The spectacular Soufirere Hills Volcano has been erupting since 1995
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The spectacular Soufirere Hills Volcano has been erupting since 1995

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Montserrat Travel Guide

Key Facts
Area

102 sq km (39.4 sq miles).

Population

5,154 (UN estimate 2016).

Population density

51.3 per sq km.

Capital

Plymouth is still officially the capital, but was mostly destroyed by pyroclastic flows in August 1997. The government headquarters are currently in Brades. There are plans to turn Little Bay into the new capital.

Government

Self-governing British Overseas Territory.

Head of state

HM Queen Elizabeth II since 1952, represented locally by Governor Elizabeth Carriere since 2015.

Head of government

Premier Donaldson Romero since 2014.

Electricity

220 volts AC, 60Hz. Most villas and guest houses are wired to accept 110-volt appliances. British-style plugs with three square pins and North American-style plugs with two flat pins (with or without grounding pin) can both be used.

Montserrat is a quiet, laid-back island where you can hike, birdwatch, snorkel, or enjoy a couple of drinks over a game of dominoes.

The tiny Caribbean island was dealt a devastating blow when the Soufrière Hills volcano erupted massively in 1995 and again in 1997. Almost half the island was rendered uninhabitable, including the capital, Plymouth, which today stands half-submerged in volcanic ash and mud. The effects were not limited to physical destruction. Montserrat's economy was severely damaged, and around two-thirds of the 12,000 population left the island.

The volcano remains active and much of the island is still out of bounds, but this in itself is a draw for tourists looking for something beyond the usual Caribbean experience of beaches and luxury resorts.

Travel Advice

Last updated: 13 March 2017

The travel advice summary below is provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the UK. 'We' refers to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. For their full travel advice, visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.


Crime

Crime levels are low, but you should take the same sensible precautions as you would at home. If your hotel does not have a safe, you may need to keep valuables with you.

Air travel

There are two companies offering flights from Antigua’s VC Bird International Airport to the John A. Osborne Airport in Montserrat: FLY MONTSERRAT and SVG Air. Between them they offer 6 flights per day in each direction on 9-seater aircraft. Baggage space is limited. Oversized bags can’t be carried due to the small baggage hold.

Road travel

Minibuses are available along a number of routes in Montserrat (fares range from EC$3 to EC$5 per journey), but with no regular schedules. Taxis are available and can be booked throughout the day and night. Taxis aren’t metered. Agree the fare in local currency before you set off.

To drive in Montserrat, you’ll need to get a temporary visitor’s driving licence from any police station on production of a valid driving licence and payment of a fee of EC$50. The temporary licence is valid for 3 months. Driving is on the left, as in the UK. There is a speed limit of 20 mph due to multiple hairpin bends. Don’t drink and drive.

Sea travel

A ferry service runs between Port Little Bay in Montserrat and the Bryson’s Pier, Heritage Quay in Antigua 5 days a week. For more information see the Visit Montserrat website.

Political situation

The last general elections were held on 11 September 2014. The People’s Democratic Movement won 7 out of 9 seats in the Legislative Council and formed a Government.

Emergency assistance

As Montserrat is a British Overseas Territory there’s no formal British diplomatic or consular representation. The local authorities deal with all requests for emergency assistance.

On arrival, you should be given a leaflet called ‘Welcome to Montserrat. A Visitor’s Guide to Consular Services’. If you are not given one, you should ask. Alternatively, download one before you travel.

Visa and passport information is updated regularly and is correct at the time of publishing. You should verify critical travel information independently with the relevant embassy before you travel.