Montserrat, known as the Emerald Isle of the Caribbean, has deep roots with Ireland, making St. Patrick’s Week in March one of the most interesting and enjoyable times of festivity! Colonial Montserrat revolved around the sugar trade which continued up until the nineteenth century. Finally, slavery began to be abolished in 1834, bringing about eventual freedom for slaves in 1838. Historically, Montserrat has also been agriculturally involved in the lime and cotton trades. Montserrat has continued to be involved in agriculture and manufacturing as well as tourism.
Our capital, Plymouth, was built on a beautiful flat area of volcanic deposits. Upon the rich, lush slopes of a dormant volcano, farming was carried out on a daily basis, with incredible views of the city below. However, in 1995 the Soufriere Hills Volcano rumbled to life. This caused an evacuation of 2/3 of the island, as our residents watched their lovely city slowly disappear with each volcanic episode.
Currently, our volcano has been quiet for two years, allowing folks the opportunity to enter the daytime exclusion zone which affords views of our modern day Pompeii, with a sobering first hand observation of exactly what an andesite volcano is capable of doing.
Fortunately, over the past fifteen years, the North of the island has been re-built with new infrastructure, housing, government headquarters, stores, hospital, port, airport, etc… Although those of us who live on the lush, North end of the island will never forget what our volcano has done, today we enjoy life in complete peace and safety.
Montserrat is a safe place where you can still catch a ride with a stranger, leave your car doors unlocked, and enjoy genuine peace of mind.
Montserrat is a small island with a population of around 5000. Those of us who live here enjoy a lifestyle typical of “the way the Caribbean used to be”. There is no fear of crime or overbearing cruise ships, or hundreds of souvenir stands for you to spend your money where all the items are made elsewhere.
What we do have is wonderful, local restaurants where you can talk with the owners and enjoy fresh food often grown on our island or plucked from the sea, a handful of souvenir shops that carry local artisans’ work from paintings and wood carvings to woven fabrics and more. Almost every employee takes a day off on Sunday, leaving only a few local stores and a couple of restaurants open. No city lights to block out the night stars! You can enjoy them all to a symphony of crickets and tree frogs. No sirens, loud horns or traffic sounds to interrupt your peace of mind. Peacefully sweet…