they are there. However it is of course a good idea to be aware of potential safety issues surrounding the incidence of crime and other petty thefts. These do occur on the islands, much as they do elsewhere in the world.
The highest number of incidents tends to take place in Providenciales. According to the UK government website, this is the place where most visitors to the islands will land by plane. The crime levels here are not severe but they are more common, perhaps because of the higher level of tourists arriving here before spreading out on the islands as a whole.
For the most part the rules that should apply here are the same as those that are applicable in other parts of the world. Make sure you have the ability to stay safe and protect your belongings by applying some simple rules. Much of the crime that does occur is petty and opportunistic. This means that if you take pains to secure your belongings and not leave them unattended you will have far less of a chance of being affected. Make sure you protect your passport and tickets and keep a separate note of your traveller’s cheques numbers in case they should go astray. Don’t carry too much cash at once and divide it into separate pockets if you can as well.
Where to spend your dollars in the Turks and Caicos Islands – and what to spend them on
The Turks and Caicos Islands are many in number, yet while there are around 40 in total (including cays) just eight have islanders living on them. They are situated in the North Atlantic Ocean, north of Haiti and the Dominican Republic. They are also to the south-east of Florida and The Bahamas and to the east of Cuba.
The Caicos Islands include Providenciales, Pine Cay and South Caicos among other islands, while the most famous island of the Turks Islands area is Grand Turk. The capital of the islands as a whole is Cockburn Town, which is located on Grand Turk. It is well worth visiting here to go to the National Museum, since this will reveal much about the islands and their history. Indeed one of the finest sights here is a series of shipwrecks that have been brought up from the seas around the islands. Grand Turk itself is well-known for being home to some great beaches, such as the one to the south-west of the island.
Providenciales is where the main airport for the islands is located, and the island sits to the west of the chain. Known as Provo for short, the island draws many visitors, most notably to Grace Bay, which is a popular beach location offering plenty in the way of accommodation as well as a great beachfront setting. If you spend some time here don’t miss the opportunity to head to Chalk Sound National Park. This is a lagoon and it is quite spectacular, offering wonderful opportunities to take some memorable photographs. The bay itself is some three miles in length, so you could easy wander from one end to the other to soak up the atmosphere.
While the Turks and Caicos Islands are expensive in contrast to many other countries and islands in the world, they certainly have plenty of experiences and attractions to offer. Many people head here for a quintessential beach holiday, but there are plenty of natural sights to enjoy as well as the lush sands and clear waters.
It may indeed be expensive, but you could also say many of the finest activities to appreciate here come totally free of charge – such as the amazing views and sights that await you.