how to go from carriacou to union island

Carriacou to Union Island 2023 – Carriacou to Union Island Ferry

There are few scheduled ferries that travel between the Caribbean Islands, so when you find one, it is so much better than flying.   Traveling from Grenada to St Vincent and the Grenadines is one route that you can take by ferry.  In this article, you’ll find out how to go from Grenada to St Vincent – with specific detail on the Carriacou to Union Island ferry.  We cover the prices of tickets to get to Union Island from Carriacou, timetables, and how to book your place.


How To Go from Grenada to St Vincent

If you’re wanting to know how to take the ferry from Grenada to St Vincent, then read on.  Grenada encompasses 3 inhabited islands and St Vincent and the Grenadines encompasses 32 islands.  However, when people want to take the ferry from Grenada they generally mean that they want to go from the main island of Grenada to the main island of St Vincent.  If that is your preferred option and you want to take a ferry rather than fly from Grenada to St Vincent, then your route needs to be as follows:

  1. Take the ferry from Grenada to Carriacou > read our detailed guide here
  2. Take the ferry from Carriacou to Union Island (one of the St Vincent and the Grenadine Islands) > you’re in the right place, this article is all about that
  3. Take the ferry from Union Island to St Vincent > read our detailed guide here
  4. If you want to take the ferry from Union Island to Bequia then you need to first go from Union Island to St Vincent and then take a ferry from St Vincent to Bequia.

If your experience is different, please do let us know and we’ll update the post..

Where to Stay on Carriacou

We stayed in Hillsborough on Carriacou at the Carriacou Grand Hotel.  > Check rates and book here. For beachfront accommodation (and no big hill to climb to get to the hotel, then the Green Roof Inn is a short walk from the center of Hillsborough and also does good evening meal options. They’re right on the beachfront, so it’s super for sunsets too! Check rates and availability here.

There are several places to eat on the front road in Carriacou, we ate at the fabulously local Butterfly Bar, with a superb view of the setting sun.  The Green Roof Inn gets good reviews for food but is somewhat more expensive.

We chose to stay in Hillsborough as we believed that the boat would be leaving Carriacou for Union Island from Hillsborough.  Knowing what we know now, we’d still opt to stay in Hillsborough, rather than Tyrell Bay.   However, we’d choose not to have our afternoon and evening arrival on a Sunday as Hillsborough is pretty closed on a Sunday!

Where to Stay on Union Island

The main kitesurfing area of Union Island is the bay where the town of Ashton is.  This is where the ferry from Carriacou arrives into.  The airport and the main ferry port to St Vincent, Canouan, and Mayreaux are in Clifton.

Unless you’re kitesurfing in Union Island we’d suggest staying in Clifton.  There are plenty of places to eat, drink and stay in Clifton.  Lagoon View in Clifton gets great reviews – with super rooms, and great views, it’s a good spot to stay that’s not too far from where the ferry leaves for St Vincent. You can check rates and availability here.

The Kings Landing Hotel in Clifton is in an equally good position in Clifton, for both food and drink and the departing ferry. Some rooms have sea views and there’s also a pool here. Check your options here.

If you’re wanting to splash a little more cash then head for The Islanders Inn on the other coast (but still only 1 kilometer – 0.6 miles from Clifton), which has fabulous oceanfront rooms.

Overview of how to take the Carriacou to Union Island Ferry

When most people think about inter-island ferries they think of large vessels, air-conditioned cabins, and big formal services.  The route from Carriacou to Union Island is much more down-to-earth than that.   The boats on this route do not run every day.  They run to a rough timetable and are a vital connection for the people who live and work between Grenada and St Vincent.  As well as paying passengers these boats carry cargo between Carriacou and Union Island, so you’ll likely be sharing your trip with large sacks of vegetables, boxes, and crates.

Here are the key points you need to know about getting to Union Island from Carriacou

  1. There is just one scheduled service you can take between Carriacou and Union Island
  2. It is a small boat (42 feet), with a maximum of 8-10 passengers in total per boat.
  3. The service runs on a Monday and Friday and leaves Carriacou at 14:00-14:30 and goes straight to Union Island.
  4. They depart from Tyrell Bay, Carriacou.
  5. The boat arrives in Clifton on Union Island
  6. A transfer to the Airport on Union Island is included where you must be stamped into St Vincent and go through immigration.
  7. If you want to travel from Carriacou to Union Island on a day that is not scheduled, then you can charter one of the local speedboats, or the MV Pride also offers private charters as well.
  8.   Fares will depend on how many passengers you have.  Your captain must go to Immigration with you to clear out of the island (and into Union).  Find a speedboat service by asking at your accommodation.
  9. You can fly.  SVG Air operates 3 scheduled flights to Union Island from Carriacou. Flight from Carriacou to Union Island are on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday.  The ticket price is $328.00 XCD one way.

Now, here’s the full detail on this trip for the ferries.

There is now ONE Option for Carriacou to Union Island ferries

For a long time, the Lady JJ and her skipper Troy plied this route. Unfortunately, the Lady JJ sank during the pandemic. This route is now serviced by the MV Pride and skipper Mario.

How to Go from Carriacou to Union Island by Ferry

How to book the Carriacou to Union Island Ferry: MV Pride

Mario Grand, captain of MY Pride – Carriacou to Union Island ferry

how to go from carriacou to union island tyrell bay
how to go from carriacou to union island inside MV Pride

Where does the ferry from Carriacou to Union Island leave from?

The MV Pride (and indeed all ferry services) from Carriacou leave from Tyrell Bay Marina.  There is still a postal pier in Hillsborough, but all the ferry services were moved to Tyrell Bay a while back.  Hillsborough gets a lot of swells and the pier here is dangerous for loading and unloading.  Tyrell Bay is much calmer and safer.

However, if you take the service run by Mario on the MV Pride they can provide a taxi service from your hotel/apartment to the vessel on both Carriacou and Union Island. They do all the clearance and the passage fee is $75ec $30usd.

The immigration office is in Tyrell Bay and that’s where you need to go through immigration to leave Grenada.   If you’re taking the ferry to Union Island from Carriacou, then you’ll need to confirm your booking with Mario and then meet him at 11:30 at Tyrell Bay immigration.

Mario can provide a taxi service to and from Hillsborough, but there is an easy EC$3.50 (EC$4 on Sundays and holidays) bus service that will take you from the Hillsborough bus station to right outside the Tyrell Bay marina.

Bus on Carriacou

Map of Immigration and Ferry Docks on Carriacou

Click the link to see the map live.

carriacou ferry ports

Where does the ferry from Carriacou arrive in Union Island?

The ferry from Carriacou to Union Island arrives in the main town of Clifton on Union Island.  The ferry service that you take includes transport to the airport, where you will go through immigration into St Vincent.  If you want to travel onwards from the airport, then you’ll need to pay your own transport costs with the minivan driver.  So your drop-off point is the airport on Union Island.  The airport is just 700 meters (0.4 miles) or a 10 minutes walk from the center of Clifton.

What days does the Carriacou to Union Island operate/run?

The MV Pride goes between Carriacou and Union Island on Mondays and Fridays.

The MV Pride leaves Union Island in the morning and returns to Union Island from Carriacou in the early afternoon. 

Any differences in this schedule will be found by communicating directly with Mario..

What time does the ferry from Carriacou to Union Island leave?

The boat usually leaves Union Island around 0800.

The boat to Union Island from Carriacou usually leaves around 1400 – 1430.

Sea state Carriacou to Union Island

How long does it take to go from Carriacou to Union Island

The physical journey from Tyrell Bay, Carriacou to Clifton on Union Island takes around 90 minutes depending on the sea state.  However, there may be hold-ups.

However.  (and this is a big, however…) there are a series of processes to go through which means this is probably going to take most of your day.

  1. You will either need to meet Mario or James, at the Tyrell Bat Immigration Centre in order to hand over your passports and pay the EC$20 fee for leaving Grenada.  (Confirm with them when you reserve your seats).  Or you will need to clear customs yourself. The time that you usually do this is around 11:30 but you’ll be told this the day before your trip.
  2. The main reason for this is that the immigration department closes for lunch, so your captain needs to be able to get the immigration done so that he’s able to leave when he’s ready.
  3. You will then need to get to the marina at Tyrell Bay. There are no facilities at the port and there’s no shade apart from on the boats.  We recommend you drop your bags on the boat (security will let you into the marina) and then find a table at the Big Citi café and restaurant.  They have cold drinks, cocktails, good lunch options, and good WifI, plus if you sit in a booth there are electric sockets to charge your devices!
  4. Your boat will not leave until around 1400-1430 – it may be a little earlier. If you’re on the WiFi in the Big Citi café, then you can easily be connected with your captain on WhatsApp.

How much does the ferry cost from Carriacou to Union Island?

The cost of the ticket from Carriacou to Union Island is EC$75 per person.  This includes clearing immigration (although there is a EC$20 departure fee that you need to pay) and transport to the Union Island Airport on Union Island from your arrival point in Clifton.  Cash only.

There is no additional charge for your bags.

how to go from carriacou to union island MY Pride

Where is immigration on Carriacou?

Immigration on Carriacou for departures to Union Island is at the Tyrell Bay immigration office.    You will need to ensure that your departure card is completed and included with your passport.

When you meet your captain to deal with leaving Carriacou he will give you the immigrations and customs forms for St Vincent which you will need to complete.  Your captain will likely hold your passport and completed immigration forms for Union Island until you pass through immigration in Union Island.

how to go from carriacou to union island hillsborough pier

Where is immigration on Union Island?

Immigration on Union Island is at the Union Island airport. This is a maximum 10-minute walk from the main town of Clifton.  Your ferry ticket will include transport and immigration service.  Immigration in Clifton is at the airport, which is about a 10-minute walk from where the boats arrive from Carriacou.

There is free WiFi at the Union Island airport and a small café where you get a drink and food.

Map of Ferry Docks and Immigration on Union Island

You can also see the Union Island Ferry Dock map here.

union island ferry docks

How to get from Hillsborough to Tyrell Bay on Carriacou

If you are staying in Hillsborough on Carriacou, then you can take a bus from the Hillsborough Bus station to the Tyrell Bay Marina which is where the MV Pride leaves from.

Buses on Carriacou are the same as in Grenada, small minivans.  The bus from Tyrell Bay to Hillsborough takes about 20 minutes and costs EC$3.50 (EC$4 on Sundays and holidays).

How to get to Union Island from Carriacou

The MV Pride is based on Union Island.  They travel from Union Island to Carriacou in the morning on Monday and Thursday and return to Union Island from Carriacou on the same day in the afternoon.

Contact the captain of the MV Pride to arrange meeting points and to confirm the immigration procedures to leave Union Island.

How to book the ferry from Union Island to Carriacou

If you wish to take the ferry to Carriacou from Union Island, then they leave at around 0800 on Monday and Thursday.  You will need to book your place with the captain of each boat.  You will also need to go through the immigration on Union Island (at the airport) the night before your departure.

Travel Tips for Exploring Grenada

Final Words on how to go from Union Island to Carriacou

There aren’t many islands that you can travel between by public ferry or boat in the Caribbean and as Union Island and Carriacou were two of them we decided they would both be firmly on our itinerary. This is an easy trip, once you come by all the information. The hassle is that it takes time (which is itself is actually rather lovely). The second hassle is that the boats don’t go every day. So just plan your schedule, and work out when to be there, confirm the boat times when you arrive in Union and I hope you enjoy this journey as much as we did!!

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