Grand Turk Cruise Port Guide and Best Things to Do

Grand Turk cruise port

Grand Turk cruise port is nestled on the pristine southwestern shores of Grand Turk, the capital island of the Turks and Caicos Islands, a British Overseas Territory located southeast of the Bahamas. Known for its sun-drenched beaches, vibrant marine life, and the laid-back appeal of island living, Grand Turk is a tropical paradise where unforgettable memories are made.

Although small in size (Grand Turk covers an area of 18 km2 /6.9 sq miles), it is the largest island in the Turks Islands, the smaller of the two archipelagos that make up the Turks and Caicos Islands. In this article, I share with you some practical information about the Grand Turk cruise terminal and the 6 best things to do in the Grand Turk cruise port, including the island’s major attractions and popular shore excursions.

Grand Turk Cruise Port

Cruise ships dock at the Grand Turk cruise port, perfectly situated on the island’s southwestern coastline, right next to the breathtaking white sandy beach. There is one pier with two berths that can accommodate two large-sized vessels at the same time. The port terminal, also known as Grand Turk Cruise Center, is a beachfront, well-equipped cruise facility featuring a wide range of amenities for your convenience, such as a retail area for souvenirs, pubs and restaurants, and even complimentary Wi-Fi to keep you connected.

Within the Grand Turk Cruise Center, you’ll find a tourist information kiosk, tour booths, Beach Rental Hut (clam shells, floats, snorkeling equipment rentals), the Caribbean’s largest Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville bar, restaurant, and retail shop, a large shopping center with souvenir and duty-free shops and upscale jewelry stores (Dufry, Effy, Diamonds International, Colombian Emeralds, Tanzanite International, Ron Jon Surf Shop, Harley Davidson, Del Sol, and many others), and a craft market.

Other port attractions include the FlowRider surfing attraction, which is offered as a shore excursion through the cruise lines, a large swimming pool, and even historic landmarks such as the NASA Exhibit and John Glenn Splashdown Memorial. All chairs on the beach and around the pool are complimentary, except for the private pool cabanas that you can rent through your cruise line. On the beach itself, you’ll find local vendors, beachside massage, and many drink and food options.

Grand Turk Cruise Center
Grand Turk cruise port

For those looking for a slightly quieter beach, you can turn right upon exiting the pier and you’ll soon reach the South Beach with its Beached Whale Bar & Grill, offering delicious seafood and fish specialties.

For those with special needs, the cruise port is designed to be accessible, with ramps and other facilities in place to ensure everyone can enjoy their visit. There are also restrooms and first-aid facilities for your convenience. If you’re planning an excursion, you’ll easily find tour operators within the port area who can assist with booking your adventures. For additional information about the port, check out Grand Turk Cruise Center’s official webpage.

Being a small island, Grand Turk doesn’t have public transportation. The most popular options for getting around include a scooter/car rental, and taxis. You’ll find car rental booths and a taxi stand at the Cruise Center. Taxi fares are fixed and relatively inexpensive. Taxi fares to popular locations: Cockburn Town (Grand Turk’s capital) $5 pp one way; Grand Turk Lighthouse $9 pp one way; Governor’s Beach $4 pp one way. Check out the official taxi rates

Major cruise lines sailing from Grand Turk cruise port include Carnival Cruise Line, Princess Cruises, Holland America Line, Celebrity Cruises, Costa Cruises, Virgin Voyages, and Crystal Cruises.

7 Best Things to Do in Grand Turk Cruise Port

Grand Turk provides a Caribbean getaway like no other with its beautiful beaches and outstanding marine adventures. The best way to experience Grand Turk in a day is on a guided shore excursion – from historic tours and cultural experiences to amazing snorkeling, kayaking, sailing, and 4×4 rides, Grand Turk has something for everyone!

1. Governor’s Beach

If you’re looking for a slice of paradise close to the port of Grand Turk, Governor’s Beach is the place to go. This stunning beach is only a 5-minute drive from the port, making it the perfect destination for those looking for instant relaxation and tropical beauty. With its powdery white sands and the gentle soothing of turquoise waters, Governor’s Beach represents the essence of Caribbean beauty. Whether you prefer to laze in a comfy beach chair, bask in the warm sun, or indulge in a refreshing dip in the sea, this beach has it all!

However, snorkeling at this beach is not the best one, so if you are looking to snorkel or scuba dive, it’s recommended to book a snorkeling/scuba diving tour that will take you to the open waters and reefs. When ships are in port, you’ll also find vendors selling souvenirs and cold drinks. A taxi ride from the Cruise Center to Governor’s Beach will cost you $4 pp one-way.

Explore Governor’s Beach tours and activities

Governor's Beach Grand Turk
Governor’s Beach

2. Grand Turk Lighthouse

Also known as Cockburn Town Lighthouse, the Grand Turk Lighthouse is a must for history enthusiasts and adventure seekers. The drive to the lighthouse itself is an exciting journey through the island’s streets, and the views from the cliffs around the lighthouse provide a unique perspective of Grand Turk’s beauty. It’s an experience that combines history, adventure, and natural wonder, all just a 20-minute cab ride from the Grand Turk port.

The lighthouse itself stands tall as a symbol of the island’s rich history and maritime heritage. It was built in 1852 as an aid in navigation for shipping ships. The lighthouse is not operational today, but the grounds are open to tourists. There is a little snack and gift shop inside the complex, as well as a coastal path taking you along the cliffs offering spectacular views of the sea. The taxi ride from the port to the lighthouse costs $9 pp each way.

Check out Grand Turk Lighthouse tours and activities

Grand Turk Lighthouse
Grand Turk Lighthouse

3. Cockburn Town

Just a short 10-minute drive from the Grand Turk cruise terminal, you’ll find the charming Cockburn Town, the capital of the Turks and Caicos Islands. It’s a destination where history and culture come to life, making it a must-visit spot during your island adventure.

Cockburn Town stretches along the coastline for about one mile/1.6 km and as you stroll through the town’s colorful streets, you’ll discover history and charm. The vibrant exteriors of British colonial buildings, quaint restaurants, cafes and shops, and friendly locals create a unique Caribbean atmosphere. However, keep in mind there are a lot more shopping options inside the port area so the town is not the most ideal place to shop.

The main attractions are located on two main streets – Queen Street and Front Street, both of which run parallel to the beach. Turks and Caicos National Museum, Her Majesty’s Prison, and Cockburn Town Beach represent the main attractions. A small, white St Mary’s Anglican Church with distinctive red shutters, ranks among the most Instagrammable spots on the island. A taxi ride from the port to Cockburn Town costs $5 pp each way.

Explore Cockburn Town tours and activities

4. Snorkel with Stingrays at Gibbs Cay

Also known as Stingray City, the enchanting Gibbs Cay island lies around 1 mile/1.5 km off the eastern coast of Grand Turk. This picturesque island is a place where you can interact with stingrays in their natural habitat, creating an educational and unforgettable experience for visitors of all ages.

There are many guided snorkeling tours offered, and you can book them online, through your cruise line, or with local tour vendors. These guided tours will introduce you to the world of stingrays, where you can swim alongside them, feed them, and even hold them. It’s a heartwarming experience that offers a new perspective on marine life.

But snorkeling at Gibbs Cay offers more than just stingrays; the crystal-clear waters are alive with other marine treasures. As you explore the underwater world, you’ll come across colorful fish, vibrant corals, and the beauty of the Turks and Caicos marine ecosystem. A visit to Gibbs Cay provides an adventure that is both informative and thrilling, making it the perfect family adventure.

Explore Gibbs Cay tours and activities

Gibbs Cay stingray

5. Turks and Caicos National Museum

The Turks and Caicos National Museum in Cockburn Town is located just a 10-minute drive from the Grand Turk cruise port and will offer you the islands’ history and culture. This captivating museum offers intriguing insights into the history of the Turks & Caicos Islands. Inside its walls, a large collection of exhibits brings life to the region’s history and culture. The museum promises a captivating journey through time, from tales of the Lucayans, the islands’ indigenous people, to intriguing stories of pirates and their daring adventures.

As you explore the exhibits, you’ll come across a fascinating collection of artifacts, photographs, and displays that offer an exciting glimpse into the islands’ history. Gain a deeper understanding of the cultural history that has shaped the Turks and Caicos and appreciate the stories that have created the fabric of these remarkable islands.

Check out Turks and Caicos National Museum tours

6. Biking Adventure on Salt Cay

For the adventurous ones seeking a unique experience, Salt Cay is your destination, and it’s just a short flight away from the Grand Turk. Salt Cay is the smallest of the main inhabited islands in the Turks and Caicos and it’s a place where time seems to stand still. There are no hotel resorts and no tourism developed at all, except for three restaurants where you can taste delicious seafood and catch of the day.

Here, you can embark on a captivating golf cart or biking adventure, learning about the historical landmarks, serene beaches, and charming streets of this beautiful island. Salt Cay’s architecture and heritage are well preserved, offering you a glimpse into the past. Snorkeling and scuba diving are one-of-a-kind. And, if you plan your visit between January and April, you may be in for an incredible treat – the opportunity to witness humpback whales during the whale-watching season!

Explore Salt Cay tours and activities


Also visit our cruise port guides to Puerto Plata, St Lucia, Antigua, Nassau, St Thomas

You May Also Like:

What to Pack for a Cruise – Top 55 Cruise Essentials

25 Top Shore Excursion Packing List Items

Caribbean Cruise Port Guides

This article may contain affiliate / compensated links. For full information, please see my disclaimer here.

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