I recently wrote a travel guide for The Kiteboarder Magazine's best flat water destination Travel Guide for one of my most favorite places I've ever been, Union Island. Union is a very special place and one that in my opinion offers everything you need to have the most amazing vacation. Because I loved this place so much I want to share with you just how to plan your next kiteboarding holiday to Union Island.
Located in the heart of the Grenadines, Union Island is a Caribbean oasis and kiteboarder’s paradise. Smaller in size and less popular than many of the better known Caribbean islands, Union has a carefree island vibe that will have you dancing down the street to local beats, enjoying fresh caught fish of the day at lunchtime, and watching the sunset sink while sipping rum punch at a kite-in kite-out bar. With some of the most consistent winds in the Caribbean throughout its peak season, there will be plenty of water time to enjoy the plush surroundings and serene flat water kiting. As well as boasting two of the best flat water kiting spots in the Caribbean, Union is located only a short boat ride away from several must see kiting, snorkeling and off the path dining spots.
HOW TO GET THERE
Book your international flight to Bridgetown, Barbados (BGI). From there you’ll take a small plane to Union Island with one of two local airlines: Mustique Airways or SVG Air. It’s best to send the small airline company an email so they are aware of your international flight itinerary and the amount of gear you plan to take with you. Once you arrive on the island, everything will be within walking distance of the airport but if hauling large amounts of gear, it will be best to contact your hotel to help transport everything to the beach.
BEST SEASON/TYPICAL CONDITIONS
The best season is through North America’s winter months. Peak season is from December to March but it can also be consistently windy in November and April. Winds are considered strong for Caribbean breezes but it’s still a good idea to bring a light wind kite to ensure maximum time on the water. Typical wind conditions are 9m-14m. There are two main spots on Union Island. Kitebeach is officially a private launch and managed by the Jeremie Tronet Pro Center, as well as Frigate, an offshore flat water spot that you can charter a small and inexpensive boat to take you to for day trips. While the launch at Kitebeach is technically private, kiters are welcome to launch there as long as they check in at the Pro Center, follow the basic safety rules and pay a nominal day use fee that is waived if staying at the affiliated hotel.
LOCAL RULES/SAFETY HAZARDS
At Kitebeach, it is important to follow the launching/landing guidelines as well as to stay within the allowed kiting areas. The kite spot is located directly next to the airport so it is imperative that kiters stay out of the no kiting zone that could potentially interfere with incoming planes. While the kiting area is a large, shallow, reef-protected bay, there are large boats anchored downwind of the main spot so it is important that you can comfortably ride and stay upwind if planning to kite without boat support.
You can rent a scooter if you want but its really not necessary. There are rooms for rent located directly at the main kite spot as well as gear lockers for rent if you choose to stay elsewhere so biking or walking will typically be sufficient for getting around.
PLACES TO STAY
The most convenient place to stay for your kite vacation on Union Island is at the Kitebeach Hotel. There are cottages available for rent located at the kite spot that range from $100-190USD per night for two to four people depending on which cottage you choose. You might also want to stay at the neighboring Anchorage Yacht Club, which is merely a 1312 foot walk to Kitebeach and located in the heart of town with restaurants, grocery stores, and bars at your fingertips.
Located in the heart of town, The Snack Shack has a simple yet satisfying menu, good wifi, delicious coffee and a comfortable vibe for a slow paced breakfast, lunch or dinner. Big Citi, located across the street from The Snack Shack and the fruit market, is one of the cheapest and best restaurants in town. Open all day, enjoy breakfast, lunch or dinner while cruisting the free wifi and enjoying the signts from the second floor open air dining area. Located just offshore of the main Kite Beach, Happy Island Bar is surrounded by water where you can kite in and out of to enjoy a fruity rum punch or local Haroun beer as you cool off before, after or even mid-session. But beware — the rum punch packs a punch!
Take a boat tour to the Tobago Cays to go snorkeling with sea turtles and rays. You can also arrange to have a fresh caught lobster dinner on the beach if dining by candlelight with your toes in the sand is your kind of thing.
THE ONE THING EVERY VISITOR MUST DO
Kite out to Happy Island Bar....
And if I haven't convinced you yet...have a look at the video from my recent trip with Craig Cunningham and Jeremie Tronet. To me, this is paradise :)