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Turks and Caicos Information
The first known inhabitants of the islands were Taíno Indians, who left evidence of their occupation in the form of utensils and a ball court. Locals claim that the islands were the first landfall of Columbus in 1492. Some argue for Grand Turk, where a monument casts the claim in stone. The arrival of Europeans spelled the end for the Taínos, who had either been forced into slavery or had succumbed to European-borne diseases by the mid-16th century.
Over the next few centuries, ownership of the islands bounced between the French, Spanish and British, ending finally with Great Britain. Despite the colonial struggle for power, the islands' development slowed down as they were not on the main sailing routes, possessed no gold or decent anchorage's and lacked sufficient rain to grow sugar. The islands' remained virtually uninhabited until 1678, when a group of Bermudans settled and began extracting salt and logging trees. Salt traders cleared the land and created the salinas (salt-drying pans) that still exist on many islands. The majority of the salt went aboard boats to supply the cod-fishing industries of New England and the Maritime Provinces of Canada.
The Bermudans prospered, getting the attention of the Spanish and Bahamian government. In 1766 the latter extended its jurisdiction to include the islands. Like their northerly neighbors, the Turks and Caicos became a base for pirates, who were not averse to robbing the wealthy salt merchants' homes. The pirates' evil acts provoked a French attack in 1753, and France claimed the islands. The French were repelled the following year by a British warship from the Carolinas, though the French briefly occupied Grand Turk again in 1778 and 1783.
Following the American War of Independence, the Bermudans on the islands were joined by a group of colonial loyalists, who established cotton plantations. The loyalists brought their slaves, but the plantation era was short-lived: by 1820, the cotton crop had failed, and the majority of planters had moved on. Many left their slaves behind, and eventually they too became salt-rakers.
The archipelago's political fortunes continued to fluctuate. It became a formal part of the Bahamas in 1799, but in 1848, following a petition by the Turks & Caicos residents, it became self-governing under the guidance of the Governor of Jamaica. In 1872 the islands were annexed to Jamaica and remained tied to Jamaica until 1962, when they were again linked to the Bahamas. In 1973 the Turks & Caicos became a separate Crown Colony of Great Britain.
The islands' history over the past five decades has been quiet, though there was much excitement when astronaut John Glenn landed down just off Grand Turk in 1962. At about the same time, the islands were 'discovered' by seven millionaires (including Teddy Roosevelt III and a couple of the DuPonts), who leased land from the British government and built a small airstrip for their private planes and a deep-water anchorage for their yachts. Meanwhile, Count Ferdinand Czernin, son of the last prime minister of the Austro-Hungarian empire, scouted a tiny dot on the map called Pine Cay, on which he planned a Walden Pond-like resort; after his death it became the exclusive Meridian Club resort. Then, in 1984, Club Med opened their resort and the Turks & Caicos started to boom.
While we find that many people chose to spend most of their days relaxing at Sunset Point in true comfort and Caribbean style, there are a multitude of adventures awaiting, ranging from the recreational to sporting or just simply indulging yourself.
Just around the point, by a 4 minute walk, is a stunningly beautiful secluded beach at Taylor Bay. This secluded paradise is not only walkable, but swimmable (for those inclined swimmers). Your own personal white sand tropical beach is only minutes away, or if you desire a little more activity you can head to what many travel organizations have recognized as the top beach and tourist destination in the Caribbean, Grace Bay. This now famous beach is located a short drive away and is home to a magnificent 12 mile white sand stretch of paradise, lying between the stunning Caribbean turqoise waters and beautiful resorts, restaurants, villas, and condo developments.
A first class golf facility designed by Karl Litten. This 6500 yard, 18 hole, 72 par championship course has a rating of 72.1 and a slope of 124. Full clubhouse and pro shop ammenities, as well as golf lessons and clinics. Special 3 and 5 day package rates are offered.
A new Ocean Point Villas Court is only a 4 minute walk away.
If you love to dive, or want to learn, the Turks and Caicos offers incredible world class diving and many quality dive operators. Here are a few:
Right off the villa dock, the water is usually shallow and calm (around waist-high), perfect for snorkeling, swimming, and playing. Off of crescent-shaped Taylor Bay Beach, a 4- minute walk away, the water is knee deep for many yards. Because of its calm waters, it's a great area to explore with a mask and fins. About a 10-minute drive away and located right off the beach, White House Reef is an excellent and safe spot for snorkel fans of all ages... you're practically guaranteed to see scores of marine life. The Turtle Cove area features some world-class snorkeling that is also easily accessible from shore.
Snorkel and day trips/tours
How would you like to be picked up and dropped off by boat right from the luxury of your own dock! One tour company offers a getaway starting at 9am with a light breakfast aboard the 70' boat. Then by speedy 24' motorboats, you cruise past Dick Clark's home, snorkel in 3' to 8' of water and visit a Pirates Cave with stone carvings and artifacts dating back over 200 years. This area features over 10 miles of virgin beaches and reefs where you can enjoy a bbq and beach party featuring unlimited rum punch, beer, soda, lemonade, bottled water and snacks. Plenty of shade is provided. Private charters are also offered including overnight camping.
Cruise and relax in style on the Caribbean seas with a Catamaran sailing charter. You can visit Little Water Cay, home to the famous rock iguanas, snorkel at the world's most untouched reef. Rum punch, soft drinks and snacks are all included. Half day and sunset cruises are available as well as private charters.
Be your own captain and explore paradise on your own. Boats ranging from 10' to 24' (2-14 passengers). They can be dropped off and picked up right from your own private dock.
This lush area offers fantastic angling opportunities of all kinds. The islands are surrounded by miles of healthy coral reef bordered by a vast deep-water drop-off, all literally teeming with marine life. You can choose from bottom and reef fishing for the likes of snappers and groupers. Perhaps you'd like to try fishing the flats (spin or fly) for bone fish. Pound for pound these fiesty fish are some of the strongest fighters in the ocean. There is also world class Blue Water Deep Sea fishing for the big boys, Blue Marlin, Sailfish, Barracuda, Mahi-Mahi (also called Dolphin fish), Wahoo, Mackerel and Tuna. There are many quality operators and we have listed a few for your convenience.
Spa & massage
Want to pamper yourself? Think about lounging by your poolside, or the gently lapping sea, while receiving an incredible and self-indulgent body massage & treatment. Now doesn't that sound good? Many of the procedures and treatments can be performed right in the comfort of your villa.
Getting a Caribbean job in Turks and Caicos is relatively easy if you have the skills.
The Government is keen to encourage inward investment and this is reflected in its immigration policy. The immigration authorities welcome qualified persons wishing to establish business enterprises or undertake jobs in the Caribbean islands of Turks and Caicos and as such it is relatively easy to obtain a work permit. However the policy of Government is to promote the employment of local islanders as much as possible and therefore a list of reserved activities has been published to ensure the hiring of Belongers.
The right to reside and work in the islands can be obtained by:
· Applying for an annual work permit under the Immigration Ordinance 1992;
· Applying for permanent residence certificate under the Immigration Ordinance 1992;
· Applying for naturalisation under the British Nationality Act 1982
Work permits are granted for up to 5 years at a time and are given to those applicants who can establish that they meet the Government's good health and good character requirements, are capable of financially maintaining themselves and their dependants throughout the duration of their stay on the Islands and who have available for their use a house or apartment. There is an annual fee of $2,000.
Work permits for skilled workers who are to be employed by a local company must be obtained by the employer, who will have to post a 'repatriation bond' and who will have to demonstrate that no local employee was available for the job. It will be necessary to show that there is accommodation available for the worker. Work permits for unskilled workers are naturally harder to obtain, given that there is a fairly high level of unemployment; but when they are available, the same terms apply.
Those who wish to get a Caribbean job in Turks and Caicos should first investigate the cost of living.
Turks and Caicos Cost of Living
Cost of living. Because of the necessity to import practically all goods, the cost of living in TCI is comparatively high. A single person might expect to pay approximately US$100 per week for groceries and other supplies. Rent for a one-bedroom apartment starts at about $550 and for a self-contained house at about $1,300. Most landlords require the equivalent of three months' rent in advance, though this can sometimes be negotiated to two. Gasoline is approximately $2.80 per US gallon. Electricity is charged at 28¢ per kilowatt-hour (approximately $75 per month for a single person), with an initial connection charge of US$350. For telecommunications, the rates to the USA are $1.32 per minute, $1.10 off-peak, and 83¢ at weekends; to the UK, $1.65, $1.38 and 99¢; and to New Zealand, $2.20, $1.93 and $1.09. The cost of connection to the television system is US$45 per month.