Communications

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Communications

Internet

The majority of resorts throughout the Turks and Caicos offer Wi-Fi service in their public areas, if not in the rooms, so you can keep up with email and the Internet.

Phones

The country code for the Turks and Caicos is 649. To call the Turks and Caicos from the United States, dial 1 plus the 10-digit number, which includes 649. Be aware that this is an international call. Calls from the islands are expensive, and many hotels add steep surcharges for long distance. Talk fast.

Calling Within the Destination

To make local calls, just dial the seven-digit number. Most hotels and resorts charge for local calls, usually 50¢ a minute. Ask at the front desk if you need to dial "9" to get a dial tone; some require this for a line, in other places you just dial directly.

Calling Outside the Destination

To call the United States, dial 1, then the area code, and the seven-digit number. Remember that this is still an international call and will be charged accordingly. Since Hurricanes Irene and Sandy, international calls have not been going through properly. Depending on whether you are calling cell to landline, cell to cell, or landline to landline, you may have to try repeatedly to get through. You might get a recording stating the number is out of service. This is not usually the case. (The same thing can happen when you are calling a TCI number from another country.)

Calling Cards

Calling cards are not recommended in Turks and Caicos, not even for international calls. They are hard to use, and you are charged even for toll-free connection numbers. It's actually cheaper to buy a simple "pay as you go" cell phone or a SIM card for your own unlocked mobile phone when you arrive.

Mobile Phones

If you have a multiband phone (some countries use frequencies different from those used in the United States) and your service provider uses the world-standard GSM network (as do AT&T and T-Mobile—and to a lesser degree Verizon), you can probably use your phone abroad. Roaming fees can be steep, however—99¢ a minute is considered reasonable. And overseas you normally pay the toll charges for incoming calls. It's almost always cheaper to send a text message than to make a call, because text messages have a very low set fee (usually less than 50¢). You can usually buy an international package to get rates down. Service for Verizon can be unreliable here; AT&T service is good.

If your own cell phone doesn't work in the TCI, you can rent one from a local provider. All telephone service—both traditional and mobile—is provided by Lime and Digicel. Local cell-phone coverage is very good; you'll even get reception on the uninhabited cays. (Be aware, however, that Lime charges you for an international call when you dial a U.S. toll-free number from the Turks and Caicos.)

If you just want to make local calls, consider buying a new SIM card (note that your provider may have to unlock your phone for you to use a different SIM card) and a prepaid service plan in the destination. You'll then have a local number and can make local calls at local rates. If your trip is extensive, you could also simply buy a new cell phone in your destination, as the initial cost will be offset over time. Ask your car-rental company if they offer free loaner cell phones. Grace Bay Car Rentals is one that does; many other companies do as well these days. You can add value online or at kiosks all over the island, and incoming calls are free.

If you travel internationally frequently, save one of your old mobile phones or buy a cheap one on the Internet; ask your cell phone company to unlock it for you, and take it with you as a travel phone, buying a new SIM card with pay-as-you-go service in each destination.

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