How to Go From Union Island to St Vincent [Ferries, Times, Prices]


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St Vincent and the Grenadines is one of the few areas of the Caribbean where there are scheduled ferries, which makes Caribbean island hopping a whole lot nicer.  Not that I have anything against the flights that we’ve taken between Caribbean Islands, I just prefer to be on the water!.  We’d arrived in Union Island by boat and we left Union Island by boat.  Information online about how to leave Union Island was a little sparse, so here’s all you need to know about how to go from Union Island to St Vincent.  We’ve also included how to go from Union Island to Bequia – as that’s the route that we wanted to take.

How to Go from Union Island to St Vincent & Bequia

Unless you have access to a sailing yacht, then there are 2 ways in which you can travel between Union Island and St Vincent.  The quickest way to travel to St Vincent from Union Island is to fly.  The cheapest way to travel from Union Island to St Vincent is to take one of the four times weekly ferries.

Flying from Union Island to St Vincent

SVG Air operates flights to and from Union Island to St Vincent. Check out SVGAir here.

Taking the Ferry from Union Island to St Vincent

There are currently four ferries a week to St Vincent from Union Island.  These leave on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday only.  These ferries arrive the day before their departure, stay overnight and then leave in the morning.  Both ferries also call at Mayreaux and Canouan Islands.

The boats that depart Union Island on Wednesday,  Thursday and Saturday all arrive in Clifton, Union Island the day before.    So the departures from Union Island are early in the morning (0630-0700).  The ferries that leave Union Island on Friday departs from Kingstown in the morning and returns the same day, so this departure from Union Island is in the early afternoon (1430).

Ferry dock Clifton Union Island from Gypsea Cafe

Taking the Ferry from Union Island to Bequia

There is no direct ferry to Bequia from Union Island, even though the ferry from Union Island to St Vincent passes straight past the island of Bequia!.  You must take a ferry from Union Island to St Vincent and then from St Vincent to Bequia.  The ferry from Union island arrives in the same place that the ferry to Bequia leaves from.   The ferry from Union Island to St Vincent costs EC$70 and the ferry from St Vincent to Bequia costs EC$25.

Don’t forget to organize your Caribbean Travel insurance!  Read our article on the specifics of insurance in the Caribbean here.

Union Island to St Vincent Ferry Details

Here’s all you need to know about this regular ferry service between Union Island and St Vincent.

Where does the ferry go from on Union Island

The ferry from Union Island to St Vincent leaves from the ferry dock in Clifton.  You can see where this is located on the map below.    This is the main large dock in Clifton.  There are no facilities on it, it is just a concrete dock located right next to the Gypsea Cafe. (Great for sunset drinks on one of the 2 verandahs that overlook the bay.

Where does the ferry arrive at in St Vincent

All ferries in St Vincent arrive into the ferry port in Kingstown.  This is also where ferries from St Vincent to Bequia and St Vincent to Mustique depart from and arrive into.

Who operates the ferry from Union Island to St Vincent?

There are two companies operating the ferries from Union Island to St Vincent. The Bequia Express ferry company operates a trip from the Southern Grenadines to St Vincent on a Thursday and a Friday.   The MV Gem Star II departs Union Island for Kingstown on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

Union Island to St Vincent Ferry Timetables

  • Bequia Express leaves Clifton, Union Island on Thursdays at 0630 – arriving into Kingstown, St Vincent around 1130.
  • MV Gem Star II leaves Clifton, Union Island on Wednesday at 0700 – arriving into Kingstown approximately 5 hours later.
  • Bequia Express leaves Clifton, Union Island on Fridays at 1430 – arriving into Kingstown around 1830.
  • MY Gem Star II leaves Clifton, Union Island on Saturday at 0700 – arriving into Kingstown approximately 5 hours later.

St Vincent to Union Island Ferry Timetables

  • MV Gem Star II leaves Kingstown, St Vincent on Tuesdays at 1130 – arriving into Clifton Union Island around 5 hours later.
  • Bequia Express leaves Kingstown, St Vincent on Wednesdays at 1030 arriving into Clifton, Union Island around 5 hours later.
  • Bequia Express leaves Kingstown, St Vincent on Fridays at 1030 – arriving into Clifton, Union Island around 5 hours later.
  • MV Gem Star II leaves Kingstown, St Vincent on Fridays at 1130 – arriving into Clifton Union Island around 5 hours later.

How far is it from Union Island to St Vincent on the Ferry?

It is about 80 kilometres (50 miles) from Union Island to St Vincent.

How long does the Union Island to St Vincent ferry take?

The ferries from Union Island to St Vincent also call at Mayreaux and Canouanc Islands.  Timetables for their arrival and departure are slightly fluid, as there are unloading and loading at both islands. The loading is cargo as well as passengers.

This is the timetable of the Union Island to Mayreaux to Canouan Island to St Vincent based on our trip in January 2020.  We had only one slight hold up on this ferry, a yacht had anchored in the direct path of the ferry in Clifton Harbour and it took us around 45 minutes to get out of the harbour.

  • 0630 Scheduled Departure from Union Island
  • 0715 Actual Departure from Union Island
  • 0810 Arrival Mayreau Island
  • 0825 Departure Mayreau Island
  • 0900 Arrival Canouan Island
  • 0915 Departure Canouan Island
  • 1130 Arrival St Vincent

What is the cost of the ferry ticket from Union Island to St Vincent?

An adult ticket from Union Island to St Vincent costs EC$70

How to Buy Tickets for the Ferry from Union Island to St Vincent

You buy tickets to go to St Vincent from Union Island on board the boat.   There’s no ticket office on Union Island (or in St Vincent).  Simply board the ferry and follow the signs for passengers.  There’s a small ticket booth there with the prices displayed.  Although if you are taking the ferry from Union Island to St Vincent you may be on the Bequia Express ferry which displays prices for the St Vincent to Bequia route.

If you happen to board the ferry and no one is at the ticket booth on board simply find a seat, the ticket seller and staff will find you.

What Facilities are on the Union Island to St Vincent Ferry

There are two seating areas on the ferry to St Vincent from Union Island.  After the ticket booth, you’ll see steps down.  These lead to the cafeteria, where there are lots of tables and long padded bench seats.  This cabin is air-conditioned and the lowest and most central point of the ferry and therefore the most stable.

Ac cabin on union island to st vincent ferry

The cafeteria provides hot and cold drinks and limited food (i.e. toasties).  A 500ml bottle of Sprite is EC$5, filter coffee is EC$5.  You can get a Ham or Cheese toasted sandwich for EC$10 or a Ham and Cheese toasted sandwich for EC$12.

The top deck seating area has shade from the sun (and there are areas of no shade as well) and there are tarpaulins that the crew will deploy in case of rain.  These seats are bench seats (no padding).  On the journey that we took most people sat on the top deck.

Top deck union island ferry

There is no passenger access to the car deck during the passage.

Map of Ferry Port on Union Island

What to expect on the Union Island to St Vincent Ferry

This is an easy route.  The staff are friendly, once they’ve woken up a little.  You’ll travel mainly alongside regular Vincentians, rather than tourists.  It’s a laidback ferry service and an enjoyable journey.

What’s the scenery like on the Union Island to St Vincent Ferry?

It’s actually a pretty scenic route.  You’ll depart from Union Island as the sunrises and that’s spectacular if the weather is good.  Arriving and departing into Mayreau and Canouan Islands gives you a view of other islands that you might not have seen before.  After Canouan, you’ll pass by Mustique – for us the closest we got to this luxury only island.  You’ll also pass by Bequia, which for us for somewhat irritating as we were heading there!

sunrise from union island

Will you get seasick on the Union Island to St Vincent Ferry?

We had very calm weather on our trip in the third week of January 2020.  We sat in both the lower AC cabin where the cafeteria was, ate a toasted sandwich, drank cold drinks and good filtered coffee and on the top deck under the sunshade.

We didn’t get sick and didn’t see anyone else getting sick at all.  This wasn’t at all like the Grenada to Carriacou ferry where 90% of passengers (including me) were sick.

Union Island to Bequia Ferry

In order to go to Bequia from Union Island you will need to first take a ferry to St Vincent from Union Island.  Then you wait for the ferry from St Vincent to Bequia.  The ferry to Bequia from St Vincent takes about an hour and costs EC$25 per person.  The ferry times from St Vincent to Bequia are as follows.

Kingstown, St Vincent to Bequia

Monday to Friday

  • 0800
  • 1030
  • 1300
  • 1600
  • 1800

Saturday

  • 0800
  • 1100
  • 1600
  • 1800

Sunday/ Public Holiday

  • 0830
  • 1800

Bequia to Kingstown, St Vincent

Monday to Friday

  • 0630
  • 0800
  • 0930
  • 1300
  • 1630

Saturday

  • 0630
  • 0915
  • 1300
  • 1630

Sunday/ Public Holiday

  • 0700
  • 1630

Arriving in Kingstown, St Vincent

The Union Island / Southern Grenadine ferries arrive into the ferry port at Kingstown, St Vincent.  This is located in the capital of Kingstown.   For onward transport, you can take a taxi (taxi drivers will find you, most likely before you’ve even got off the ferry!), or take a local bus from just outside the ferry port.

Here’s a map to find the best spot to catch a local bus.

Local buses in St Vincent are minivans, but they’re more crowded than other Caribbean Islands.  They’re friendly, with loud music and they’re cheap too.  Not many Vincentians own cars, so if you have a bag that won’t fit between your legs, or on your lap just cram it in.  If the driver wants more money for your bag they’ll tell you.  We took buses as our only form of transport (apart from walking) on St Vincent, drivers, helpers and passengers were always friendly, locals at stops helped us when we didn’t know which one to catch (and even handed over responsibility with a “make sure these two get on the right bus” when their bus arrived before ours did!)

PIN FOR LATER

Ferry from Union Island to St vincent 1

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About Sarah Carter

Sarah Carter is an avid reader, writer and traveller. She loves hiking, sailing, skiing and exploring the world through food. She left a successful career in IT security and compliance in both the UK and US to travel the world with husband and partner in adventure, Nigel.

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