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Sainte Marie

The island of Sainte Marie - a popular base for pirates throughout the 17th century - is a true tropical paradise off the north-east coast of Madagascar, 60 km long and less than 10 km wide.

The insular character of the place and the particularities of the coralline soil encouraged various adaptations, as much on animal as on plant structure, leading to unique interrelations. Thus, Sainte Marie is endowed with a very rich fauna and flora. You can meet here among other species several types of lemurs as well as a multitude of orchids, among which is the magnificent Queen of Madagascar

Safe from sharks, the lagoon of Sainte Marie island is endowed with significant coralline growth. Its underwater fauna is preserved as a natural heritage and first-class diving site in the Indian ocean. The channel between Sainte-Marie island and Madagascar is a hot spot for whale watching. Substantial groups of humpback whales (Megaptera) migrate from the Antarctic to this idyllic breeding place. These quiet giants find conditions here that are favourable for the growth of their young and well suited to their courtship and acrobatic games before their big return toward the cold seas.

How to get there: There are regular flights from Antananarivo, La RĂ©union and Tamatave. You can also reach the island by boat. (combined bus/boat shuttle service, bus Tamatave to Sonierano, Fenerive or Mahambo, then boat to Sainte Marie).

Money exchange: There are 2 banks/ATM in the island`s capital Ambodifotatra, and the possibility to withdraw local currency upon arrival at the airport (ATM).