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The Turks and Caicos Islands

A bright red flower crowns the tops of the indigenous species of cactus in the Turks and Caicos, looking distinctly like the Fez worn by many Turkish men. It is somehow fitting that the Turks and Caicos took their name from this unusual source, because these islands are unique in many ways. The Turks and Caicos are a 40-island archipelago belonging to the Bahamian caicos - string of islands - but they are governed separately as a British Crown Colony. They are not quite a part of the Caribbean, lying 90 miles north of the Dominican Republic, but they are not entirely Atlantic either. The twenty thousand people of the Turks and Caicos (who inhabit just eight islands) are mainly English-speaking descendents of the colony's original African plantation workers, but a large community of North American and British expatriates has assembled here as well, giving the Turks and Caicos a distinctive cultural blend not felt on many other Caribbean islands. Perhaps the Turks and Caicos' most striking oddity is that they have remained undiscovered by tourism in many ways, despite an arresting natural beauty that includes some of the world's best beaches and coral reefs. Providenciales, more commonly known as Provo, is the only island in the Turks and Caicos where any significant development has taken place. Once the world does discover this gem for what it truly is, however, it shouldn't lose its serene charm; the Turks and Caicos government subscribes to a policy of strict conservation, not expansion, ensuring the islands will remain as idyllic as they are today for years to come.

Turks and Caicos Currency: Legal tender throughout the Turks and Caicos is the US dollar.

Turks and Caicos Entry Requirements:
Passport requirements: Entry requirements vary for each destination, it is your responsibility to verify you have the correct documents prior to travel. July 1, 2005 a valid passport is required for travel to Turks & Caicos. January 1, 2006 a valid passport is required for travel to all the Caribbean and Mexico.

Turks and Caicos Driving: Cars drive on the left-hand side of the road.

Voltage on the Turks and Caicos: Electricity runs on 120 volts, compatible with North American appliances.

Time Zone on the Turks and Caicos: All of the Turks and Caicos islands fall under the Eastern Standard Time zone.

Language on the Turks and Caicos: English is the official language of the Turks and Caicos, spoken by the native islanders - called "Belongers" - as well as the large expat community.

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