Table of Contents

17 Top Turks & Caicos Packing List Items for 2022 + What to Wear & NOT to Bring

turks and caicos
Updated on

Turks & Caicos is home to the beach voted the most beautiful beach in the world – Grace Bay. Famous white powdery sand, turquoise waters, and healthy coral reefs make Turks & Caicos an island destination not to be missed.

You’ll want to make sure you’re fully prepared for the sun and sand by packing everything you need to enjoy this island nation. This guide will tell you what to wear in Turks & Caicos, important items to pack, what NOT to pack, and answer some common traveler questions.

Follow in the footsteps of the Caribbean pirates of history and get ready to find your own treasures in Turks & Caicos.

What to Pack for Turks & Caicos – 17 Essentials

  • 1. Travel Towel

    I bring this towel with me on every boat and beach trip. It’s thin, absorbent, and dries quickly, so it’s more convenient than traditional beach towels. Use it to dry yourself off after swimming or snorkeling, lay it out in the sun, and it will be dry and ready to use again in a few minutes. When you’re ready to head back to the hotel, just roll it up into the convenient carrying case.

  • 2. Sun Hat

    The sun is strong in Turks & Caicos, but this SPF 50+ sun hat will protect your face and neck while you’re out having fun. The adjustable chinstrap will make sure it doesn’t fly away when you’re out on the boat. It’s practical but still stylish.

  • 3. Cooling Towel

    After a few hours out in the sun, even the most avid beach-goer can start to feel overheated. This microfiber cooling towel can be dipped in water and provide up to an hour of cooling action on your skin. You can also use it to get from relief from the heat when hiking, or use it to wipe yourself down after sweating or showering.

  • 4. Face Mask

    It’s a fact now that traveling safely means bringing your facemask. These comfortable and washable masks can become a part of your outfit with a variety of colors to choose from. Bringing extra masks on your trip ensures that you can switch them out often to stay hygienic. These fabric masks feel breathable while keeping you and others safe.

  • 5. Neck Wallet

    Keeping track of all of your travel documents while traveling abroad can be a hassle. It’s easier to keep your passport, ID, credit card, and phone safely around your neck in a travel wallet for easy access. The wallet keeps your documents out of sight and includes RFID layers that shield your documents from digital theft. The peace of mind alone is worth it!

  • 6. Reef-Safe Sunscreen

    Many travelers don’t know that chemicals in sunscreen can actually harm the coral reef they came to see! Do your part to protect the ocean while snorkeling or swimming with this zinc-based sunscreen that’s reef-safe. You’ll definitely need a lot of it to keep your skin happy and healthy under that bright Caribbean sun!

  • 7. Power Adapter

    You’ll want to charge your phone and camera often after long days of adventures. No matter which country you’re coming from, a universal travel adapter will help you feel sure that you can connect to the local wall outlets, no problem. It’s small and lightweight, and you can bring it on future travel adventures as well.

  • 8. Snorkel Set (mask & snorkel)

    Snorkeling on the beautiful coral reefs is one of the most popular activities you can do in Turks & Caicos. It’s good to have your own mask and snorkel so that you can make sure it fits before you go, and so you know no one else has used it! I always bring my own mask and snorkel when I travel so I know my snorkeling experience will be clean and leak-free.

  • 9. Packing Cubes

    Keeping all of your items organized while you travel can be a challenge. Sorting your stuff into packing cubes can help your bag stay tidy and help you find what you’re looking for more quickly. With each cube labeled, you’ll always know what’s inside! The laundry bags are convenient for keeping your dirty clothes separate.

  • 10. Reusable Water Bottle (Non-Plastic)

    Whether you’re on the beach, out on the boat, or hiking to the pirate caves, you’ll want to have plenty of water with you. A steel insulated bottle is the best choice for avoiding disposable plastic bottles. It will keep your water cold all day, help you stay hydrated, and you can feel good about choosing the more environmentally sustainable option

  • 11. Travel Umbrella

    Depending on what time of year you visit Turks & Caicos, you may be in for a few passing rain showers. Having your own small umbrella means that you can pop it up on the beach and wait for the rain to pass without having to pack up and go inside. It’s compact and won’t take up too much room in your luggage.

  • 12. Affordable Underwater Camera

    Turks & Caicos is home to some impressive species – turtles, dolphins, and even whales! To really capture your experience, you’ll need a waterproof camera for snorkeling or scuba. This is a small and affordable option that will give you higher quality photos than your phone. Prepare to make your friends back home jealous!

  • 13. Universal Waterproof Phone Case

    If you’re thinking of taking your phone near the water – and let’s face it, you will! –You need to protect it from water and sand. This case can hold not only your phone, but your credit cards and cash as well. It allows you to use your touch screen to take pictures and video while keeping your phone dry.

  • 14. Sand-Resistant Beach Blanket

    Sand usually sticks to regular towels and blankets, and all that sand can end up back in your hotel room. Sand doesn’t stick to this blanket, and it has pockets you can fill to make sure it doesn’t blow away. It’s lightweight and packs up into a small carrying case, so it won’t weigh down your luggage, either.

  • 15. Daypack

    When you leave the hotel for a day of activities, you’ll want to bring lots of things with you. A daypack is the perfect bag to take to the beach or on the boat so you can easily access your water, sunscreen, and camera. This pack even has a waterproof compartment for your wet bathing suit and various other pockets to help you stay organized.

  • 16. Travel Insurance for Turks & Caicos

    We don’t like to think about the unexpected things can happen when traveling abroad, but it’s best to be prepared. Travel insurance can cover you from the costs of theft, damaged luggage, rental car damage, and even medical emergencies. Travel insurance is usually inexpensive, and gives you peace of mind your trip won’t be ruined.

  • 17. VPN

    I never travel without a VPN, because I know that my data will be protected. Many people don’t know that connecting to a WiFi network opens your device to being hacked. A VPN provides a secure and encrypted way for you to access the internet. As a bonus, you can also use it to access your home country’s Netflix or get around a country’s internet censorship.

What to Wear in Turks & Caicos

While Turks & Caicos is famous for its water activities, it’s also a luxury destination with high-end restaurants and sunset yacht cruises. In addition to your bathing suit, you’ll want to have casual clothes for beach bars, evening wear for dining out, and even a cocktail dress or a button-down for the most exclusive places. It’s usually warm all year, but rain and wind can give you a chill, so a light jacket is a good idea. If you plan on hiking or horseback riding, sturdy pants and athletic wear will serve you well.

What WOMEN should wear in Turks & Caicos – (Click to expand)

Below is a sample women’s clothing list. (All items link to Amazon.com for your convenience).

Women visiting Turks & Caicos usually wear sundresses and sandals for most of the trip. Lightweight and breathable fabrics are the best choice to keep you cool in the sun. You can also layer up with sarongs, cover-ups, or a light windbreaker if it gets windy. You might want one pair of heels if you’re planning on dining at a fancy restaurant, but you can also get by with more comfortable wedges. There are a few hiking trails where sneakers would come in handy.

What MEN should wear in Turks & Caicos?– (Click to expand)

Below is a sample men’s clothing list. (All items link to Amazon.com for your convenience).

Men will be most comfortable in shorts and a t-shirt or tank top most of the time in Turks & Caicos. For night out at a nice restaurant, slacks, a button-down, and boat shoes are appropriate. Materials like cotton and linen will be the most breathable. Swim trunks will be indispensible most days, of course. It’s not likely to get cold, but the occasional rain shower or wind out on the boat may mean a windbreaker or light rain jacket would be good to have. Athletic clothes for hiking around the rocky hills by the beaches will keep you cooler and dryer.

Packing for the Seasons in Turks & Caicos

Dry Season – December, January, February, March:

The winter and spring “high season” sees the rains abate and temperatures drop a few degrees on average. The water and air temperatures are still warm year round, so this time of the year it’s important to wear light, loose-fitting clothes and wear sunscreen. A coverup will help protect you at the beach, and you’ll likely wear sandals most days. Sun hats and sunglasses will give you some relief from that shining sun and bright white sand. The average temperature in Turks & Caicos is 75-95°F (24-35°C), with the winter seeing the lower end of the scale more often. The ocean stays between 74-78°F (23-26°C), so you might want a rash guard for snorkeling or a wetsuit for diving.

Shoulder Season – April and May:

Shoulder season is when the air and water are getting warmer, the rains are gone, and the large crowds of high season have vacated. If you visit Turks & Caicos during this time, expect to wear breezy sundresses, sandals, and a bathing suit most of the time. This would be a great time to go hiking in your athletic gear, as it’s not as hot or rainy as in the summer months. Air and water temperatures hover around 80°F (27°C).

Rainy Season – June, July, August, September, October, November:

The summer and fall “rainy” season is also low season, when fewer tourists arrive and prices are generally lower. The ocean is its warmest at around 85°F (29°C) and the air is a balmy 90°F (35°C) much of the time. Hurricanes are the most likely to strike around this time, but in general there are rain showers that pass by quickly each day. A light rain jacket and an umbrella will serve you well in this season. Unfortunately, mosquitoes are the most common in the rainy season, so insect repellent will help keep them away.

How to dress for activities in Turks & Caicos – (Click to expand)

Boating – Spending time on a boat while fishing, island hopping, or just cruising around is a classic Turks & Caicos activity. Breezy clothing like shorts and a sundress will keep you comfortable, and a hat with a chinstrap will feel more secure in the wind. Use your daypack or waterproof dry bag to bring your water bottle, towel, and sunscreen with you wherever you go!

Nightlife – Turks & Caicos has a plethora of fine dining options and nice bars. A pair of slacks for guys and a simple cocktail dress for ladies will make you feel appropriately dressed. Natural tones that mirror the tranquil water and palm trees will look the most stylish, whereas loud prints or Hawaiin shirts will come off as cheesy.

Water sports – Besides snorkeling, there is also abundant scuba diving, kite surfing, wakeboarding, and so many more water sports to do in Turks & Caicos. Besides a sturdy bathing suit, a rash guard will help protect you from the sun and prevent your skin from rubbing against your scuba gear. Bring flip flops to pop on when you get back to shore, and make sure to apply reef-safe sunscreen 30 minutes before you get in the water.

Hiking – There are some rocky trails on the islands of Turks & Caicos, as well as mysterious caves where pirates used to hide out. To make a trek to visit them, sneakers and an athletic shirt will be the most comfortable option. You may want insect repellent in the summer months when there are more mosquitoes around.

What NOT to Bring to Turks & Caicos

  • 1.DON’T BRING Snorkel Fins

    While I do recommend you bring your own mask and snorkel, bringing fins isn’t necessary. They’re too bulky, and any snorkeling tour will provide them for you.

  • 2.DON’T TAKE Cold Weather Clothes

    Turks & Caicos is warm year-round, aside from the occasional rainstorm. It’s best to only take a lightweight rain jacket rather than sweaters, sweatpants, or thick jeans.

  • 3.DON’T PACK iPads

    You’re probably already going to bring your phone, camera, and kindle – do you really need another electronic device that could get stolen or damaged? Most hotels have a TV if you want to watch something, and anything else you want to do with your iPad can be accomplished with a smaller device.

  • 4.DON’T PACK Books

    A Kindle can hold hundreds of books, whereas real books are heavy and difficult to pack. Carrying even a few books can put your luggage over the weight limit and cause you to pay airline fees.

  • 5.DON’T PACK a Regular Towel

    Your hotel will have bath towels for you, and you can request beach towels as well. Towels take up too much space to pack with you in your luggage. A quick dry towel is all you need most places.

  • 6.DON’T BRING Bulky Shoes

    Most of the time you’ll be happy with sandals or flip-flops in Turks & Caicos. Packing more than a few pairs isn’t necessary, and neither are bulky hiking boots. A simple pair of sneakers will suffice to hike around the islands.

What clothing should I NOT wear in Turks & Caicos – (Click to expand)

Because it’s warm year round, fabrics like wool can cause you to sweat too much. It’s better to wear cotton or linen clothes, or sweat-wicking athletic wear. While high heels can seem tempting at times, many walkways, sidewalks, and docks can be uneven or covered with sand, so it’s best to save the heels only for a nice restaurant. In general people wear casual clothing in Turks & Caicos, but jeans can be a little too heavy. Better to stick with linen pants or shorts.

FAQs about Turks & Caicos

  • 1. Is Turks & Caicos safe?

    Although Turks & Caicos is one of the safest countries in the Caribbean region, there are the occasional robberies and thefts. It’s best to stay in populated areas and not to walk the streets at night, especially not alone. Using general common sense, keeping your valuables out of sight, and avoiding unlicensed taxis will go a long way in keeping you safe on your trip.

  • 2. What is the national currency?

    Turks & Caicos uses the U.S. dollar as its national currency. It’s best to order currency from your bank or exchange currency before you arrive to avoid high fees, but there are ATMs around the main islands and many restaurants and shops accept credit cards.

  • 3. Will my phone have data in Turks & Caicos?

    If you can enable roaming before you arrive, you might be able to use your phone. Most hotels have good WiFi, but if you really want to have coverage outside of the hotel you can purchase a Digicel or Flow SIM card for your phone.

  • 4. What are the best activities?

    Watersports are arguably the best activities in the Turks & Caicos Islands. Aside from fishing, kite surfing, wakeboarding, scuba diving, kayaking, and snorkeling, you can also go parasailing to get incredible views of the islands. Outside of the water, there are lots of local restaurants with a Caribbean flare, and plenty of places to shop for souvenirs. You can go horseback riding on the beach, book a romantic sunset cruise, or dance to local music at the Fish Fry on Providenciales. Paddleboard into the mangroves to look for baby turtles, or take a tour to Iguana Island to meet the native rock iguana. Salt Cay is a charming and historic island with large salt evaporation pools to explore.

  • 5. How is the medical care?

    Turks & Caicos has modern hospitals on the two major islands of Providenciales and Grand Turk, as well as private clinics. There is also a recompression chamber for scuba diving accidents on Providenciales. Since there are no endemic diseases, no special vaccines are needed before traveling to Turks & Caicos. Like most things in Turks & Caicos, medical care is likely to be expensive, so check with your insurance provider to see if you are covered abroad, or buy travel insurance.

  • 6. What is the food like?

    Turks & Caicos has an eclectic population that includes Haitians, Dominicans, British, Canadians, Bahamians, and Jamaicans. The Caribbean residents bring their local flavor to conch fritters, jerk chicken, and grilled fish. There is every type of dining, from food trucks to the finest luxury restaurants.

  • 7. How can I get from one island to another?

    Internal flights on propeller planes can get you to and from the main islands, like Providenciales, Grand Turk, and Salt Cay. Some less-populated islands, like North Caicos, can only be accessed publicly by ferry from Providenciales. Kayaking and paddle boarding tours from Providenciales can take you to nearby cays like Half Moon Bay and Mangrove Cay.

  • 8. What kind of wildlife can I see?

    Year-round, you can see a variety of marine life, like turtles, dolphins, eels, and tropical fish. Sharks also inhabit the reefs, but they are not aggressive and shouldn’t be feared. The local rock iguana is a protected native species. The most spectacular wildlife display comes in the winter when the humpback whales migrate past Turks & Caicos. You can book a whale watching tour on Providenciales, or look for them right off the beach on Salt Cay or South Caicos.

  • 9. How can I experience the local culture?

    The Fish Fry on Providenciales Island is a great way to hear local music and dance with the Junkanoo band. Many locals have restaurants where they serve dishes from around the Caribbean, and some locals also operate tours. Wherever you meet locals, don’t be afraid to make friends and ask them about their country! The island of Grand Turk also has a museum where you can explore the history of Turks & Caicos.

  • 10. What is transportation like?

    There is no public transportation in Turks & Caicos, so you’ll either have to taxi or rent a vehicle for your stay. Rental cars, scooters, and golf carts are all options depending on where you’re staying, and some hotels offer bicycles for free. Providenciales is a larger island, so a car would be best if you plan on visiting various beaches. Salt Cay is tiny, and a golf cart is all you need to explore the dirt roads and salt ponds!