Eco-friendly travel guide to Montserrat advises how to be a responsible tourist. Learn how to travel in a sustainable way and how to respect the local people and culture. Make your trip green by supporting locally owned hotels, organic restaurants and other businesses. Read more on how to protect the environment by making conscientious choices and how to travel green in Montserrat, Caribbean, North America.
- Air quality: 5 / 5
- Bus connections: 2 / 5
- Train connections: 0 / 5
- Hitchhiking: 4 / 5
- National parks: 3 / 5
- Outdoor activities: 5 / 5
- Locals' English level: 3.5 / 5
- Safety: 3.5 / 5
- Accommodation: US$10 - $300
- Budget per day: US$30 - $500
- 1 Responsible Travel
- 2 Air Quality and Pollution
- 3 Respect the Culture
- 4 Top 10 Places to Visit
- 5 Explore
- 6 Eat
- 7 Drink
- 8 Activities
- 9 Accommodation
- 10 Regions
- 11 Cities
- 12 Getting There and Moving Around
- 13 Sustainable Shopping
- 14 Recycling
- 15 Work and Study Abroad
- 16 See Also
Montserrat is a Caribbean island which is known for its scenic beauty, especially its mountain ranges. The island is part of the Lesser Antilles chain and a British Overseas Territory. Its Soufrière Hills well of lava ejected during the 1990s, impacted the south of the island and prompted the formation of an exclusion area. The north of the island is generally unaffected and has black sand beaches, coral reefs, precipices and shoreline caverns. The island once had an extremely large population, most of whom had come from the country of Ireland. However, at present, the island is sparsely populated with a total population of under 5000 people. Montserrat’s economy isn’t a bright spot for the island, with the devastation post the eruption of the volcano, much of the agricultural area was lost. At present tourism does serve to be one of the biggest contributors to the economy, thus as a tourist, you do have a few responsibilities to fulfil. To begin with, the small population and lack of major industrial activities ensure that the local resources and surroundings are not harmed or burdened in any way. Thus as a tourist, you are recommended to strive to maintain this balance between man and nature while touring the small yet scenic island. Secondly, since many livelihoods depend upon tourism, it is your moral duty to be a responsible traveller and undertake a few of the steps listed below to ensure that your trip ends up benefitting the locals as well as the environment sustainably.
First and foremost, it is continually proposed that you as an explorer don't put your money really into the pockets of the major conglomerates. These are accessible in various fields be it clothing or food, you will reliably have a choice to make. Consequently, you are recommended to shop from local stores, this way you will without a doubt find altogether more hidden gems, choicest craftsmanship and legitimate local items. Moreover, with respect to food ingredients, have a go at the local markets and purchase the freshest of produce. This way you will uphold the more humble merchants and propelling neighbourhood associations that regularly gain ground toward manageability and sustainability rather than monetary benefit.
As a fit explorer, screen your meals, it is recommended that you head to the best neighbourhood diners that serve the best local cuisine. Essentially don't go for fast food and cheap eats that aren't native. Devouring at local bistros and street food carts is perhaps the best approach to value the genuine flavours and components of the local cooking on the island. In what could be named to improve upon the arrangement considerably further, you will moreover discover the chance to taste a few extraordinary dishes cooked using age-old recipes that have gone down through generations of the family.
As an explorer, one of the key contemplations that add to your carbon impression is the choice of accommodation that you make. By and large, most hotels are following preposterous practices and unassuming motels routinely are inefficient in the use of their assets. In this manner fix your undertakings in various circles when you are headed to a city as a wishful explorer. Henceforth, it is recommended that you for the most part give due thought to your accommodation choices and book a room in a certified green hotel or one that uses sustainable methods for basic services that are offered.
At last, moving about the island is going to be one of the highlights of the trip but it is critical that you pick the most capable strategy for touring the island. All things considered, it is suggested that you pursue the most sensible and eco-accommodating ways of transportation. You could pick to walk around, use a bike to explore the island, or you could even choose various types of public transportation that do not pollute or harm the environment in general.
Air Quality and Pollution
The weather in Montserrat is pretty much average throughout the year. With manageable temperatures ranging between 24 and 32 degree centigrades, one doesn’t need to worry about packing those thick jackets. A good deal of sunshine and lots of warmth does make the destination perfect to get much of that needed Vitamin D. Additionally, tourists don’t need to worry about packing different things while visiting during different seasons. The weather does stay pretty much the same throughout the year as there is little to no seasonal variation and during the summer months of June to November you shall encounter some rain, so an umbrella shall perhaps be a tourist’s best friend, protecting both from the sun and the rain as the need arises.
As far as air pollution is concerned, it is an absolute no brainer. On an island in the Caribbean with just under 5000 people living there and no considerable industrial activity taking place, there is no threat of air pollution. Most of the locals lead a rather sustainable way of life and though the volcanic activity may have spewed out some harmful gases into the environment, be assured that there isn’t that issue to be faced presently. As a tourist, simply go out and enjoy the fresh air in Montserrat. Those who are fit and healthy shall obviously enjoy the crisp air while those who have pre-existing breathing illnesses shall also find themselves in a comfortable position as they do not need to use any protective layers whatsoever.
Respect the Culture
To begin with, Montserrat was once home to those who were brought to the island against their will. This included the Irish and the African slaves. While this has changed over the years, the present-day natives of the island are known to associate closely with Irish and Caribbean cultures. Montserrat celebrates all Irish festivals and most of the traditions are closely linked as well. St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated here with equal joy and fervour. As a tourist, keep this in mind as it shall help you bond with the locals much more easily. Considering the small population of the island, one must try and avoid gossiping and speaking ill of anyone. The chances of two people knowing each other is quite high and you could be in a tight spot if you end up gossiping about the wrong person to the wrong person. Furthermore, the tight-knit society does allow word to carry around quickly, thus, it is important that you be a responsible traveller with good conduct at all times to ensure favourable treatment from everyone on the island. Also, try and avoid stereotyping the Caribbean island, though Montserrat is in the region the locals prefer it being recognised as a British Overseas Territory. While one has every right to be curious, one must try and avoid talking about the tragedies of the volcanic eruption in 1995, it did crash the local economy and it did ruin the financial situation of thousands of households. The volcanic activity yet prevails till date but it did result in thousands of people fleeing the island in the late 20th century. Lastly, be relaxed and easygoing, like most of the local people, they do not like living a life full of worries and as a tourist you can learn a new way of life from them but they are specific in certain habits so don’t disappoint them, one such habit is dressing where they are particular about what outfit is worn according to the occasion, so keep those shorts and tees only for the beach and while lounging around.
Top 10 Places to Visit
Montserrat despite being a small island does offer some interesting places to visit and the top 10 places for a tourist to visit are listed below:
- Montserrat Cultural Center: It is a top fascination in Little Bay. This multipurpose performing arts focus was propelled and subsidized by Sir George Martin who is famous for being the producer of Beatles. Covered with a red rooftop that flies against the rich slope, the office has a recording studio and can oblige up to 500 individuals for gatherings, weddings, and social occasions. The Wall of Fame display highlights bronze imprints of well-known artists who recorded music on Montserrat during the 1980s, including Elton John and Paul McCartney.
- Runaway Ghaut: It is one of Montserrat's most well-known ghauts. These precarious gorges convey rainwater to the ocean from high in the mountains. Climbing along the short 10-minute Runaway Ghaut Trail, you can see rich vegetation and enormous tropical trees, just as in excess of 20 unique types of birds. Local legend expresses that anyone who tastes the spring water at the water fountain here is bound to get back to Montserrat.
- Montserrat National Trust: The headquarters is an extraordinary spot to visit when you initially show up on the island. Here, you can find out a little about this interesting island through lasting and pivoting shows on the island's set of experiences, arts and specialities, and local lifestyle. Subsequent to visiting the displays, go for an independent walk around the greenhouses and nature trails. Among the native and intriguing vegetation, are restorative spices, orchids, and plants of previous economic significance. A shop nearby sells hand-tailored trinkets, and you can likewise sort out guided climbs on the island's tendency path here.
- Montserrat National Museum: Another spot to study this rough Caribbean island is the Montserrat National Museum in Little Bay, a short walk around the ship terminal. Artwork, artefacts, and displays here disclose the island's set of experiences and culture, from the pre-Columbian period to the current day.
- Montserrat Volcano Observatory: Scientists at the observatory screen seismic action on the island and offer live recordings with guests. A feature of a visit is watching a brilliant 20-minute video on the Soufrière Hills Volcano, which shows what the ejection meant for life on the island. You can likewise appreciate marvellous perspectives on the encompassing prohibition zone, the abandoned capital of Plymouth, and the cloud-covered spring of gushing lava approaching past. The most ideal approach to appreciate a visit here is to arrange a visit with a knowledgable guide, ideally someone who was actually affected by the well of lava's emission and can look into life when this lamentable occasion. The observatory additionally offers talks and field trips.
- Rendezvous Bay: Tucked underneath transcending cliffs, the tranquil beach at Rendezvous Bay is Montserrat's stretch of light sand. The actual straight is supported for swimming and snorkelling. Most guests access the territory by boat or kayak since the climb to this quiet stretch of coast is demanding. Bring a lot of water and sun insurance. Cut into the feign here are two buckles that are home to enormous states of Antillean fruit product bats. You may get a brief look at them as you paddle by them on a kayak.
- Soufrière Hills Volcano: Back in the year 1995 the volcano erupted and it obliterated a huge segment of Montserrat, including the once-beguiling capital of Plymouth. Today, the spring of gushing lava is part of a rejection zone, notwithstanding, you can sort out a guided and police-accompanied visit, subject to seismic movement, to parts of this zone through Sun's Montserrat Island Tours. In the event that you are going around the island all alone, you can likewise insight and photo a calming perspective on the well of lava and its way of obliteration from a few vantage focuses. A portion of these incorporate Jack Boy Hill, the Montserrat Volcano Observatory, and Garibaldi Hill.
- Plymouth: Although set somewhere down in the prohibition zone on the south side of the island, the previous capital city of Montserrat, Plymouth, is just about still obvious. It jabs shockingly out of the layers of debris and mud that choked out it before the ejections of the last part of the 1990s. Instantly abandoned even with the very topographical powers that obliterated Pompeii in Italy each one of those hundreds of years prior, the entire town presently lies in ruins. In spite of the fact that it's actually viewed as authoritatively perilous, the spot has been opened for fly-in visits by tourists, who can simply spy out the highest points of the notable Georgian and Victorian chateaus that once made the city a beautiful capital of the Caribbean.
- Ponts Beach View: Sizzling shrimp and sticks of the Caribbean's freshest snappers smoke and pop on the BBQ barbecues at Ponts Beach View each Sunday, motioning in one of the island's genuine culinary features. Occurring every week, this modest form of the Carib fish fry is curated by the perpetually grinning John Ponteen and keeping in mind that the pungent fish and breadfruit plates of mixed greens are first-rate, it's the setting here that truly comes up bests: You'll be feasting only a couple meters back from the lapping floods of Little Bay Beach!
- Woodlands' Bay: The wilderness climb over the precipices and rocks at Woodlands Bay, hanging down towards the earthy colored beige sands and the foaming Caribbean Sea. Then, bits of cleaned out driftwood sway along the shore and the strides of previous guests blur as the sand raves over the beach. Confined and void and with a shoreline that is regularly sprinkled with the units of relocating whales, this little territory on the west bank of Montserrat is a fine spot to relax and enjoy the sunset.
Exploring the different places on the island shall be an absolute joy, as a tourist, make sure you strive to visit all the key places on this small island and to help you plan the same, listed in the sections below are the different types of places that you can visit.
Despite having plenty of green areas, the island of Montserrat does not have many dedicated parks that a tourist can visit. Surely enough wandering into the wilderness shall be an elevating experience in comparison to strolling an ordinary park but tourists who want something more simple and casual can visit the Grand Park on the island.
Shrouded in tropical rainforest, the Centre Hills are eminent for their organic variety and rich living spaces. The majority of Montserrat's 34 types of land birds and enormous numbers of traveller larks make this region their home, including the endangered Montserrat oriole which is the national bird, the bridled quail dove, the mangrove cuckoo and the rare forest thrush. The territory additionally harbours numerous types of reptiles and creatures of land and water and two types of bats. The most ideal approach to explore this wonderland of uncommon species is on the climbing trails.
Being an island, it is a no brainer that Montserrat is home to some of the most stunning beaches in the Caribbean region. Those tourists who are fond of the sand, the sun, and the waves shall be assured of a gala time here. Another interesting aspect of the beaches in Montserrat are that many of them have black sand and this is due to the eruption of the volcano here. Thus, heading to the beaches on the island shall be an unusually exciting experience. Montserrat beaches are natural, so as illustrated above, changing facilities are negligible and most don't have cafés or bars. In this manner, you'll have to take an outing basket with food and beverages on the off chance that you feel to stay there for a long period. You'll additionally have to bring along a beach towel or two as you will not discover many columns of lounge seats. Hell, contingent upon the hour of day that you visit, most Montserrat beaches will be unfilled. Given below are some of the best beaches to visit on the island of Montserrat:
- Isles Bay Beach: It is situated in the Southern part of Montserrat is a top choice. You can take in perspectives on rich houses in Isles Bay alongside Old Towne zone alongside perspectives on the Soufriere Hills Volcano. Also, with concealed seating at the far end, Isle Bay Beach is a decent outing spot. Also there is the Isle Bay Beach Bar which is an incredible spot to hang out for drinks and a feast toward the end of the week.
- Bunkum Bay Beach: It is little and detached right in the centre of St Peters. There are no changing facilities at Bunkum Bay Beach, yet it has a beach bar with a pool table. It is the perfect option for an offbeat experience.
- Woodlands Beach: There are no beach bars or eateries, yet Woodlands Beach has a covered outing territory, open showers, and evolving facilities. Also, not at all like Little Bay Beach which draws the groups and can be uproarious now and again, Woodlands Beach is, for the most part, disconnected thus an extraordinary spot for close excursions, swimming, and turtle watching during July and October months.
- Little Bay Beach: Mainstream with locals and tourists, Little Bay Beach pulls in the groups as the waters are generally moderately quiet for swimming and it has changing facilities alongside a couple of bars and cafés. Eateries including Summer Breeze and Time Out Grill Restaurant and Bar are an extraordinary spot to have a relaxed lunch and individuals watch while taking in perspectives on the Montserrat ship, boats, and event journey transport moored in Little Bay. For lager sweethearts, make certain to attempt the Montserrat Soufriere Stout served up at Time Out Grill Restaurant and Bar. The smoothies made with local organic products like guava and energy organic product are a decent non-alcoholic alternative.
With little development having taken place over the years in Montserrat there aren’t too many landmarks for one to discover. The hills on the island, the beaches and the Ghaut are pretty much what the island has to offer. Tourists are recommended to connect with nature on their trip to the scenic island.
The history of Montserrat may be quite elaborate but it isn’t clamoured with too many events, thus, to learn about the island tourists can head to the Montserrat Cultural Centre and the Montserrat Volcano Observatory. From the former you will learn about the island, the prominent individuals, its history through artefacts and paintings and a trip to the latter to learn about the volcanic activity on the island.
The food sources of Montserrat mirror the impacts of British colonisers and other Caribbean people groups as it is situated in the Caribbean area and is a domain of Britain. The island's food incorporates a variety of quick bites like fish, fish and chicken, primarily cooked by flame broiling or simmering. As the food joins customs of numerous cultures, including the Spanish, French, African, Indian and Amerindian showing the area's pilgrim history, it is exceptional and complex. The island has a blistering environment, and its farming exercises are set apart by the creation of cane sugar, bananas, cattle and sheep. The dishes of Montserrat incorporate intriguing foods grown from the ground highlighted in servings of mixed greens, pasta fixings, and sandwich fillings. Eateries have practical experience in fish dishes like lobster cakes, jerk shrimp, and mahi-mahi. The assortment of local fixings on Montserrat incorporate pineapple, mangoes, coconut, bananas, corn, pumpkin, carrots, breadfruit, cucumbers, green beans, cane sugar, beans, cabbage, conch and goats, cows, pigs, sheep and chickens. Thyme, hot peppers, garlic, pimento and curry are utilised as flavourings.
Being a popular island destination, it is without a doubt a popular place for drinks as locals and tourists both enjoy some coolers to rejuvenate after being drained by the sun and hot weather. Fruit juices of various kinds are popular as non-alcoholic beverages here. While alcoholic beverages include everything from local rum to cocktails and even the ever refreshing beer.
The mountainous region of Montserrat is popular across the region for its fresh mountain water. This water is extremely pure and is naturally refreshing. As a tourist, you shall discover that many taps on the island re-direct this mountain water itself. However, much of this is bottled and sold as well, so if you wish to be safe you can buy bottled water which is reasonably priced here.
Despite being a small island there are plenty of activities for tourists to engage in. Divers hoping to get away from the groups and explore flourishing coral reefs will cherish Montserrat. After the volcanic ejections, the southern reefs were renewed, and the sprouting marine life floated to the reefs in the north, boosting their populaces. Diving enthusiasts can see everything from enormous wipes and heads of mind coral to vivid exotic fish, spotted eagle beams, ocean turtles, and sharks. A most loved plunge lies off Redonda, a little island around 14 miles from Montserrat. Similarly hikers also have plenty of options to explore as Montserrat rehashes itself and tries to bait more guests, climbing has become a key vacation spot. The Blackwood Allen Trail is one of the more troublesome climbs, offering incredible perspectives and a nearby gander at a portion of the island's interesting vegetation. The climb leads past the Blackwood Allen stream to a review zone that neglects the sea and towns in the north. The Oriole Walkway is one of the island's most mainstream trails. This climb offers a brief look at life in the rainforest and a chance to see Montserrat's national bird, the oriole. The Cot is a climbing trail offering both wonderful perspectives and a brief look at the island's set of experiences. The way goes through an old banana ranch and close to the remains of a bungalow that had a place with a conspicuous family on the island. A high vantage point likewise takes into account incredible perspectives out preposterous. A demanding path leads from Little Bay to Rendezvous Bay, the solitary white-sand beach on Montserrat, while the Silver Hills trail takes explorers past the wiped out Silver Hill Volcano. The path is known for the beautiful perspectives that reach out across the island and coastline, and it's additionally a decent zone for birding.
Accommodation in Montserrat is known to be rather simple and straightforward, since the island is small and doesn’t have a large population nor do tourists flock in large numbers, the accommodation options are known to be limited. Given in the sections below are the different options that are worth considering.
Green hotels in Montserrat are rare as hardly any of the local hotels have the necessary certifications. However, this does not mean that the island is devoid of sustainable accommodation options. Hotels such as Jekyll Island Club Hotel are a good option. They ensure that all amenities are provided sustainably and there is minimal use of single-use items and they ensure wastage is down to a minimum.
Hostels and Guest Houses
Hostels are a phenomenal option for young tourists who are looking to travel to the island of Montserrat and do not wish to splurge too much money on accommodation. The island offers some truly mesmerising views and one naturally wouldn’t want to be within 4 walls at all times, thus, staying at hostels is a phenomenal idea, they offer shared spaces, you meet new people, make friends, also you have to shell out a fraction of the sum spent at hotels to live here. While the hostels here aren’t technically hostels, they shared living spaces on rent, so as a tourist, try finding out from the locals and settle in the place you like the most.
Renting apartments is perhaps the best option of accommodation in Montserrat. The tourists are known to be fond of this option as it not only offers them the highest levels of privacy but it is also eco-friendly and you get to enjoy some of the most scenic views. Renting apartments isn’t the only option here, you could rent beautiful villas and enjoy the exotic locations.
Couchsurfing isn’t a realistic option in Montserrat as most of the locals are known to monetise their homestays and the limited number of households does exponentially increase the challenge of finding a suitable host, if there is even one.
Camping in Montserrat is truly an exceptional experience. A tourist can pretty much choose any suitable area to camp at and pitch a tent, the rules and regulations aren’t too strict, just ensure you keep the place clean and tidy. So go out and enjoy camping on the beaches or even in the scenic hills.
|Northern Montserrat |
Northern Montserrat, the area not covered by the Hazard Level System, offers unrestricted access and is home to the majority of residents and attractions. Brades, the de facto capital, and the new John A. Osborne Airport are here.
|Central Montserrat Hazard Zones |
The Central Hazard Zones include four hazard zones that sometimes allow full or partial access. Zones A and B often allow full unrestricted access, while Zones C and F allow daytime access only; the MVO has been known to close Zone C for long stretches of time.
|Soufrière Hills Volcano Hazard Zone |
The Soufrière Hills Volcano Hazard Zone, or Zone V in the Hazard Level System, includes the Soufrière Hills volcano and the abandoned capital Plymouth. The 1995 eruption of the volcano covered the whole area with volcanic debris.
- Brades – The de facto capital
- Little Bay – The new port, which is rapidly expanding to become a new town
- Saint John's
Getting There and Moving Around
Reaching Montserrat is not very easy, the island is difficult to access and direct connectivity from most major nations is poor. The easiest ways to reach the island is given in the sections below.
Travelling to the island of Montserrat via bus is not an option, however, travelling around the island via the local minibuses is worth considering.
There is no railway line that links the island of Montserrat to nearby destinations nor is there a railway line on the island itself, hence tourists shall not be able to travel via rail anywhere.
Hitchhiking to the island of Montserrat is not possible as here is no roadway leading to the island. However, tourists can hitchhike on the island, it is relatively safe and the people are friendly.
Beyond the above listed ways of travelling to the island there is only one other way which is via a fast ferry that operates to Montserrat from major neighbouring Caribbean islands.
Sustainable shopping is a central piece of each eco-friendly travellers' journey. Shop from local stores if you wish to take back some real craftsmanship and abstain from greedy, polluting mega brands. This is fundamental as you can earnestly add to the local economy and with no assistance, likewise, you can deal a hit to insatiable corporations.
Recycling in Montserrat is extremely poor and much of this has to do with the lack of infrastructure. Only recently the recycling of glass has begun on the island and one can only hope for further improvements soon.
With a small population of under 5000 people the collection of waste in Montserrat is relatively straightforward for the local authorities. All the citizens are well aware of the protocols and actively work to avoid polluting the environment.
Work and Study Abroad
With limited work opportunities, there are not many people who are lining up for work in Montserrat, as far as education is concerned there are a few opportunities at the local university for young students from neighbouring Carribean islands.
The University of Science, Arts and Technology is the biggest university on the island and exchange students can be spotted here, mostly from around the region.
Being an Au Pair on the island of Montserrat is rare and this is due to lack of knowledge of the concept amongst local individuals.
Volunteering for a cause close to your heart in Montserrat is possible as the small population often works together as a team in tackling crises and environmental issues. You too could lend a hand and give back to society.