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For adventurous travelers, Montserrat offers a variety of hiking trails. Some are quite well marked and can be easily followed on one's own. Others are a bit more difficult or secluded and are best attempted with the assistance of one of Montserrat's local Forest Rangers who will provide guidance and knowledge of the land. They can also call the national bird, the Montserrat Oriole, and point out the endangered Mountain Chicken (Note: some areas of Montserrat's trails have been temporarily restricted due to the dangers posed to the Mountain Chicken. Check with the Montserrat Tourist Board or the Montserrat National Trust for further information.) The hikes tend to start bright and early in the morning to avoid the hottest part of the day. Local Guides can be arranged by contacting the Montserrat Tourist Board (MTB) (www.visitmontserrat.com). The MTB also offers trail maps for a nominal fee. In all cases, travelers should be sure to wear comfortable shoes and clothing and bring along plenty of water.
If hiking is not in the cards for you, you can still see the island by taking a taxi tour. These informative tours by local guides and drivers can provide a wealth of information about the history of the island as well as where to go and what to do. Half day and full day tours are available or can be arranged according to your needs. For more information, contact the Montserrat Tourist Board,
For those who wish to learn more about the Soufriere Hills volcano, visit the Montserrat Volcano Observatory, (MVO), which provides a historical background of the volcano’s activity. There is a small Visitor's Center on the premises which is open to the public from Monday to Thursday. Visits are self-guided and activities include a documentary describing the history and impact of the eruption. This film is shown at quarter past the hour every hour between 10:15am-3:15pm. The Center also offers informative poster displays, interactive kiosks and a display of rocks, ash and other artifacts. Visitors can also enjoy spectacular views of the volcano, Belham Valley and Plymouth from the Observatory's viewing deck. There is a nominal ($3.75US per person) fee for the visit. For more information, visit www.mvo.ms.
Once you've learned all you want to know about the volcano, get an up-close view of the destruction left behind in the former capital city of Plymouth by taking a boat tour of the island. These tours depart from the port in Little Bay and proceed south to Plymouth where you can clearly see the path taken by the pyroclastic flows as the volcano simmers in the background. These trips generally last two and one-half hours and are subject to sea and volcanic conditions. For more information, contact the Green Monkey Dive Shop at www.divemontserrat.com or the Montserrat Tourist Board.
If you'd like to do a bit of shopping while on island, visit the Montserrat National Trust and the Montserrat Arts & Crafts Association. Both offer a variety of handmade goods produced by local artists. Another must stop for momentos is the Last Coconut in Paradise shop owned by renowned Montserrat photographer Kevin West. His photos of the volcano adorn walls wordwide! For those last minute gifts before leaving the island, stop into the Last Chance Souvenier Shop or Just Lookin', both located at the airport.