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 been flooded with ash up to the first floor of the colonial buildings and completely destroyed. Even if you don’t see the volcano in action, you can watch videos at the Montserrat Volcano Visitor’s Centre and the Montserrat Volcano Observatory, Mongo Hill, T4915647, F4912423, The scientists at the Observatory monitor eruptions and issue warnings when necessary. An expert guide will give you a tour of the Observatory and explain the work of the scientists, showing the seismographs and explaining the chronology of events. If the volcano is dangerously active visitors are excluded, of course. Staff at the Observatory are to move in mid-2001 from the existing premises, five miles north of the volcano, to a new building three miles northwest of the volcano.