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Photograph courtesy of Green Monkey Dive Shop
Dusting Off a Volcano

Fourteen years after Soufrière Hills Volcano first sent pyroclastic debris flying and two-thirds of Montserrat’s population fleeing, the Caribbean island is hanging out its shingle for tourism again. Along the northern (and nonvolcanic) coast, a new airport, hotel, and dive shop are in place to lure visitors to Montserrat’s black-sand beaches and pristine coral reefs. “Montserrat is still the way the Caribbean was 20 years ago,” says Melody Schroer, co-owner of the Green Monkey Dive Shop. “You won’t walk down the beach and get asked if you want your hair braided.” Green Monkey’s new multisport trip puts you on the front lines of the island’s resurgence. You’ll stay in a private villa and knock off Montserrat’s greatest hits one by one: sea kayaking and snorkeling along the leeward coast; hiking through heliconias, banana plants, and mango trees; and scoring an up-close look at the temperamental volcano (viewable only by boat for safety reasons). The trip culminates in a plunge off the island of Redonda, 15 miles away. Green Monkey holds one of two diving permits here, which means you’ll have the five-foot barracudas and six-foot barrel sponges all to yourself.

Outfitter: Green Monkey Dive Shop;
Price: $885 ($)
Length: 6 days
Departs: Year-round

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