Volcanoes in the Caribbean

Plenty of people are familiar with Hawaii’s volcanoes but wonder, do any Caribbean islands have volcanoes? If you’d like to see some of these natural wonders up close, you’ll be happy to know that the answer is yes.

There are actually quite a few volcanoes in the Caribbean. In this article we’ll tell you all about them—including active volcanoes in the Caribbean, dormant volcanoes in the Caribbean, and extinct volcanoes in the Caribbean—as well as answer some frequently asked questions like, does Jamaica have volcanoes?

Volcanoes in the Caribbean: Overview

While every island in the eastern Caribbean originated from volcanic activity, they don’t all still have volcanoes. However, some do, and they vary in type from extinct to dormant to active.

Which Caribbean country has an active volcano? St. Vincent, in the Lesser Antilles, has an active volcano called La Soufriere. Its most recent eruption was in April 2021 (causing no deaths, thankfully), but it is currently quiet and the island is safe to visit.

Another Caribbean country with an active volcano is Montserrat. The Soufriere Hills Volcano there has been considered to be in “active eruption” since 1995, and actually destroyed the capital city of Plymouth in 1997. More than half the island is now uninhabitable.

(You’ll notice that many volcanoes in the Caribbean have “Soufriere” in the name. It is French for “sulphur,” which is often found in places of volcanic activity.)

These are the only really active Caribbean volcanoes at this time. However, there are 21 total “live” volcanoes, which are considered likely to erupt again in the future although most haven’t erupted in a long time (often, hundreds or even thousands of years).

All of the live and active volcanoes in the Caribbean are closely monitored to ensure that residents and visitors are kept safe in the event of another eruption.

View from a distance to Mount Pelee volcano

Volcanoes in the Caribbean Region

There are 21 “live” volcanoes on 11 islands in the Lesser Antilles of the Eastern Caribbean. While most of the islands have just one volcano, some have more than one. Dominica actually has nine volcanoes that are considered live.

One of the most famous volcanoes in the Caribbean is Mount Pelee on Martinique. Its eruption between 1902 and 1907 was the one of the most devastating volcanic eruptions in the entire world. It caused the deaths of around 30,000 people and completely destroyed the capital town of St. Pierre.

If you’re looking for a full list of volcanoes in the Caribbean and their names, here it is: Grand Soufriere Hills, Morne Anglais, Morne Aux Diables, Morne Trois Pitons, Morne Watt, Morne Diablotins, Valley of Desolation, Wotten Waven, and Plat Pays Complex  on Dominica; Mt. St. Catherine and Ronde/Caille on Grenada; La Grande Soufriere on Guadeloupe; Kick ‘em Jenny (in the ocean about 6 miles north of Grenada); Mt. Pelee on Martinique; Soufriere Hills on Montserrat; Nevis Peak on Nevis; Mt. Scenery on Saba; the Quill on St. Eustatius; Mt. Liamuiga on St. Kitts; the Soufriere Volcanic Centre on St. Lucia; and La Soufriere on St. Vincent.

Many of these could also be considered dormant volcanoes in the Caribbean, since their last eruption was an extremely long time ago. For example, Mount Saint Catherine on Grenada last erupted in the Ice Age.

There are plenty of other dormant and extinct volcanoes in the Caribbean, since all of the islands in the eastern Caribbean were created through volcanic eruption. Some of them, such as Antigua and Barbuda, are substantially eroded since they erupted more than 20 million years ago.

There are extinct Caribbean volcanoes on islands such as the Dominican Republic and Haiti, as well as some of the islands named above with active volcanoes. The Pitons in St. Lucia are old volcanic peaks, and that island also features the world’s only drive-in volcano, Sulphur Springs.

You can hike on some of these Caribbean volcanoes, including the Pitons, Mt. Liamuiga in St. Kitts (which is considered dormant), Nevis Peak in Nevis, and Mt. Pelee in Martinique.

Does Jamaica have volcanoes?

Jamaica was formed from volcanic activity but it doesn’t have any active volcanoes. However, it is home to one of the lesser-known extinct volcanoes in the Caribbean, Black Hill in Portland. It is thought that this volcano last erupted around 40 to 50 million years ago.

Are there volcanoes in the Bahamas?

No, there are no volcanoes in The Bahamas. Since they were not created by volcanic activity, but instead are limestone islands, they are fairly flat and don’t have any mountainous peaks at all.

Have you ever been to any volcanoes in the Caribbean? Let us know in the comments!

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