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Is Union Island Worth a Visit?

Bunny at Union Island
Union Island

Bunny recently came across a question on TripAdvisor’s travel forum where someone was wondering whether Union Island in the country of St. Vincent and the Grenadines is worth a visit. Yes-yes-yes, she wanted to shout! It definitely is.

Bunny has the pleasure of seeing this small island (population of 3,500) every day from her house in nearby Carriacou. She loves visiting Union Island and thinks it’s a totally under-appreciated gem in the Grenadines.

Welcome sign

Bunny’s 10 Reasons for Visiting Union Island

If you are undecided about including Union Island in your future travels, check out Bunny’s 10 reasons for visiting Union Island below.

Bunny likes Clifton
The Salty Girl Cafe

Ideal Weather

Lying just south of the Caribbean hurricane belt, Union Island is blessed with near-ideal weather. Temperatures remain steady between 32-23 degrees Celsius around the year. The official dry season runs from January to June and the rainy season from June to December. It rarely rains consistently here though. The downpours are usually short bursts, followed by glorious sunshine a few minutes later.

As seen from the sea
Ideal weather

Great Hiking

For the active type, Union Island provides some great opportunities for hiking.

Peaks to conquer
Hiking at Union Island

The highest peaks on the island, Mount Taboi and Big Hill give Union Island its dramatic, Tahiti-like silhouette. They are also excellent hiking destinations, albeit best to be conquered with a local guide.

Beautiful scenery

An easier hiking destination is the Ashton Lagoon which is a failed marina project that has been turned into a beautiful mangrove and bird conservation area. Check out the inspirational conservation story here. Today, the area boasts a nature trail with informative displays and look-out points as well as a number of causeways connecting it with Frigate Island.

Ashton Lagoon
Mangrove protection area

Beach Life

If your idea of a great holiday conjures up images of beach umbrellas and cocktails, rather than hiking boots, rest assured that Union Island has something for you too.

The picturesque Big Sands Beach has calm, turquoise waters and soft white sand. Sparrow’s Beach Club and David’s Beach Hotel, both located directly on the beach, will provide idyllic beach umbrellas and colourful cocktails.

One of the best beaches on Union Island

Chatham Bay on the Western coast of Union Island is a more secluded but equally beautiful beach, popular with sailboats and the occasional super yacht. Chatham Bay also has excellent snorkelling directly from the beach. Bunny has seen turtles, rays and countless, colourful reef fish while snorkelling there.

Gorgeous Chatham Bay
Beach life at Union Island

Authentic & Affordable

You know those Caribbean islands where all-inclusive chain hotels line up the shoreline and you grab lattes at Starbucks and drinks at Margaritaville? Well, Union Island is not one of those islands.

Shopping in Clifton
Cute cafe in Clifton

Union Island very much retains its authentic Caribbean vibe, warts and all. The main town Clifton (the capital Ashton is a sleepy town) is a small collection of houses, offering fresh fruit and vegetable stands, rum shops and various services. A colourful gathering of local characters and visitors go on about their business in a typical, unhurried, Caribbean manner. The prices are not inflated and there is no need for constant bargaining with hustlers. What a joy!

Authentic and affordable

Good Accommodation Options

Even though the tourism sector is not overly developed on Union Island, there is a good range of accommodation options around the island. Bunny can recommend the following places:

Charming beach hotel
Great Airbnb
  • David’s Beach Hotel is a quiet and quaint place on a gorgeous beach. It has rooms with wonderful views and very friendly staff.
  • Bougainvilla Hotel is cheap and cheerful accommodation in the heart of Clifton. It has good air-con, strong wifi and an unbeatable location for anyone taking the early-morning ferry connection.
  • The VIEW. This Airbnb has a direct view of Bunny’s own house in Carriacou, so how could she not love it? The French owners are very friendly and the apartments are cute and nicely decorated, with an amazing view.
  • Tenuta Chatham Bay. These luxurious cottages directly on the beach are the place to be in Union Island. A great restaurant, swimming pool, room service, beach chairs, free wifi and gorgeous surroundings await you in Chatham Bay.
Beautiful hotel

Kitesurfing Mecca

Bunny has not yet tried kitesurfing herself but she has been told that Union Island is a top destination for that sport.

Kitesurfer at Union Island

Union Island has consistent and steady cross-shore winds as well as flat shallow turquoise water - perfect for kitesurfing, apparently. The year-round warm and sunny weather is just an added bonus. And kitesurfing certainly looks like a fun adventure.

A number of kitesurfing schools at Union Island are ready to teach the ropes to beginners and the island also provides more challenging spots for those who are more advanced in their moves.

Sailing Base

For sailors, Union Island is an obvious destination. If you are crossing to or from Carriacou (part of Grenada), Union Island is the most convenient place to take care of the border formalities for entering/leaving St Vincent & the Grenadines territory, and to hang about for a couple of days.

Sailing around Union Island
Anchorage Yacht Club

Union Island has beautiful places for anchorage, good supplies and other services for sailors. It is also a great place to charter a yacht for a sailing trip around the Grenadines.

Small and Compact

Union island is small and compact, about 3 miles long and 1 mile wide.

It is easy to tour the whole island in a day but you can also take it slower and walk or hire a scooter to explore. The landscape is incredible: beautiful beaches, impressive mountain tops, lush tropical vegetation, undulating hills, colorful coral reefs and mangrove forests.

Ashton lagoon
Empty beaches

Amazing Day Trips

Apart from being an amazing destination in its own right, Union Island is also a very handy base for various day trips.

Tobago Cays Marine Park, the jewel of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, is one of the best day trip destinations in all of the Caribbean, and it’s just a short boat ride from Union Island.

The best day trip

Tiny and charming Mayreau is one of Bunny’s personal favourites and Palm Island draws a steady row of visitors as well.

Mopion, arguably the smallest island in the Caribbean, is a delightful sand bar perfect for Instagram photos.

Salt Whistle Bay
Caribbean smallest island

And then there’s Happy Island, a unique man-made conch island just off Clifton. Although Bunny no longer recommends it due to gauging, this quirky bar cum man-made island enjoys popularity as a scenic spot for strong (though heavily overpriced) cocktails.

Safe Destination

Last but not least, Union Island is a safe destination for your Caribbean holiday. Serious crime is very rare here. The local population is very friendly and easy-going - and they know what much of their island’s income relies on: tourism is the main source of livelihood here.

Danger at Union Island
Safe destination

Wrap-Up

Union Island is a hidden gem in the Caribbean that packs a bunch for its small size. From its stunning natural beauty and pristine beaches to its local culture and warm hospitality, Union Island captures the essence of a tropical escape. With its serene atmosphere, breathtaking landscapes and welcoming community, Union Island is a destination that will leave a lasting impression.

Are you ready to book tickets yet?

Beach life
Kitesurfers at Union Island

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  • Tom says:

    I like the sign spelling “CLERRENCE”.

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