Montserrat Travel Guide
Everything you need to know before you fly to Montserrat
Montserrat is known as the Emerald Isle of the Caribbean due to its lush green landscape and also because many of the early settlers were from Ireland. The island became popular with musicians during the 1980s after Beatles producer George Martin fell in love with Montserrat circa 1977 and decided to build the ultimate get-away-from-it-all recording studio. Big names such as Dire Straits, The Police, Sir Paul McCartney, Sir Elton John, Duran Duran, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Ultravox, The Rolling Stones, Lou Reed, Black Sabbath, and Eric Clapton all laid tracks on this beautiful island at the Montserrat AIR Studios, finding their muse and the peace they needed to create their musical masterpieces.
Then in 1995, the Soufrière Hills Volcano erupted after being dormant for decades. The eruption buried Plymouth, the capital of the island, and forced the evacuation of two-thirds of the populations (about 12,000 people). Montserrat’s only airport and most of the southern part of the island was buried under volcanic ash. The Soufriere Hills Volcano erupted again in 1997, and the dome volcanic dome collapsed in 2003. Since then, things have been relatively quiet, and the island is bouncing back! There is a new airport and ferry that connects the people of Montserrat to Antigua & Barbuda and other neighboring Caribbean islands. Plus, plans are underway to build a new town and marina in the northern part of the island.
Adventure travelers who visit Montserrat can hike one of the nine world-class nature trails. For those interested in volcanology and the Soufrière Hills Volcano, which created a modern-day Pompeii, they can take a land or water tour to marvel at the ruins in the southern part of the island. For those who love to dive, Montserrat is also a great destination as there are at least 30 fantastic scuba diving sites on the island with an incredible array of tropical fish. And while white sand beaches are not part of Montserrat’s mystique due to the volcano, black sand beaches are in abundance. The only white sand beach is Rendezvous Bay, which is accessible via a hike or water taxi. Visitors will not be disappointed.
Montserrat, in its current form is the way the Caribbean used to be, truly a rustic gem for those who want to get away from the hustle and bustle to relax and recharge.
Where To Stay In Montserrat
Hotel inventory in Montserrat is limited and most visitors stay in private rental and guesthouses. That said, some of the places to stay at in Montserrat include:
- Olveston House
- Gingerbread Hill
- Lime Tree Cottage
- Tropical Mansion Suites
Activities In Monsterrat
Major tourist activities in Montserrat include:
- Touring the former capital Plymouth, considered a modern-day Pompeii
- Visiting the Montserrat Volcano Observatory and then touring the island to take in views of Soufrière Hills Volcano from Garibaldi Hill, Jack Boy Hill, etc.
- Birdwatching and hiking on of the nine trails in the Centre Hills
- Swimming at one of Montserrat’s eight black sand beaches and one white sand beach
- Diving and snorkeling at one of the popular sites including Rendezvous Bay
Facts About Montserrat
39 square miles
Brades (de facto as Plymouth is buried under volcanic ash)
British Overseas Territory
Telephone Country Code:
left side of the road
John A. Osborne Airport
230 V/60 Hz – plugs are type A and B
Visa Information For Montserrat
Montserrat is a British Overseas Territory, and as such, the United Kingdom immigration rules apply. That said, visitors from the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom do not need a visa to visit Montserrat. All visitors to Montserrat must have a valid passport that remains valid during your stay on the island plus an onward or return ticket.
How Long Does It Take To Get A Visa For Montserrat
With a valid passport and supporting documents, tourists can apply for a Montserrat visa online via the Montserrat Immigration website. Montserrat visa applications are typically processed within 24 hours. An approved visa application grants entry to Montserrat for three months.
Is It Safe In Montserrat
Montserrat is one of the safest islands in the Caribbean. Crime levels in Montserrat is extremely low, but visitors should take sensible precautions to secure their possessions.
How To Get To Montserrat
Most visitors to Montserrat enter the country via the John A. Osborne Airport (IATA: MNI, ICAO: TRPG). However, there are no nonstop flights from the United States, Canada, or Europe to Montserrat. Visitors must first fly to V. C. Bird International Airport (IATA: ANU, ICAO: TAPA) in nearby Antigua & Barbuda and then take a 15-minute flight via Fly Montserrat or a 90-minute ferry ride to Montserrat.
From Canada, book flights to Antigua & Barbuda via:
- Air Canada: Toronto–Pearson
- Sunwing Airlines: Montréal–Trudeau, Toronto–Pearson
- WestJet: Toronto–Pearson
From the United States, book flights to Antigua & Barbuda via:
- American Airlines: Miami, New York–JFK (Seasonal: Charlotte)
- Delta Air Lines: New York–JFK (Seasonal: Atlanta)
- JetBlue: New York–JFK
- United Airlines: Newark
From the United Kingdom, book flights to Antigua & Barbuda via:
- British Airways: London–Gatwick, Providenciales, St. Kitts, Tobago
- Virgin Atlantic: London Heathrow (begins 28 October 2020)
From Italy, book flights to Antigua & Barbuda via:
- Blue Panorama Airlines: Seasonal charter: Milan–Malpensa
Within the Caribbean region, book flights to Antigua & Barbuda via:
- ABM Air: Barbuda, Montserrat
- Caribbean Airlines: Barbados, Kingston–Norman Manley, Port of Spain
- Caribbean Helicopters: Barbuda, Dominica–Canefield, Montserrat, Nevis, Saint Kitts
- Fly Montserrat: Barbuda, Montserrat, Nevis
- InterCaribbean Airways: Tortola
- Seaborne Airlines: San Juan
- Sky High Aviation Services: Santo Domingo–Las Americas
- St Barth Commuter: Saint Barthelemy
- Tradewind Aviation: Saint Barthelemy
- VI Airlink: Tortola
- Winair: Sint Maarten, St. Barthelemy
When To Go To Montserrat
The most popular time to visit Montserrat is from mid-December to mid-April, when the weather is warm, sunny, and typically dry. From August to late October is the low season as temperatures are hot and muggy; also, there is an increased risk of tropical storms.
Major events attracting visitors to Montserrat include:
- March: St Patrick’s Week Festival
- July: Calabash Festival
- November: Alliouagana Literary Festival
- December: Montserrat Carnival
Weather In Montserrat
The weather in Montserrat is tropical all year round. The temperature ranges between 76° F to 88° F. The island benefits from the tradewinds that bring a magnificent breeze that keeps the island temperature comfortable. July through November is the island’s rainy season.
Getting Married In Montserrat
Couples wishing to get married in Montserrat will need to submit a marriage application form to the Human Resources Unit. The completed form will need to be certified before submission.
In addition to the completed application for marriage, both the bride and groom will need their:
- birth certificates along with driver’s licenses or other forms of identification
- certificates of no impediment or single status report
Also, if applicable:
- divorce papers, i.e., decree absolute and/or death certificate of spouse
- proof of parental consent if under 18, stamped and signed by a solicitor
- proof of name change by Deed Poll, stamped and signed by a solicitor
Note: Documents not originally in English must be submitted with a certified English translation.
Three working days before applying for a marriage license.
The cost of the marriage license is EC$200, which must be paid in Montserrat stamps.
Two witnesses must be present at the ceremony.
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