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Both Barbados and Turks & Caicos are popular islands for a Caribbean vacation.

In this article, we compare and contrast these two amazing Caribbean destinations to help you make an informed decision for your upcoming vacation.

As a general rule, Barbados is better for travelers who are interested in a bustling nightlife atmosphere and visiting the iconic Harrison caves. Alternatively, Turks & Caicos is perfect for a visitor who wants to explore several small islands in a more laid back and peaceful environment.

Read on for further details and explanations on how these two magnificent Caribbean islands compare. This article is written by a Caribbean National familiar with both islands.

Barbados Vs Turks & Caicos – Which Island Is Bigger

Turks and Caicos Islands have the bigger landmass of the two destinations being 238 square miles. The highest point of elevation is Blue Mountain at 163 feet.

The islands are a group that consists of 40 different islands and cays. However, only 8 of these are inhabited.

Located South East of the Bahamas, the islands is a British Overseas Territory.

At the time of writing, the population of Turks & Caicos is 39,408 respectively according to

Barbados has the bigger landmass being 166 square miles.

The highest point of elevation in Barbados is Mt Hillaby which stands at 1,120 feet.

The island became a Republic on November 30th, 2021.

According to the population of Barbados was 287,966 at the time of writing. Generally, both islands have a flat terrain.

Barbados Vs Turks & Caicos – Which Island Gets More Tourists

Turks and Caicos as a destination have more tourist arrivals than Barbados.

According to tourism analytics in 2019, Turks and Caicos Islands welcomed 1,111,818 cruise passengers and 486,739 stop over visitors.

On the other hand, Barbados welcomed 712,946 stopover passengers and 686,813 cruise visitors.

Barbados Vs Turks & Caicos – Does The Currency Differ?

The official currency of both islands differs. The official currency of Barbados is the Barbadian dollar. One dollar is divided into 100 cents.

Bank notes are available in 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 bills. Coins are available in 1, 5, 10, 25 cents pieces as well as $1. The symbol Bds$ which is commonly used but the ISO code is BBD.

The USD $1 is equivalent to BBD$2 and is also pegged to the US Dollar. The Barbadian currency is managed and issued by its own local central bank.

Nevertheless, the US dollar is widely accepted by business in Barbados.

For ease of doing business, it is better to carry bank notes of smaller denominations. Bank notes that are worn, torn or impaired are usually rejected.

Contrastingly, despite being a British Overseas Territory, the official currency of the Turks & Caicos Islands is the US dollar.

Barbados Vs Turks & Caicos – Which Island Has Better Beaches

For powdery white sand and clear turquoise waters, Turks & Caicos is the clear winner of these two destinations.

Located on the island of Providenciales, Grace Bay Beach is the pride of Turks and Caicos and it has won many awards both regionally and internationally.

Grace Bay Beach is part of Princess Alexandra National Park and known for its calm and turquoise waters.

It stretches three miles long and there is a barrier reef located about one mile off shore to keep the beach still and safe.

Grace Bay Beach shares its shoreline with many high rise and luxurious hotels on the island.

Oistins and Miami beaches are well loved by visitors and locals to Barbados and are the must visit beaches on the island.

Barbados Vs Turks & Caicos – Which Island Has The Better Nightlife

Barbados has the more vibrant nightlife of the two islands.

There are a broader range of restaurants, golf courses, clubs, casinos and other forms of entertainment especially on the South Coast.

Additionally, in Barbados, Oistins also provides a lively venue for visitors and locals to meet and relax on the beachfront every Friday evening.

There are more restaurants, beach bars and casinos that are not present in St John. There is also a golf course for enthusiasts of the sport.

On the other hand, Turks and Caicos Islands are much more tranquil and peaceful when compared to Barbados. There is an event similar Oistins event in Turks and Caicos.

Every Thursday night there is a Fish Fry where individuals can buy food from local vendors.

Souvenirs and various forms of crafts are also on sale. Turks and Caicos also stands out in the Caribbean as an island for fine dining. 

Annually, a food and wine festival is held where top chefs and wine connoisseurs from the Caribbean and around the world meet in Turks & Caicos to display their culinary craft.

Barbados Vs Turks & Caicos – Which Island Is Safer

Both islands are relatively safe destinations and are excellent options for solo female travelers.

According to the US Department State, Overseas Advisory Council based on a 2018 crime report per 100,000 citizens, Barbados had had 10 murders and 1 kidnapping.

Generally the crime rate in Turks & Caicos is moderate when compared to other Caribbean islands such as Trinidad & Tobago and Jamaica.

According to US Department State, Overseas Advisory Council, the number of murders increased from 4 to 10 in 3 years. 

One US citizen was among the victims in 2018 while two US citizens sustained serious injuries from shooting.

Nevertheless, as with every other country due care and diligence must be exercised in both destinations.

Avoid leaving value items unattended and visible in vehicles. Secure valuable items in vaults and safes at your hotel.

Barbados Vs Turks & Caicos – What Are The Unique Things To Do

Unique Things To Do In Barbados

Harrison Caves- Barbados has a cave where you can enjoy a tour inside. There are stalactite and stalagmite formation.

There is a bar and a gift shop on the property for added entertainment.

Be sure and wear clothes that are comfortable and walk with a change of clothing if you want to go elsewhere. I was water soaked after my exciting tour of the cave.

UNESCO Heritage Site- Bridgetown and its Garrison have been designated as a UNESCO Heritage site due to its excellent architecture.

These buildings were constructed in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries and were well preserved until today. Some of the 30 sites and attractions include:-

  • Barbados Museum & Historical Society
  • National Heroes Gallery & Museum of Parliament
  • George Washington House & Museum

Sandy Lane Gold Cup- is one of the biggest horse racing event in the Eastern Caribbean.

The race usually occurs every March at the Garrison Savannah which attracts jockeys, trainers and thoroughbred from other Caribbean islands and around the world.

Unique Things To Do In Turks & Caicos

Kite Boarding– the beach waters and wind conditions makes the island an ideal spot for kite boarding.

Long Bay Beach is one of the popular spots on the island for this activity.

There is a kiteboarding school on the island where tutors will provide you with a lessons as well as equipment rental.

Beach Hopping– Only 8 of the 40 islands and cays of Turks and Caicos are inhabited.

The others are private cays where you can go and enjoy a private beach day on your own island.

This makes the destination unique and one of the many reasons why the islands are favored by celebrities.

Final Thoughts

On a whole, Barbados is an exceptional choice for a traveler who is seeking a more developed island with an interest in horse racing. On the other hand, Turks & Caicos is perfect for a visitor who wants to enjoy white sand beaches and turquoise waters as well as parasailing and kiteboarding.

Need More Information?

Feel free to browse our website for more content on the Barbados, Turks & Caicos and the Caribbean by using the search bar located at the top of this page.

The following are some of our articles which we believe may be suitable for you.

Pros & Cons of Living In Turks & Caicos Islands

Best Currency For Barbados (The Ultimate Guide)

St John Vs Turks & Caicos (Which Is Better For A Vacation)

St Lucia Vs Turks & Caicos (Which Island Is Better For A Vacation)

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