Grand Turk, Turks & Caicos | Cruise port of call | CruiseBe
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Grand Turk, Turks & Caicos

Grand Turk Island is an island in the Turks and Caicos Islands. It is the largest island in the Turks Islands (the smaller of the two archipelagos that make up the island nation) with 18 km2 (6.9 sq mi). Grand Turk contains the territory's capital, Cockburn Town and the JAGS McCartney International Airport. The island is the administrative, historic, cultural and financial center of the territory, and has the second largest population of the islands.

Grand Turk was first colonised in 1681 by Bermudians, who set up the salt industry in the islands. In 1766 it became the capital of the country. For some time, at least until the early 19th century, Grand Turk was often referred to as Grand Cay, not to be confused with either Grand Cay in the Bahamas or Grand Cayman.

The name comes from... Read more

Grand Turk, Turks & Caicos

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Grand Turk Island is an island in the Turks and Caicos Islands. It is the largest island in the Turks Islands (the smaller of the two archipelagos that make up the island nation) with 18 km2 (6.9 sq mi). Grand Turk contains the territory's capital, Cockburn Town and the JAGS McCartney International Airport. The island is the administrative, historic, cultural and financial center of the territory, and has the second largest population of the islands.

Grand Turk was first colonised in 1681 by Bermudians, who set up the salt industry in the islands. In 1766 it became the capital of the country. For some time, at least until the early 19th century, Grand Turk was often referred to as Grand Cay, not to be confused with either Grand Cay in the Bahamas or Grand Cayman.

The name comes from a species of cactus on the island, the Turk's Cap Cactus (Melocactus intortus), which has a distinctive cap, reminiscent of an Ottoman fez.

Grand Turk gained international attention in 1962 when John Glenn's Friendship 7 Mercury spacecraft landed in the vicinity of Grand Turk Island off the southeast shoreline. A replica of the Friendship 7 is on display in Grand Turk at the entrance to the Grand Turk Island airport.

In 1966 at least five Arcas (All-Purpose Rocket for Collecting Atmospheric Soundings) sounding rockets were launched from Grand Turk Island by the USA.

Columbus landfall theory

Grand Turk has been put forward as the possible landfall island of Christopher Columbus during his first voyage to the New World in 1492. San Salvador Island or Samana Cay in the Bahamas is traditionally identified with Guanahani, the site of Columbus' first landfall, but some believe that studies of Columbus' journals show that his descriptions of Guanahani much more closely fit Grand Turk than they do other candidates. Magnetic variations that caused misreadings in Columbus' compasses demonstrate that several of the recorded moorings using a rope-secured anchor to a clear sandy bottom would not have been possible had Columbus sailed from the islands of the Bahamas. In addition, the latitudes recorded in Columbus' diary place the landfall island at 90 nautical miles from Hispaniola, too close for the Bahamas, but almost exactly the distance from Grand Turk.

On the contrary, historian Gregory McIntosh has concluded that Grand Turk was not Guanahani but Babueca, an island separately discovered by Martín Alonso Pinzón in November - December 1492.

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Grand Turk, Turks & Caicos: Port Information


Cruise ships dock at the pier right at the beach. Everything is within walking distance. Near the pier, you can find beautiful private beaches with sunbeds. Besides, there is a shopping center with a duty-free zone nearby. There is a free pool and a large restaurant - Margaritaville.

Get around Grand Turk, Turks & Caicos


No public transport. Rental cars and taxis are available. Taxis are charged per person.
Tram Tours and bus tours are available, catering to cruise guests (hotel guests on the island will often feel second important!).

What to see in Grand Turk, Turks & Caicos


The Lighthouse 

- At this site, you will find the lighthouse keeper's residence, as well as the kerosene storage building, built of local limestone blocks. At night, the lighthouse was often the only guidepost mariners had to steer them away from the treacherous Northeast reef, which extends eastward far out to sea and was responsible for an untold number of shipwrecks.
Spaceship landing - one of the American space capsules came back to Earth near Grand Turk. At the cruise line terminal, there is a small celebration of that feat, with models of the ship and an astronaut.

What to do in Grand Turk, Turks & Caicos


Scuba Diving - Grand Turk has one of the lushest wall systems in the entire world. Healthy corals, diverse marine life and visibility that exceeds 100 feet often calls divers from around the world. The wall is a 10-minute ride from the beach, where your dive shop will conveniently pick you up. You can also take a day trip to dive or snorkel at Salt Cay.
Visit the Carnival Cruise Terminal - Includes a tourism village packed with shops and restaurants, one of the largest pools in the Caribbean, and an 800-ft. stretch of beach. Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville is a great place to stop in for a cocktail.
Spa Anani - Whether you’re here for an exceptional diving experience or you are a resident of the island, you are now able to relax, rejuvenate and pamper yourself with world-class spa treatments. Facials, Massages, Body Treatments, Waxing, and Ear Candling are all available - Spa Ani (649)-232-1503
Horseback Ride on the Beach - Go for a leisurely horseback ride along the beach while enjoying the view of the crystal clear Atlantic Ocean. The guides will then unsaddle your mounts and prepare them for a swim. Remount your horse, and enjoy the fun of riding a horse in the ocean.
4x4 Offroad Safari - Experience the natural history and cultural heritage of Grand Turk in "safari-themed 4x4 F250's." Your tour will come to a stop near the town center where your guide will escort you on a 15-minute leisurely walk down the quaint “Front Street” lined with turn of the century Bermudian style architecture.
Dune Buggy Adventures - Feeling adventurous? Climb behind the wheel of a tubular frame sand dune buggy. Head off down the narrow marl tracks that skirt the beach and rocky coastline around the island to the south-east side of the island. Take a trek to the bluff where you can capture the beautiful view of Gibb’s Cay and a few other little-uninhabited islands that are visible in the Atlantic Ocean.
Snorkel at Governor's Beach or Gibbs Cay - One of Grand Turk's nicest beaches is Governor's Beach. Experience white sand and crystal clear water nipping at your feet as you stroll along the mostly secluded beach. This is also one of the better snorkel spots on the island.
Gibbs Cay - Explore an uninhabited island and have a close encounter with stingrays on this exciting combination excursion.
Bicycle Tour - Cruise around Grand Turk by bicycle! Ride up and down Front Street, glide into town by the shore to explore the many facets of Cockburn Town. See the many different styles of island homes, some more than a century old.

Rent a Car or Scooter - See the Island! Taking your own unguided tour can be quite adventurous! Head over to the North for some breathtaking views of the entire island, visit the North Creek and stop by the Crabtree Corner Community Park.

Turks & Caicos National Museum

- Learn about the cultural history of the islands, the discovery, and the impact of early European settlement, natural and political history, and the role played in 20th-century space exploration.
Stroll through

Cockburn Town 

- A leisurely stroll through Cockburn town will reveal the history of the island. Find the cannons and you will discover the first landfall of Christopher Columbus, dated October 12, 1492.

What to eat and drink in Grand Turk, Turks & Caicos


Eat

  • Birdcage Bar and Restaurant at Osprey Beach Hotel Lunch and dinner poolside dining. BBQ served twice weekly. Live entertainment by Mitch and The High Tide Band. Phone: 649-946-2260
  • At the Carnival Cruise Terminal, you'll find what is reported to be the largest Margaritaville, with a bar and extensive midday menu. It can be very crowded with two ships docked.
  • Bohio Resort has a restaurant right on the edge of the sand and has live music and a BBQ on weekends.

Drink

  • Salt Raker Inn is famous for live Rake n'Scrape music (TCI tradition)

Shopping in Grand Turk, Turks & Caicos


At the Carnival Cruise Terminal, you'll find decent prices on a modest selection of duty-free goods by Dufry (e.g., liquors, candies, luxury leather goods), plus stores and kiosks offering items ranging from jewelry and original art to souvenirs. Duty-free purchases may require photo identification as a citizen of other than the Turks and Caicos.

Safety in Grand Turk, Turks & Caicos


In general, the crime rate is low. Nevertheless, you should always use your common sense, be polite, and take usual precautions. 

Language spoken in Grand Turk, Turks & Caicos


English is the official language. 

LOCAL TIME

12:52 am
June 18, 2019
America/Grand_Turk

CURRENT WEATHER

27.31 °C / 81.158 °F
light rain
Tue

27.52 °C/82 °F
light rain
Wed

27.68 °C/82 °F
light rain
Thu

27.85 °C/82 °F
scattered clouds
Fri

27.95 °C/82 °F
scattered clouds

LOCAL CURRENCY

USD

1 EUR = 0 USD
1 GBP = 0 USD
1 AUD = 0 USD
1 CAD = 0 USD

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Average: 9.5 (10 votes)

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Grand Turk Lighthouse is a lighthouse on Grand Turk Island, Turks and Caicos Islands. The 60 feet (18 m) tall structure, overlooking North Creek...
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The Turks and Caicos National Museum is the national museum of the Turks and Caicos Islands. It is located in Guinep House on Front Street to the...
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Parade Ground is a multi-use stadium in Cockburn Town, Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos Islands. It is currently used for athletics, cricket, rugby union...
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Cockburn Town (/ˈkoʊbərn/ KOH-bərn) is the capital city of the Turks and Caicos Islands. Geography Cockburn Town is located on the largest...
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