The Turks and Caicos Islands is a British Overseas Territory in the Caribbean. The nation consists of the Caicos Islands, the larger islands, and Turks Islands, the smaller islands. In total, there are around 40 islands in this nation.
Cockburn Town, the capital in Turks and Caicos, has Adventure World, which is a theme park, the Wadjemup Lighthouse, and the Turks and Caicos National Museum.
Providenciales may be more exciting because it is home to the many famous resorts, restaurants, and shopping outlets. Grand Turk has beautiful beaches, which are suitable for diving. Middle Caicos has a long sandy beach and wetlands full of birds. Make sure the birds do not steal your food!
Your provider may also “steal” your holiday money because you decided to roam with your provider in the Turks and Caicos Islands. Roaming can be expensive in many cases, which is why many travelers prefer to buy a local SIM card when traveling, including Turks and Caicos.
In this article, I will go over everything you need to know about buying a SIM card in the Turks and Caicos Islands. Let's get smarter.
Telecom Providers in the Turks and Caicos Islands
The Turks and Caicos Islands have 2 telecom providers: Digicel Turks and Caicos and Flow Turks and Caicos. Both operators have 2G, 3G, and 4G/LTE networks.
What SIM card should you buy when visiting the Turks and Caicos Islands? If you want to buy a SIM card in the Turks and Caicos Islands, I would recommend going with Flow because they offer cheaper packages than Digicel and have great coverage throughout the islands like Digicel.
Like most countries in the Caribbean, you have to show your passport when buying a SIM card in the Turks and Caicos Islands.
They use the US Dollar in the Turks and Caicos Islands, so all prices will be listed in simply “$.”
There is not much more to say about the Turks and Caicos Islands, so let’s see what they have to offer to us.
Tip: Looking for cheap flights? Book with AirWander and add stopovers! Not in a hurry yet? Set up flight alerts with Airfarewatchdog and get notified when ticket prices for your preferred route(s) drop!
Digicel Turks and Caicos
Digicel Turks and Caicos, just Digicel, entered the Turks and Caicos Islands in 2003 to end Flow’s monopoly in the nation like they have done in other Caribbean countries. Since then, Digicel managed to get a majority market share of around 60%.
Digicel SIM cards are sold for $10 in Digicel stores. You can buy top-up cards in various stores across the nation, but you can also top-up online with a credit card. To check your Digicel credit balance, you have to dial *120#, or you can use the My Digicel App.
Digicel has several Quick Pick Bundles, which all come with unlimited on-net minutes (mobile only):
- $4.50: 300 MB for 1 day
- $11: 750 MB for 3 days
- $22: 1.5 GB and 500 MB for PlayGo for 7 days
- $60: 5 GB and 2 GB for PlayGo for 30 days
PlayGo allows you to “watch live sports, regional events, local news, the hottest shows, movies, and kids programs whenever and wherever you want.” Some of these channels include SportMax, Revolt, BNA TV, Bloomberg Television, Chaddar, and Aljazeera.
All Digicel Quick Pick plans auto-renew if there is enough credit Unused Quick Pick data will roll-over if the auto-renewal is successful. You can activate a Quick Pick plan online or on the My Digicel App.
You can combine a Digicel Quick Plan with a Social Media Bundle. Social Media bundles allow you to use WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat without affecting your normal data balance.
It even includes voice and video calls for WhatsApp and Facebook, which is not something Digicel offers in most other nations they operate in.
These Social Media bundles can only be activated in combination with an active Quick Pick Bundle. Additionally, they do not auto-renew, unlike the Quick Pick Bundles.
The following Digicel Social Media bundles are available:
- $1 for 1 day
- $5 for 7 days
- $20 for 30 days
If you only need data, then you can buy a Digicel LTE Data Plan, which is their data-only plans:
- $4.50: 200 MB for 1 day
- $11: 450 MB for 3 days
- $15: 1 GB for 7 days
- $60: 5 GB for 30 days
I would not recommend getting an LTE Data Bundle because you sometimes get less for the same price as a Quick Pick Bundle.
For example, $4.50 gets you 200 MB with the LTE plans, while the Quick Pick equivalent gives you 300 MB, in addition to unlimited on-net calls. The same applies to the $11 plans. 450 MB for the LTE plan and 750 MB for the Quick Pick bundle (plus unlimited on-net calls).
You can activate a Digicel LTE Data Plan by dialing *135#, online, or on the My Digicel App.
Flow Turks and Caicos
Flow Turks and Caicos, just Flow, used to have a monopoly in Turks and Caicos until Digicel entered the market. Since then, they have lost their majority market share.
Flow SIM cards are sold for $5 in Flow stores and come with $5 in credit. Recharge vouchers are sold in many stores across the country, but you can also reload online. Dial *120# to see your balance or use the Flow app.
Flow has several Always On Prepaid Plans, which are their combo plans with unlimited social messaging (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, WhatsApp, and Snapchat):
- $5: 1 GB, 25 minutes, and 25 SMS for 1 day. Activation: dial *244*0#
- $12: 1 GB, 200 minutes, and 25 SMS for 3 days. Activation: dial *244*1#
- $30: 3 GB, 350 minutes, and 350 SMS for 7 days. Activation: dial *244*2#
- $80: 10 GB, 1000 minutes, and 1000 SMS for 30 days. Activation: dial *244*3#
Other Ways to Stay Connected When Traveling in the Turks and Caicos Islands
Now you know everything about buying a SIM card in the Turks and Caicos Islands, but what are your other options? Although buying a local SIM card is almost always the cheapest option, the cheapest option would be using free WIFI connections in the Turks and Caicos Islands, but you can also roam with your provider in the Turks and Caicos Islands, use an international SIM card in the Turks and Caicos Islands, or use a mobile hotspot in the Turks and Caicos Islands. Let’s see what our options are.
Using Free WIFI hotspots in the Turks and Caicos Islands
Using something free is always better than paying for something. However, sometimes, free stuff may be of bad quality. Sure, you do not have to pay anything for using a free hotspot (unless you are required to purchase a beverage or meal at an establishment), but it may be a challenge to find a free hotspot. Moreover, the connection may be so slow that it is practically useless.
In the case of the Turks and Caicos Islands, you can find many hotspots throughout the islands.
Do note that public hotspots are unsecure. Hackers love to steal sensitive information on unprotected connections because it is apparently easy to do so. That is why I use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) when using a public hotspot, and I would encourage you to do so too.
What a VPN does is creating an encrypted tunnel between your device and the hotspot so that your data will stay private. I use NordVPN, and you can get up to 70% off when you get a NordVPN subscription. Get your NordVPN subscription now!
Roaming with Your Provider in the Turks and Caicos Islands
Roaming is a term used in wireless telecommunication that indicates a mobile device is outside the range of its home network and has connected to a different, available cell network. Let’s say your provider is One from Bermuda, then you would be roaming with One in the Turks and Caicos Islands.
Roaming may be the most convenient way of using your phone abroad. You do not have to buy a new SIM card, which, in turn, means you do not have to swap SIM cards. As a result, your friends and family from home can easily reach you on your cell. With many providers, the only thing you need to do is to turn on the data roaming setting on your phone, and you are good to go.
No idea how roaming works? I made this comprehensive guide about what roaming is and how it works. It is worth the read – promised!
Although roaming with your provider may be the most convenient way of staying connected in the Turks and Caicos Islands, it can also be the most expensive option. There have been many horror stories where people have racked up roaming bills up in the thousands and even more than ten thousand.
Luckily, many providers have affordable roaming plans, allow you to roam for free in some destinations like the Turks and Caicos Islands, or allow you to use your plan’s allowance in the Turks and Caicos Islands. For example, with Virgin Mobile Canada, you can use your plan’s allowance for 12 Canadian dollars per day. This may be affordable in some destinations for a small number of days, but it will be expensive for prolonged periods.
If you are unsure about the roaming options of your provider, I have written many articles about roaming with various operators around the world. I analyze them in-depth and give you my advice on whether you should roam with your provider or not. If yes, I also state for how long you should roam to take the most advantage of the offer.
One thing that should be avoided at all costs is to Pay As You Go roaming where you pay per minute, SMS, or MB. This is how many people get expensive roaming bills because the roaming prices for data are usually extremely high.
If you want to roam, make sure to get a roaming plan. Unless your provider offers extremely low Pay As You Go roaming rates, which is only a handful of providers, then you can consider doing so. Furthermore, if your provider lets you roam for free in the Turks and Caicos Islands, then you should go for it. Just note that your speeds will be lower as a roamer than if you were to buy a Turks and Caicos SIM card.
Using an International SIM Card in the Turks and Caicos Islands
International SIM cards are SIM cards that work internationally. Most SIM cards do work abroad, but then you have to roam with your provider. International SIM cards, however, let’s you use one SIM card in many destinations around the world for, often, the same price. This way, your friends and families can still reach out to you while traveling.
International SIM cards are, however, much more expensive than buying a local SIM card in many cases, but they are often cheaper than to roam with your provider. There are many international SIM card providers out there, but a few providers I can recommend are OneSimCard, SimOptions, Surfroam, and SimCorner.
International SIM cards are useful for those who frequently travel for leisure or for business. That way, everyone can reach you on one number instead of a handful of local numbers scattered around the world.
Moreover, many destinations in the world require you to register yourself before you can buy a local SIM card. In some countries, the process is quick, while others require much more of your time. Furthermore, the registration process may be cumbersome in countries.
Finally, the language barrier may be off-putting to some. It can be a challenge dealing with a salesperson who does not understand you. They may try and sell you the most expensive option out there. Luckily, you know the prices of SIM cards and packs in the Turks and Caicos Islands, so you cannot be taken advantage of.
My recommendation, however, is to get a local SIM card if you are only visiting one destination. If you are visiting multiple destinations in one trip, an international SIM card could be handy. If you want to learn more about international SIM cards, check out my international SIM card comparison article, where I analyze 10 international SIM card providers so that you do not have to.
Using a Mobile Hotspot in the Turks and Caicos Islands
A mobile hotspot is a portable, battery-powered wireless router that allows you to connect your phone, laptop, or tablet without needing multiple SIM cards for those devices to be connected to the internet. They are compact and lightweight so that you take them along with you whenever you need internet access on the go.
Many companies have created mobile hotspots (just have a quick search on Amazon, for example, you will find many). Skyroam, Vision Global Wireless, and Travelwifi are reputable pocket WIFI providers I know. You can get a discount if you rent a router through Skyroam by using coupon code PHONETRAVELWIZ. Cellular access with Skyroam starts at $8 a day while using a Vision Global device starts at $2 a day. Travelwifi offers Teppy, the name of the pocket WIFI, starting from $7 per day. All these services cover more than 130 destinations around the world.
I often recommend mobile hotspots to those who are traveling in groups or with families. They can save groups a lot of money if they are visiting destinations where buying multiple SIM cards would become an expensive endeavor.
I recently wrote an article analyzing the 7 Best Mobile Hotspots for Travelers like yourself, which should be an interesting read if pocket WIFI is something you are considering. I do reviews of individual devices every now and then, so check out my mobile hotspot category to stay up to date.
The Best Way to Stay Connected When Traveling in the Turks and Caicos Islands
Getting a SIM card from Flow would be your only when considering a Turks and Caicos SIM card. Be sure to explore the roaming options your provider offers you, as they may offer free or cheap roaming bundles.
You could also consider getting an international SIM card or using a portable hotspot. International SIM cards like OneSimCard, SimOptions, Surfroam, BNESIM, and SimCorner are attractive for those visiting multiple destinations at once or within a year. Portable hotspots like Skyroam, Vision Global Wireless, and Travelwifi will be useful when traveling with multiple people so that not each individual has to get a SIM card but can use the hotspot.
Visiting other countries in the Caribbean? Check out my Caribbean SIM card buying guide covering the other Caribbean destinations, such as Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, the Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, Bonaire, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Cuba, Curacao, Dominica, Dominican Republic, French West Indies, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Montserrat, Puerto Rico, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Martin (French) & Sint Maarten (Dutch), Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, and Trinidad & Tobago. Going to other places around the world? Then you should also check out my sim card buying guides for other destinations around the world.
What is next?
Looking for the best companies and gadgets to enhance your travel experience? Check out my resource page for the best companies to use when you travel! Save money on plane tickets, bus rides, cruises, and accommodation. Besides that, I also list services and items I use to make my life easier – and I believe they will help you too!
Book Your Flight for the Turks and Caicos Islands
It is time to book your flight. Find cheap flights with AirWander so that you can add free or cheap stopovers in destinations you have not considered yet before going to the Turks and Caicos Islands. If you are not ready to take off yet, set up flight alerts with Airfarewatchdog, and they will notify you once ticket prices to the Turks and Caicos Islands drop.
Book Your Accommodation for the Turks and Caicos Islands
I am a huge fan of Airbnb because it allows me to live with a local or get a local place for myself. Staying in someone’s house or apartment feels much different than being in a ho(s)tel, especially in the Turks and Caicos Islands. At least, that is how I see it. Moreover, Airbnb can often be much cheaper than staying in a Turks and Caicos hotel.
Get Your Travel Insurance for the Turks and Caicos Islands
You will regret not having travel insurance once you actually need it and “forgot” to get it. Nowadays, travel insurance is cheap and comprehensive unlike back in the days. World Nomads is by far the best travel insurance for adventurous travelers like yourself. You can even get insured WHILE already traveling in the Turks and Caicos Islands, which is not something many insurance companies allow you to do.
Get a Travel Debit Card
Travel Cheques are outdated. Paying with your credit card or debit card can be expensive because of all the exchange commissions banks charge you. TransferWise allows you to convert your main currency to the local currency for a small fee (up to 8 times less than with your bank!) Getting a Transferwise Borderless account is FREE, so you will get an instant return on your investment.
Enjoy your trip!