Before its lower two thirds became devastated by cataclysmic eruptions of the Soufrière Hills Volcano in 1995, Montserrat was a carefree little island paradise famous as the birthplace of the late Alphonsus Cassell, creator of the soca hit ‘Hot, Hot, Hot,’ and as the home of Air Montserrat, the famous recording studio founded by Beatles producer Sir George Martin. Sting and Eric Clapton were among the stars who recorded here.
Two decades later, this modern-day Pompeii is slowly recovering. The population is growing, and sand mining and geothermal energy provide new sources of income.
Tourists are returning too, a trickle to be sure, mostly for volcano-related day trips. Those who stay longer are drawn by the slow rhythm, the friendly locals, the fabulous hiking and birdwatching, and the blessedly tranquil ambience. The volcano is always a wild card, but by and large Montserrat is a safe place to visit.