Olveston, Montserrat

Photo: Miles Away Villa Resort & Spa
Photo: Miles Away Villa Resort & Spa

Your trip to the Caribbean is supposed to be your one truly lazy vacation of the year. As you book your flight, you dream about sunshine, reading under a palapa, and finding a hammock for a late-afternoon nap. You’re supposed to return home relaxed, refreshed, and a bit bronzed. But the reality is quite different. Ziplining, pool foam parties, and happy hour cruises keep you running around until the sun sets. It’s fun. It’s just not the low-key getaway you had planned. That’s probably because you keep picking the wrong islands.

Montserrat doesn’t have large resorts, big group tours, or even lots of visitors. The British Overseas Territory was once heading in that direction. Wealthy vacationers and famous musicians flocked to the Emerald Isle, which lies southwest of Antigua, in the 1980s. But then two natural disasters struck the little island. First, Hurricane Hugo pounded Montserrat in 1989. Six years later, the Soufrière Hills, a long-dormant volcano, erupted and covered the capital, the airport, and the southern half of the island in nearly 40 feet of mud and ash. Today, volcanic activity still continues, and half of the island is considered an exclusion zone that’s off-limits to everyone except researchers and safety personnel.

But Montserrat is still a beautiful, if undiscovered, island. It has rocky cliffs and ever-expanding beaches. It has undisturbed snorkeling and scuba diving spots, where you’ll find four-eyed butterflyfish, copper sweepers, and six-foot barrel sponges. It has friendly, welcoming people, who will invite you to dinner and bonfires on the beach. It has that active volcano. Plus it has little hotels where you can finally decompress.

One of them is the Miles Away Villa Resort & Spa. The little resort sits on a hillside overlooking the island’s west coast. That means it has panoramic views over secluded Woodlands Bay; its beach is just a short walk away. Your first stop is the pool, though. It’s quiet and surrounded by palm fronds. Sun loungers are set up around a fire pit. While you can see the Caribbean’s turquoise water on one side and that towering volcano on the other.

You’ll explore the beaches, go deep-sea fishing, and check out local restaurants (be sure to call in your dinner order at lunchtime, so that they have enough food), of course. But with Lime, your poolside suite, just steps from the peaceful pool, your first afternoon on Montserrat is reserved for sunshine, reading, and perhaps even a nap. It’s finally okay to be lazy.

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