Montserrat is known as the "Emerald Isle" of the Caribbean, settled in 1632 by Irish and English Catholics who arrived from nearby St. Kitts, fleeing religious persecution. The country's Irish heritage can be seen today in the names of villages, surnames, and its' celebration of St. Patrick's Day as a National Holiday (the only country outside Ireland where this is so).
And with a little luck of the Irish, you just may be able to get here!
All travel to Montserrat by air currently proceeds through Antigua. From North America, a number of airlines offer flights (some even direct) to Antigua. These include US Air, American Airlines, Continental, Delta and Air Canada. From Europe, look for flights on British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and Caribbean Airlines.
Upon arriving at the airport in Antigua, you will deplane and proceed through Immigration and Customs. If you are traveling to Montserrat that day, look for the "In Transit" line at Immigration. This will sometimes get you through the line a bit faster. Once through Immigration, you will need to pick up your bags and proceed through Customs. Just tell them you are going on to Montserrat and they will usually wave you right through.
Travelers to Montserrat now have both air and ferry options for transport to the Emerald Isle. Ferry service was reinstituted in December 2009. The MV Fjortof, partially owned by the Government of Antigua & Barbuda and the Government of Montserrat, is now providing the service leaving from the Deep Water Harbour in St. John's, Antigua and coming into the Port of Little Bay in Montserrat. The ferry currently runs on a four day per week schedule and fares are $300.00EC for a return (round) trip. Check in is 60 minutes before the scheduled departure time and no advance ticketing is required. More information, including schedules and contact information is available on the Montserrat Tourist Board website at www.visitmontserrat.com.
If you plan to take the ferry, you will need to take a taxi to Deep Water Harbour, about a 15 minute taxi ride. Taxis are readily available outside the Antigua airport and taxi prices are set. Be advised that there is no food or drink available for sale at Deep Water Harbour, so you may want to grab a sandwich and bottle of water (or try the local Antigian beer - Wadadli) before you leave for the ferry terminal. There are a few food and drink providers available at the Airport.
If you choose to arrive by air, you may want to check out our newest, local airline, Fly Montserrat. They offer twice daily flights between Antigua and Montserrat as well as charter services. For more information, or to make reservations, visit www.flymontserrat.com.
Winair also has regularly scheduled service from Antigua to Montserrat. There are several flights daily, generally one early in the morning and two in the afternoon. For reservations, visit their website at www.fly-winair.com.
The Montserrat airport closes at 6pm, so if your flight is arriving after that you will need to spend the night in Antigua. If you need hotel recommendations, please feel free to contact us.
A word to those traveling to Montserrat via air: As many airlines do, both FlyMonserrat and Winair have a baggage restrictions of one 50 pound (23 kilo) bag and one small carry-on. If you have more luggage than allowed you will likely be charged an additional fee and it may or may not make it on the same flight. Bring anything you cannot live without for a day in your carry-on.
One last word of advice - you are vacationing in the Caribbean - things move a little slower here, so be patient and enjoy the experience!
If we can be of assistance in planning your trip, or if you have questions we have not answered, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.