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Turks and Caicos vs Grand Cayman: Which is the Best Caribbean Vacation Destination?

Determining the best Caribbean holiday location between Turks and Caicos vs Grand Cayman can be rather tricky. This is primarily due to the fact that the two are enchanting Caribbean islands providing a memorable holiday experience.

I have been very lucky to have traveled to both Caribbean destinations, and I shall tell you the charms of the two locations so you can conclude the most suitable place. After reading this piece, you’ll understand which location has more pleasing beaches and fun things to do. But let me first walk you through the quick answer!

Turks and Caicos vs Grand Cayman

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Quick Answer

These admired spots impressed me for their calm oceans, pristine beaches, and extraordinary coral reefs. Nonetheless, the two locations have their distinctions. Here is the important summary you ought to be aware of:

  • Grand Cayman is situated 450 miles southwest of Miami and 310 miles northwest of Jamaica. Grand Cayman is the biggest of the three islands of the Cayman Islands. Little Cayman and Cayman Brac are the two other sister islands.
  • In the southeast of the Bahamas is where you can find Turks & Caicos. It consists of forty cays and islands, but you’d be surprised just eight are occupied. North and Middle Caicos are famous for their natural sights, like exciting flamingo ponds and spectacular lush woodlands. South Caicos is well-known for fishing.
  • As an avid diving and snorkeling enthusiast, Grand Cayman has won my heart. That said, Turks and Caicos has provided me with countless enjoyable and fun moments – I’ll talk about that later in the article.

But that’s not all. There is still more I want to inform you on fun things you can do: the food scene, lodging, nightlife, security, and how much it will cost to stay in the Cayman Islands or the Caicos Islands. Before I get there, below is a comparison chart to give you a rough detail of what to anticipate.

Comparison Chart

I have created the chart below summarising how holidays in Turks & Caicos vs Grand Cayman are.





Southeast of the Bahamas

450 miles southwest of Miami, 310 miles northwest of Jamaica


Pine Cay Beach, Grace Bay Beach

Seven-mile Beach, Governor's Beach, and Spotts Beach

Perfect holiday time:

May to July

May to July

Fun things to do:

Salt creation, Water sports.

Relax At The Spa, bioluminescence tour, and Parasailing

Price of visiting:

$328 Daily

$325 Daily


Casinos are open

West End of Grand Cayman is home to vibrant nightlife


Conch cuisines like boiled fish and fritters

Turtle meat, conch, mahi

Matthew Karsten
Investment in travel is an investment in yourself.Matthew Karsten, Digital storyteller, photographer, and travel blogger

Shall we now consider the advantages and drawbacks of traveling to these perfect locations?

Benefits and Challenges of Visiting Turks and Caicos

Turks & Caicos is incredibly dazzling. It is an overseas area of the UK, situated in the West Indies. There is:

  • South Caicos;
  • North Caicos;
  • West Caicos;
  • East Caicos;
  • Middle Caicos.

During my holiday in Turks and Caicos, I experienced some merits and demerits. Let us start with the advantages.


I have to admit that the positives were more than the downsides. The benefits I got to experience when I visited Turks and Caicos are:

Pros of visiting Turks and Caicos
  • Natural Beauty: There is lively marine life, the lagoon of Chalk Sound National Park, and offshore barrier reefs.
  • Spectacular beaches: I enjoyed unique diving here and sightseeing at Grace Bay Beach.
  • Exciting water-based activities: These include snorkeling, surfing, scuba diving, kiteboarding, windsurfing, boat cruises, and parasailing.
  • Short commutes: Due to the geographical nature of the destination being small and flat, moving around is pretty manageable.
  • Moderate criminal activities: As opposed to other Caribbean destinations like Jamaica, Tobago, and Trinidad, Turks and Caicos have a moderate crime rate.


Among the few cons that I faced with Turks and Caicos include:

Cons of visiting Turks and Caicos
  • No public transport: Let me warn you in advance that if you do not own a car or haven’t a rental car, it will be hard to move around. The taxis, mini-bus, and jitney cars are pricey, and Uber is unavailable.
  • No shopping malls: This, in turn, leads to limited access to services and products.
  • Harsh climate: As you plan your trip, avoid the hurricane season, which generally starts in June till November. When I planned my vacation here the first time, I had to reschedule it for a favorable time due to this.

Those are the advantages and challenges I encountered in Turks and Caicos. Was my experience in Grand Cayman the same? Let us find out!

Benefits and Challenges of Going to Grand Cayman

I have visited Grand Cayman several times throughout the years, and each time I visit, this small piece of heaven in the Caribbean Sea surpasses my expectations.

It comprises three separate islands, all of which fall under British jurisdiction. Each of the three Cayman Islands— Little Cayman, Cayman Brac, and Grand Cayman—has a distinguishable culture.


There are plenty of advantages I got to enjoy during my holiday. They include:

Pros of visiting Grand Cayman
  • Good climate: It ranges between 75°F to 85°F, making it suitable for you to appreciate outdoor activities.
  • Water-based sports: Grand Cayman’s abundance of water-based sports will ensure you won’t get bored.
  • Ease of navigation: Grand Cayman is accessible from anywhere on the planet. You can get flights from American, Delta, and Jet Blue Airways at Owen Roberts International Airport.
  • Captivating beaches: Such include the Governor’s Beach and Spotts Beach.
  • Low crime rate: The Cayman Islands is the most secure island in the Caribbean.


It was not all merry during my time here. I encountered several downsides, such as:

Cons of visiting Grand Cayman
  • No public transportation: Like in Turks and Caicos, you cannot rely on buses. Grand Cayman has banned Uber, and the taxis are too pricey.
  • Hurricanes: In as much as there is excellent weather, there is also a hurricane season, usually from June to November.
  • Overcrowding during the tourist season: Grand Cayman is a prominent holiday destination, and people come in large numbers from December all the way to April.

There you have it! The positives and downsides of the Cayman Islands and Turks and Caicos. The Grand Cayman provides pretty much everything one could want from a tropical vacation spot. Now, let me accentuate the 11 distinct components of Grand Cayman and Turks and Caicos.

Read also: Turks and Caicos vs Bahamas: Which is Better For Vacation?

Turks and Caicos vs Grand Cayman: Ease of Navigation

A journey from the east coast of the US to either Turks and Caicos or Grand Cayman is rather brief. It is possible to reach these locations in 2 to 4 hours when departing from renowned big metropolises such as:

  • New York;
  • Atlanta;
  • Miami.

Grand Cayman is a little more convenient from the West Coast, thanks to the 6-hour direct flight from Cayman Airways. However, when choosing between these two places, keep in mind that there aren’t currently any direct flights to Turks & Caicos from the west coast.




Direct Flights from the US

From Miami, Washington DC, Atlanta, Charlotte

From Houston, Miami, Atlanta, New York

Necessity of a Passport

Yes, it should be valid even after three months

Yes, it should be not about to expire

Additional items you require

An Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA)

1. Return or onward ticket.

2. Proof of adequate money to support your stay on the island.

Important! Before you travel, please ensure your passport is valid. Let us now go to the beach!

Where Can You Find the Best and More Beautiful Beaches?

Did you know that some of the best beaches worldwide are in the Caribbean? Let us first consider the ones in Turks and Caicos.

Turks and Caicos’ Beaches

Most beautiful beaches in Turks and Caicos are situated on Providenciales island, which also has a lot of resorts. Examples of the spectacular beaches you will come across include:

  • Grace Bay Beach: It is found on the north coast of Providenciales and is a portion of the Princess Alexandra National Park. Grace Bay Beach has the most excellent scuba diving spots because of the protection offered by the third largest barrier reef system.
Grace Bay Beach
  • Pine Cay Beach: This is a beautiful beach that you must see for yourself. The water is calm, the sand is pristine, and the ocean is exquisite!
  • North Bay Beach: It is among the secluded beaches found on Salt Cay Island. North Bay Beach has a mixture of everything: crystal-clear water, astonishing white and peach-colored sand, little wave breaks for stand-up paddle surfing, small reefs for snorkeling, and excellent privacy.
  • Governor’s Beach: It is situated in Grand Turk. Governor’s Beach is well-known for the imposing wreck of the Mega One Triton, the Dominican Republic’s cargo ship, which wrecked on the beach in 2012. It was ultimately drawn in early 2020.
Governor's Beach
  • Half Moon Bay: This is a sandbar lagoon and a beach between Little Water Cay and Water Cay. It is ideal for boat excursions.
  • Leeward Beach: It is found on the east of Grace Bay. Leeward Beach has far less of a crowd than Grace Bay. It is distinguished by unimaginable colors, fantastic swimming in mostly calm, crystal-clear water, and just the right temperature.

Read also: Best Caribbean Island to Retire: 12 Great Options for You

Leeward Beach

Beaches Found in the Cayman Islands

Numerous Grand Cayman beaches are available for exploration. The Cayman Islands are famed for their turquoise ocean and white sand beaches, which I found exquisite. In particular because of Seven Mile Beach, a more famous beach that stretches for approximately seven miles and lives up to its name. Here are the beaches:

  • Barefoot Beach: It is a secluded beach on the east end, and it is best for snorkeling.
  • Seven-mile beach: The seven-mile beach is famous for water-based sports in the Grand Cayman. It is perfect for the entire family as there is plenty for everyone.
Seven-mile beach
  • Colliers Beach: This beach is a unique sandy point situated on the east end of the island. You can find covered pavilions with seats (thus perfect for relaxing), restrooms, and a dock.
  • Spotts Beach: This beach offers picnic tables and is good for swimming and snorkeling.
  • Starfish Point: You can find this beach in the northern part of the island near Rum Point. It is perfect for snorkeling, swimming, and families with toddlers.
Starfish Point
  • Rum Point Beach: It is also located in the northern part of Grand Cayman, and you can find a restaurant, bar, umbrellas, lounge chairs, a dock, and picnic tables.
Rum Point Beach

There are plenty of beaches available for you to choose from. But in my opinion, Turks and Caicos have better beaches than the Cayman Islands.

Read also: Bermuda vs Bahamas: Unraveling the Tropical Rivalry

Diving Opportunities and Snorkeling

I have mentioned snorkelling several times now; next, I will compare which, between Grand Cayman vs Turks and Caicos, is better for snorkeling and diving. Let me start with snorkeling.

Best for Snorkeling

Grand Cayman is a famous snorkeling destination due to the abundance of colorful marine life. Many popular locations exist, such as:

  • Stingray City;
  • Coral gardens;
  • Eden Rock;
  • Kittiwake Shipwreck & Artificial Reef;
  • Cayman Turtle Farm.

In all my years of snorkeling, I have never seen finer conditions than the ones I had in the Grand Cayman Islands. Grand Cayman truly offers the best snorkeling. This is because:

  • Grand Cayman is home to some of the world’s most stunning coral reefs;
  • There is a wide variety of marine life, including sharks, stingrays, and tropical fish;
  • Fish were present from the water’s surface to its base.

Best for Diving Opportunities

But if you’re looking for a great place to go deep-sea diving, Turks and Caicos is a top pick. Why is it a preferred choice for deep-sea diving globally? It is because of:

  • The 7,000-foot Grand Turk Wall;
  • The spectacular third-largest barrier reef.

Explore these breathtaking locations in a fun and informative approach that will leave you with memories that will last a lifetime.

I would not advocate a trip to Turks and Caicos without taking a snorkeling excursion since the undersea excitement and sealife are truly unparalleled. However, Grand Cayman takes the lead in my books in this case. What other fun activities can you take part in? Let us find out!

7 Fun Must-Do Activities in Turks and Caicos

If enjoying leisure activities in the sun is appealing, Turks and Caicos offer a comprehensive range of amenities and attractions to fulfill your vacation desires. During my visit to Turks and Caicos, I got to try out the following fun activities.

  • Visit the Chalk Sound National Park: It is a protected area with sparkling waves, and visitors can paddle when the water is calm, and the weather is favorable.
Chalk Sound National Park
  • Learn the process of salt creation: Once upon a time, salt was the lifeblood of the Turks and Caicos Islands. The Turks and Caicos Islands shipped out as much as 140 million pounds of sea salt during the heyday of the salt trade. Before the business failed, this was harvested from Salt Cay, South Caicos, and Grand Turk.
  • Bird watching: There is much to see in the national parks, such as hummingbirds, egrets, Herons, pelicans, and ospreys.
  • Try out water sports: If you love the adrenaline rush, try swinging, kayaking, or paddleboarding around the islands in clear, calm waters.
kayaking in Turks and Caicos
  • Little Water Cay: Do you want to see iguanas that are more than twenty years old and are roughly 30 inches long? This is the perfect place to see this rare species.
  • Fish Fry: Experience the Thursday night fish fry and sample the delicious cuisine, like fritters or Conch salad, hominy grits, and Johnny cakes.
  • Chase the sun: If you want to witness the sky become orange at a spectacular Caribbean sunset, your best bet is to go to the Grand Turk Lighthouse, Pillory Beach, or Boaby Rock Point.
Pillory Beach

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7 Fun Must-Do Activities in Grand Cayman

The Cayman Islands are popular for their turquoise water and beautiful beaches. But that’s not all you can enjoy in Grand Cayman. Let me highlight seven fun activities that I tried out during my visit, and maybe you can try them too when you visit.

  • Sunset at Rum Point: You can enjoy food and drinks from the bar and restaurant as you watch the beautiful sunset.
  • Go to Hell: Relax, it’s a place called Hell in Grand Cayman. Here, you can find large sections of pretty gnarly rocks.
Hell in Grand Cayman
  • Bioluminescent Tour: Experience millions of bright sparkles at night at this one of the few global areas that offer a bioluminescence tour.
  • Charter a private boat: Well, it cost me a fortune, but the experience was worth every cent. I got to see the best Grand Cayman sites.
Charter a private boat
  • Parasailing: This will give you an aerial view of the island, and you will be able to appreciate Grand Cayman’s natural beauty.
  • Golf By The Sea: If you love golf like me, then you will enjoy playing at the multiple award-winning golf courses in Grand Cayman.
  • Relax At The Spa: A spa is situated in the prestigious Westin hotel along the seven-mile beach.
Penelope Riley
It is not the destination where you end up but the mishaps and memories you create along the way.Penelope Riley, author of Travel Absurdities

You can agree with me that there are plenty of fun things to do in the two destinations, right? Now let us compare the nightlife.

Grand Cayman vs Turks and Caicos: Nightlife Comparison

The vibe of a place has a direct impact on the kinds of things you can do there. This is what you should anticipate:

  • There is no rowdy nightlife in either Turks and Caicos or Grand Cayman.
  • For instance, unlike the laid-back Turks and Caicos, the West End of Grand Cayman is home to lively nightlife.
  • Grand Cayman’s Seven Mile Beach comes alive with nightlife because of the area’s many restaurants, bars, and clubs. Examples include Caloco’s Jack, Silver Palm Lounge, and Bar Jack.
Silver Palm Lounge

But there is one major difference between the two vacation spots: casinos are available in Turks and Caicos but not in Grand Cayman.

Casinos in Turks and Caicos

Therefore, while Grand Cayman is a better option for individuals looking for leisure activities, Turks and Caicos are more likely to appeal to those interested in trying their luck at casinos.

Food Scene

To know a nation’s culture, you should explore their cuisines. From my experience, I can say that there isn’t much difference in the food scene of the two destinations. For starters, Grand Cayman and Turk and Caicos are known for their delicious seafood dishes.

Turks and Caicos

The good thing is that when you vacation in Turks and Caicos, you can enjoy almost every dish on the planet. During my visit here, I got to taste foods from the following areas:

  • Africa;
  • Europe;
  • China;
  • India.

Famous food include:

Food scene in Turks and Caicos
  • Grits and Johnny Cakes;
  • Cornbread;
  • Conch dishes like fritters, ceviche, and boiled fish;
  • Rice and Crab.

My favorite restaurants, which I can recommend you go to if you want delicious local cuisine, are:

  • Bugaloos;
  • Da Conch Shark.
Note: Ensure you attend the Conch festival (The last weekend of November) and the Fish fry night (every Thursday) for local cooking experience.

Grand Cayman

More than 100 nationalities reside in the Cayman Islands, so you can only imagine the many food cultures you can find here. However, Jamaican cuisine comes number one.

Other famous cuisines include:

  • Turtle meat;
Turtle meat
  • Conch;
  • Mahi;
  • Tuna;
  • Plantains;
  • Beans and rice;
Beans and rice
  • Coconut and yams.

The following are the restaurants I got to enjoy the delicious cuisines:

  • Blue by Eric Ripert on the seven-mile beach;
  • Calypso Grill on the West Bay.
Note: Ensure you attend Cayfest (traditional foods prepared by top chefs), wine Festival, Cayman Food, and Cayman Cookout. Regarding the food scene, I can say it’s a tie for both destinations.

How Is the Climate, and When Is the Best Time to Visit?

Both islands are situated inside the Caribbean Sea, with Grand Cayman classified as a Western Caribbean island, while Turks and Caicos are categorized as an Eastern Caribbean island. This indicates that both are subject to the same tropical marine climate because of their proximity to the hurricane belt. Here is what you should keep in mind.

  • The hurricane season: Intensifies from June to November, with both islands seeing comparatively dry weather from December/January to April.
The hurricane season
  • Temperatures: In Grand Cayman temperatures range between 75°F to 85°F, and it rains from May to October. Turks and Caicos has a pleasant year-round climate which ranges around 80°F.
  • Price: For cheaper rates, I suggest you travel between May and July. This time, the visitors are few, and accommodation rates are low.

Luckily, I encountered no hurricanes during my stay at both destinations. You should, however, stay informed on the weather updates before and during your stay. It’s also crucial to remember that the Cayman Islands are further from the hurricane belt than Turks and Caicos, which lowers the possibility of strong hurricanes.

The best time to visit Grand Cayman and Turks and Caicos

Safety in Two Destinations

When it comes to safety, Grand Cayman carries the day. Grand Cayman proudly boasts the lowest crime rate of the three islands. Here are the important details you should have at your fingertips:

  • A very efficient law enforcement system characterizes Grand Cayman.
  • There are stringent penalties for speeding violations.
  • Grand Cayman has an exceptional police service, which contributes to a secure and protected atmosphere for both tourists and residents.

So, what about Turks and Caicos?

  • The Turks and Caicos have a notable prevalence of low crime rates, rendering it a destination widely regarded for its safety and security.
  • The safety incidents in this location primarily involve minor larceny and the presence of potentially dangerous marine creatures, such as stingrays and jellyfish, in some regions.
Important! The US Government has issued an official travel warning for Turks and Caicos, specifically advising caution while visiting Providenciales. It is important to consider this information while considering Turks and Caicos as a potential destination.

Which Destination Can You Island Hop Easily?

When comparing Turks and Caicos to Grand Cayman as options for island hopping, from experience, I can say that Turks and Caicos offer a more favorable choice. This is mainly attributed to:

  • Transportation systems: Boat charters and an extensive ferry system allow guests to travel between the islands while sticking to a budget.
  • Сlose location: Furthermore, the islands’ proximity is significantly closer compared to Grand Cayman, resulting in the ability to tour a greater number of islands within a shorter duration.
  • Landscapes: Moreover, Turks & Caicos has more breathtaking landscapes for exploration than Grand Cayman, from little islets to expansive stretches of sand with no inhabitants in sight.
Island hopping

Grand Cayman is the most extensive and densely inhabited among the three islands. The remaining two territories within the Cayman Islands may alone be reached by means of hopper planes, which are small and expensive aircraft that operate daily flights between all three islands.

Accommodation as per Your Budget

Both destinations offer unique accommodations depending on your needs. Let us start with Turks and Caicos.

Where to Stay In Turks and Caicos

You have the option of choosing between luxurious and budget-friendly accommodation. Let me give you the examples that I came across.

For a budget-friendly option, you can choose the following:

Sibonné Beach Hotel
Osprey Beach Hotel

If you want to experience the luxury and comfort of Caicos, there is a variety of all-inclusive resorts you can choose from. They include:

COMO Parrot Cay
Grace Bay Club

Where to Stay In Grand Cayman

You can also choose between budget-friendly and luxurious accommodations. For the budget-friendly, there are:

Hampton by Hilton

If you want to get value for your money while staying in luxurious hotels, I suggest the following:

The Ritz-Carlton

How Much Will Your Trip Cost?

It is crucial to know the amount of money you have before planning your trip and how much you are willing to spend. I have made the following summary table of how much a vacation in Grand Cayman will cost you. The price is inclusive of accommodation, local transport, and food.







One week:



So, what about the cost in Turks and Caicos?







One week:



Frequently Asked Questions

What Is Better, Turks and Caicos or Cayman Island?

Deciding which is better between the two all comes down to personal preferences. For families and friends, the Cayman Islands are the best. For a romantic getaway, Turks and Caicos is the best.

Are Turks and Caicos Overpriced?

Turks and Caicos is expensive, but I would not say it is overpriced. This is considering you are settling for exceptional or rather immaculate service, intimate experience, luxury accommodations, and fine dining.

Why Are Turks and Caicos So Special?

Turks and Caicos is special because of a number of things. The beautiful pristine beaches, the white sand, the legendary sunsets, and the crystal-clear turquoise waters all contribute to Turks and Caicos being so special.

How Does Grand Cayman Compared to Other Caribbean Islands?

When Grand Cayman is compared to other islands of the Caribbean, like Turks and Caicos, I can say that Grand Cayman is safer (It is the safest) and has a better nightlife scene.

Which Island Is Larger, Turks and Caicos or Grand Cayman?

Turks and Caicos is larger than Grand Cayman. Although Grand Cayman is the largest(196 km²) among the three islands, when compared to Turks and Caicos (948 km²), it is rather small.


So, which is the best Caribbean vacation destination between Turks and Caicos vs Grand Cayman? As I had said, it all comes down to your personal preference.

Grand Cayman is perfect if you are looking for incredible dining, shopping, and sightseeing opportunities in tranquil settings. You can also find the best snorkeling here. It is also the safest in the Caribbean, and it offers a livelier nightlife.

For diving opportunities, Turks and Caicos are the best. You can also find better beaches and more water-based sports in this destination. If you are looking for boat cruises and nature walks, Turks and Caicos have it all.

Only you can make the ultimate decision based on the information I have provided in this article. So which will it be, Turks and Caicos or Grand Cayman? Please share this with your friends so they know what to expect from these two Caribbean vacation destinations.

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Turks and Caicos vs Grand Cayman