A sparsely populated string of islands located on the southern tip of the Bahamian Archipelago with some of the world’s most stunning beaches, reefs, and privacy or the mecca of glitzy shopping, Seven Mile Beach and tons of opportunities to play around as the wealthy do.
Turks and Caicos and Grand Cayman are both known for offering some of the best Caribbean experiences you can have, full of luxury, warm waters, and cocktails, but which one will be the island you land on?
What a fantastic dilemma to have. Lucky you.
Providenciales, or Provo, is the epicenter of the Turks & Caicos (TCI). Tons of flash, world-class resorts, and cruise ships make their way to this island. Divided into two groups by the Columbus Passage, Grand Turk and Salt Cay are to the east, while Provo, West, North, South, Middle and East Caicos are to the west.
TCI is an English-speaking country that accepts the United States dollar (USD) as well as Visa, American Express, and Mastercard in most locations. When traveling, carrying cash is recommended, especially if traveling to other parts of the islands.
Grand Cayman is the largest of the Cayman Islands as well as the most visited by tourists. Having decided to remain under British rule, the English-speaking island has cultural influences from the West Indies, American, and England.
Very diverse, safe, and developed, Grand Cayman at one point was known for its lax banking and tax laws that brought lots of money into the small island. Though times (and laws) have changed, the feeling of wealth is apparent.
Best Time to Visit
The main factors to consider when planning a trip to the Turks and Caicos are hurricanes and accommodation pricing, though, for some, mosquitoes can also be important.
February, March, and April provide you with the best combination of availability, prices, and weather. From late August to early November, prices in TCI are the highest, and availability for accommodations is pretty low.
If you are concerned about hurricanes, mid-August through September are statistically the times a hurricane is most likely to strike TCI, though few hurricanes strike the country. Passing tropical storms and flight delays due to storms are far more common.
Most people plan to visit Grand Cayman during the winter as this is when the climate is most pleasant to sit on the beautiful beaches and rainfall is minimal, with April and May being the driest months. For the best pricing, May through July is when accommodation rates and crowds are at their lowest.
Similar to the Turks and Caicos, the best prices are during the rainy season, when strong winds, hurricanes, and storms are common.
One of the main Turks and Caicos vs Grand Cayman comparisons comes down to the way the islands look and feel. This could be a deciding factor for you.
Grand Cayman is an extremely popular tourist destination, but you’ll be pleasantly surprised that even with the heavy development and tourism, it doesn’t have the same vibe you’re likely to find on other Caribbean tourist destinations.
There’s upscale tourism here, close to the high-end travel in Hawaii. The local culture is vibrant, lending a unique and rich character to the entire island. Rest assured, the prices very much so reflect the high-end feel.
While this location no longer eludes traveler’s radars as it once did, Turks and Caicos still feels like a hidden paradise, even with Provo, especially Grace Bay Beach, being an escape for many tourists.
An easy-going pace, seclusion, and spectacular beaches have turned this archipelago into a true destination for luxury living and tourism. When you visit, you feel a laid back, sophisticated air of Caribbean heaven that feels authentic to the culture and tourism industry. The prices are also higher here than in most of the Caribbean but are lower than Grand Cayman.
The activities available to you are closely linked with each destination’s overall atmosphere. Here is what you can look forward to.
Neither Grand Cayman nor Turks and Caicos have a wild, raucous nightlife. There are no casinos at all in Grand Cayman and Provo only has one small casino. Both have a wide selection of bars, restaurants, cruises, and bonfires to take part in.
The hotels of Grand Cayman often have events that tourists go to, and Seven Mile Beach has all-inclusive resorts, bars, and restaurants where you can find lots to do once the sun has set. Grace Bay Beach also has a few all-inclusive resorts which will have some after-dark events from time to time.
For the most part, however, these family-friendly destinations are more about the comforts and amenities of kicking back on the beach or participating in the number activities available.
Caribbean islands have some of the best beaches. Grand Cayman’s Seven Mile Beach is one of the most well-known, and most beautiful. Many hotels and resorts are found on this stretch of beach and there are many watersports, a perfect place for kids to go wild. If you want to escape the crowds, Sandy Point and Point of Sand on Little Cayman, are gorgeous reprieves.
Grand Cayman is also home to the infamous Stingray City, one of the coolest things most people will ever do, and a popular destination. Even if you’ve been close to stingrays before, there is nothing like snorkeling with the playful creatures in Grand Cayman.
Turks and Caicos
In the Turks and Caicos, Grace Bay Beach is another of the best Caribbean beaches you have to see to believe. Picture-perfect does not do it justice – the brilliant white sand and turquoise-blue waters are unrivaled and offer some of the best snorkeling and scuba diving spots in the world. This is also where you can find some of the most exclusive villas and private homes for rent in Providenciales.
Parrot Cay is an awarding winning retreat that is reachable by catamaran and offers another of the world’s most beautiful beaches. It is also where many celebrities have built vacation homes when they need a true getaway. Over in South Caicos, Sailrock Resort offers private villa rentals, shallow blue waters perfect for more fantastic snorkeling, and a quiet haven as well.
Both locations offer a ton of water sports operators and beautiful waters, sands, and amenities.
Even though Grand Cayman will have more tourists everywhere, it is a testament to the island that it never feels touristy in a bad way, and experiences will still be awesome.
The Turks and Caicos, on the other hand, is all about luxury, privacy, and exclusiveness. Provo has fewer resorts than most islands, opting for private rentals.
Choose Your Destination!
The Turks and Caicos vs Grand Cayman – different islands offering a few different things, there is no wrong choice here.