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    Flag, Coat of Arms, and Tourist Board

    Columbus came to Montserrat on 11th November and named it after Santa Maria de Montserrate, after the Mountain Abbey outside Barcelona in Spain that it reminded him of. Montserrat is commonly referred to as “The Emerald Isle of the Caribbean “.

    Montserrat is a Caribbean island that is a British Overseas Territory. It is located in the Leeward Islands, part of the chain of islands known as the Lesser Antilles, in the West Indies. The island of Montserrat measures approximately 16km (9.9mi) long and 11km (6.8mi) wide, with approximately 40 kilometers (25mi) of coastline. Montserrat is nicknamed The Emerald Isle of the Caribbean both for its resemblance to coastal Ireland and for the Irish ancestry of some of its inhabitants. [Source: Wikipedia]

    Plymouth (abandoned in 1997 due to volcanic activity). Government Offices and major commercial activity are now centered in the areas of Brades, Carr's Bay, Little Bay and Sweeneys in the north-west end of Montserrat. New Developments have begun at Little Bay.

    Useful Links
    Visit the website of the Montserrat Tourist Board for more information about this Caribbean destination.

    Information provided on this page were derived from a combination of internal research and readily-available outside sources, such as destination tourism offices, official press releases and marketing media kits.

    Fast Facts

    Capital: Plymouth 

    Motto: "Each Endeavouring, All Achieving"

    Anthem: "God Save the Queen"

    Location: Montserrat is located at 16 45 N, 62 12 W, and 27 miles southwest of Antigua.

    Government: Montserrat is a British Overseas Territory, with a British Governor and a locally elected government led by the Chief Minister. There is an Executive Council and a Legislative Council with nine elected members including four ministers of government.

    Population: The population is currently estimated at 5,028. This is reduced from a former 12,000, as many residents went to live overseas at the height of the volcanic activity.

    Religion: The predominant religion is Christianity and there are many denominations and churches.

    Language: The official language is English, often flavored with a strong Montserratian accent, and sometimes spoken very fast

    Exclusion Zone: The eruption of Soufriere Hills volcano in the South of the island has led to the evacuation and relocation of residents beyond the Exclusion Zone. This part of Montserrat is dangerous and is also illegal to enter. The boundary for the Exclusion Zone is from Plymouth and southwards to St. Patrick's through Windy Hill and Harris and down to the east coast at the site of W. H. Bramble Airport.

    Time Difference: Same as Eastern Standard Time in summer, and one hour ahead in winter (we don't change but they do). We're 4 hours behind Greenwich Mean Time (5 hours behind Britain during British summer time).

    Currency: Currency is the Eastern Caribbean dollar (EC$), which exchanges at approximately 2.7 EC dollars to the US dollar and between 4.6 and 4.9 EC dollars to the pound sterling. Credit cards are not widely accepted, but there is no problem cashing traveller's cheques at the banks.

    Banks and Financial Institutions: There are two main commercial banks - the Bank of Montserrat and the Royal Bank of Canada, located in Brades. ATM Cash Machines are located at both Institutions. There is also the St. Patrick's Cooperative Credit Union and the Montserrat Building Society.

    Business Hours: Government offices open from 8am to 4pm. Most shops open until 5pm while on Wednesdays and Saturdays they may close around midday, with grocery shops staying open much later and Sunday for a few hours.

    Car Rentals: There are several car rental agencies many of which accept credit cards with addresses and phone numbers. Rental cars have red number plates and numbers beginning with R.

    Climate & Rainfall: Winter and summer temperatures average between 24 and 32 Celsius (76 to 88 F) with constant breezes from the sea and mountains. The annual rainfall is about 1,250-2,000 mm or 50-80 inches, well distributed throughout the year, with a wetter season from July to November.

    Dress Code: Light casual clothing, but bring along some long pants and sturdy shoes if you intend to hike. A sweater is also needed for the winter seasons

    Communication/Mobile Phones: High speed internet access and cellular service are available. Two mobile access platforms available - TDMA (DAMPS on 800 Mhz) and GSM 850. Local SIM purchase is US$9 and a temporary phone rental is US$20 monthly. Contact Cable and Wireless at (664) 4911000 or e-mail mni-support@cwmni.cwplc.com for more information. Free wireless service is also available at some public places.

    Drinking Water: Montserrat has one of the purest supplies of drinking water in the world, and it is perfectly safe to drink from the tap. Bottled or mineral water is also available in grocery stores.

    Drivers License: A local driver's license is necessary if you plan to drive in Montserrat. You can apply for this at your port of entry or at the Police Headquarters at Brades. The cost is EC$50 and you will need to produce your valid driver's license from your country of origin.

    Drugs: Even "soft" drugs like marijuana are illegal, and there are stiff penalties for those caught in possession.

    Duty Free: Gift articles up to a value of US$185 (EC$500) including the allowances of wines, spirits, cigarettes, tobacco, cigars and perfume maybe imported free of duty, provided that they do not exceed what is permitted. The allowance in Montserrat is 200 cigarettes, 50 cigars, and half a pound of tobacco, 40 ounces of alcoholic beverage and 6 ounces of perfume. Personal items are exempt from import duty.

    Electricity: Voltage of 220 volts. Some buildings are wired for both 220 and 110 volts to suit North American appliances. Otherwise transformers are easily available to reduce the voltage from 220 to 110 volts.

    Emergency Numbers: Fire 911.  Operator Assistance 411.   Police 999

    Health Requirements: No vaccination is required unless transiting or coming from infected areas within six months of arrival. Persons known to have come from any country that has suffered cholera, yellow fever or small pox epidemics must have vaccination certificates.

    Marriage: For visiting non-nationals a minimum stay of 3 working days in Montserrat is required before application can be made to obtain a special or Governor's Marriage License. Application for the license is made through the Human Resources Management Unit. The following documents are required:
    * Marriage Application Form (issued by the Human Resources Management Unit)
    * Passports of both parties
    * Original absolute Divorce Decree (if divorced)
    * Original Death Certificates of deceased spouse (if widowed)
    * Non-Marriage Certificate (if applicable).

    Human Resources Management Unit (HRMU) is opened Mon - Fri 8am - 4pm, and can be reached by phone at (664) 491 2365 or via email at hrmu@gov.ms.

    Post Office: General Post Office, Government Headquarters, Brades, Montserrat. Counter service from 8:15 am to 4pm, while parcel post is from 9am - 12 noon and again from 1pm to 3pm.

    Religion: The predominant religion is Christianity and there are many denominations and churches.

    Safety: Montserrat prides itself on being one of the safest islands in the Caribbean, but we still advise that you take sensible precautions.

    Supermarkets They tend to stay open later than other shops, and open also on Sundays for varying times. For full list of supermarkets see the Food & Fun section of this site.

    Tipping: 10% service charge added at most restaurants, otherwise at your discretion.

    Taxes - Departure & Airport Security: Departure and airport security tax from Montserrat is EC$35 (US$13) for CARICOM nationals and EC$55 (US$21) for other nationals. Accommodation Tax: 10% for hotels;  7% for Guesthouses, B&Bs and Villas.

    Yachting Charges: There is an EC$45 (about US$14) charge for all yacht arrivals at the port levied by the Port Authority. Customs makes no charge for attendance from Monday-Friday between the hours of 8am-4 pm. There is however a charge levied outside of those hours and on Public Holidays to cover staff overtime; this is set presently at 55 EC$ per hour with a minimum of EC$110 per call out.

    Travel Information
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    Passport/Visa Requirements
    Proof of citizenship is required. A valid passport is recommended for all visitors; however, US, Canadian and British citizens may present a driver's license or official ID card as proof of citizenship. Entry visas may be required of visitors from other countries such as Cuba and Eastern Bloc Countries, and can be obtained from British Consulate offices. Click here for Visa Requirements Information and Application. An onward or return ticket is required. CARICOM citizens can travel on an official ID card, which must bear a photograph of the individual. There shall be proof of accommodation and one must possess sufficient funds to sustain one’s self for the length of the visit.

    Getting There

    By Air
    To get to Montserrat, travellers should fly into Antigua and then can easily connect to two of Montserrat’s daily scheduled 15-minute flights operated by Fly Montserrat and St. Vincent & the Grenadines Airline (SVG Airline). Note that there are no direct flights to Montserrat, only from Antigua. Charter flights can also be operated by these airlines to neighbouring islands. Fly Montserrat has several return scheduled flights between Montserrat and Antigua and can add additional flights based on demand. SVG Airline offers three daily return flights with guaranteed seat provisions, and can also add non-guaranteed flights and/or charters to Antigua and neighbouring island based on requests and on market demand. The one-way airfare per passenger on those airlines is around US$74 (EC$200) plus taxes. To review current fares and flight schedules or to book flights online via their websites. For further detail on these airlines, go to the Montserrat Tourist Board website.

    Other air charter service: Caribbean Helicopters at www.caribbeanhelicopters.com.

    Assistance with Flights
    Sometimes you may experience some difficulty in booking your flight to Montserrat. In those instances please contact the manager of the property where you will be staying at (see Accommodation page for contact information) who would be more than happy to assist you.

    Departure Tax
    There is a departure tax and airport security tax which is payable upon leaving Montserrat: US$13 (EC$35.00) for CARICOM nationals and US$21 (EC$55) for all other nationals. If you are visiting Montserrat for less than 24 hours there is no departure tax.

    Ferry Service
    The Ferry operates from Byson's Pier, Heritage Quay, St. John's, Antigua. The normal fares for the ferry service are EC$300 return (EC$150 one way) for adults and EC$150 return for children under 12 years. No advance ticketing is required, as travellers can purchase their tickets upon check-in. However, to facilitate ticketing, check-in and other clearances at the point of sale at the ports, passengers are asked to check-in 90 minutes in advance when travelling from Antigua and 60 minutes before the scheduled time for departure from Montserrat.

    Persons desirous of traveling to Montserrat from St. Kitts and Nevis are asked to note that M.V. Caribe Surf departs for Montserrat every Thursday morning and returns every Thursday evening. Persons in Nevis can be collected from the Nevis Pier. M.V. Caribe Queen presently departs for Montserrat every Friday morning and returns to Nevis on Saturday evening and also departs Nevis on Monday morning returning to Nevis on Monday evening. Additional information on the ferry service, updates as well as general tourism information can be found at the Montserrat Tourist Board or email info@montserrattourism.ms.

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