With just 7,202 tourist visitors in 2013, Montserrat the Emerald Isle of the Caribbean is not just one of the least visited countries in the region but across the globe. In fact, only Kiribati a tiny island five hours north of Hawaii and straddling the equator in the Pacific received fewer tourists. Their count for 2013 was just 6000!
So why is Montserrat with all its natural beauty and charm at the bottom of the list when it comes to tourists? Well the island a British Overseas Territory that once boasts of having rock royalty like the Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney, Eric Clapton and Elton John record at Sir George Martin’s AIR Studios Montserrat, is still recovering from Hurricane Hugo in 1989 and more recently the eruption of Soufriere Hills volcano in 1995 which left the former capital Plymouth abandoned as it was completely covered in volcanic ash.
This devastation caused the population to plummet from 13,000 to around 5,000 and the island’s tourism Facebook page now more fans (8,937) than actual residents. Some are Montserrat nationals now residing in other parts of the globe (mainly United Kingdom, United States & Canada) – some are people who visited the island during its heyday or new fans that are looking to discover the Caribbean the way it used to be. But despite all the adversity, the people remain resilient and upbeat and this is quite evident in their recently released version of Pharrell Williams’ HAPPY video. So check it out — and oh yeah, consider visiting. Without the crowds, Montserrat’s pristine beaches, hiking trails, diving locations and modern day Pompeii makes this a Caribbean destination off the beaten path not to be missed.
Note: For more Caribbean HAPPY remakes, check out: 18 Caribbean versions of Pharrell Williams’ HAPPY.
Top photo: Montserrat: Soufriere Hills Volcano.