Monserrat bears the nickname The Emerald Isle of the Caribbean, in reference to the nickname of Ireland, due to the Irish ancestry of some of the inhabitants and for the island's resemblance to coastal Ireland. It is home to some rare and endangered plant and animal species. The island is also known for its coral reefs and the caves that can be found along its shores.
On July 1995, the Soufrière Hills volcano in the southern part of the island became active. Its eruptions destroyed the capital Plymouth and the surrounding smaller settlements and forests. Residents, about 2/3 of the island's population, were evacuated to the north or emigrated to Britain. The volcano has been relatively less active since early 2010, but is closely monitored by the Montserrat Volcano Observatory. Still, the exclusion zone is generally closed to the public, but the top of Garibaldi Hill in Isles Bay gives a great view of the ruins of Plymouth. Many tourists come to Montserrat for volcano-related day trips.
Where to go
The infamous Soufrière Hills Volcano is the primary attraction in Montserrat. Throughout its long period of dormancy, the infamous volcano was initially largely unknown until the eruption in 1995 that destroyed plenty of settlements and left others abandoned, rendering over half of Montserrat inhabitable. Today, it is one of the best monitored active volcanoes in the world. No tours are allowed inside the Montserrat Volcano Observatory, but the staff is often around to provide information and to answer questions. The outside observatory provides a view of the volcano and the surrounding areas.
Other activities include taking a stroll on the quiet beaches, or to go snorkelling or even scuba diving. The island is surrounded by reefs, so divers can start off from shore or by boat. Boat tours are available at nearby Redonda, the uninhabited island 15 miles west of Montserrat.
The only destination that can be reached directly by air passenger service from Montserrat is Antigua, capital of Antigua and Barbuda. While there, visit the Museum of Antigua and Barbuda in the colonial Court House to view displays of Arawak and colonial artefacts and a life-sized replica of an Arawak house, among other things. Stop by the beautiful St. John's Cathedral, also called the St. John the Divine, the Cathedral Church of the Diocese of North Eastern Caribbean and Aruba.
There are no direct long haul destinations from Montserrat. From Antigua, book flights from V.C. Bird International Airport which has flights to more international destinations.
How to get out
The airport serving Montserrat is John A. Osborne Airport, located near the village of Gerald's. It is served by ABM Air and FlyMontserrat, both of which operate to V. C. Bird International Airport in the island of Antigua.