Montserrat is located in the Caribbean, approximately 50 miles southwest of Antigua. The island consists of four main mountain massifs: Silver Hill, Centre Hills, Soufrière Hills and South Soufrière Hills. Montserrat is known as the Emerald Isle of the Caribbean; it has an abundance of unspoiled beaches and hiking trails, blue horizon and white beaches. However, recently in June, 1995, Montserrat’s volcano erupted, which devastated the lifestyle here. Prior to this, Montserrat was a favorite vacation hang for jet setters, movie stars, and anyone who wished to escape in seclusion. Since the volcano, Montserrat lost more that 2/3 of the 12,000 locals who lived on this island. Meanwhile, the island is in the process of rebuilding, with a new capital city, new airports, and half of the island forbidden from visiting. At the same time, it is affordable with good restaurants, secluded romantic beaches and excellent diving opportunities. 


English and Irish colonists from St. Kitts first settled on Montserrat in 1632; the first African slaves arrived three decades later. The British and French fought for possession of the island for most of the 18th century, but it finally was confirmed as a British possession in 1783. The island's sugar plantation economy was converted to small farm landholdings in the mid 19th century. Much of this island was devastated and two-thirds of the population fled abroad because of the eruption of the Soufriere Hills Volcano that began on 18 July 1995. Montserrat has endured volcanic activity since, with the last eruption occurring in July 2003. 


Montserrat continues to be a mix of Irish, African and Caribbean heritage. Montserrat is the only Caribbean island that observes St. Patrick’s Day as an official holiday, with musical concerts, masquerades and other traditional activities. 


Montserrat Map 

To See

The volcano is the star attraction, most easily viewed from the Montserrat Volcano Observatory.  Tours are conducted by scientists several days a week. The ruins of Plymouth are today a ghost town under a blanket of ash. Daytime access to the former capital is possible with a police escort, arranged through hotels or the tourist office. Volcanic activity continues on and off, but Montserrat’s northern third remains a safe landing, with the volcano monitored round-the-clock by a team of scientists that keep the island’s current 4,700 residents aware of Mother Nature’s inner rumblings. Montserrat also offers many of the Caribbean’s traditional activities. Most of the beaches are of the blacksand variety, but tawny Rendezvous Bay can be reached by a trail over a bluff or by hiring a boat. Lime Kiln Bay is a prime snorkeling location, and there’s also good diving. An expanding network of hiking trails accesses rainforests, old banana plantations and views from sea cliffs. In summary, Montserrat makes for an unusual holiday. The eruption of Soufriere Hills volcano in the South of the island has led to the evacuation and relocation of residents beyond the Exclusion Zone. This part of Montserrat is dangerous and is also illegal to enter. 

Useful information

Airports: Geralds Airport. 

Area: 102 sq km.

Business: Government offices open from 8am to 4pm. Most shops open until 5pm while on Wednesdays and Saturdays they may close around midday, with grocery shops staying open much later and Sunday for a few hours.

Capital: Plymouth (abandoned in 1997 due to volcanic activity). Government Offices and major commercial activity are now centred in the areas of Brades, Carr's Bay, Little Bay and Sweeneys in the north-west end of Montserrat. New Developments have begun at Little Bay.

Climate: Tropical; little daily or seasonal temperature variation.

Clothing: Light casual clothing, but bring along some long pants and sturdy shoes if you intend to hike. A sweater is also needed for the winter seasons.

Currency: Eastern Caribbean dollar (EC$).

Customs: Up to 200 cigarettes, 40 oz of alcohol, 6 oz of perfume, cameras and gifts valued up to USD 250 can be brought into the country duty-free.

Economy: Severe volcanic activity, which began in July 1995, has put a damper on this small, open economy. A catastrophic eruption in June 1997 closed the airports and seaports, causing further economic and social dislocation. Two-thirds of the 12,000 inhabitants fled the island. Some began to return in 1998 but lack of housing limited the number. The agriculture sector continued to be affected by the lack of suitable land for farming and the destruction of crops. Prospects for the economy depend largely on developments in relation to the volcanic activity and on public sector construction activity. The UK has launched a three-year $122.8 million aid program to help reconstruct the economy. Half of the island is expected to remain uninhabitable for another decade.

Electricity: As a British colony, Montserrat has chosen to offer two options for electrical services and appliances. Many homes have electrical outlets installed in duplicate, one for 110 volts and one for 220.

Entry & Departure requirements: Please refer to the official tourist office website link below or contact us.

Health: Basic health care services are available in Montserrat either through a private physician, at the main hospital or in one of the smaller community health centers. For serious health problems, treatment is available in nearby Antigua or in Guadeloupe.

Holidays: New Year’s Day (01JAN), St Patrick's Day (17MAR), Good Friday, and Easter Monday (MAR-APR), Whit Monday (MAY-JUN), , Christmas (25-26DEC), New Year's Eve (31DEC).

Language: English.

Political status: overseas territory of the UK.

Population: 5,140.

Religion: Anglican, Methodist, Roman Catholic, Pentecostal, Seventh-Day Adventist, other Christian denominations.

Security: Montserrat prides itself on being one of the safest islands in the Caribbean, but we still advise that you take sensible precautions.

Shopping: You won’t find any chain stores or malls here, but there are a surprising number of small shops selling clothing, shoes, electronic goods, hardware, stationery, flowers, and many other items, and most are owned and managed by local individuals or families.

Taxes & Service charges: Accommodation Tax: 10% for hotels and 7% for Guesthouses, B&Bs and Villas. 10% service charge added at most restaurants, otherwise tipping is at your discretion.

Telecommunications: The international dialling code for Montserrat is +1 664.

Time: Standard Time Zone: GMT – 4 hrs. Montserrat Island Time does not operate Daylight-Saving Time.

Transportation: Driving is on the left hand side of the road. A local driver's license is necessary if you plan to drive in Montserrat. 


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