Montserrat’s landscape is of mysterious and startling contrasts.
Zoom in and discover the people, history and wildlife that make this island hum.
Montserrat is one of 14 UK Overseas Territories, governed by a locally elected Premier and Parliament. The UK Government works with Montserrat’s Government to strengthen the island’s economic planning, emergency management, and security. The UK Government appoints a governor who lives on island, and functions as an advisor on these matters.
We are just under 5,000 residents on the island, which means everyone knows everyone here. In fact, the camaraderie is such that all who were born here have a nickname.Included among Montserratians – or “Monstratians” as we call ourselves among friends – are immigrants from Dominica, Jamaica, Guyana, the Dominican Republic and Haiti, who came to help rebuild the island after the first volcanic eruption. It is therefore not unusual to hear radio advertisements in Spanish and Haitian Creole. In addition, about 100 snowbirds own second homes here, where they spend three to six months of the year.
Montserratians who live off of the island, primarily in the UK, US and Caribbean, number around 10,000.
We are British nationals, but have our own national song.
The average temperature year round is 27°C/81°F. The hottest time of the year may run from August to October, where temperatures go up to 35°C/95°F. The coolest time of the year is from December to April, where temperatures go as low as 17°C/63°F. The peak hurricane season is from early August through the end of October.
The city of Plymouth, St. George’s Hill, the Soufriere Hills Volcano, and the entire south of the island are in Zone V, referred to as the Exclusion Zone. Access to this area is strictly managed to ensure safe and rapid evacuation, should there be volcanic activity. Visits require police permission and the company of an authorized tour guide. There is also a siren alarm system installed around the island which is used to warn of any volcanic activity that might affect the rest of the island.
Goat water, the national dish of Montserrat, is a delicious stew, often served with bread or rice. This dish can be difficult to cook because it has to be a particular taste, flavor and color. We often cook it in a metal or tin pot on a wood fire. The smoke from the wood enhances the taste of the stew. We serve it at gatherings such as weddings, christenings, parties and funerals.
Very few places open past 7:00 pm or on Sundays. Government offices open from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm. Banks open only on weekdays, from 8:00 am to 2:00 pm, except on Fridays, when they close at 3:00 pm. The only places that open past 7:00 pm are restaurants, pubs and night clubs. On Sundays most mini marts and supermarkets open for a few hours in the morning and in the evening as well.
No need to bring a power adapter our electricity supply is very reliable. Here, most villas and guest houses carry both 110V and 220V outlets. It’s our way of being universal.
There are two banks in Montserrat – one is its national bank, Bank of Montserrat. The other is a branch of the Royal Bank of Canada, a globally established bank. As there are few businesses on Montserrat that accept credit cards, you will need the services of a bank to exchange currency or to withdraw money using your credit or debit card. Currencies that can be exchanged are Pound Sterling, the US Dollar, the Canadian Dollar, and the Barbados Dollar. The EC Dollar is the official currency of Montserrat.
|Bank of Montserrat||Royal Bank of Canada|
|Foreign Currency Exchange||Yes, with ID||Yes, with ID|
|Foreign Currency Purchase||Yes, with ID||Only for account holders|
|Cashing of Travellers’ Cheques||Yes, with ID||Yes, with ID|
|ATM Credit Card Withdrawal||Only Visa cardholders||Yes – Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express and Cirrus cardholders|
|Travellers’ Cheques Sold||Only to account holders||No|
|Wire and Draft Services||Only to account holders||Yes|