If you want to get a real feel for the islands, then hiring a car is absolutely essential. Make sure you ask for one with air-conditioning. Taxis, however, are inexpensive and plentiful.
The islands' main international hub is on Providenciales, which is well-served with regular flights from the UK, the US and Canada. There are smaller (by which we mean 'tiny') airports dotted elsewhere around the archipelago.
There is no rail network in the Turks & Caicos.
Water and Light: A Diver's Journey to a Coral Reef by Stephen Harrigan, is a literary account of the author's exploration of the quickly disappearing Caribbean waterworld. Bodily Harm by Margaret Atwood looks at the implications of tourism through the travels of a food critic visiting the region.
Do go / Don't Go
The main draw to the islands is the year-round good weather. High season runs from January through to March, and off-season rates can be as much as 40 per cent less. Avoid June to October, though, unless you like sunbathing during hurricane season.
Tips of around 15 per cent are expected.
The Turks and Caicos Islands National Museum in Cockburn Town on Grand Turk showcases the islands' cultural heritage, and is the place to come to see jewellery, early tools made from shells and what's left of the Molasses Reef - the earliest known shipwreck in the Americas. Also check out Cockburn Town's General Post Office, which exhibits the beautiful, artist-designed stamps that has made the islands' philately famous around the world - well, in stamp-collecting circles anyway…
Head to the western fringes of Providenciales for stunning views of the Chalk Sound National Park. Stand above the three mile-long bay and look down onto brilliant turquoise waters dotted with tiny mushroom-like islands. The semi-surreal scene is like something out of a Super Mario Brothers video game.
January The annual new-year Junkanoo festivities, involving music, dance and plenty of fresh street food, take place from midnight to sunrise on 1 January. April Organised by the Turks & Caicos tourist board, the Annual Kite Flying Competition is held every Easter Monday in Providenciales. June The Heineken Game Fishing Tournament, held on Grand Turk each year, is a keenly contested angling extravaganza, in which competitors attempt to land the biggest blue marlin. August The lobster season begins at the start of the month. December The islands' main Christmas tree - in Lester Williams Community Park on Grand Turk - and Christmas lights are illuminated by local officials.