Montserrat is a small island off the west coast of Antigua; while not as well known in the US as some of the other small, island nations in the region, this beautiful country is unique. For nature lovers, there are many trails to explore in the northern region, and a living stratovolcano looms to the south, un-scalable but awe-inspiring. For travelers that are more interested in history and culture, the remnants of Plymouth can be explored with a certified guide, and stories about life before and after the volcano awoke will surround you. For music historians in particular, Montserrat is a must-visit location. And the island’s culture these days is a wonderful look at just how peaceful and kind small-town Caribbean can be. Montserrat is a truly magical place.
Type: British Overseas Territory
Official Languages: English
Population: 4,649 (2018)
Capital: Plymouth (de jure); Brades (de facto); Little Bay (under construction)
Currency: Eastern Caribbean Dollar
Power Outlet: Type A and B. The standard voltage is 230 V and the standard frequency is 60 Hz.
How to Get There and Where to Stay
As of 2019, the only way to get to Montserrat is through Antigua. Depending on how much time you have and how much money you are willing to spend will determine the best method of travel for you- ferry or plane.
To learn more about the up-to-date ferry schedule and costs, please visit the Montserrat Ferry website.
There are a few airlines that fly from Antigua to Montserrat (MNI), but all must send small planes due to the fact that the current runway was built with cliffs at either end. Here are some of the airlines that you can scope out:
While there is not an endless array of lodging choices on Montserrat, there are still several options for people with varying budgets. For an updated list, check out Visit Montserrat.
Short term rental (aka Airbnb/VRBO/etc) note: Please try to stay in a local hotel or inn if you can; Montserrat is a very small community on a UK territory, so the negative housing impacts of STRs could be considerable here. If you do choose an STR, please try to stay in a spare room or guesthouse owned by a local resident.
Get a taste of driving on Monserrat through our Beautiful Roads: Montserrat video.
The Natural World
Although Montserrat has a relatively small area, the island is home to a wide variety of ecosystems to explore, some extremely rare. On the north of the island, any Arizonan would find themselves at home among cacti and dry grasses of the lowland mountain of Silver Hill. The center of the island, home to the aptly named Centre Hills, is characterized by lush, tropical forests, which can be explored via steep roads and trails. Finally, dominating the larger, southern portion of the island is the living, volcanic landscape of the Soufrière Hills. From the distant view points of safe areas or from the base of the volcano (with certified guides only), visitors can view an otherworldly setting where vast swatches of grey ash are cut here and there by surviving forests.
Our Posts on Montserrat’s Nature
My Favorite Things to Do in Montserrat : This post includes information about tourism the base of the volcano, the National Trust botanical gardens, and Woodlands Beach.
A Montserrat Itinerary includes a short guide to hiking on the island, particularly in the Centre Hills.
History and Culture
While Montserrat’s most recent history, and the struggle against the impact that the volcano has had on both the land and its people, is something that brings many visitors, the island’s connection to Ireland and its rich, Caribbean culture bring many as well. St. Patrick’s day is one of the largest celebrations on the island, and place names remind even the most casual of map explorers of the historical link between these two emerald islands. However, there is also evidence of slavery and colonialism here as well, and although visitors might find it tempting to let the vibrancy of local culture outshine history’s shadow, Montserrat remains a territory of the UK. A guided tour to experience the living monument to the power of the Soufrière Hills volcano that is encapsulated by what remains of Plymouth can be further supplemented by reading more about the experience of local people throughout the upheaval brought by the mountain. In short, though small, Montserrat is another unique and complex Caribbean country which should be explored with appreciation of the struggles and triumphs of the many people who have called the island home.
Our Posts Montserrat’s History and Culture
My Favorite Things to Do in Montserrat covers taking a day tour on the island, which is a great way to learn more about the complex history of Montserrat.
We also have two Tea and Travel (Through Books!) posts on some great books for learning more about life on Montserrat. These include two personal accounts of living through the volcano upheavals on the island, as well as a more journalistic take on this tragic and ongoing event.
We have one 2-day itinerary for visiting Montserrat; you can pack alot into two days, but 3-5 would be even better for experiencing the relaxing, calm of this beautiful island.
Where We’ve Been
GOV.UK and the Government of Canada travel advisories for Montserrat.
More Information from Around the Web
For tons of great information about Montserrat and travel there, please check out our Pinterest board- Explore Montserrat!
One of our favorite sources of information on Montserrat hiking was Caribbean and Co. Give their 9 Nature Trails for Hiking in Montserrat a look!
If you enjoy this guide, please consider pinning to your own boards for later.