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Long known as the "Emerald Isle of the Caribbean" for its resemblance to coastal Ireland, Montserrat simmers with one of the world's most exciting geologic events, which began more than a decade ago. Composed of volcanic rock and the steaming, often volatile Soufrière Hills Volcano, Montserrat is an island covered in ash. When the volcano blew in 1995, after 400 years of dormancy, two-thirds of the population fled abroad. Others stayed and witnessed more eruptions, the collapse of the lava dome, and a near-constant spewing of soft fluttery ash. Split into three zones - the Safe Zone, Daytime Entry Zone and Exclusion Zone - Montserrat is ...

Long known as the "Emerald Isle of the Caribbean" for its resemblance to coastal Ireland, Montserrat simmers with one of the world's most exciting geologic events, which began more than a decade ago. Composed of volcanic rock and the steaming, often volatile Soufrière Hills Volcano, Montserrat is an island covered in ash. When the volcano blew in 1995, after 400 years of dormancy, two-thirds of the population fled abroad. Others stayed and witnessed more eruptions, the collapse of the lava dome, and a near-constant spewing of soft fluttery ash. Split into three zones - the Safe Zone, Daytime Entry Zone and Exclusion Zone - Montserrat is an intriguing place. Geology junkies and average Joes alike will find the island fascinating. With just a few dust-covered roads, no stoplights and only a handful of B&Bs, the island offers a pretty unique travel experience. The highlight is the Montserrat Volcano Observatory, where scientists keep constant tabs on the volcano. Visitors take a tour and learn all sorts of good stuff about volcanoes.

Debra Landau
About the Expert

Debra Landau has written eight Lonely Planet guidebooks, including books on the USA, Caribbean, and the South.

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Debra Landau for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: Montserrat is a British overseas territory located in the Leeward Islands, part of the chain of islands called the Lesser Antilles in the Caribbean Sea.
  • Language: English
  • Currency: East Carribbean Dollar
  • Research: Wikitravel | Wikipedia
  • Weather: Rainfall
  • Current Time:

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Mid-December to mid-April, which is outside the Caribbean's rainy hurricane season.