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.
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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:
- Take the ferry from Grenada to Carriacou > read our detailed guide here
- 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
- Take the ferry from Union Island to St Vincent > read our detailed guide here
- 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
- There is just one scheduled service you can take between Carriacou and Union Island
- It is a small boat (42 feet), with a maximum of 8-10 passengers in total per boat.
- The service runs on a Monday and Friday and leaves Carriacou at 14:00-14:30 and goes straight to Union Island.
- They depart from Tyrell Bay, Carriacou.
- The boat arrives in Clifton on Union Island
- A transfer to the Airport on Union Island is included where you must be stamped into St Vincent and go through immigration.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- Runs on Monday and Fridays
- Facebook https://www.facebook.com/MV-pride-101803829195257
- WhatsApp / Phone – +1 784-431-1448
- Email: [email protected]
- Cost US$30 / EC$75
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.
Map of Immigration and Ferry Docks on Carriacou
Click the link to see the map live.
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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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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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19 thoughts on “Carriacou to Union Island 2023 – Carriacou to Union Island Ferry”
Hi Sarah, the Lady JJ sunk a couple of years ago. So I’m not sure if there is still this a ferry that runs between Union and Carriacou.
Thanks Craig – yikes, that’s such a shame! here’s the news for everyone -https://www.thenewtodaygrenada.com/local-news/lady-jj-sinks-off-carriacou/
Hey Sarah there’s a new bigger boat that does the run from Carriacou to Union Island, Union Island to Carriacou it’s called MV PRIDE and is operate by two brothers (Mario and Bradley john) n crew… It runs on Mondays and Fridays…contact info 17844311448 I’m Mario john
Thanks Mario! I’ll update the post to include your details, thanks so much!
No problem Sarah and if you need pictures I’ll be happy to send you couple
That’d be brilliant! Thanks I’ll drop you an email now 🙂
je recherche un aller de Cariacou à Union (aéroport ) pour le 25 avril au matin pour 2 personnes
Si vous pouvez me mettre en relation avec un capitaine
Laurence et Didier Cajetta
Hi Sarah, thank you so much for sharing. I’m assuming the ferry from grenada to carricou and then ferry on to union can be done in the same day and also on the way back? Do the ferries arrange their times to allow for this? Thanks Roy
Hi Roy, Ferries in 2002 run from Grenada to Carriacou on Monday/Wednesday and Friday only. The ferries from Carriacou to Union only run on Monday and Thursday. If you’re able to travel on a Monday, the times do work for not having to stay overnight on Carriacou, as the ferries from Carriacou to Union leave around 3pm. Sarah
at first i wish you a best for this year.
Now my story:
My name is Heinz Rottler, I live in Baden-Baden Germany.
My wife and me has booked 4 weeks holidays in union island hotel Tenute (beginning at 10. January)
We wanted to fly yesterday from Franfurt to Granada but my passbord was flow away.
So my wife took the flight and is now in Grenada in the hotel Radisson Beach Hotel.
I will fly behind her and i got a flight on 10 th of Januar from Frankfurt via Amsterdam with KLM
to Barbados. I am arraving on 10th at 18:50 pm
Now my questions because i can`t check or book it from here.
-How i can get from Barbados to Grenada or Union Island
-How can my wife and me get from Grenada to Union Island
I would be very thankful if you can give me the necessary help.
I got you because i was looking in Asocialnomad and there is said, that you are an expert.
Yours Heinz Rottler
Hi Heinz, unfortunately there are no ferry services from Barbados to Grenada (or any of the other Caribbean islands). InterCaribbean Airlines is your best option for flights from Barbados to either Grenada or to Union Island.
There are ferries from Grenada to Carriacou, and then from Carriacou to Union Island. Osprey Fast Ferries operates the route from Grenada to Carriacou, then Mario and team run from Carriacou up to Union Island. It’s best to contact them directly – the links are in the post – https://asocialnomad.com/grenada/carriacou-to-union-island-ferry/ for the current timings. In terms of timings, you’d likely be best trying to fly from Barbados directly to St Vincent and from there to Union Island – the ferries between the islands take a long time (as they’re quite a distance apart!) Good luck and do let me know how you get on! Sarah
First of all – thank you for this fantastic article. It is by far the most detailed one I’ve managed to find.
I have two quick questions:
– do you personally see any benefit of going Grenada -> St Vincent vs St Vincent -> Grenada? Any timing/coordination issues or any other concern one might have one way or the other?
– do you think that 72h is a good estimate of a “max travel time, regardless of how unluckily you are” between St George’s and Kingstown? I like to go slowly and I’m never in a rush, but I’d like to avoid spending 5 days on this journey.
sorry it’s taken me a while to get back to you, I wanted to confirm the current travel and ferry times for 2023 before responding. The best way. The MV Gem Star II is now in dry dock as of 19th January for the “foreseeable future”, which somewhat limits your transport. That means, that the most time efficient way of traveling (assuming that you don’t want to stop off in Union or Carriacou I mean) and also that you don’t want to fly…is
From GRENADA to ST VINCENT
Leave Grenada 0900 Monday, to Carriacou, to Union (confirm with MV Pride that you can catch them), then 0630 am (Tuesday) from Union Island to St Vincent, arriving around 5 hours later.
Trying to do it the other way around doesn’t work if you’re trying to shave time, as it relied on the MV Gem Star II, but its in dry dock.
Hope this helps! Sarah
It does indeed! Thank you Sarah.
I have a follow up question. I keep hearing, including in your article, about just “catching a water taxi”. How difficult/normal is it? Does it take a while (days) to arrange? Or can I just stroll into the harbor and be out in hours? Is the concept of a ‘shared water taxi’ something normalized around Union Island/Carriacou?
And finally – how much should such a water taxi (shared or private) cost between Union Island and Carriacou, more or less? I have no imagination or sense of scale so anything between 5 USD and 200 USD wouldn’t surprise me 🙂
Btw. The few companies that I managed to find and contact over facebook just told me they won’t do this trip, so I get the sense that it’s not very common?
Sorry for the wall of questions, but as you can see, I don’t have a lot of experience island hopping in the Caribbean 🙂
Hi Kamil. Not a problem with the questions! The more the merrier as they say!
It’s not normal to catch a water taxi in this area and I’m not surprised that you’re hearing that people don’t do it. You DEFINITELY need to arrange in advance and the best folks to ask as Mario and his brother (their contact details in the article) – they *might* do an additional date if they can get the demand (but I suspect not). In terms of how much one would cost. The easiest way to work out how much is to work out how many seats on the boat (12-15 usually) times that by the rate, add a bit for cargo… and you’ve got your fee. (i.e. $$$$)
The issue generally is that if they take you from A to B they either need to find someone to bring back from B to A, or you’ve got to pay for both legs (and that’s usually $$$). Shared water taxis. No, not a thing.
Please do keep me posted as to how you get on! Sarah
Thanks a ton, Sarah!
You’ve been fantastic.
Let’s see what I can arrange. On a side-note: I must say, I’m shocked with how difficult it is to travel by sea in one of the the places most associated with sea travel and island hopping in the world! I was expecting dozens of ferries, boats and water-taxis leaving every day in every direction.
Hi Kamil, no worries at all. I know its weird isn’t it. You imagine that island hopping is a big thing in the Caribbean, but I guess it only really works if you have your own boat! (or lots and lots of money!). We also took boats between Guadeloupe and Martinique and Dominica as well as Trinidad & Tobago, (basically if there was a boat we took it!), but we too were disappointed that most of the island hopping we did involved planes 🙁
You mention flights between Carriacou and Union, but I can’t find any on SVG Air’s website?
Hi Marie – unfortunately the flights tend to be seasonal and there’s still a lot of covid recovery going on. For flights, unfortunately you’re going to have to fly via Barbados at the moment!