World Travel Guide > Guides > Caribbean > Montserrat

Montserrat travel guide

About Montserrat

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.

Key facts


102 sq km (39.4 sq miles).


5,154 (UN estimate 2016).

Population density:

51.3 per sq km.


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.


Self-governing British Overseas Territory.

Head of state:

HM King Charles III since 2022, represented locally by Governor Sarah Tucker since 2022.

Head of government:

Premier Easton Taylor-Farrell since 2019.

Travel Advice

Montserrat is a British Overseas Territory, so there is no British Embassy and the Montserrat authorities will support you if you need help.

Before you travel

No travel can be guaranteed safe. Read all the advice in this guide and any specific travel advice that applies to you:

Travel insurance

If you choose to travel, research your destinations and get appropriate travel insurance. Insurance should cover your itinerary, planned activities and expenses in an emergency.

About FCDO travel advice

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) provides advice about risks of travel to help British nationals make informed decisions. Find out more about FCDO travel advice.

Follow and contact FCDO travel on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. You can also sign up to get email notifications when this advice is updated.

This information is for people travelling on a full ‘British citizen’ passport from the UK. It is based on the UK government’s understanding of the current rules for the most common types of travel.

The authorities in Montserrat set and enforce entry rules. If you’re not sure how these requirements apply to you, contact the  Visit Montserrat official tourism division.

All travel to and from Montserrat is through Antigua. If you are travelling to Montserrat, you must meet Antiguan entry requirements. Check the travel advice for Antigua.

COVID-19 rules

There are no COVID-19 testing or vaccination requirements for travellers entering Montserrat.

Passport validity requirements

To enter Montserrat, your passport must be valid for the duration of your stay.

Check with your travel provider that your passport and other travel documents meet requirements. Renew your passport if you need to.

You will be denied entry if you do not have a valid travel document or try to use a passport that has been reported lost or stolen.

Visa requirements

You can visit Montserrat without a visa for up to 180 days.  

You need a work permit to work in Montserrat.

Embarkation tax

When you leave Montserrat you must pay an embarkation tax of 45 East Caribbean dollars (25 East Caribbean dollars if you are a resident). The tax is usually included in the flight cost – check with your airline.

Vaccine requirements

To enter Montserrat, you must have a certificate to prove you’ve had a yellow fever vaccination if you’re coming from a country listed as a transmission risk.

For full details about medical entry requirements and recommended vaccinations, see TravelHealthPro’s Montserrat guide.

Customs rules

There are strict rules about goods you can take into or out of Montserrat. You must declare anything that may be prohibited or subject to tax or duty.

Certain marine and animal specimens may not be taken from the island. Check with the local customs authorities before you buy such items and declare them when you leave.


There is a high threat of terrorist attack globally affecting UK interests and British nationals, including from groups and individuals who view the UK and British nationals as targets. Stay aware of your surroundings at all times.    

UK Counter Terrorism Policing has information and advice on staying safe abroad and what to do in the event of a terrorist attack. Find out how to reduce your risk from terrorism while abroad.

Terrorism in Montserrat

Although there’s no recent history of terrorism in Montserrat, attacks cannot be ruled out.


Crime levels are low, but watch your belongings when you are travelling. Keep your accommodation locked, do not leave baggage in parked vehicles and use hotel safes or deposit boxes if possible.

Laws and cultural differences

Montserrat is a British Overseas Territory and has its own laws. 

Dress code

Beachwear or swimwear is not socially acceptable except in beach areas and pools.

Illegal drugs and prison sentences

The penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are severe. If convicted, offenders can expect prison sentences and heavy fines.      

LGBT+ travellers

Same-sex sexual activity is legal, but same-sex marriages are not recognised in law. Throughout the island, people are very conservative. They are tolerant of same-sex couples, but do not approve of showing affection in public.

Hotels are generally welcoming to all, regardless of sexual orientation. Read more advice for LGBT+ travellers.


Most large supermarkets, restaurants and hotels accept major credit cards. The territory has limited but modern banking facilities. US dollars are widely accepted.

There are a small number of Bank of Montserrat (BoM) ATMs on the island, but they are only available to customers with a BoM bank account.

Outdoor activities and adventure tourism

Swimming safety  

Coastal waters can be dangerous. Riptides and undertows are common. Follow the instructions and warnings of local authorities.

See water safety on holiday from the Royal Life Saving Society.

Transport risks

Road travel

If you are planning to drive in Montserrat, see information on driving abroad.

To drive in Montserrat, you must get a temporary visitor’s driving licence, valid for 3 months. You can get this when you arrive at the airport or from any police station. You’ll need to show your UK driving licence and pay a fee of 50 East Caribbean dollars.

There is an island-wide maximum speed limit of 20mph, but local drivers do not observe it. Drive with caution due to dangerous hairpin bends, steep drops, poor road conditions and the unpredictable actions of other road users.   


Taxis are not metered. Agree the fare in local currency before you set off.

Air travel

Short notice cancellations or changes to flight schedules are common. Check with your airline ahead of travel.

Extreme weather and natural disasters

Soufrière Hills volcano

The Soufrière Hills volcano may emit ash clouds and toxic gas. See Regional risks for information about how the island manages the risk of volcanic eruptions.


The hurricane season in the Caribbean officially runs from 1 June to 30 November, though stormy weather can happen outside this period. Landslides and local flooding are common. The Belham Valley is especially prone, and communities on the Isles Bay side of the valley quite regularly find themselves cut off for a day or so following heavy rains.

Monitor local and international weather updates from the World Meteorological Organization and the US National Hurricane Center.

Find out what you can do to prepare for and respond to hurricanes.

Soufrière Hills volcano

The Soufrière Hills volcano has been active since 1995. However, there has been no major volcanic activity since February 2010. There are 5 exclusion zones around the volcano – A, B, C, F and V – and only one – zone V – is currently in force. See the hazard level system (HLS) map on the Montserrat Observatory website.

Zones A, B, C, and V include some of the waters immediately around the island and there are 2 additional maritime exclusion zones – E and W. Mariners can pick up maps showing the maritime zones along with their GPS co-ordinates at the Montserrat Port Authority at Port Little Bay.

Volcanic activity is monitored 24 hours a day from the Montserrat Volcano Observatory. The volcanic hazard level system specifies the current level of volcanic activity on a scale from 0 to 5, where 5 is the highest.

The current hazard level is 1, which allows unlimited access to zones A, B, C and F. Zone V is authorised access only, and you are not allowed to enter without permission from the authorities. Vessels are not permitted to enter the maritime exclusion zones without permission.

An island-wide siren system is used to warn of volcanic activity. The sirens are tested daily at midday. If the sirens sound at a non-test time, tune to Radio Montserrat (ZJB) immediately on FM 88.3 or 95.5 to get alerts. The radio station also gives regular scientific updates and advice.

Ash falls and flight cancellations

The 40% of the island that is not directly affected by volcanic activity is still prone to ash falls and volcanic gases if the wind is blowing from south to north. Ash falls can lead to flight cancellations.

Before you travel check that:

  • your destination can provide the healthcare you may need
  • you have appropriate travel insurance for local treatment or unexpected medical evacuation

This is particularly important if you have a health condition or are pregnant.

Emergency medical number

Call 911 or 999 and ask for an ambulance.

You can also contact emergency rescue services on their local number, +1 (664) 491 7790.

Contact your insurance company quickly if you’re referred to a medical facility for treatment.

Vaccine recommendations and health risks

At least 8 weeks before your trip:

See what health risks you’ll face in Montserrat, including:

  • dengue
  • Zika virus

If you suffer from asthma or other respiratory problems, you could be affected by airborne dust, volcanic ash and gases, including sulphur dioxide – SO2.


There are 2 pharmacies in Montserrat:

  • at Glendon hospital, +1 (664) 491 2552
  • Lee’s Pharmacy, Brades, +1 (664) 491 3444

There can be shortages, so travel with a supply of all prescription medicines.

The legal status and regulation of some medicines prescribed or bought in the UK can be different in other countries.

Read best practice when travelling with medicines on TravelHealthPro.

The NHS has information on whether you can take your medicine abroad.

Healthcare in Montserrat

Good healthcare is limited in availability. There is a small hospital and 4 district health centres. You may have to pay in advance to obtain medical services and it can be expensive. If you need specialist medical treatment, you may need to travel to a neighbouring island. Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation.

Dental care is by private practice, which is only available in the evenings and at weekends.

Travel and mental health

Read FCDO guidance on travel and mental health. There is also mental health guidance on TravelHealthPro.

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) cannot provide tailored advice for individual trips. Read this travel advice and carry out your own research before deciding whether to travel.

Montserrat is a British Overseas Territory, so there is no British Embassy and the Montserrat authorities will support you if you need help.

Emergency services in Montserrat

Telephone: 911 or 999 (ambulance, fire, police)

Contact your travel provider and insurer

Contact your travel provider and your insurer if you are involved in a serious incident or emergency abroad. They will tell you if they can help and what you need to do.

Refunds and changes to travel

For refunds or changes to travel, contact your travel provider. You may also be able to make a claim through insurance. However, insurers usually require you to talk to your travel provider first.

Find out more about changing or cancelling travel plans, including:

  • where to get advice if you are in a dispute with a provider
  • how to access previous versions of travel advice to support a claim

Support from the Montserrat authorities

Contact the Royal Montserrat Police Service (RMPS).

Telephone: +1 (664) 491-2555/6


The Governor’s Office in Montserrat does not offer any consular services to British nationals. 

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