Popularly known as “The Other Emerald Isle”, Montserrat is a lush mountainous volcanic island in the Caribbean Sea. Part of the Leewards Islands, the island is located at 43 Kilometers southwest of Antigua. Its highest point is Chances Peak and it is 16 km long and 10 km wide with an area of 102 square km.
Montserrat is a British Overseas Territory, with a British Governor and a locally elected government led by the Chief Minister. There is an Executive Council and a legislative council with nine elected members including four ministers of government.
The population is currently estimated at 4,819. This is a reduction of a former 12,000 as many residents went to live overseas as a result of the eruption/activity of the Soufriere Hills Volcano in the mid 1990s.
Temperatures average 24°-31°C (76°-88°F) year-round. The higher temperatures are experienced during the months of August and September, while January and February are the cooler months. Heavy rainfall is usually between September to January.
The Eastern Caribbean Dollar (EC$) is the official currency, but the US dollar is widely used. The rate of exchange is EC$2.70 to US$1. All major credit cards are accepted, as are the Canadian dollar, UK pounds and travelers cheque.
Same as Eastern Standard Time in summer, and one hour ahead in winter. Montserrat is four hours behind Greenwich Mean Time (5 hours behind Britain during British summer time).
Proof of citizenship is required. A valid passport is recommended for all visitors.
Taxes & Service Charge
Departure and Security Tax payable upon leaving Montserrat: US$13 (EC$35.00) for CARICOM nationals and US$21 (EC$55) for all other nationals. Accommodation Tax: 10 per cent for hotels and 7 per cent for Guesthouses, Bed and breakfasts and Villas. Tipping: 10 per cent service charge added at most restaurants, otherwise at your discretion.
Banks and Financial Institutions
There are two main commercial banks - the Bank of Montserrat in Brades and the Royal Bank of Canada, Brades. There is also the St. Patrick’s Cooperative Credit Union and the Montserrat Building Society.
Flora & Fauna
Lush rain forests and fruit trees laden with mangoes, papaya, coconut and banana also add to the landscape in Montserrat. Heliconia is the national fl ower, which can be found in abundance, along with fl amboyant trees bougainvilleas, orchids, ferns and hibiscus. The maple, hazelnut, white pine and lime trees are also plentiful on the island. There are many species of land birds and migrant song birds within the rainforest. The Montserrat Oriole, the national bird, among others can also be found on the island. In addition there are many amphibians and reptiles and well as a multiplicity of marine life forms.