Cockburn Town on Grand Turk island is the oldest permanent settlement in the Turks and Caicos Islands. It grew in importance with the emergence of the sea salt industry on the island and became the main commercial hub .Among the hotels, holiday villas, shops and bars are a selection of British colonial-style buildings. Look out for the old Victoria Library and the post office (the vibrant green woodwork makes it hard to miss!) as well as Her Majesty’s Prison and the National Museum.
Duke Street starts at the southern end of Cockburn Town, becoming Queen Street, then Front Street as it travels north. It’s lined with stucco limestone buildings that reflect Grand Turk’s colonial heritage, while brightly painted picket fences and other architectural detailing capture the island’s Caribbean spirit. Just across the street, the town beach welcomes visitors with soft white sand and crystal-clear waters. It’s easy to enjoy both the beaches and the town of Grand Turk with a guided sightseeing and snorkeling tour.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Cockburn Town is a short taxi ride away from Grand Turk’s cruise terminal.
- Public access to Cockburn Town Beach is free.
- The water at the beach is typically calm and is known for good snorkeling and scuba diving.
How to Get There
Duke Street and Cockburn Town are easy to explore on foot. There’s no public transport on the island so visitors should consider taxis or hire cars to get around. If visiting Cockburn Town by car, be aware the parking can be limited and many streets are one-way only. Grand Turk is home to the second largest airport in the Turks and Caicos Islands—JAGS McCartney International Airport, but the majority of international flights operate to and from the island of Providenciales.
When to Get There
Like all the Turks and Caicos Islands, the weather in Grand Turk is good all-year-round with consistently warm air and water temperatures. December to April is peak visitor season, while the late summer and early autumn is quieter due to the hurricane risk. Some businesses temporarily close during this period and visitor numbers tend to be lower.
Visit the Turks and Caicos National Museum From Duke Street, head north to the Turks and Caicos National Museum on Front Street. Housed in the colonial-era Guinep House, this family-friendly attraction tells the story of the Turks and Caicos Islands with a variety of fascinating exhibits and collections. These include maritime artifacts reportedly from Christopher Columbus’ ship ‘La Pinta’ and messages in bottles, plus the impressive Molasses Reef Wreck—a Spanish or Portuguese vessel that dates back to the 1500s.