Island name: Union Island.
Country: St. Vincent and the Grenadines (VC).
Nationality: Saint Vincentian(s) or Vincentian(s).
Language: English, French patois.
Climate: tropical; little seasonal temperature variation; rainy
season (May to November).
Coastline: 84 km (SVG).
Geographic coordinates: 13 15 N, 61 12 W.
Highest point: Mount Parnassus, 275m (900ft). Mt. Toboi at nearly
1,000 feet is the highest peak in the Grenadines.
Location: in the middle of the Grenadines, west of the Tobago
Size: 5 km x 3 km.
Terrain: mountainous, dry and rocky, covered in thorny scrub
and dotted with cacti, the consequence of decades of foraging by free ranging
Overview: Union Island is the Southernmost of the Grenadines
and a famous stopping-off point for yachtsmen from all over the world.
Due to its dramatic silhouette, Union is also called by some the Tahiti
of the West Indies. Its location just a few miles from the Tobago
Cays, Mayreau and Petit St. Vincent has made it the ideal starting
point for day charters to these islands.
The island has a small airport and is easily accessible from Barbados,
Carriacou, Grenada and Martinique. Because of that we usually suggest starting
a crewed yacht charter in Bequia or St. Vincent and disembarking in Union
Island. This way you get to see most of the Grenadines in a relatively
Union Island is the entrance to the southern Grenadines, especially
the Tobago Cays. Many tourists fly in for one day from other West Indian
islands for aquatic adventures in the Grenadines.
Union Island has some superb beaches, the best is Big Sand beach. Beach
lovers will also enjoy Chatham Bay on the west coast, Bloody Bay on the
northwest coast, and Richmond Bay on the north coast. Snorkellers will
find good conditions on Lagoon Reef, which protects most of the southern
coast of the island, especially around Frigate Island, just offshore from
Union is untouched by tourism and very relaxed; it has more beach front
inns than cars. The main town is Clifton Harbor, where the St. Vincent
Tourist Bureau maintains an office. Ashton, another small town, is still
in walking distance, but only few tourists make it to here.
Anchorage Yacht Club Restaurant, Clifton, French/Creole, Tel: 784 458
8221, VHF 16 and 68.
Clifton Beach Hotel Restaurant, Tel: 784 458 8235, Fax 784 458 8235,
Lambi's Restaurant, Casual, Tel: 784 458 8549 / 8395.
Sydney's, Creole/Snacks/Pasta, Tel 784 458 8262.
T&N, Light fare/West Indian.
Anchorage Yacht Club, Clifton, 12 rooms, CP, $110-$150, Tel: 784 458
8221, Fax: 784 458 8365.
Clifton Beach Hotel and Guest House, 17 rooms, MAP, $47-85, Tel: 784
458 8235, Fax: 784 458 8235.
Sunny Grenadines Hotel, 18 rooms, MAP, $85, Tel: 784 458 8327, Fax:
784 458 8398.
The Cays Apartments, PO Box 748, Richmond Bay, T4574090, F4574266.
Clifton Cottages, 10 rooms, EP, $50-$125, Tel: 784 458 8235, Fax: 784
Clifton Guest House, 4 rooms, EP, $25-$60, Tel: 784 458 8235, Fax:
784 458 8235.
Lambie's Guest House, Clifton, 14 rooms, EP, $19-$28, Tel: 784 458
8549, Fax: 784 458 8395.
The Cays Apartments, 5 rooms, $55-$85, Tel: 784 457 4090, Fax: 784
Attraction: Union Island offers great hiking, beautiful deserted
beaches and a bustling town, Clifton Harbour, from where the day charter
Activities: sailing, swimming, scuba diving, snorkeling and other
Average tourist arrivals: SVG: 65,000.
Electricity: The electricity is generally 220/240 volt, 50 cycle,
except for Petit St. Vincent which has 110 volt, 60 cycle. Most hotels
have 110 volt shaver outlets and/or voltage converters for guests, but
it's best to bring long your own personal adapter.
Entry Requirements: Valid passports must be carried by all persons
entering Bequia, except UK, USA and Canadian citizens who possess valid
return tickets and ID and who are on a visit not exceeding six months.
Visas are not required where the visitor is a citizen of the USA or a Commonwealth
country, or where he/she is a national of a country which has an agreement
for exemption of the visa requirement.
Telephone: country code - 1-784.
Time: Time: 1 hour ahead of Eastern Standard US Time and
5 hours ahead of Standard European Time. During daylight savings time,
from April through October, local time is the same as U.S. Eastern Daylight
Time, and four hours behind GMT. During the remainder of the year, the
islands are five hours behind GMT and one hour ahead of U.S. Eastern Standard
Wale hunting: Bequia is home of the world's last hand-harpooners
and their activities do not affect marine stocks, unlike the mechanized
fishing of some fleets.
Cost of living: Saint Vincent is one of the cheaper Caribbean
islands, but some of the Grenadine Islands are very expensive.
Credit cards: US and EC dollars are accepted at stores, restaurants
and hotels, as are travellers' cheques and most major credit cards.
Currency: East Caribbean dollar (XCD). East Caribbean dollars
per US dollar - 2.7 (fixed rate since 1976). The U.S. dollar is accepted
pretty much everywhere on the island.
Tipping: Usually a 10 % service charge will be added to your
restaurant bill. Tipping is expected only for special service. Taxi drivers
and tour guides expect 10 %.
Airports: J.F. Mitchell airport. Daily scheduled flights to and
from Barbados. Private charters and scheduled flights to and from Grenada
(SVG Air), Union Island, Canouan and St. Vincent are also available. Most
visitors from outside the Caribbean region, including from the USA, approach
Bequia via direct international flights into Barbados. International arrivals
into Barbados are in the early afternoon, which (assuming no outbound delays)
allows convenient onward connections to Bequia.
Departure Tax: Departure tax EC$ 40.00.
Flight Times: from Barbados 55 minutes (or fly to St. Vincent
and take the ferry to bequia.
Ferry Service: MV Baracuda operates between St. Vincent and Union
three times a week with stops at Bequia (1 hour), Canouan, and Mayreau
(all trip 5 hours long). In Union Island you can catch a boat to Carriacou,
and from there the ferry to Grenada. This trip is one of the best you can
do in the Caribbean. There is as well a boat service from St. Vincent to
Ports and harbors: Admiralty Bay, the island's natural harbor,
is a favorite anchoring spot for yachtsmen from all over the world, and
here visitors can watch men building their boats by hand on the shores.
The attractive region around Lower Bay offers great opportunities for swimming
and other watersports.
Land Transport: taxis, local busses (a van with many seats) or
rental cars. Driving is on the left and a drivers license must be obtained
to rent a vehicle.
Ethnic groups: black 66 %, mixed 19%, East Indian 6 %, Carib
Amerindian 2 %, other 7 %.
Government type: constitutional monarchy.
Legal system: based on English common law.
Literacy: 96 % (male: 96 %, female: 96 %).
Religions: Anglican 47 %, Methodist 28%, Roman Catholic 13 %,
other (includes Hindu, Seventh-Day Adventist, other Protestant) 12%.
Agriculture products: bananas, coconuts, sweet potatoes, spices;
small numbers of cattle, sheep, pigs, goats; fish.
GDP per capita: US$ 10,200 (2009 est.).
Industries: food processing, cement, furniture, clothing, starch.
Natural resources: hydropower, cropland.
Unemployment rate: 15 % (2001 est.).
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