Caribbean Tourism

Montserrat

Hurricanes & Volcanoes

In 1989, Montserrat was devastated by Hurricane Hugo, the first hurricane to strike the island for 61 years. No part of the island was untouched by the 150mph winds as 400-year-old trees were uprooted, 95% of the housing stock was damaged or destroyed, agriculture was reduced to below subsistence level and even the 180 ft jetty at Plymouth harbour...

Culture

The vast majority of the people are of African descent. Before the volcano erupted there was an influx of white Americans, Canadians and Britons who purchased retirement homes on the island. Montserratians are notable for their easy friendliness to visitors, speaking English flavoured by dialect and the odd Irish expression. There is virtually no crime and...

Shopping

Montserrat is not the place to come for shopping, but there are places where you can find locally printed T-shirts, local Sea Island goods, crafts, jams, jellies and tropical drinks. For music, T-shirts and other clothing go to Arrow Manshop, Salem, T4913852, or Sweeneys, T4916355. Photos of Montserrat and the volcano are sold at Kevin’s Photo Shop, Cudjoe...

Diving & Marine Life

Diving & Marine Life Before the volcano disrupted normal life, Montserrat was gaining a modest reputation as an undiscovered destination with much virgin diving. The National Trust is planning to set up a National Marine Park which will include a reef building project. The best sites are along the northwest coast and have not been harmed at all by the volcano. Shore diving is...

Getting There

Air William H Bramble Airport, on the east coast is closed because of falling ash or other volcanic activity. Contact LIAT (Strand Street, PO Box 257, Plymouth, T491-2533/2362, at airport T4914200/4400) for any flights from Antigua (an 18 minute hop), where there are direct connections with international carriers, and Montserrat Airways (Box 225,...

Excursions

The volcano is now a tourist attraction and when it is not active it is possible to get fairly close to see the grey, ash-covered flanks of what was Chances Peak, in stark contrast with the Centre Hills, which are still green, forested and fertile. There is a viewing point on St George’s Hill, from where you can see Plymouth, the former capital, which has...

The Leeward Islands

The Leeward Islands are a geographical grouping of small, mostly volcanic islands in the northeastern Caribbean. They include French, Dutch and British colonies and ex-colonies and combine within a small area very varied and rich cultures. Whereas in colonial times they were nearly all sugar producers, today they rely on tourism for a large part of their...

History

Columbus sighted Montserrat on 11 November 1493, naming it after an abbey of the same name in Spain, where the founder of the Jesuits, Ignacio de Loyola, experienced the vision which led to his forming that famous order of monks. At that time, a few Carib Indians lived on the island but by the middle of the 17th century they had disappeared. The Caribs...

Government & Economy

Government A British dependent territory, Montserrat has a representative government with a ministerial system. Queen Elizabeth II is Head of State and is represented by a resident Governor (Mr Tony Abbott was appointed Governor in 1997). The Government consists of a Legislative and an Executive Council, with elections being held every five years for...

Food & Drink

Ziggy’s Restaurant, T4918282, Mahogany Loop, second turning on the right from the main road. Dinner by reservation only, Ziggy has been serving great food since the early 1990s, lobster quadrille, jerk pork, chocolate sludge. Gourmet Gardens, T4912000, Olveston. Reservations preferred, takeaway available. La Colage Bar & Restaurant, St John’s, T4914136...

Flora & Fauna

Studies of the effect of the volcanic eruptions on flora and fauna have not yet, to our knowledge, been undertaken. Natural vegetation is confined mostly to the summits of hills, where elfin woodlands occur. At lower levels, fern groves are plentiful and lower still, cacti, sage bush and acacias. Flowers and fruit are typical of the Caribbean with many bay...

Festivals

St Patrick’s Day Not surprisingly in the ‘Emerald Isle’, St Patrick’s Day (a national holiday) is celebrated on 17 March with concerts, masquerades and other festivities. The Queen’s Birthday The Queen’s Birthday is celebrated on the 2nd Saturday in June with parades, salutes and the raising of flags. August Monday Another national knees-up is August Monday...

Beaches & Watersports

Montserrat’s beaches are volcanic ‘black’ sand, which in reality means the sand may be a silvery grey or dark golden brown colour. The single white coral beach is at Rendezvous Bay in the north of the island. It is a stiff hike from Little Bay along a very steep mountainous trail (not suitable for small children). Take food and water, it is a long hot walk...

Accommodations

With the reoccupation of the area on the West coast south to the Belham River Valley, work is now going ahead to renovate the hotels. There are a few guesthouses open in the north but tourist accommodation was in short supply as we went to press. Contact for information Miss Ernestine Cassell The Director of Tourism T4912230, F4917430

Tourist Information

Local Tourist Office Miss Ernestine Cassell Director of Tourism T4912230, F4917430 Tourist Offices Overseas Canada New Concepts Canada, 2455 Cawthra Road, Suite 70, Mississauga Ontario L5A 3PL, T905-8030131, 800-2244794, F905-8030132 Germany Montserrat Tourist Board/West India Committee Lomer Strasse 28, D-22047 Hamburg 70, T4940-6958846, F4940-3800051 UK...