As a destination, Montserrat offers a range of fascinating and awe-inspiring scenery from the lush green peaks of the Northern side of the island to deserted and blackened settlements on the southern side, leftover from the volcanic eruptions in 1995.
The Island offers something for everyone, with police escorted tours to even the most deserted areas of the island for fantastic photoshoots or explorative trekking.
If you’re planning a trip to Montserrat, then let’s take a look at the top 8 things to do while you’re there:
1. Montserrat Volcano Observatory
The Soufriere volcano which erupted on the island in 1995 and devasted settlements still lies dormant. The observatory on the island is filled with scientists who constantly measure the seismic activity within the volcano. You’ll enjoy a talk about the eruption and the causes, the effects it had on local people, wildlife and plants and understand how the professionals monitor for threats of a second eruption.
All this packed in with spectacular views from the very top of the island makes it an amazing day out and photo opportunity.
2. Little Bay Beach
Tired from your day of exploration? Montserrat also offers the opportunity to lay back and relax on the western side of the island with Little Bay Beach. The clean sandy beaches give way to fresh blue waters, perfect for boat trips, swimming and snorkeling. The bay also has plenty of beachside restaurants and bars to keep you refreshed throughout your relaxing day.
3. Scuba Diving
Scuba diving is an amazing opportunity around Monserrat. The south side of the island, under the ocean is filled with beautiful coral reefs which were totally reborn after the latest volcanic eruptions. Divers can expect to see a range of different corals, exotic fish, eagle rays, sharks and even sea turtles.
The Redonda reef, around 14 miles out from the island, is a popular scuba trip to see the shark nursery and green moray eel population.
Hiking has become a key attraction in Monserrat in recent years with the Blackwood Allen Trail offering a closer look at some of the island’s most luscious and thick vegetation alongside a stream and overlooking the ocean.
The Oriole Walkway also provides a slightly different change of scenery with the rainforest trail and a spot populated by the island’s national bird, the oriole.
The cot trail links the island’s largest hills where you can take a walk-through time with the local banana plantation and village ruins.
If you’re looking for a full day trip, there’s also a trail led by a guide from the Little Bay Beach right to Rendezvous Bay at the opposite end of the island through the silver hills. You’ll get a close-up view of the volcano, which is an amazing spot for amateur or professional photographers alike.
5. Rainforest Trekking
The centre hills also give you the chance to spot the local wildlife, with a trip through the rainforest. There are currently 34 species of known birds nesting on the island with various groups of nesting birds such as cuckoos and thrushes present in the mangroves.
You’ll also get the change to spot the island’s two species of bats, multiple reptiles and amphibians walking close to the water.
6. Runaway Ghaut
The Runaway Ghaut is the most famous ravine on the island for transporting water from the mountains into the sea.
The short walk provides a leisurely trip from the villages for those that are eager to see the beautiful forest and the numerous colorful bird species, without committing to a long hike.
7. Cultural Centre
Built and funded by Sir George Martin, the ex-Beatles producer, this arts center located right in the heart of Little Bay offers a recording studio, conference center and wedding venue, alongside a small museum of handprints and memorabilia from celebrities who have visited and stayed on the island previously.
To add to the cultural center each year, the Montserrat hosts annual festivals including the St Patrick’ Week Celebration and the Calabash Festival. The festivals are filled with music, dancing, parades, competitions and costumes. There’s even a New Year’s carnival which takes place in the two weeks in the run up to New Year.
It’s a great idea to check the line up and activities available on the festival dates if you plan on taking a trip. The festivals will add some sparkle an excitement to an already beautiful island, equipped for adventure, relaxation and fun for all.