Both Jamaica and Turks & Caicos Islands are remarkable places to consider if you are in search of an unforgettable Caribbean vacation.
In this article, we provide deeper insight into these two destinations to help you decide which island is better for a Caribbean vacation.
As a general rule, Jamaica is better for travelers who enjoy a bustling nightlife atmosphere and visiting the iconic Dunns River. Alternatively, Turks & Caicos is perfect for a visitor who wants to explore several small islands in a safe, quiet and peaceful environment.
Read on for further details and explanations on how these two beautiful Caribbean islands compare. This article is written by a Caribbean National who visited both islands extensively.
Jamaica Vs Turks & Caicos- How Does The Size & Landscape Differ
Jamaica is vastly larger than the Turks & Caicos Islands having a landmass of 4,244 square miles.
On the other hand, Turks and Caicos Islands are only 238 square miles.
The islands are a group that consists of 40 different islands and cays. However, only 8 of these are inhabited.
In terms of landscape, the look and feel of both islands is extremely dissimilar.
Jamaica is lush, green and mountainous in appearance while Turks & Caicos is flat, dry and arid.
Visitors to Jamaica may be hesitant to drive in certain areas due to the steep terrain of certain roads.
Alternatively, driving in the Turks and Caicos is much easier for a visitor to adapt. There is no public transportation or bus system in the Turks & Caicos.
Jamaica Vs Turks & Caicos- Does The Currency Differs
Jamaica and Turks & Caicos have different official currencies.
The official currency of Jamaica is the Jamaican dollar since 1969. It is issued and managed by its own Central Bank.
The Bank of Jamaica which is the Central Bank is responsible for the island’s monetary policy.
The US dollar however, is widely accepted by businesses in both countries. US bank notes that are worn, torn and impaired are usually rejected.
Additionally, US coins cannot be used in these countries.
Contrastingly, despite being an overseas British territory, the United States dollar is the official currency of Turks & Caicos.
Jamaica Vs Turks & Caicos- Which Island Is Safer
Turks & Caicos is the safer of the two islands. 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 shootings.
On the other hand, Jamaica has a high crime rate.
According to the US Department State, Overseas Advisory, there was an increase in shootings and murders from 2018 to 2019 by 7.8 % and 3.4%.
Additionally, murders and robberies increased in the same period by 9.3 % and 3.1% respectively.
Visitors to Jamaica should exercise a higher degree of caution. Avoid wearing jewelery and expensive items in public places.
Additionally, visitors should book tours and outings with businesses authorized by the hotel to ensure safety.
Avoid crime hot spots such as in Kingston and Montego Bay where gang related crime levels are highest on the island.
Jamaica Vs Turks & Caicos- Which Island Has Better Beaches
Both islands have fantastic beaches and if beaches are your priority then either island will be a great vacation choice.
Nevertheless, if you are in search of beautiful turquoise waters, Turks and Caicos Islands have the slight edge.
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.
In terms of Jamaica, Seven Mile Beach also known as Negril beach is Jamaica’s most famous with white sand and beautiful water.
This location is excellent for snorkeling and water based activities.
Doctor’s Cave beach and Frenchman’s Cove beach are also excellent and well-loved beach options in Jamaica.
Jamaica Vs Turks & Caicos- Which Island Has The Better Nightlife
Hands down Jamaica is the winner in this category. The islands could not be more dissimilar when it comes to entertainment.
Jamaica is one of the Caribbean islands known for having a vibrant nightlife atmosphere. On the other hand, Turks & Caicos is quiet, laid back and peaceful.
In Jamaica, Margaritaville is one of the popular spots on the island which is built above the sea with a bar and restaurant.
Pier1 is also a very well loved place for locals and visitors which feature an open restaurant which serves Jamaican cuisine with live music and dancing.
Despite being quiet and tranquil, there are entertainment options that visitors can enjoy.
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.
Jamaica Vs Turks & Caicos- What Are The Unique Things To Do
Unique Things To Do In Jamaica
Explore Dunn River Falls- this world renowned water fall is one of the most visited attractions on the island.
Located near Ocho Rio, there are several activities that you can do at the falls and water park which includes zip lining, climbing the falls and purchasing souvenirs at the craft shop.
Visit Bob Marley Museum– for reggae enthusiasts and fans of the legendary singer site see at his former home.
Bob Marley lived at this location in Kingston until his transition in 1981. A tour of his former home features his studio as well as several memorabilia.
There is a theatre, record shop and café located at this premises
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 kite boarding school on the island where tutors will provide you with a lessons as well as equipment rental.
Private Island 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.
On a whole, Jamaica is an ideal choice for a traveler who wants to enjoy reggae music, amazing nightlife and beaches. 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.
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