Union Island was next on our Caribbean itinerary. We took a Jaden Sun ferry from Bequia. The ferry goes to Union Island only on Mondays and Thursdays and it costs EC65 per person. The owner of the guesthouse on St Vincent pre-arranged for us accommodation on Union Island. On the other hand, you do not need to book in advance if you travel in the low season and October is certainly quiet in the Caribbean. On the main road there are two guesthouses – TJ’s Plaza Guesthouse and Lambi’s Guesthouse. Moreover, someone offered us their hotel in the countryside when we stepped off the jetty.
The TJ’s Plaza Guesthouse is big and therefore has various rooms on offer. Firstly, we saw two cheaper rooms and they did not look welcoming at all, they were very basic and the fans were small which would mean a hot night and even a hotter day. If there is no air conditioning in a room, but it has a large fan on the ceiling, it should be all right. However, it will be hard to sleep or relax in the October heat relying on a small fan. Then, we saw what the owner calls ‘Deluxe Rooms’. A double room is called single in his guesthouse, so if you are checking the prices online, take this into consideration. We took the red room for which the official price was USD58. However, we managed to settle that we would pay USD45 a night if we stayed for 3 nights and USD40 if we stayed longer than that. So, we paid for 3 nights up front. Only later we saw that the room was not even properly cleaned. There was no hot water, no kitchenette and not enough storage to put our stuff. There was a TV set but it was not connected. There is no Internet in the TJ’s Plaza Guesthouse. Locals told us to go to the Anchorage Yacht Club Bar. At the time, they had some problems with their wifi, but we managed to check our emails. We did not see any other guesthouse on Union Island, but we would not recommend TJ’s Plaza Guesthouse.
Union Island has two main towns: Clifton and Ashton. On our second day we took a mini van to Ashton (EC3 for a ride). From Ashton we went to a nearby beach, and then we set on foot to Richmond Bay which is on the north coast. The walk was not too long, but rather tiring as we hit the noon heat. The Richmond Bay is very private; there was no one on the beach or its proximity. The view is very nice. We decided to go further to Big Sands beach. The problem with these two beaches is that there are many stones on the surface, which makes bathing difficult if one does not have swimming shoes. On the other hand, the Big Sands is very picturesque with a guesthouse on the small peninsula. Again, in October we were the only people in the area, I think that the hotel was also closed for the low season. From Big Sands, it is a short walk back to Clifton.
The reason that most people go to Union Island is Tobago Cays, the jewel of the Grenadines. And it is undoubtedly worth seeing. There are several organised tours to Tobago Cays and the cost for one day trip would be around €40 per person (it includes a barbecue). However, we went to the Tobago Cays Marine Park office which is located just off the jetty. The captain took us onboard for EC160 (€40 for two people) and showed us three islands.
|Arriving on Baradol|
We went to the three of the five islands, Baradol, Jamesby which the smallest of the five and Petit Bateau. The sea was rough, so we could not go to Petit Tobac where the Pirates of Caribbean was actually filmed.
On each island we had some time for ourselves. The captain also lent us snorkelling kits. On the last island, i.e. Petit Bateau, there was a barbecue organised for a group of Frenchmen. The chef gave us also a big plate of the food. We could have had it for free but we gave him some money in appreciation of his kindness and friendliness.
Next on our itinerary was Carriacou. There is a boat on Mondays and Thursdays from Ashton to Hillsborough. It comes around 7.30 am. We thought it would be a ferry, but it was an ordinary boat which transports cargo and people. The captain told us that we should have done some paperwork in the Immigration office (i.e. pay departure tax) in Clifton. We were convinced that someone on the ferry would charge us the departure tax, so we did not enquire before. For a moment we thought that the captain would not take us on board. He gave us Grenada immigration papers to fill in, took our passports, and we sailed off sitting among bananas. We were worried that there would be some problems on our arrival, but we only went to the Immigration office in Hillsborough to get a stamp and off we went!
|Jetty in Ashton @ 7 a.m.|