Not to be confused with Montserrat, Spain, Montserrat is a British overseas territory that boasts incredible beaches and cultural sites that you’ll want to see with your family. If you’ve been searching for the perfect place to go for your next family vacation, you can count on Montserrat to give you memories that will last a lifetime.
Int his guide, we’ll go over everything you need to know about Montserrat before you go, as well as cover ten unique things to do and see in the island nation. Keep reading to find out how your next vacation could top them all!
Montserrat Caribbean Overview
Let’s start by providing an overview of the nation. Due to its small size and active volcano, Montserrat is one of the least covered and traveled Caribbean islands. For this reason, we’ve gathered some information for your reference that can help you plan your trip.
Where is Montserrat Island?
Not sure where Montserrat is located? Take a look at the Montserrat map below. A member of the Lesser Antilles, its closest neighbors are Guadeloupe and Antigua. Specifically, Montserrat is a member of the Leeward Islands.
Montserrat can be identified by its flag. The Montserrat flag features a navy blue background with the Union flag in the top left and the Montserrat coat of arms to the right and center.
A devastating volcanic eruption left the island all but abandoned toward the end of the twentieth century. Today, fewer than 6,000 people inhabit the island, though the number of inhabitants and visitors is steadily increasing.
Though Montserrat is historically a British territory, the name itself comes from Catalan, meaning “serrated mountain.” This name is apt, considering the Montserrat mountain that doubles as a volcano and threatens anyone who comes too close to its domain.
How to Get to Montserrat
There are no direct flights from outside of the Caribbean into Montserrat. Because the country’s original airport was destroyed in the 1997 Soufriere Hills eruption, a new Montserrat airport was constructed. This airport, John A. Osborne (MNI) services only flights that come from Antigua in Antigua and Barbuda. For this reason, individuals must first fly into Antigua and then transfer into Montserrat.
Montserrat is generally considered safe, though it does have a history of cataclysmic disaster. In 1989, the island saw the death of its tourism industry with a category four hurricane that wiped out over 90% of its infrastructure. This devastation only continued with the eruption of the Montserrat volcano in 1997. Today, tourism is only permitted outside of the danger zone, so you can expect a safe journey with your family so long as you exercise standard precautions.
Unique Things to Do in Montserrat with Kids
There are tons of things to see in Montserrat, despite its incredibly small size. In this section, we’ll take a look at all the fun things you can do with kids on Montserrat Island including:
1) See the Plymouth Ghost Town
At one point, this Georgian-era city was the undisputed hubbub of Montserrat. A vibrant capital city, it was unfortunately completely wiped out in the volcanic eruptions of 1997. The city itself had been mostly evacuated two years prior, when scientists began to notice signs of volcanic activity nearby.
Today, the city remains coated and buried in the ashes of the eruption. No one is allowed near the city or the surrounding exclusion zone, which is still at risk of eruption. Despite this, tourists can view the damage done to the area, as well as the bubbling volcano from the Montserrat Volcano Observatory located in the northwestern region of the mountain (which remains safe, green, and perfect for tourism).
2) Spend a Day at Rendezvous Bay
One of the only beaches still operational in Montserrat, Rendezvous Bay offers a picture-perfect Caribbean experience. Surrounded by small restaurants, the beach opens up to dazzling blue waters that lap onto shining gold sand. Today, Rendezvous Bay is one of the top tourist destinations on the island.
3) Take a Ferry to Antigua
Recently, ferry services have been established between Montserrat and Antigua. It’s a part of the island’s efforts to recuperate and rebuild after the devastating natural disasters that took most of the island in the twentieth century.
Take a ferry for cheap and see what’s in store on the nearby island of Antigua, making your Caribbean adventure double the fun.
4) Eat at a Local Dinery
Montserrat combines the best of British and Caribbean cuisine for a culinary experience you don’t want to miss. Eat famous meals such as goat water (also known as kiddy stew) and get a taste of what the locals enjoy. Goat water is stew made from goat meat, veggies, flour, and sometimes rum and whiskey! It’s the national stew of Montserrat and served in many places in the island. It’s often paired with rice, and is spicy as well as delicious. Other diets of the island consist primarily of seafood and birds like chicken, making this island a must-visit for adventurous foodies.
5) Spend a Day in Brades
Since the eruption of the Soufriere Hills in 1997, Brades has served as the de facto capital of Montserrat. Despite its small size (clocking in at only 1,000 people), the city offers a unique atmosphere that you’ll want to see for yourself.
Inside the city are a number of restaurants, businesses, and even a small library. If you’re looking to spend a quiet day in the Caribbean, Brades offers you an opportunity like no other.
6) Visit Little Bay
Little Bay is the prospective home of the soon-to-be capital of Montserrat. After over two decades, the government is finally working on constructing a new capital town in the area. Go there yourself to see the future hotspot of commerce on the island. While you’re at it, make sure to visit Little Bay Beach, where you can spend a day just relaxing in the surf.
7) See the View from Jack Boy Hill
One of the most popular activities for tourists, seeing the sights at Jack Boy Hill will be tons of fun for you and your family. From there, you can see the impressive Soufriere Hills volcano in all its terrifying majesty.
Though the volcano has been largely inactive since 2010, it’s still known to shoot pyroclastic gushes into the air. Luckily, Jack Boy Hill is well away from the danger zone, giving you a great look at what’s going on.
8) Go Hiking
Tourists come daily to walk the incredible hiking trails still available on Montserrat. Try out the Oriole Walkway Trail with your kids and take note of the anachronistic-looking banana plantations and artsy rubber trees or go for something a bit harder and take the Blackwood Allen Trail through the wilderness and into Salem. Either way, hiking Montserrat is sure to give you an experience you won’t soon forget.
9) Go Bird Watching
Bird watching in the Centre Hills is a great way to spend an idyllic afternoon with your family. The little ones will love pointing out
all the different types of birds, and it will be a good educational experience to boot.
10) Stay at a Bed and Breakfast
Due to the limited space, you may find it difficult to find a hotel on Montserrat. For this reason, you’ll want to book in advance. When you do, be sure to book a quality bed and breakfast that will have you and your little ones brimming with joy from the moment you wake up.
The Bottom Line
Despite spanning only eleven miles, Montserrat has weathered more than its fair share of events. From cataclysmic hurricanes and Montserrat volcano eruptions, the tiny island has taken Mother Nature’s battering ram and still come out on top. Today, this rebuilding island makes the perfect location for a quaint and cozy family vacation.
So don’t wait! It’s time to soak up that beautiful Montserrat weather and experience the best this tiny Caribbean nation has to offer!