Skip to content

I just visited Turks and Caicos: 4 things you should know before you go

May 14, 2022
7 min read
balcony ocean view at the Ritz Carlton Turks and Caicos
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

This week marked a milestone for my own travels during the COVID-19 pandemic. A wedding brought me out of the country for the first time since the virus complicated international travel in a way we’ve not seen previously.

The destination: Turks and Caicos. Coincidentally, my trip came just weeks after the Caribbean archipelago dropped its most significant COVID-19 restrictions, eliminating testing and insurance requirements for visitors.

For more travel news and advice, make sure to sign up for our daily newsletter.

This was a major step in simplifying travel to a popular vacation destination for American travelers, at a time when many countries – including those in the Caribbean – have relaxed many of the protocols.

Sunset on the beach in Turks and Caicos. (Photo by Sean Cudahy/The Points Guy)

I visited Turks and Caicos for the first time seven years ago, before returning during the waning days of the country’s remaining restrictions. I thought I’d share four key takeaways from my travels, and what they might mean for you as you consider, plan and prepare for travel.

Keep an eye on the restrictions ... they might change

I've written many stories about COVID-19 restrictions here at TPG – most of them about countries loosening or eliminating requirements altogether in recent months. I knew better than to assume the restrictions that were in place when I booked the trip back in February would be in place when we actually traveled in May.

The same could be said for the requirements in place just a few weeks ago.

As recently as late April, my wife and I knew there was a strong possibility we would have to go through two sets of tests: one to get into the islands, and one to return to the U.S.

For many months, Turks and Caicos also required supplemental insurance for travelers. That all changed late last month, when government officials got rid of both testing and insurance requirements, drastically simplifying the arrival protocols.

Sign up for our daily newsletter

For me, it served as a firsthand reminder that even now over two years since the pandemic began, things can still change drastically (often for the better) just days prior to your trip. So stay tuned to pages like TPG’s country-by-country reopening guide and the official government and tourism sites for the country you’re visiting.

Most of the work happened before I flew

I write this midway through my trip to Turks and Caicos, so I have yet to contend with the reentry requirements to the U.S. That said, when it comes to Turks and Caicos’ restrictions, here’s the list of COVID-19-related steps I had to take to prepare for travel:

Upload my vaccination card to an app as I checked in to my flight.

That’s it. That’s the whole list.

I flew with American Airlines. The airline actually made it pretty easy for me. When I checked in on American’s app 24 hours before my trip, the system wouldn't let me retrieve my boarding pass until I submitted my vaccination information to a third-party app.

Sean Cudahy's check-in process through American Airlines with COVID-19 vaccination requirements. (Screenshot from American Airlines)

The airline app prompted me to download the VeriFly app.

The app required I answer questions about my COVID-19 vaccination history, which I proved by uploading my vaccine card. It took a few minutes, maybe five.

Sean Cudahy's vaccination card verification process in the VeriFly app. (Screenshot from VeriFly)

American’s system then requested I "Come back to check in" while officials reviewed my vaccination responses.

(Screenshot from American Airlines)

About an hour later, I received a notification my responses had been approved and I was good to go.

That was by far the most significant step. When I filled out immigration documents during my flight to Providenciales International Airport (PLS), there were some health-related questions to check through. However, no one on the ground in customs took my temperature, asked me a virus-related question or asked for a vaccination card.

I’d estimate I waited in the customs line for 5-10 minutes, at a moment when three or so flights had recently arrived at the airport. I imagine those waits could fluctuate a bit depending on how busy the airport is at the time of your arrival.

When you consider the fact that checked bags arrive about 15 yards behind the customs booths, and you’re literally outside the airport a couple dozen steps later, the trip through the airport can be incredibly quick and easy.

It appears that things on the island are back to normal

Like I mentioned, the last time I visited Turks and Caicos was 2015. I would dare say, if I didn’t know about the pandemic already, I probably wouldn't notice any changes if I were dropped on the main island today.

The country removed its mask mandates in conjunction with the lifting of testing and insurance requirements at the beginning of May.

There’s an occasional visitor, hotel or business employee, or government official wearing a mask. However, they are the exception.

Beans and Leaves Island Brew in Turks and Caicos. (Photo by Sean Cudahy/The Points Guy)

People are gathering at resorts, restaurants and coffee shops, enjoying fully restored services. They're all doing so without masks or other restrictions.

Related: If it’s still gone from hotels, is it ever coming back?

Confused about reentry testing rules? Ask the front desk

Without a doubt, the most significant COVID-19 protocols I’ll have to adhere to during my entire trip will be the U.S. reentry requirements. This is now often the case for U.S. travelers returning from many international destinations.

Numerous groups, travel industry companies and advocacy groups have called for the U.S. to end its testing mandate for returning travelers. However, there have been no signs that's going to happen anytime in the immediate future.

Related: Many US travelers won’t fly abroad because of testing mandate, TPG survey shows

If you’re confused, here's the good news: The hotels know what they’re doing at this point. Numerous Caribbean destinations, including Turks and Caicos, serve a clientele that's predominantly from the U.S. – and thus returning to the States. The staff is intimately familiar with the testing requirements, and many of the properties provide on-site testing.

This sign indicates COVID-19 testing takes place in this ballroom at the Ritz-Carlton in Turks and Caicos. (Photo by Sean Cudahy/The Points Guy)

The first hotel I stayed at, the Ritz-Carlton in Turks and Caicos, dedicated a ballroom just off the main lobby to COVID-19 testing.

As part of the wedding I'm attending, I'm spending the second part of my trip at the Beaches All-Inclusive Resort. Upon check-in, the staff gave us a sheet laying out test-scheduling procedures and explained exactly what we need to do to obtain a COVID-19 test within the appropriate time frame for travel.

The pool at the Ritz-Carlton in Turks and Caicos. (Photo by Sean Cudahy/The Points Guy)

Bottom line

International travel for much of the pandemic has involved significant, arduous and — at times — stressful procedures to adhere to COVID-19 requirements. However, you won’t spend much more than a few minutes on virus-related steps when you visit Turks and Caicos.

Other than uploading a vaccine card and filling out a form or two, getting in is not complicated. Life at the country’s resorts and restaurants feels entirely like pre-pandemic times. Additionally, the local staff is so familiar with the U.S. reentry testing requirements, you should be able to navigate your entire trip with little confusion.

Featured image by (Photo by Sean Cudahy/The Points Guy)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Top offers from our partners

How we chose these cards

Our points-obsessed staff uses a plethora of credit cards on a daily basis. If anyone on our team wouldn’t recommend it to a friend or a family member, we wouldn’t recommend it on The Points Guy either. Our opinions are our own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by our advertising partners.
See all best card offers

TPG featured card

Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

2 - 10X points
10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day

Intro offer

75,000 bonus miles
Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

Annual Fee

$395

Recommended Credit

740-850
Excellent
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023
Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

    75,000 bonus miles
  • Annual Fee

    $395
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023