Montserrat Tourist Board
POB 7, Plymouth
Montserrat, West Indies
Tel: (8098) 491 2230, Fax: (809) 491 7430

Physical geography

Montserrat - mountainous and volcanic - these are the two words that best characterise the physical design of this 39.5 square-mile island. Located in the Eastern Caribbean islands some 27 miles southwest of Antigua, Montserrat is known fondly as the Emerald Isle of the Caribbean. This pear-shaped island - 12 miles long and miles wide - lies 1,150 miles north of the equator, approximately 16º 45' North and 62º 10' West. The island rises in a series of dramatic mountain slopes to the high point of just over 3,000 feet at Chance's Peak from where you can see the islands of Redonda, Nevis and St. Kitts in the north and west, and Guadeloupe and Antigua to the south.


Tropical - with temperatures averaging 76-88 degrees Fahrenheit (23-31 degrees Celsius).

Economic geography

The island's main economic activity is tourism which contributes about one quarter of the Gross Domestic Product. (GDP) There is a vibrant holiday villa sector which caters to the medium to long-stay visitor wishing to enjoy luxurious comfort at reasonable rates in a peaceful setting. Agriculture is a smaller contributor to the economy, but some success has been achieved in the cultivation of a number of key crops such as white potatoes, broccoli and onions. Although Montserrat's economy is driven mainly by tourism and the accompanying growth of real estate sector activities, other sectors such as light manufacturing and offshore financial services have begun to expand dynamically. This comes as a result of a targeted government and private sector strategy to encourage the growth of exports and to usher in a new age of high technology services.


10,639 (1991 Census).

A brief history

Carib and Arawak Indians were the first residents of Alliouagana, 'land of the prickly bush', until Christopher Columbus short sojourn on 11 November 1493. Montserrat narrowly missed French colonisation. In fact, the French coloniser D'Esnambuc landed at old Road Bay in 1629. Somewhat like the Spanish, the French stayed long enough to bestow the soubriquet 'Montepellier of the West' on Montserrat, before they returned to St. Kitts after the threat of a Spanish take-over of that country disappeared. The first Irish Catholic settlers arrived in 1632 from St. Kitts and were later joined by waves of Irish exiles fleeing Lord Oliver Cromwell's troupes in Britain. Montserrat developed into a typical sugar and slave colony in the 17th century. The first slaves from Africa arrived in 1651.

Montserrat is a British Crown Colony. Several political parties are active on the island which is governed by a legislature elected by popular vote. A Chief Minister serves with an appointed cabinet of ministers. A resident Governor represents the British Crown.

Montserratians are warm, hospitable and friendly. Proud of their island and their heritage, the Montserratians maintain a high standard of living.


Most religious denominations are represented on Montserrat: Anglican, Roman Catholic, Seventh Day Adventist, Pentecostal, Methodist, Baptist and Jehovah's Witnesses hold regularly scheduled services.

Languages spoken by nationals

English is the official language which is often spoken with an Irish brogue as a heritage left by the early Irish settlers.


G.M.T. -4. EST + 1.


The Eastern Caribbean Dollar (EC$) is the official currency but US dollars are widely circulated and freely accepted. The rate of exchange is approximately EC$2.67 = US$1.

Official holidays (all offices closed)

New Years Day, January 1st - St. Patrick's Day, 17th March - Good Friday, 28th March - Easter Monday, 31st March - Labour Day, 5th May - Whit Monday, 26th May - Queens Birthday, 14th June - August Monday, 4th August - Christmas Day, 25th December - Festival Day, 31st December.

Main holiday sports

Diving, golfing, sailing and mountain biking are some of the sporting activities you will find on Montserrat. For the more energetic visitor there are numerous hikes along nature trails which lead to the plunging water of a 70-foot waterfall, the steaming sulphurous centre of a volcano, the nesting haunts of birds and waterfowl and other interesting sights of the island. The historic Government House, the 18th-century building and its beautiful gardens are national treasures, well worth a visit.

How to dress

Montserrat is informal. Lightweight clothing is recommended; a light jacket or sweater is also advisable for the late evening in the winter months. Swimwear is obligatory for beaches, sailing and swimming pools but not for town. Sneakers or rubber soled shoes are practical for hiking and mountain climbing.

Main travel routes

The nearest international airport is V.C. Bird Antigua with direct services from New York, London, Paris, Miami, Toronto, Frankfurt, San Juan and many Caribbean Islands. From Antigua there are direct scheduled connections several times daily to Montserrat by Leeward Islands Air Transport (LIAT) - a 15-minute flight across the warm Caribbean Sea to W.H. Bramble Airport. Montserrat Airways offers a convenient charter service to the island.

Ports: If you are visiting Montserrat on a cruise ship or your own boat the main Port of Entry is Plymouth Harbour, right in the heart of Plymouth. A new 75-metre long pier with a berthing capacity for two ships, 35,000 tonne displacement was opened 12th June, 1993. To anchor at Old Road Bay, vessels require permission from Customs. Customs are always on call - 24 hours a day - and can be contacted on marine frequency channel 16 through the Montserrat Port Authority.

Frontier formalities


Proof of citizenship is required. A valid passport is recommended for all visitors; however, US, Canadian and British citizens may present a driver's licence or official ID card as proof of citizenship. Entry Visas may be required of visitors from other countries such as Haiti, Cuba, and Eastern Bloc countries, and can be obtained from British Consulate Offices. An onward or return airline ticket is required. Caricom citizens can travel on an official ID card which must bear a photograph of the individual.

Health requirements

No vaccination is required unless transiting or coming from an infected area within six months of arrival. Persons known to have come from any country which has suffered cholera, yellow fever or small pox epidemics must have vaccination certificates. Drinking water is perfectly safe from the tap, but bottled purified and mineral water is available.



Both domestic and international direct dialling telecommunications are provided by Cable & Wireless (West Indies). A fully digitalised telephone system, international and national services, international direct dialling (IDD), facsimile, data and telex services are available from public coin and card phones. additionally, Cable Wireless offers Boatphone, the Caribbean Cellular Service, leased circuits and 1-800 Toll-free service. Another public service available is the USA direct overseas dialling.

The General Post Office is in Plymouth on Marine Drive.

Medical Facilities Emergency: Tel: 911, Glendon Hospital: Tel: (809) 491-2552, is located in the town of Plymouth, and can handle emergencies.

Doctors in private practice are also available. A dental clinic is available, as are private dentistry services. An air ambulance service is also available for urgent specialist care.

Business/tourist information

Montserrat Tourist Board, Marine Drive, P.O. Box 7, Plymouth, Montserrat, Tel: (809) 491-2230/491-8730, Fax: (809) 491-7430.

Montserrat Chamber of Commerce Marine Drive, P.O. Box 384 Plymouth, Montserrat, Tel: 809-491-3640, Fax: 809-491-4660.

Overseas Offices

Montserrat Tourist Board, The West India Committee, Lomer Strasse 28, 2000 Hamburg 70, Germany, Tel: (49) 40 695 8846, Fax: (49) 40 380 0051.

New Concepts - Canada 2455 Cawthra Road, Suite 70, Mississauga Ontario L5A 3PL Canada, Tel. (905) 803-0131/271-2268 Fax: (905) 803-0132, Toll Free: 800-224-4749.

Medhurst & Associates, Inc. 1208 Washington Drive, Centerport New York 11721, Tel: (516) 425-0900, Fax: (516) 425-0903 Toll Free: 800-646-2002.

Caribbean Tourism Organization, 20 East 40th Street, New York, NY 10017-2417 USA, Tel: (212) 682-0435, Fax: (212) 697-4258.

Caribbean Tourism Organization, Suite 315, Vigilant House, 120 Wilton Road, London SWl, Tel: (0171) 233-8382, Fax: (0171) 873-8551.

We have been able to publish the present tourist information on Montserrat thanks to the co-operation of the Ministry of Tourism.