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Hero 140093326 Adrian Reynolds 72
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Montserrat lies 34 miles southwest of Antigua and is like nowhere else. 

The Irish-influenced ‘Emerald Isle’ is totally unspoiled by tourism but its volcano has put it on the map, having wiped out the southern part of the island. Montserrat covers 40 square miles and is mountainous, with three ranges of hills: Silver Hills, Centre Hills, and Soufrière Hills. 

The estimated 3000-ft-high Soufrière Hills Volcano has been erupting since 1995. The south of the island, which like the rest of the island used to be all lush green, is now grey with ash and the former capital, Plymouth, is a modern Pompeii. Its eruption resulted in the emigration of over half the population of 12,000 and those that remained relocated to the northern ‘safe’ zone, protected by the Centre Hills, where they rebuilt their lives.

Montserrat was off-limits to tourism for a few years, and two-thirds of the island is still an exclusion zone, but now the still-active volcano is the island’s biggest visitor attraction. Here you can enjoy views of volcanic moonscapes, deserted black-sand beaches, a network of challenging mountain trails, waters teeming with fish, coral and sponges, and some of the friendliest people in the region.

 

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