The 25 Best Things To Do in Montserrat Island

Best Things to Do in Montserrat

Endowed with extraordinary volcanic landscape, natural scenes and beauty, Montserrat has been regarded as one of the most exuberant and attractive tropical Islands in the world, given volcano-enthusiast, hikers and other tourists incredible reasons to visit.

About Montserrat Island And Things to Do in Montserrat :

Montserrat is a mountainous pear-shaped volcanic Caribbean Island, part of the Lesser Antilles chain located in the Leeward Islands. It is one of the Caribbean’s most dramatic British oversea territory, not only in terms of its natural scenery that provides an absolute authentic Caribbean vibe, but also due to the catastrophic eruptions of the Soufriere Hills Volcano that took place in the late 1990s.

After two decades, the buried city of Plymouth (also known as Pompeii in modern times) has become a major tourist attraction with volcano enthusiasts traveling from all over the world to observe it. The north of the island is largely unaffected, and has black-sand beaches, coral reefs, cliffs and shoreline caves.

Montserrat is nicknamed “The Emerald Isle of the Caribbean” both for its resemblance to coastal Ireland and for the Irish ancestry of many of its inhabitants. It has been described as one of the most exuberant and attractive tropical islands in the world due to its idyllic beaches and turquoise waters.

Though a small Island covering only 40 square miles in the vast Caribbean, it is home to many exotic and rare plants and animals. Due to its small size, major transportation is done from Antigua via ferry and helicopter services between the Islands.

The Calabash Festival has been linked to the iconic calabash fruit, a symbol of our African Heritage. It has been traditionally used to produce eating utensils, musical instruments, fashionable bags and decorative items. The festival includes a family fun day, hike, island tour, African fashion show, coastal excursions to the former capital city, Plymouth and a craft and food fair.

24. Montserrat Island Alliouagana Festival of the Word

The Alliouagana Literary Festival is a book lovers dream where local Historians and writers showcase their talents alongside regional and international authors

25. Montserrat Carnival (year-end festival)

Montserrat is one of just two Caribbean islands to host the last Carnival of the year, as well as the first, it begins in December and ends on January 1st! This flamboyant festival highlights the island’s wealth of talent, music, culture and history.

Brades is the newly-built capital of Montserrat, a small island near Puerto. The former capital of Plymouth was blanketed in 40 feet of ash following the eruption of the Soufrière Hills volcano, and the city of Brades on the northwest shore now hosts government buildings out of harm’s way. A huge chunk on the southern edge of this small speck in the midst of the Lesser Antilles chain is still demarked by an exclusion zone, deemed too unsafe for both travellers and locals.

Reassuringly, volcano is constantly monitored by a team of scientists dedicated to keeping locals and visitors safe from Mother Nature’s intense rumblings. The northern third of the island, where Brades is located, remains a safe landing.

The Island’s rugged volcanic landscape is molded by three mountainous areas—the Silver Hills, the Centre Hills, and the Soufrière Hills—which are in turn cut by narrow valleys and gorges known locally as ghauts.

The single white-sand beach is at Rendezvous Bay in the north. Coral reefs line parts of the northern shore. Approximately one-fifth of the island is forested.

The climate is tropical and mild, and there is little seasonal variation in temperature or precipitation. The warmest period is from June to November, which is also the hurricane season.

The Island of Montserrat is endowed with extraordinary natural beauty. Lush tropical rainforests cover the land, and trails of varying difficulty usher hikers to explore all corners of the Island. Montserrat’s Tourist Board maintains detailed maps of each trail, including the two most popular: The Cot and the Katy Hill Trail System.

This post will X-ray some top reasons that attracts tourist from all over the globe to explore the best experiences that will make you appreciate the uniqueness of Montserrat

1.Work Remotely and safely  from Montserrat Best Locations

Covid 19 has changed how we live, work and play, and as multinationals and leading start-ups across the globe accelerate their digital adoption rates, the need to be physically present to fulfil professional responsibilities has been re-evaluated. Given that, the concept ‘Montserrat Remote Workers Stamp’ was born, given you chance to call Montserrat your home away from home for up to one year.

This unique opportunity will offer you a new work space in a peaceful environment with low crime rate, meaning you can work safely while having a fun-filled adventure. The Island boost presence of two telecommunications providers which means the Island is digitally connected to the international fibre optic network, via subsea cables.

Exotic Attractions in Montserrat:

2. Visit the Soufriere Hill Volcano

The undisputed number one attraction of Montserrat is also ironically what caused it so much depredation over the years. Two-thirds of the island was rendered uninhabitable, with over 50% of the population opting to emigrate to the UK, US and Canada. It’s entirely encompassed by a seclusion zone these days, but travellers can scale to the lookout points of Jack Boy Hill, or make a beeline for the volcano observatory on Cedar Drive, to get front-row seats over the chipped and chiselled mount.

Rising to a smoky peak on the southern side of the island, the mighty Soufriere Hills Volcano really is a breath-taking sight to behold.

The volcano is naturally the island’s star attraction, and a short trip from Brades takes you to the Montserrat Volcano Observatory. The viewing deck affords incredible views of the volcano, and the Visitors’ Centre is filled with interactive kiosks detailing the eruption’s history and impact. Visitors can even handle rocks and ash spewed from Soufrière Hills.

The volcano is forbidden to hikers, but the backdrop of the Centre Hills is the perfect place for on-foot adventures. The extensive network of hiking trails takes visitors through dense rain forests, past old banana plantations and finally to the dramatic sea cliffs. While exploring the area, be on the lookout for the national bird, the Montserrat oriole, and other rare species, including the bridled quail dove and the forest thrush.

3. Unwind at the Rendezvous Bay

This Montserrat’s only white sandy beach is a lovely must-visit spot to unwind. You can make a great magical memory as it is perfect for swimming other exciting beach activities, amazing boat rides, snorkelling and diving or even laying and relaxing on the warm golden sand as you unwind and appreciate this tropical paradise. Access to the beach is by boat, kayak or a short 30–50-minute hike.

Montserrat is more used to black, ash-stained volcanic sands, which is why little Rendezvous Bay remains the highest-rated coastal spot on the island.

4. Gain insight at the Montserrat Volcano Observatory

The Montserrat Volcano Observatory (MVO) is responsible for scientific monitoring of the Soufrière Hills Volcano. It was established in response to the current volcanic eruption. A team of experienced scientists and technicians continually monitor the volcano using a variety of techniques, including seismology, ground deformation and gas emissions.

At the interpretation centre, an 18-minute documentary by local filmmaker David Lea includes riveting live footage of the eruptions and insight into the physical and social upheaval they caused.

5. Enjoy at Hilltop Coffee House & Family Centre

This must-see non-profit cafe founded by filmmaker David Lea and his wife Clover does multi-duty as museum, art gallery, community centre and de facto tourist office. You can have a juice or cuppa on the corridor, then time travel through Montserrat milestones by watching David’s acclaimed documentary on the Soufrière Hills Volcano eruption; pay tribute to soca star Arrow; and/or marvel at memorabilia rescued from the buried city and George Martin’s AIR Studios. There are also chess boards and ping pong tables to enjoy (mainly for the young ones), along with oodles of interesting retro paraphernalia.

6. Go for Bird & Turtle Watching

Over the highlands of Montserrat is this verdant swathe of primeval tropical rainforest, hailed as one of the most biodiverse birding areas in the Caribbean. Ranging from the coastal lowlands of the north up to heights of more than 700 meters above sea level, it encompasses dwarf forests and evergreen valleys filled with rare fliers and curious animals in-between.

There are wide varieties of bird habitats, which increases the range of species found on the island. The Centre Hills are of significant global importance and is one of the best places to go birdwatching in the Eastern Caribbean. Heading the winged cast of characters is the Montserrat Oriole (national bird), made up by a range of hummingbirds, bridled quail-doves and other species. Binoculars and a camera are definite must-haves!

Birdwatchers who head here will be able to spy out the rare and elegant likes of Antillean crested hummingbirds, purple-throated Caribs, cuckoos, forest thrushes and more, not to mention a Jurassic array of reptiles in the undergrowth!

7. Explore at the Montserrat Island Dive Centre

Explore the hidden beauty of Montserrat when you visit Montserrat Island Dive Centre.

Irrespective of its history volcanic eruptions, Montserrat had recovered and is now home to many beautiful marine lives. The coral reef is growing back healthily and fishes making their way back, all providing an exceptional attraction for you to experience.

So, whether you wish to learn to scuba dive, practice underwater photography or further your scuba diving training, whatever you like to do whilst breathing underwater, the Dive Centre will help make your underwater experience one to enjoy!

8. Mouth-watery Food & Restaurants

Every Sunday at Ponts Beach View you can enjoy sizzling shrimp and skewers of the Caribbean’s freshest snappers smoke and crackle on the BBQ grills, showcasing one of the island’s culinary masterpieces. The salty seafood and breadfruit salads here are exceptionally top-notch.

Overall, the Montserrat cuisine resembles that of the general British and Caribbean ones. It  includes a wide range of light meats, like fishseafood and Chicken, which are mostly grilled, fried or roasted – a fusion of numerous cultures, like Spanish, French, African, Indian and Amerindian, the Caribbean cuisine is unique, yet complex!.

9. Unforgettable Hiking Experience

For many visitors to Montserrat, their visit would not be complete without doing one of the walks around Montserrat mountain. It is easy to plan a trip to Montserrat and forget that you will be visiting far more than just a Monastery – you will be visiting a whole mountain.

Hiking is really one of the most popular recreational activities in Montserrat with numerous foot paths that crisscross the island, many of which have been in use for centuries by persons seeking access to distant villages and agricultural land. There is opportunity for hikes of varying difficulty, length, and scenery.

10. Enjoy amazing Water Sports

Montserrat’s stunning beauty extends down from its mountains to its beaches and then underwater to its vibrant coral reefs. One of the Caribbean’s really unique dive destinations, Montserrat is blessed with healthy reefs and offers the opportunity to explore them in a relaxed way. So, water fanatics will definitely enjoy the beauty of the seas

11. Memorable Boat Tours

Boat tours will enable you experience Montserrat by sea – a perfect balance of adventure and relaxation. Your boat operator will customize an itinerary for you and you will be mesmerized by the beautiful and dramatic cliffs, coves and landscapes.

Also, you can hop into the popular Volcano Boat Tour down to Plymouth, and get a surreal view of the buried city as well as abandoned ruins in the Exclusion Zone overshadowed by Soufriere Hills Volcano.

12. Hike to the Petroglyphs

In 2016, hikers on the Soldier Ghaut Trail discovered Petroglyphs and credited to the first known people on Montserrat, the Amerindians. These markings in the rock are thought by archaeologists to be between 1000 and 1500 years old. They are a must see!

13. Feed Your Eyes at the Jack Boy Hill

After about a 3-mile drive south along the east coast (from where the main road reaches the coast), the badly battered road turns into the hills and leads to this well-maintained viewpoint with fixed binoculars and picnic tables.

From this hill you can observe the amazing scene of the bright ocean blue waters, picturesque greenery and the exotic views of the volcano. This spot gives the perfect view of the ash and mud flows from the past volcano eruptions along with the remains of the Island’s old airport and the Atlantic Ocean.

14. National Museum of Montserrat

Unravel the island’s past at the Montserrat National Museum, located in Little Bay within walking distance from the Ferry Terminal.

The National Museum displays artefacts and exhibits on the island’s history and culture from the pre-Columbian era to modern day including photos and dioramas illustrating pre-eruption Plymouth and a flamboyant stage costume worn by native soca superstar Arrow.

There’s also a truly eye-opening section dedicated to the destructive eruptions of Soufriere Hills.

15. Beachcomb at the Woodlands Beach

About halfway down the western coast, this easily accessible dark-sand beach is often footprint-free but has little shade. A covered clifftop picnic area provides benches, showers, toilets and barbecues.

Empty and secluded with a shoreline that’s often overspread with the pods of migrating whales, this little enclave is a nice place to settle down for good snorkelling, sunset viewing or a spot of beachcombing.

The downside is that the waters and rip currents can get rough, so swimming’s not the best advisable.

16. Get Enchanted at the Runaway Ghaut

Ghauts are steep ravines that send rainwater rushing down from the mountains into the sea. The most famous on the island is Runaway Ghaut, on the side of the road just north of Salem, named after a famous confrontation between the English and French from which the latter apparently ran away.

It extends from the highlands of the Centre Hills to the coast, and is perhaps the single most beautiful and dramatic example of one of the run-off water valleys that connect the Montserrat highlands to its shore.

According to legend, those who drink from it will return to Montserrat again. So, make a stop at Runaway Ghaut and take a drink of the natural spring water and get enchanted to come back.

17. Visit Plymouth: The Pompeii of the Caribbean

Although set deep in the exclusion zone on the south side of the island, the former capital city of Montserrat, Plymouth, is still visible.

It pokes out of the layers of ash and mud that suffocated it prior to the eruptions of the late 1990s.

Promptly abandoned in the face of the same geological forces that destroyed Pompeii in Italy all those centuries ago, the whole town now lies in ruins.

Although it’s still considered officially unsafe, the spot has been opened for fly-in visits by tourists, who can just spy out the tops of the historic Georgian and Victorian mansions that once made the city such a pretty capital of the Caribbean.

This deserted town of Plymouth is Montserrat’s star attraction – the only volcanic-buried town in the Americas. It is located in the island’s Exclusion Zone (Zone V) and is only accessible with a certified tour guide.

18. A glimpse of the Entre Hills

The Centre Hills Forest is home to several globally endangered bird, reptile and plant species. In some cases, the entire population can only be found within this small ecological system. Species near extinction include the Montserrat Oriole, Montserrat Galliwasp, the Mountain Chicken, the Forest Thrush and two bat species – the Yellow-shouldered Bat and White-lined Bat. Eight out of the nine major hiking trails are found in the Centre Hills.

19. Montserrat National Trust

The Montserrat National Trust located in Salem is dedicated to the preservation and enhancement of the island’s historical sites and natural environment. It houses a café, gift shop, history centre and library and is home to the island’s botanical garden, which is dedicated to conserving indigenous plants and trees. It also features a nursery, orchid house and medicinal garden.

20Life-time Experience at the Garibaldi Hill

One of the most breath-taking and dramatic views of the Soufriere Hills Volcano and Plymouth is from the top Garibaldi Hill. From the other side of this high perch, you can see Isle’s Bay and Old Road Bay, as well as Old Towne and Salem.

Events and Festivals in Montserrat:

21. St Patrick’s Day

St Patrick’s Festival is a 2-week long celebration highlighting Montserrat’s African and Irish heritage. It culminates on St. Patrick’s Day March 17, which is a public holiday.

Montserrat is the only country outside of Ireland to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day as a national holiday and it commemorates a thwarted slave uprising in 1768. Festival highlights include outdoor soca and reggae concerts, street parades, pub crawls and food fairs. Land and sea tours, hikes and a road race round out the slate of activities.

22. Cudjoe Head Festival

The village of Cudjoe Head was named after an 18th century slave who met a tragic end after being caught trying to run away. This annual celebration of Montserrat’s African heritage started in 1989 and the normally quiet village comes alive with the sounds of Steelband music, iron bands, drumming and the masquerades.

23. Calabash Festival

The Calabash Festival has been linked to the iconic calabash fruit, a symbol of our African Heritage. It has been traditionally used to produce eating utensils, musical instruments, fashionable bags and decorative items. The festival includes a family fun day, hike, island tour, African fashion show, coastal excursions to the former capital city, Plymouth and a craft and food fair.

24. Montserrat Island Alliouagana Festival of the Word

The Alliouagana Literary Festival is a book lovers dream where local Historians and writers showcase their talents alongside regional and international authors

25. Montserrat Carnival (year-end festival)

Montserrat is one of just two Caribbean islands to host the last Carnival of the year, as well as the first, it begins in December and ends on January 1st! This flamboyant festival highlights the island’s wealth of talent, music, culture and history.