Are You Ready For Something Completely Different?
Scuba Diving in Montserrat!
Virgin dive sites, unspoiled reefs, and an active volcano! One of the most unique experiences awaits you!
Welcome to the Green Monkey Inn and Dive Shop on the tropical Caribbean island of Montserrat. Unlike most other scuba diving centers, we offer completely customized dive trips designed to match your unique interests and skills sets …. all in one of the most unusual and exotic locations on earth. Discover our island as she continuously reinvents herself with volcanic flows, amazing eco-tours, and our professional diving services, personalized exclusively for you.
At the Green Monkey, the goal is to provide you with an experience tailored specifically for your ideal getaway. In addition to our wide variety of scuba diving packages, we also offer guided and self-guided snorkeling trips, Plymouth/Volcano boat tours, sea kayak rentals and tours, deep sea fishing trips, and equipment rental and sales.
If you’d prefer to stay “topside” Green Monkey can arrange tours which suit your needs – from eco-tours to nature hikes to turtle watching. And at the end of your day, enjoy a refreshing drink at the Dive Shop’s bar facility, The Monkey Bar. the beachside deck provides a perfect location for sipping a cool drink while watching the surf and the sunset.
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Diving in Montserrat
Montserrat offers divers a chance to the see the ocean in a new light – one that has not been destroyed by carelessness or neglect. You will not find cattle boats and huge groups of divers competing for reef space here! Unlike most other dive shops, we offer completely customized dive excursions designed to match your own unique interests and skills sets …. all in one of the most unusual and exotic locations on Earth.
Whether you’re looking for an unusual place to go on your next dive excursion or you’re interested in achieving another level of certification, we prepare each agenda and mold every dive around your expectation. From Open Water to Dive Master certification, The Green Monkey Dive Shop caters to all levels of underwater enthusiasts.
Things to Do
Spend a leisurely morning or afternoon (or take a full day!) kayaking the coast of our beautiful island. Our inflatable two-person sea kayaks are ideal for the waters surrounding Montserrat. They are surprisingly stable in the water and can hold up to 600 pounds. You can even use them to go diving! We also offer 1 and 2 person Ocean kayaks. Most visitors rent them for the short, fifteen-minute trip to nearby Rendezvous beach. Rendezvous is Montserrat’s only “white” sand beach and is one of our premiere snorkel sites. This secluded and unspoiled site offers a shallow reef in calm waters with healthy and lively coral formations. Be sure to say “hello’ to the resident fruit bats on your trip there!
Boat Tour to Plymouth
“This was the highlight of our visit to Montserrat!”
The best (and currently the only) way to get an up-close view of the devastation wrought by the Soufriere Hills volcano on is by boat. The Green Monkey Boat Tour departs from the Port in Little Bay and proceeds south to the former Capital city of Plymouth, where you can clearly see the path taken by the pyroclastic flows as the volcano simmers in the background. Our custom boat can comfortably seat up to ten persons and has a canopy for shade. These tours can be arranged according your schedule. Trips generally last two and one half hours and are subject to sea and volcanic conditions.
Green Monkey Adventures
During the months of July through October you can head to the beach at night and watch as the large Green Turtles, Loggerhead Turtles, and Leatherback Turtles come ashore to lay their eggs. If you are very lucky, you may even catch a glimpse of the babies as they make their way back to the sea under the light of the full moon. But do not disturb them, please!
Montserrat offers an abundance of trails for the hiking enthusiast. We have hikes of varying difficult, length, and scenery – from dry vegetation in the lowlands to tropical rainforest in the mountains. Many trails are marked and can be explored on your own. Others are best encountered with a trail guide.
If you are looking for crowded beaches with vendors, hair braiding and rows of beach chairs, Montserrat is NOT for you! Our beautiful beaches are unspoiled, just like our underwater environment. Whether it’s a picnic spot, a snorkeling hole, or a perfect setting for your wedding, our beaches will surely have what you are looking for! Rendezvous, our only “white” sand beach, is only accessible by foot or by water and is a “must-see” while on island. Rent one of our kayaks for the short trip past our famous bat caves to this untouched beach.
Deep Sea Fishing
Do you fancy yourself a fisherman? Why not spend the morning or afternoon testing your skills against the likes of our Kingfish, Wahoo, and Tuna. Our four-hour fishing expedition includes all fishing gear, tackle and bait as well as all the fish you can catch!
Where to Stay
Montserrat offers a variety of options for those seeking accommodations. We currently have one hotel, a small number of guest houses and apartments, and a wide variety of villa rentals for those who want the ultimate in privacy. If you are diving with us, you may want to consider staying with us as well.
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.
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.
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.
The Montserrat airport closes at 6pm, so if your flight is arriving after that you will need to spend the night in Antigua.
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!
Montserrat is a small pear-shaped island measuring 12 miles by 7 miles, with a main road that transverses the island. Since the volcanic eruptions and destruction of the capital city of Plymouth, many of the businesses, restaurants, and activities have been scattered in areas from Salem to Little Bay (where they are rebuilding the new capital). Consequently it is recommended that visitors rent a car, take a bus, or arrange for taxi service. Montserrat is a British overseas territory, so they drive on the left side of the road. It is not too difficult to get used to though – just keep telling yourself “stay left!” Visitors will need to purchase a temporary driver’s license at the Brades or Salem police station (they are sometimes available at the airport as well) for approximately $20US. The roads are generally well maintained and, since there is one “main road” it is difficult to get lost. The Montserrat Tourist Board (MTB) has maps available in their offices near Government Headquarters and we have them available at the dive shop.
For those who would rather not drive themselves, there is a choice of taxis and minibuses.
Taxi’s or minibuses can be flagged down on the street by a simple wave of the hand (they point to the ground here, though, not the sky). You’ll recognize a car “for hire” by the “H” on the licenses plate. It is also perfectly safe here to accept a ride from a stranger. If you are walking down the street, don’t be surprised if a number of people offer to give you a ride. Say “yes”, climb in, and you are likely to learn something new about our Emerald Isle!
One thing to note is that since the eruption of Montserrat’s Soufriere Hills volcano in the south of the island, over one-half of the island is now an Exclusion Zone. While the northern portion of the island is perfectly safe, the southern Exclusion Zone is potentially dangerous and is illegal to enter. The Soufriere Hills volcano is still active but is continuously monitored by scientists in the Montserrat Volcano Observatory (MVO). Tourists should not try to enter the Exclusion Zone. The boundary for the Exclusion Zone is from Cork Hill and Foxes Bay southwards to Plymouth and St. Patrick’s through Windy Hill and Harris and down to the east coast at the site of W. H. Bramble Airport. Signs and gates exist to warn travelers of these “forbidden” areas.