Grand Turk Island Things to Do
It was fascinating to learn of Grand Turk's connection to some of the world's first efforts at outer-space exploration. In the late 1950's to 1960's, Grand Turk Island hosted one of the 18 U.S. Project Mercury space-tracking stations and was home to 2 U.S. Military bases.On February 20, 1962, a rocket from Cape Canaveral launched Col. John Glenn in...more
Grand Turk Island has a large population of donkeys which freely roam the island seemingly uncared for and mostly unloved. They were either brought to the island by sailing explorers who often left stock to populate and fend for themselves until the seafarers made landfall again, or most likely they were brought by the early Bermudians who came to...more
A visit to "Her Majesty's Prison" in Cockburn Town gave us a glimpse into an earlier way of life on Grand Turk. Her Majesty’s Prison was built sometime in the 1830s and was in operation for over 150 years until its closure in 1994 -- an incredibly long time for colonial-era buildings. In the beginning years, the prison housed few prisoners, on...more
Located at the far northern tip of Grand Turk Island, the Grand Turk Lighthouse rises some 60 feet into the sky while overlooking North Creek. A Mr. Frith enabled the building of the lighthouse in hopes of saving the salt trade as ships were foundering on the surrounding reef and there were many shipwrecks off Grand Turk's coastline. Built in 1852...more
As some of the sights we saw while touring Grand Turk were actually grouped in Cockburn Town, it might be worth mentioning something about the town itself. Cockburn, pronounce "Co burn" Town is the capital city of the Turks & Caicos Islands and it is named for Sir Francis Cockburn, once Governor of the Bahamas. The town grew out of necessity and...more
While touring Grand Turk Island we saw many old, distinctive-looking churches with white-washed walls, red roofs and red shutters and surrounded by low walls. The oldest church on the island is St. Thomas' Anglican Church built in 1823, and it is located closer to the middle of the island on the edge of the Town Salinas; however, after a time St....more
Grand Turk Island Hotels
Grand Turk Island Restaurants
While waiting for our tour of the island to begin, we saw "Froots" establishment in the Cruise Center "village" and for some reason assumed it was a place serving only fruit smoothies, or similar cold & tasty concoctions which we weren't ready for yet. However, upon further review I learned that Froots does indeed serve all types of smoothies but...more
"Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville" Restaurant and Bar is one of the main establishments located in the Cruise Center "village" of Grand Turk. Billed as the largest Margaritaville in the Caribbean, it's a sprawling enterprise with a multi-level restaurant, shop, lazy river pool with swim-up bars, and beach cabanas which can be rented through your...more
Although it was mid-October, as well as a cloudy day when we visited Grand Turk Island, the weather was hot and humid. After some hours spent sightseeing on the island, our local guide, Smitty, made a stop for anyone wishing to take the opportunity to get something cold to drink and we were glad to take advantage of it.The closest place was Irv's...more
Grand Turk Island Transportation
Getting to and Getting Around Grand Turk...
For those travelers wishing to visit Grand Turk Island there are a few, but very limited, ways to get here! I would easily wager that most people visiting Grand Turk Island arrive by cruise ship. Since the island has a deep-water harbor, a massive pier which accommodates the larger cruise ships, and now a gorgeous new Cruise Center, it is the easiest method of visiting the island. Many cruise lines regularly have port calls here including Carnival, Holland America, Crystal, AIDA, Princess, Oceania, etc.
The island has one airport with one runway and one terminal -- we drove by it on our tour of the island. Located approximately one mile from Cockburn Town, the airport is named the "Grand Turk JAGS McCartney International Airport" (GDT). It is considered an international airport, yet oddly enough has no regularly scheduled, arriving 'international' flights. It was named after James Alexander George Smith (JAGS) McCartney (June 30, 1945 - May 8, 1980), a Grand Turk National Hero and the island territory's first Chief Minister who died in a plane crash in New Jersey, USA. The airport's facilities include a small cafe/restaurant, the Cockpit Lounge, several local car rental car agencies booths, restrooms and there is free parking. Taxis are also available from the airport for transport around the island.
All scheduled international flights into the Turks and Caicos arrive at Providenciales Island's International Airport (PLS). Airlines flying into the larger Providenciales Island include American, Jet Blue, and Delta -- from Providenciales Island, interCaribbean Airways flies into Grand Turk regularly. It's a 30 minute flight which costs around US $80 - $ 110 and up roundtrip. Grand Turk is 70 miles from Providenciales Island.
There is no ferry service to Grand Turk Island from other islands in the chain; the only a ferry transportation is from Grand Turk to Salt Cay. Some people arrive on Grand Turk by yacht, but they are required to first call at the 'port-of-entry' of which Grand Turk has only one -- the Government Freighter Dock -- where entry must be granted by the harbormaster and then only for one week unless a cruising permit is issued for a longer stay.
Unfortunately, there is no public transportation such as buses on the island. However, taxis are available for transportation around the island, and some people who prefer to explore the island on their own use golf carts which can be rented outside of the Cruise Center area. Of course, tour excursions can be pre-booked through individual cruise lines; for others staying on the island, check with your hotel's concierge or personnel for activity arrangements. For non-cruise ship passengers, see also chukka.com/location/turks-and-caicos/ to book one of the many activity excursions online.
If you're arriving by cruise ship, the first sight you will see other than the gorgeous beach is the Grand Turk Cruise Center.