Turks & Caicos vs. The Bahamas: Which One Is Best for You?
Have you ever looked at a map of the Caribbean? If so, your jaw has probably dropped at the sheer number of islands located in the region. You might also have noticed that a very large portion of those islands are either part of Turks & Caicos or part of The Bahamas. This begs the question: which area should you travel to?
There’s only one way to find out. Keep on reading to learn why you should visit Turks & Caicos vs. The Bahamas—and vice versa! We’ve done an in-depth comparison of the two island groups, so you can plan your incredible beach getaway.
Geography & Climate
In terms of geography, Turks & Caicos and The Bahamas are actually quite similar. They’re both archipelagos (groups of islands) in the North Atlantic—and as such, have similar tropical climates and weather. You can bask in 70–90°F temperatures no matter which time of year you choose to visit.
The biggest difference between the two is their size. Turks & Caicos is comprised of 40 low-lying islands—only nine of which are inhabited:
- Ambergris Cay
- Grand Turk
- Middle Caicos
- North Caicos
- Parrot Cay
- Pine Cay
- Salt Cay
- South Caicos
The Bahamas, on the other hand, is made up of 700 individual landmasses; it covers an area of 5,359 square miles compared to Turks & Caicos’ 366 square miles. While 30 of The Bahamas islands are inhabited, the below are among the most popular with tourists:
- The Abacos
- Cat Island
- The Exumas
- Grand Bahama
- Harbour Island
- Paradise Island
It’s relatively easy to travel to these Caribbean destinations. Turks & Caicos and The Bahamas welcome international flights from cities across the US, including direct routes from Miami, New York, Boston, Chicago, Charlotte, and other major hubs. Just keep in mind that you’ll have more itinerary options if traveling to The Bahamas, since it’s larger and boasts more airports.
Of course, flying isn’t the only way to get to this region of the world—each archipelago is also home to cruise ship ports, marinas, and docks, that welcome thousands of tourists each year.
Once you’ve arrived in either Turks & Caicos or The Bahamas, car rentals and taxis will be your primary modes of transportation. Both destinations also operate various ferry services so that you can easily hop from island to island.
Six languages are spoken throughout the Caribbean, including Dutch, English, French, Haitian Creole, Papiamentu, and Spanish. Travelers are usually glad to learn that English is the official language in Turks & Caicos and The Bahamas, but you should be prepared to hear other tongues and dialects in each destination.
With a large immigrant population, it’s common for locals to speak Spanish and Haitian Creole in Turks & Caicos. In The Bahamas, you can expect speech to be peppered with unique slang and phrases, such as “What da wybe is?” and “Well mudda sick!”*
Like any other destination, Turks & Caicos and The Bahamas have a variety of accommodations for travelers to choose from, including B&Bs, fishing lodges, private villas, and boutique hotels. But if you really want to make the most of your trip, we suggest you stay at an all-inclusive resort.
When you book an all-inclusive vacation package with Liberty Travel, you not only get to enjoy luxury suites, gourmet meals, and daily activities for one flat price—but you may also get exclusive perks such as express check-in, welcome drinks, and spa credits for no additional cost.**
Liberty Travel’s Top Choices: Turks & Caicos
- Beaches® Turks & Caicos: This sprawling all-inclusive resort, located on the island of Providenciales, is ideal for family vacations. Featuring themed rooms, a 45,000-square-foot waterpark, 21 restaurants, and 10 pools, there’s something for everyone.
- Blue Haven Resort: If you’re in the mood to relax and recharge, look no further than this all-inclusive resort. Also located on Providenciales, it offers spacious suites, a secluded beach area, and rejuvenating spa treatments. All visitors also get access to its sister property, the Alexandra Resort.
Liberty Travel’s Top Choices: The Bahamas
- Atlantis Paradise Island: This is known as one of the best family resorts in the Caribbean for a reason. While kids will love exploring the lagoons and water parks (the property is built near the world’s largest open-air marine habitat), parents can enjoy the adults-only pools, and on-site nightclub and casino.
- Breezes Bahamas: Cable Beach is mere steps away from this resort in Nassau. But if the expanse of turquoise water isn’t enough to cool you off, there are a handful of freshwater pools (including one with a swim-up bar) for you to dip your toes in.
- Sandals® Emerald Bay: Travelers who want to immerse themselves in nature will love this all-inclusive resort on Great Exuma. Situated on 500 acres of land, its villas and suites are surrounded by tropical gardens and a mile-long beach that’s easy to access.
When we say Turks & Caicos and The Bahamas were made for beach vacations, we mean it. As mentioned, both are archipelagos, so there are miles upon miles of coastline to explore. Still, there are some key differences between each island group’s beach areas to be aware of.
Most of the beaches on the Turks & Caicos islands, for instance, are secluded. In fact, many are only accessible via plane or boat. Travelers who love relaxing on the shore, frolicking in shallow waters, and exploring rugged cliffs away from the crowds will find happiness in spots like:
- Boaby Rock Point on Grand Turk
- Half Moon Bay on Pine Cay
- Leeward Beach on Providenciales
- Sandy Point Beach on North Caicos
- Whale House Bay on Salt Cay
Conversely, beaches in The Bahamas are busier, and therefore more dynamic. Thanks to the travelers who visit each year, there are countless activities on offer—from surfing, snorkeling, and scuba diving to boating and swimming with wild pigs—at many of the country’s top spots:
- French Leave Beach on Eleuthera
- Pig Beach on The Exumas
- Pink Sand Beach on Harbour Island
- Surfer’s Beach on Eleuthera
- Taino Beach on Grand Bahama
In addition, you get to marvel at The Bahamas’s spectacular pink sand, a unique feature that’s just dying for a place in your Instagram feed.
Attractions & Nightlife
Turks & Caicos and The Bahamas vary greatly in terms of tourist attractions and amenities—but that’s not a bad thing! You just need to know which style of vacation you’re interested in having before selecting which one you want to travel to.
If you’d prefer to relax and take in the sites, Turks & Caicos is the way to go. Visiting the islands’ stunning beaches is by far the most popular activity, whether you prefer to swim, snorkel, or sunbathe. Plus, there are national parks, museums, and ecological areas to enjoy.
However, it can be hard to fill your time in the evening. There’s not much in the way of nightlife aside from da Conch Shack restaurant and the Fish Fry. The latter takes place every Thursday outside Stubbs Diamond Plaza on Providenciales, giving travelers the opportunity to sample local food and drink (the Gully Wash cocktail is a must-try), listen to live music, and shop for handmade art and jewelry.
If you’d like to spend your nights partying until the sun comes up, The Bahamas may be more your speed. There are bars and restaurants, nightclubs, and casinos, scattered across the islands. Since many of these establishments have been created to entertain and serve the large number of tourists that visit each year, it’s often described as being more “American” than Turks & Caicos.
But don’t let that deter you! There are plenty of natural wonders, historical landmarks, and other local attractions in The Bahamas if you feel you need a break from the livelier spots.
Currency & Affordability
The official currency in Turks & Caicos is the US dollar, so you won’t need to worry about exchanging your bills or calculating rates. The same goes for The Bahamas—the islands officially use Bahamian dollars, but businesses also accept US currency as it’s equal in value.
Despite this similarity, however, it does typically cost travelers more money to visit Turks & Caicos. This is because The Bahamas has more amenities for tourists; with additional hotels and resorts, restaurants, and attractions to choose from, it’s easier to tailor your vacation to suit your wallet. That said, regardless of which archipelago you’ve set your sights on, Liberty Travel’s expert are consultants prepared to work with your budget to plan an unforgettable vacation.
As you can tell, there’s no one way to solve the Turks & Caicos vs. The Bahamas debate. Each is special in its own way—and both are worthy of being on travelers’ bucket lists. Deciding where to go ultimately comes down to what you’d like to do while on vacation. If you’re looking for a quiet tropical escape, go to Turks & Caicos; if you’d like to fill every hour of your day with activities, then go to The Bahamas. It’s that simple.
Ready to make a choice? Get in touch with Liberty Travel to start planning your next island getaway.
*Sheri-kae McLeod, ‘Phrases to Know Before Visiting The Bahamas,’ Culture Trip, 2022.
**Conditions apply. Rates and offers vary based on participating partners and minimum guests.