Montserrat is a British territory located in Lesser Antilles area the Caribbean. As part of the British empire, Montserrat is in good company, with other island territories including the British Virgin Islands, Anguilla and Turks and Caicos. Soufriere Hills Volcano keeps visitors on their toes with regular eruptions. The powers that be in Montserrat have given a wide berth to the volcano around the abandoned capitol city of Plymouth to prevent accidents, but volcano viewing is one of the prime time tourist attractions on this island. The journey to Montserrat is often taken as a day trip from Antigua, though there is plenty to do if you decide to stay a few day. The island is home to numerous bird species that you can view from the many hiking trails throughout the island.
Montserrat is known as the Emerald Isle of the Caribbean for its resemblance to Ireland and the large population of Irish colonists that once made their home on the island. Unlike Ireland, you can expect beautiful weather on Montserrat, and the water is warm enough for diving. The beaches of Montserrat are made up of grey volcanic sand, with the exception of the remote Rendezvous Beach, which is white.
English is the official language of Montserrat.
The official currency of Montserrat is the Eastern Caribbean Dollar. ATM’s are available in several banks around the island. To find out about the conversion rates, visit our currency converter.
There are not as many places to sleep on Montserrat as their are on some neighboring islands, but you can certainly find a place to fit your budget. One hostel is available with rates starting at $25 per night, which isn’t too shabby. Hotels are in the $100 per night range. Villas, apartments and guesthouses offer a wide price range.
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Food and Drinks
Caribbean cuisine is popular on the island. Frog legs are considered a delicacy, and stew with goat meat is a traditional dish. If those seem a little too…exotic, you can dine on the wealth of seafood offered on the island. Fresh fruit abounds, and the drink menus on the island show it. You can even drink the water.
As the Emerald Isle of the Caribbean, St. Patrick’s Day is the biggest event each year in Montserrat, with festivities lasting a week. The Calabash Festival takes place each summer, celebrating the island’s fruit. Cudjoe Head Celebrations are held in the village by the same name each August, celebrating the African heritage of the island’s people. Festival is the local version of Carnival, and is celebrated in the months leading up to Ash Wednesday each year.
Getting There & Around
WinAir connects Montserrat with the rest of the world, while Carib Aviation and Caribbean Helicopters also provide charter services. Those of you traveling from North America can take Air Canada or American Airlines with a connection in San Juan, or Caribbean Airlines, Continental, Delta and US Airways to Antigua or St. Maarten. If you’re traveling from Europe, Air France, American Eagle, British Airways, BMI, Caribbean Airlines, Caribbean Star, Caribbean Sun, Condor, ExceL, LIAT and Virgin Atlantic provide services to Antigua and St. Maarten.
The departure tax is EC $55 for non-residents.
Yachts can dock safely at Little Bay in the North of the island, where a $35 EC is charged per boat by the Port Authority.
Voltage of 220 volts, but some hotels are wired for both 220 and 110 volts to accommodate U.S. appliances. Check with your particular accommodation to see if you’ll need a converter.
Things to Do
Football, or soccer to those of us in the U.S., is a popular sport to play and watch in Montserrat. Hiking and birding opportunities abound in the island’s lush rain forest. Green Turtle, the Hawksbill and the Loggerhead sea turtles are known to nest on the shores of Montserrat from August to September each year. If you do plan to visit the nesting sites, be sure you and your guide practice responsible tourism. Don’t use a flashlight or disturb the turtles in any way. Snorkeling and diving are popular pastimes on the island, with the volcanic activity creating a healthy environment for life under the seas. Fishing is good on the island, with deep sea varieties including Marlin, Wahoo, Dolphin, King and Tuna. The Runaway Ghaut (guts) are worth a look, deep ravine that carry fresh water from the interior of the island to the shore.
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