Twenty years ago, Montserrat marketed itself as being ‘The way the Caribbean used to be.’ Little did anyone know that in a few short years the slogan would become horribly ironic for anyone who harkened back to a pre-Palaeozoic era. A series of volcanic eruptions beginning in 1995 devastated the lower half of the island, turning Plymouth, the capital and only significant town, into an ash-covered wasteland.
Today, most tourists come for volcano-related day trips. Driving down the coast, you quickly get a feel for the island’s rich tropical life and take in jaw-dropping vistas of the destruction.
Those who stay overnight get to experience Caribbean culture without the crowds, casinos and cruise ships. They also get the chance to witness the island’s rebirth. Hundreds of single-family homes are now dotted across Montserrat’s unaffected northern half, while a new capital is slowly but surely taking shape around Little Bay.