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Montserrat Facts
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General

Country: Montserrat (MH).

Nationality: Montserratian(s).

Language: English (official), often flavored with a strong Montserratian accent, and sometimes spoken very fast.

Capital: Plymouth (abandoned in 1997 due to volcanic activity).

Population: 5,097  (July 2010 est.).

Climate: temperatures average between 24 and 32 Celsius (76 to 88 F) all year 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.
 

Geography

Area: 102 sq km.

Coastline: 40 km. The beaches in Montserrat are black sand in the Exclusion Zone. Rendezvous Bay contains the only white (coral) sand beach in Montserrat and it is only accessible by boat or a rugged hike. Sand in the other bays is of volcanic origin and may be grey or black.

Geographic coordinates: 16 45 N, 62 12 W.

Highest point: Lava dome in English's Crater (in the Soufriere Hills volcanic complex) estimated at over 930 m (2006).

Location: Caribbean, island in the Caribbean Sea, southeast of Puerto Rico.

Size: 16 km (10 miles) long and 11 km (7 miles) wide.

Terrain: Volcanic island, mostly mountainous, with small coastal lowland. Montserrat is entirely volcanic in origin and comprised of three major volcanic centers of differing ages.
 

Tourist Information

Overview: 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 of Soufriere Hills volcano in the South of the island occurring in July 2003.

There is an Exclusion Zone which is dangerous and illegal to enter. The boundary for the Exclusion Zone begins from just below Lime Kiln Bay on the West Coast then southwards to Plymouth and St. Patrick's and eastwards to St. George's Hill and Waterworks Estate and over Centre Hills through Windy Hill and Harris and down to the east coast at the site of W. H. Bramble Airport.

Accommodations: There are a view hotels, guest houses and apartments.

Activities: Diving, hiking, birding, One of the main activities in Montserrat is bird watching. .

Average tourist arrivals: 6,311 (2009).

Courier Services: DHL, Fedex and UPS/LIAT QuickPak all provide courier services from Montserrat.

Crime: Montserrat is generally a safe place, however in recent years, violent crime has increased. General safety precautions, including such as not walking in an alleyway at night, are advised.

Electricity: 220 volts 60 cycles. Some buildings are wired for both 220 and 110 volts to suit North American appliances.

Entry Requirements: A valid passport is recommended for all visitors, U.S., 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. An onward or return ticket is required by all persons who are visiting Montserrat. Caricom citizens can travel on an official ID card, which must bear a photograph of the individual..

Telephone: Country code - 1-664. 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$6 and a temporary phone rental is US$20 monthly.

Time: UTC-4 (1 hour ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time, 5 hours behind Britain during British summer time).
 

Money

Cost of living: Visiting the island is a bargain compared to pre-eruption Montserrat and many of its less geologically active neighbors, as the island is anxious to reestablish its tourism industry.

Credit cards: All major credit cards are accepted as are Canadian dollars and traveler's cheques.

Currency: The Eastern Caribbean Dollar is the official currency but US dollars are widely accepted. 2.7 East Caribbean dollars equal 1.0 U.S. dollar.
 

Air Transport

Airport: Gerald's Airport (MNI). Winair (fly-winair.com) offers several daily scheduled flights from Antigua. The nearest international airport is located in Antigua. 

Departure Tax: Departure and airport security tax from Montserrat is EC$35 (US$13) for CARICOM nationals and EC$55 (US$21) for other nationals.

Helicopter Service: Helicopters fly from Antigua direct to the East Coast of Montserrat. Scenic flight over the "exclusion zone" are the best way to see the volcano.
 

Land Transport

Public Transport: Most public transportation originates from Plymouth City. Montserrat has one main road that winds along the coast on the east and west sides of the island. 

Driving: On the left. A temporary driver's license is required, obtainable with a valid international driver's license and EC$50 (US$19). Cars can be rented from any of a number of agencies. There are no traffic lights, but there are only two petrol stations on the island. Taxis and minibuses run mostly during the day. 

Roadways: Volcanic eruptions that began in 1995 destroyed most of the 227 km road system; a new road infrastructure has been built in the north end of the island (2008).
 

Water Transport

Ferry Service: The Opale Express ferry operates between Little Bay and Antigua. It is a modern, air-conditioned catamaran holding up to 200 passengers. Journey takes just over an hour, but the customs check may cause some delay. Ferry departs Heritage Quay 6:30 am and 4:00 pm every day except Sunday. Departure tax is payable.

Ports and harbors: The primary transportation harbor is Little Bay, near the de facto capital of Brades. 
 

Politics

Ethnic groups: Black, White, Mulatto, Creole. The island's population is mainly a mix of Irish and African; however, immigration has given the island a culturally and ethnically mixed people which includes Dominicans, Puerto Ricans, Guadelupians, East Indians, British, Canadian and Americans. Many Montserratians can trace back family to Panama, Dominica and other Caribbean islands.

Government type: Overseas territory of the UK.

Legal system: English common law and statutory law.

Literacy: 97% (1970 est.).

Religions: The predominant religion is Christianity and there are many denominations and churches (Anglican, Methodist, Roman Catholic, Pentecostal, Seventh-Day Adventist and others).
 

Economy

Agriculture-products: cabbages, carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, peppers; livestock products.

GDP per capita: $29 million (2002 est.).

Industries: tourism, rum, textiles, electronic appliances. The economy is unstable because of volcanic activity.

Natural resources: Negligible.

Unemployment rate: 6% (1998 est.).