Union: The Complete Guide

Clifton Beach,r, Union Island, St Vincent And The Grenadines
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Stefan Schäfer, Lich

The southernmost island in the country it offers a very laid back vacation in small friendly hotels and guest houses mainly adjacent to the largest village, Clifton. Clifton lies behind a reef,  windward of this being very popular with kite surfers. Being closest to the Tobago Keys, a world heritage site incorporating three islands surrounding a lagoon with all being behind the World End reef, boats leave several times daily taking visitors to enjoy the excellent snorkeling available in this marine preserve where no fishing or exploitation of nature is allowed.

History of Union

The Tobago Cays are a group of small uninhabited islands located in the southern Caribbean Sea, part of the nation of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Union Island, while not one of the Tobago Cays themselves, is nearby and serves as a gateway to this stunning marine park. As such, the history of Union Island is intertwined with that of the Tobago Cays and the broader Caribbean region. Here’s a brief overview:

  1. Indigenous Peoples: The islands of the Caribbean, including those in the Tobago Cays region, were originally inhabited by various indigenous peoples, including the Kalinago (Caribs) and the Arawak (Taino). These indigenous groups lived off the land and sea, engaging in fishing, farming, and trading.
  2. European Colonization: Like much of the Caribbean, the Tobago Cays were explored and colonized by European powers beginning in the late 15th century. The islands passed through the hands of various colonial powers, including the Spanish, French, Dutch, and British, as these nations vied for control of the lucrative sugar trade and strategic naval bases.
  3. Plantation Economy: During the colonial era, the Tobago Cays and surrounding islands were primarily used for agriculture, particularly the cultivation of sugarcane. Large plantations were established, and enslaved Africans were forcibly brought to the region to work on these estates under brutal conditions. The legacy of slavery and colonialism continues to influence the culture and demographics of the Caribbean today.
  4. Pirate Activity: The Caribbean was notorious for piracy during the 17th and 18th centuries, and the Tobago Cays region was no exception. Pirates and privateers used the secluded cays and reefs as hiding spots, launching attacks on passing ships and plundering their cargo. Some of the most famous pirates, such as Blackbeard and Calico Jack, are said to have frequented these waters.
  5. Modern Era: In more recent times, the Tobago Cays have become known for their natural beauty and pristine marine environment. Today, the islands are part of the Tobago Cays Marine Park, a protected area established to conserve the region’s coral reefs, sea turtles, and other marine life. The Tobago Cays have also become a popular destination for yachters, sailors, and eco-tourists seeking to explore the Caribbean’s underwater wonders.

Overall, while Union Island and the Tobago Cays may not have a long recorded history of human settlement, they are part of a region with a rich and complex past shaped by indigenous cultures, European colonization, slavery, piracy, and the modern conservation movement.

Visiting Union for the first time and wondering what are the top places to see in the city? In this complete guide, I share the best things to do in Union on the first visit. To help you plan your trip, I have also included an interactive map and practical tips for visiting!

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Best Time to Visit Union

The best time to visit Union Island, particularly Tobago Cays, largely depends on your preferences for weather, activities, and crowd levels. Here’s a breakdown of the seasons:

  1. Dry Season (December to May): This period is generally considered the best time to visit Tobago Cays, including Union Island. The weather is characterized by clear skies, low humidity, and minimal rainfall, creating ideal conditions for outdoor activities such as snorkeling, diving, and sailing. Sea conditions are typically calm during this time, making it easier to explore the surrounding coral reefs and marine life. Additionally, the dry season coincides with the peak tourist season, so you can expect more amenities and services to be available on Union Island.
  2. Green Season (June to November): While the green season sees an increase in rainfall and higher humidity levels, it still offers plenty of opportunities for enjoyable experiences on Union Island. The landscape becomes lush and vibrant, and the occasional showers can provide relief from the heat. Additionally, the green season tends to be less crowded, allowing for a more tranquil and secluded experience. However, it’s essential to keep in mind that the weather can be unpredictable during this time, and there is a higher risk of tropical storms or hurricanes, especially later in the season.

Ultimately, the best time to visit Union Island and Tobago Cays depends on your preferences and priorities. If you prioritize sunny weather, calm seas, and a lively atmosphere, the dry season from December to May is the optimal time to visit. However, if you prefer fewer crowds, lush landscapes, and don’t mind the occasional rain shower, the green season from June to November can offer a unique and rewarding experience. Regardless of when you choose to visit, Union Island and Tobago Cays are sure to captivate you with their natural beauty and serene ambiance.

Average Temperatures in Union

  • January 27°C 5
  • February 27°C 3
  • March 28°C 3
  • April 28°C 6
  • May 29°C 6
  • June 29°C 13
  • July 29°C 16
  • August 29°C 20
  • September 29°C 18
  • October 29°C 20
  • November 29°C 17
  • December 28°C 7

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