Union Island is part of the nation of St Vincent and the Grenadines. It lies 90 km SW of Barbados. While within view of the islands of Carriacou and the mainland of Grenada. Clifton and Ashtonare the two principal towns. The island is home to approximately 3,000 residents. The official language is English, but French and German are spoken as well. Due to its volcanic silhouette, it is also called the “Tahiti of the West Indies”. The island is approximately 3 mi. long and 1 mi. wide. Surrounding islands are Tobago Cays, Mayreau, Palm Island, and Petit St. Vincent. The highest peak on Union Island is Mount Taboi – 999 feet above sea level. When experiencing Union Island, you will see a beautiful, charming, and authentic Caribbean destination.
After the original settlers, Arawak and Caribs, the island has been in possession of French and English slave traders and plantation owners. Eventually, they brought hundreds of Africans to the island. Sea Island Cotton was an important export crop. Sea Island cotton trees are still visible on the island. In the middle of Clifton harbor sits Happy Island, a quaint little artificial island featuring a bar.
Weather – Union Island The Grenadines
There is no bad time to visit Union Island in St Vincent and the Grenadines. These islands’ close proximity to the equator guarantees steady year-round tropical temperatures. In short, highs are around 88-90 F, and the temperature rarely dips below 75 F. The dry season runs from December to June, and the rainy season from July to November. The Hurricane season from July to November has very little impact on Union Island. Due to its location south in the Caribbean arc.
Places to See
Happy Island – Home of Janti Ramage. Built entirely on a foundation of scavenged conch shells. Local fishermen scoop out the muscle inside the conch shell and leave the rest. This practice started to become a litter problem on Union Island’s beaches. Above all, Janti, the visionary, started gathering up the conch shells on a shallow part of a nearby reef. In 2002 he started creating his own private retreat. Furthermore, he built a small bar and patio and imported some small palm trees. Now Happy Island, although operating on ‘flexible island time”, is a destination for sailors and tourists.
Beaches – The island’s two best beaches lie on the north coast at Richmond Bay and Belmont Bay.
The old Fort – hike up to the old fort above Clifton. By all means, take photos of the cannon and the magnificent view over the sea, Tobago Cays and Mayreau.
Things to Do on Union Island – The Grenadines
Turtle watching – “Turtle Watch” is a new and exciting event on the Island. If you ever wanted to see a big leatherback sea turtle lay its eggs at night on the beach, Union Island is the place for you. The Union Island Environmental Attackers (UIEA) conduct this event. Furthermore, this organization has been very instrumental in preserving the clean environment on Union Island. Anyone visiting the Island can certainly contact the UIEA or Roseman Adams. She is the Island’s only Certified Turtle Handler. By all means, experience this breathtaking event. A small donation is required.
Full Moon Parties – If you are on or close by Union Island during a Full Moon from December to May, do not miss a Full Moon Party. It is a fun event for the entire family. The party starts early at 6:30 pm. You will have the opportunity to savor local food and drinks all night. Enjoy the Light and Fire shows as well as a Night Kitesurfing demonstration.
The Maroon – Taking place in late May, at the end of the dry season. It is indeed a significant event for the island. This celebration begins pre-dawn and lasts well into the night. Drums, dancing, and amazing food will make you fall in love with the culture and the friendly people. It is being held since it is believed that the Gods will be enticed by The Maroon to provide rain. After all, Union Island has a semi-arid climate. Therefore, the only source of water on the island is the water stored from June to December, the rainy season.
More Things to Do on Union Island
Easterval – If you are in St Vincent and The Grenadines during Holy Week, make sure to attend Union Island’s Easterval. Indeed a much-celebrated event. Festivities take place in both Ashton and Clifton.
Kitesurfing/Kiteboarding – With the introduction of the JT Pro Center Kitesurfing School in Clifton, Union Island has become one of the top destinations for this watersport. Learn in a safe environment taught by experienced certified instructors in a magnificent location.
Diving and Snorkeling – Ideal conditions for the beginning as well as a professional diver. Dive here every day of the year. Or choose to snorkel in the lagoon. A dive center is located in Clifton.
Stand-up Paddleboarding – A tour provides you with a great way to explore the southern coastline of Union Island. Paddle along the blue lagoon, over the crystal clear turquoise water. And arrive at Campbell beach. This is a fun activity for the experienced or novice SUP visitor.
Hiking – Hiking around Union island, you will discover gorgeous views. You can walk along the coastline to Chatham Bay or Bloody Bay. Or hike to the Fort on the hill above Clifton for a 360 degrees view.
Roasted breadfruit and fried jackfish are the national dishes of St Vincent and the Grenadines. You will find a delicious variety on Union Island. Try other traditional local dishes like Madongo dumplings, buljol, or callaloo soup. And of course, have a Hairoun beer from Kingstown St Vincent. At the same time, savor St. Vincent Distillers’ rum, produced in a distillery situated right in the foothills of La Soufriere Volcano.
The Sparrow’s Beach Club – Located on the white Big Sand beach. The perfect island environment for a savory lunch or a romantic dinner at night. They have a free shuttle service from the center of Clifton.
The Anchorage Yacht Club – One of Union Island’s first restaurants. In addition, it is renowned for its Shark Pool right next to the dining area. Ask the crew of your chartered yacht to dock it conveniently here at the marina.
L’Aquarium restaurant – Located in the Bougainvilla Hotel and Marina. It faces the local harbor. You will enjoy dining right next to a very beautiful aquarium in the dining room. Featuring dazzling Caribbean fish.
Joy’s BBQ – the place to be on a Friday or Saturday evening. You will in fact be very pleased by Joy’s cooking skills. Here, you find one of the best BBQ chicken, pigtails, and pork on the island.
Additional Gastronomy Highlights
The Snack Shack – This is the perfect place to relax from early morning to late night. In addition to an excellent breakfast or lunch, they have the best ice cream. Or try some of the local fruit juices. And this is a convenient place to check your emails with a free WiFi connection. Every Saturday night from 7 pm until midnight, you can find live music entertainment at this popular hangout.
Big Ship Night Club is open almost every night from 11 pm until sunrise. Enjoy Union Island’s nightlife right here on the dancefloor. You will have a great night out together with tourists and locals.
Olivias Family Restaurant & Bar Entertainment Centre – is located in Clifton. It offers in particular, unique local food found on the island. In addition to dishes ranging from the famous Roti from Trinidad to ground provisions. While also providing a well-stocked bar. At night the restaurant is transformed into a party hall with an in-house DJ. Popular with tourists and locals alike.
Marinas and Anchorages Union Island
Anchorage Yacht Club Hotel & Marina – The Anchorage Yacht Club offers good berthing for small yachts. It also has lovely beachfront and waterfront rooms. As well as a bar, two restaurants, beach cabanas, and a kiteboarding school.
Bougainvilla Wind & Sea Marina – Clifton
Chatham Bay – Located west of Union Island. A protected anchorage with a picturesque landscape. You can easily anchor in the white sand bottom or take advantage of the free buoys found here. Explore the crystal clear waters, which are home to stunning coral reefs. It is a little gem in the Grenadines.