Traveling Luck for Montserrat

Montserrat is located in Caribbean, island in the Caribbean Sea, southeast of Puerto Rico.

Land in Montserrat is volcanic island, mostly mountainous, with small coastal lowland.

Montserratian land covers an area of 102 square kilometers which is about 0.6 times the size of Washington, DC

As for the Montserratian climate; tropical; little daily or seasonal temperature variation.

Montserratian(s) speak English.

Places of note in Montserrat

Montserratian National Map

Montserratian Map

Regions of Montserrat

Much of this island was devastated and two-thirds of the population fled abroad because of the eruption of the Soufriere Hills Volcano that began on 18 July 1995. Montserrat has endured volcanic activity since, with the last eruption occurring in July 2003.


Montserrat Country Profile

Severe volcanic activity, which began in July 1995, has put a damper on this small, open economy. A catastrophic eruption in June 1997 closed the airports and seaports, causing further economic and social dislocation. Two-thirds of the 12,000 inhabitants fled the island. Some began to return in 1998, but lack of housing limited the number. The agriculture sector continued to be affected by the lack of suitable land for farming and the destruction of crops. Prospects for the economy depend largely on developments in relation to the volcanic activity and on public sector construction activity. The UK has launched a three-year $122.8 million aid program to help reconstruct the economy. Half of the island is expected to remain uninhabitable for another decade.

Montserratian natural resources include NEGL

the island is entirely volcanic in origin and comprised of three major volcanic centers of differing ages

Montserratian religion is Anglican, Methodist, Roman Catholic, Pentecostal, Seventh-Day Adventist, other Christian denominations.

Natural hazards in Montserrat include severe hurricanes (June to November); volcanic eruptions (Soufriere Hills volcano has erupted continuously since 1995).

Travel Advice on Montserrat

Montserrat

This advice has been reviewed and reissued with an amendment to the Summary and Natural Disasters section (extension of the Day Time Entry Zone).  The overall level of the advice has not changed.

SUMMARY

  • Montserrat is a British Overseas Territory.  There is no formal British diplomatic or consular representation in Montserrat and the local authorities deal with all requests for consular assistance.  The General section of this travel advice gives you more information about this.

  • The Soufriere Hills Volcano remains extremely active.  The Volcano Alert Level was increased to level 4 (on a scale of 5) on 24 December 2006, in response to heightened volcanic activity.  This, combined with volcanic activity over the last decade has resulted in about two-thirds of the island being designated an Unsafe Area (formerly known as Exclusion Zone).  Entry to this area is strictly controlled and requires a police licence.  In addition, three areas around the island’s coastline have been designated Maritime Exclusion Zones with no entry to mariners because of the danger of volcanic flows reaching the sea.

  • A “Guide to Volcanic Hazards” as well as maps showing the Safe and Unsafe land and marine areas are available in the arrival hall at Geralds Airport, the seaport and local police stations.  These contain essential information about the volcanic threat.  You should ensure that you take a copy of these leaflets on arrival.  The risk map was revised in January 2007, and can be viewed at:  http://www.mvo.ms/0701%20Risk%20Map.htm.

  • A volcanic event on 5 January 2007 suggested that a more major event may follow in the next few days. As a precaution the area south of the Belham Valley that made up the former Day Time Entry Zone (DTEZ) has been closed to the public.  In addition residents of certain areas bordering the Belham river valley have been temporarily relocated.  A further extension of this area was approved in principle on 6 February 2007, on the basis of the most recent scientific advice.  Please see the Natural Disasters section of this Travel Advice for more details.

  • Most visits to Montserrat are completely trouble-free.  The crime rate is very low, but you should take sensible precautions against petty crime.

  • The hurricane season in Montserrat normally runs from June to November.  Please see Natural Disasters section of this Travel Advice and Hurricanes for more information.

  • The threat from terrorism is low, but you should be aware of the risk of indiscriminate attacks from terrorists in public places, including tourist sties, throughout the world.

  • We strongly recommend that you obtain comprehensive travel and medical insurance before travelling.  You should check any exclusions, and that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake.  Please see:  Travel Insurance.


SAFETY AND SECURITY

NATURAL DISASTERS

The Soufriere Hills Volcano remains extremely active with a fluctuating level of activity.  There is an Alert Level system, which ranges from Level 0 to Level 5.  The current level is 4.  Level 4 is described as:  increased eruptive activity or potential for serious activity that could affect inhabited areas.  Evacuation of persons and/or restrictions on movement are very likely. 
Scientists at the Montserrat Volcanic Observatory (MVO) continuously monitor the status of the volcano.  Their analysis is that activity could increase further.  IN response to this a new Unsafe Zone was created in January 2007, covering the northern fringes of the Belham Valley, all areas south of the Belham Valley and the former DTEZ.  Access to this area is strictly controlled by the Royal Montserrat Police because of the dangers of pyroclastic flows.  Homeowners with properties on the fringes of the Belham Valley may occasionally be granted supervised admission to their homes if scientific advice suggests it is safe.  Registered homeowners should apply to the Salem police station in the mornings for permission.  All other applications for access to the Unsafe Area should be made to the police who will also give full guidance on the purpose of entry permitted.  On 6 February 2007, it was determined on scientific advice that the unsafe zone should be slightly extended.  Homeowners in parts of Old Towne have been advised to be ready to relocate in the coming week.  The situation remains under constant review.
All residents and visitors should have a radio tuned to Radio Montserrat (ZJB) on FM 88.3 or 95.5 for regular scientific updates and advice.

The airport at Geralds remains open and flights into and out of the island are unaffected at present.  However, high levels of ash can occasionally lead to cancellations with little notice.

A maritime exclusion zone with three designated exclusion areas around the western, southern and eastern coasts of the island was extended on 18 January 2007.  Maritime vessels should not visit these areas.  Maps showing these areas are available from the Montserrat Port Authority.
Visits to the public areas of the Montserrat Volcano Observatory (MVO) are permitted.  Further details of such visits and the status of the volcano can be obtained from the MVO's website at:  http://www.mvo.ms.

An island-wide siren system is installed to warn of volcanic activity.  If the sirens sound, please tune in immediately to Radio Montserrat (ZJB) for a related safety message on FM 88.3. or 95.5.

The hurricane season in Montserrat normally runs from June to November.  You should monitor local and international weather updates from the World Meteorological Organisation.  You can also access the National Hurricane Centre for updates.  Please also see the Hurricanes for detailed information about what to do if you are caught up in a hurricane.


GENERAL

If things go wrong when overseas, please see:  What We Can Do To Help.

Montserrat is a British Overseas Territory and as such there is no formal British Consular Representation.  The Governor's Office will assist you in a genuine emergency, but all enquiries regarding passport services should be made to the British High Commission in Bridgetown, Barbados at the address shown below.
British High Commission
Lower Collymore Rock
(P O Box 676)
Bridgetown
Barbados
Tel: 00 1 246 430 7800
Fax: 00 1 246 430 7860
E-mail:  britishhcb@sunbeach.net
Office Hours:  00-2000
Friday 1200-1700
Since 11 September 2001, international travel is subject to earlier check-in times for passenger and luggage.  All items of luggage are subject to search.  (You should allow extra time and should check with the individual airline for the recommended check-in time for your journey).
Money
Few shops, hotels or restaurants accept credit cards.  The local currency is the Eastern Caribbean dollar.  It is fixed to the dollar at 2.68 Eastern Caribbean Dollars equals 1 US Dollar.  US Dollars are widely accepted.  The territory has limited but modern banking facilities.


OTHER

Montserrat Tourist Board