The tiny Caribbean Island of Montserrat is a lively place although in part, for the wrong reasons. In 1995 its resident volcano rumbled into life.The volcano continues to steam today, adding extra excitement to a visit here. The island that once marketed itself as 'the way the Caribbean used to be' is still a fascinating, authentic destination with many hidden treasures to be discovered. We’ve put together this essential travel guide to help you plan your perfect adventure in Montserrat...
Montserrat is warm year-round and is most pleasant in the winter, between the months of December and April. Hurricane season runs from June to November. Montserrat comes alive during special events throughout the year, so be sure to add these events to your diary.
Montserrat is the only island outside of Ireland that celebrates St. Patrick’s Day as a national holiday. It is also a commemoration of the slave uprising on that day in 1768. In celebration of their Afro-Irish heritage the island, there’s 10 days of activities which culminates on the 17th March. Events includes guided hikes, open air concerts, freedom runs and walks, coastal tours, buried city tours and much more.
This festival is named after the calabash fruit, one of the island’s cultural items. The calabash tree can grow up to nine metres and produces a fruit which traditionally is used to make utensils, musical instruments and decorative items. During the festival there’s a calabash exhibition, boat tours, buried city tour, fashion show and a grand food fair.
Book lovers rejoice! This event brings together writers, book readers, lectures, panel discussions and workshops. There’s also open mic, poetry reading and a book parade.
Running from mid-December to 1 January every year, Carnival is the grand climax of the year when residents and returning nationals unite to enjoy the festivities. Expect calypso competitions, pageantry, talent shows, parades, live music and more.
With low visitor numbers and healthy reefs, Montserrat is a colourful diving destination. Look out for turtles and sting rays.
In August and September, green, hawksbill and loggerhead turtles come ashore to lay their eggs on Montserrat’s black-sand beaches; join a tour with the Fisheries Department to see them.
This look-out on the east coast offers fascinating views south across the lush interior to the mud flows and ash-covered remains of the volcano-devastated airport below.
The Montserrat Observatory continues to monitor the island’s volcano (and volcanic activity across the Caribbean). Experts are on hand to explain it all, while lookouts give good views. The volcano can also be viewed from safe vantage points such as Garibaldi Hill, Salem and Richmond Hill.
Antigua is the main hub for international flights where you can get connections to Montserrat. The island is serviced by two nine seater airlines, Flymontserrat and SVG Air. During the high season there is a ferry service which operates between Montserrat and Antigua.
There are no scheduled bus services on the island, but there are taxis and minibuses which you can hail. Tours run around the main sites or you can rent a car to explore on your own.
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