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Grand Turk Cruise Port: Best Way to Spend the Day on the Island

Caribbean Travel Guides, Cruises

The Grand Turk cruise port is a popular stop on many Caribbean cruises. Here is the best way to spend a day on this small beautiful island among Caicos & Turks, as well as noteable sites to see and places to visit.


About Grand Turk

Grand Turk is the capital island of Turks and Caicos islands, in the Atlantic Ocean. Scattered throughout the island you’ll find white sand beaches, salt pond remains, and a 19th-century Lighthouse perched at the end of the island. The island is also home to wild horses, donkeys, and flamingos.


Which Cruise Lines Visit Grand Turk

Almost every major cruise line visits Grand Turk. I sailed with Holland America on the Tropical Caribbean cruise when we visited Grand Turk and you’ll find this stop on many Eastern Caribbean cruises. Holland America Line, Carnival Cruises, Celebrity, Princess Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian, and Virgin Voyages all have cruises that visit the Grand Turk cruise port.


What’s really nice about the Grand Turk cruise port is that there is no tender. The cruise ships let you off at the Grand Turk Cruise Center and you just walk right through. As you enter the Grand Turk cruise center you’ll see there is plenty to do. The cruise port has direct access to 2 cruise center beaches and a Grsand Turk Margaritaville with music, cocktails, dining, and cabanas. There are also plenty of little shops you can check out at the cruise center and they even have a Starbucks.


What is the Best Thing to do in Grand Turk

Grand Turk is such a small island and in my opinion, one of the best things you can do in Grand Turk is rent a gold cart and go exploring. There are so many interesting sites to see across the island that are only accessible by Golf Cart, and they are pretty fun to drive around.

How Big is Grand Turk

One of the reasons I recommend renting a Golf Cart to discover the island is because Grand Turk is very small. Grand Turk is only 7 miles long and 1.5 miles wide. Driving from the Grand Turk cruise port to the Lighthouse at the other end of the island only takes about 30 minutes and there are plenty of place to visit along the way.


How to Explore Grand Turk by Golf Cart

There are two ways to explore Grand Turk Island by Golf Cart. You can do a guided tour or you can explore the island on your own.

Guided Golf Cart Excursion

If you do not feel comfortable exploring the island on your own, you can book a guided Golf Cart excursion with the cruise ship. Here are some examples below that are available at the Grand Turk Cruise Port with Holland America.


Self-Guided Gold Cart Excursions

If you want the freedom to explore the island by yourself, you can use a site like Viator to rent a Golf Cart.

Pro-tip: To find the Golf Carts from Viator, you need to walk all the way through the Grand Turk Cruise Center, through the shopping area to the parking lot, and they are right outside the exit. When walking through the parking lot, follow the path to the left.

While on your golf cart adventure at the Grand Turk cruise port, there are plenty of sites to see. If you are venturing out on your own, the Golf Cart rentals will give you a map. Even if you get lost, the island is so small it is easy to find your way around. We actually got lost trying to find the lighthouse, but we discovered uncharted piers and beaches before we found our way again!

Pro-Tip: Don’t just stay on the main road. Explore and go down the little side streets to discover amazing scenery, private beaches, flamingos, and more.

Jack’s Shack

If you’re looking to grab lunch and some cocktails on the beach, cruisers rave about Jack’s Shack. You can actually walk about 20 minutes to get to Jack’s Shack and it’s even easier by Golf Cart. You’ll see a sign for it right as you leave the cruise port entrance. At Jack’s Shack, you can enjoy island favorites like jerk chicken, fish tacos, and conch fritters.


Governor’s Beach

As you cruise along Grand Turk, be sure to look at the small roads to the right that have direct beach access. There are no signs, so if you see a beach area that does not look busy, go check it out! Governors Beach is shortly after the cruise port exit and you could very well have the entire beach to yourself. When we visited, no one was there. We could walk the beach, relax, search for sea shells, and enjoy the scenery completely secluded.


Salt Salinas Ponds & Flamingos

As you drive around the island keep your eyes peeled for the salt ponds. Flamingos love to hang out here. When we returned, we were told by other cruises that they saw hundreds. We must have missed this when we got lost so don’t be afraid to really roam around and see the sites.

Cockburn Town

About halfway down the coast of the island, you’ll come across Cockburn Town, which is the main town in Grand Turk and also the Capitol of Turks and Caicos. Here you will find another beach as well as a few shops, restaurants, and small Inns.


Feed the Donkeys

Grand Turk is full of wild donkeys that roam the island. You can see them everywhere while you’re driving around the island. You can even find vendors on the side of the road that will sell you carrots to feed them.

Caicos National Museum

If you enjoy Museums, you can access the Caicos National Museum which is right past Cockburn Town. At this Grand Turk Museum, you’ll find relics from the Molasses Reef Ship Wreck which was located to the southeast of West Caicos. This is the oldest excavated European shipwreck in the Americas.


The Grand Turk Lighthouse

The Grand Turk Lighthouse is on the opposite side of the Grand Turk Cruise Center and takes about 20 minutes to get to by Golf Cart. It is $3 per person to enter the grounds. When there, while you cannot go inside the Lighthouse, you can roma the grounds, take photos, and check out a shipwreck. There is also a small snack shop, a gift shop, and a restroom.


Grand Turk Sign

On the way back, you may want to stop at the cute Grand Turk sign for a fun group photo opportunity.


While I loved exploring Grand Turk by Golf Cart, if you are looking to stay at sea there are plenty of other excursions.

Gibbs Cay

The most popular at-sea attraction at Grand Turk is the private island of Gibbs Cay which is popular for its friendly stingrays and snorkeling. Cruisers can do the Snorkeling & Stingray Adventure where they will enjoy snorkeling the reefs and interacting with the friendly sting rays at Gibbs Beach.

This excursion is $89.95 with Holland America

Whale Watching

During the winter months, whales are very active in Grand Turk. If you’re taking a cruise between December and March, you’ll likely spot some beautiful Humpback Whales on the Whale Watching Excursion.

This excursion is $134.95 with Holland America

Final Thoughts

I hope you found this article helpful in planning your perfect day in Grand Turk during your Caribbean cruise. Let me know if you found this article helpful or have additional tips on exploring the island!


About The Author

Sondra Barker is an established travel writer, photographer, and culinary enthusiast. She resides in Newport Beach, California one of the most beautiful beach towns in the country. Her favorite destinations include visiting various wine countries, cruises around the world, and fun theme parks like Disneyland.


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I created this site for purveyor of exceptional eats and escapes; our team is always on a journey to find the perfect bites in the most wonderful places.

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