Tiny Montserrat, the most southerly of the Leeward Islands, gave the world a glimpse of the raw power of nature in 1995. Its volcano, apparently harmless for the past 18,000 to 20,000 years, erupted.†
It began with earth tremors and ended with massive clouds of volcanic ash shooting out from the
Soufriere Hills across the southern part of the island. The once pretty Georgian capital,
Plymouth, is now a ghost town lying beneath several feet of compacted dust. A nearby river gorge is a solid block of ash more than 20ft (6 m) deep. Everybody who lived in what is now an exclusion zone has moved either to the northern half of the island or to Antigua, 27 miles (43 km) away, which has reduced Monterratís population significantly.†
All but one of the beaches are black volcanic sand, and the diving among coral reefs on the north coast is excellent. Nature trails supervised by Montserratís forest rangers reveal the diversity of the islandís tropical plant and animal life, and guides can take visitors to see the impact of both ancient and recent volcanic eruptions.†
Today Montserrat still offers a varied choice of accommodation in the safe zone to suit all tastes and budgets. Ranging from private rooms in family homes to bed & breakfast guest houses, studio apartments, and small hotels to luxury 3/4 bedroom villas with swimming pools, fully serviced with maids, baby sitters, laundry and car rental.
The well-kept family run guesthouses & bed and breakfast offer personal friendly service.†
The self-catering rental market is very well established and run by professional management companies. Many properties have their own private swimming pools.†
Nature lovers would revel in getting closer to the scenery, often compared with the
lushness of Ireland. Not surprisingly, therefore, hiking and simply exploring the dramatic diversification of the landscape firsthand are becoming increasingly popular. The mountainous, volcanic spine of the island offers spectacular vistas, while the slopes and valleys and fertile fields display rich harvests of mango, papaya, coconut and banana. The flora and fauna of Montserrat provides a delightful experience that only an exploration of tropical nature can give. The Montserrat Forest Rangers can help you to organize a variety of exciting hikes to any of the trails in the island.†
In Montserrat, the beaches are remarkable in appearance in comparison to other islands as they all, except one, Rendezvous Bay, have glistening, black sand as a feature resulting from the volcanic nature of the island. They are
some of the most secluded and unspoilt beaches in the world. For swimming and sunbathing they provide the most calming and leisurely experience available, all without harassment and removed from the population of resorts and other commercial activity.
Woodlands Beach, Lime Kiln Bay, Little Bay and the tiny Bunkum Bay
(perfect for romantic evenings!) are among some of the islandís notable beaches to visit. The beaches also provide incomparable surroundings for diving and other water sports. Go kayaking or sports fishing or take an unhurried boat ride to view the coastal areas of the island, while observing the Maritime Exclusion Zone, including devastated Plymouth and surrounding villages.
Proof of citizenship is required. A valid passport is recommended for all visitors; however, U.S., Canadian and British citizens may present a Driverís License or official ID card as proof of citizenship. Entry visas may be required of visitors from other countries such as Cuba and Eastern Bloc Countries, and can be obtained from British consulate offices. An onward or return ticket is required ... more
Due to the volcanic activity which has ravaged the island since 1995 there has been a drop in the population from 10,639 (1991 Census) to 4,482 (2001 Census).
Both domestic and international direct dialing telecommunications are provided by Cable & Wireless (W.I.) Ltd. A fully digitalized telephone system, international and national services, international direct dialing (IDD), facsimile, data and telex services are available from public coin and card phones. Additionally, Cable & Wireless offers Boat phone, the Caribbean Cellular Service; leased ... more
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