Apart from the stretch of tarmac between La Crique and Belle-Vue, most roads on Île Sainte Marie are in bad condition, often comprising little more than rocky, muddy or sandy tracks.
The dive centres, boat companies and some of the upper-end hotels can usually help arrange private boat rental for transfers, excursions or fishing trips. Prices start at around €225 per day for a boat for up to four people.
Inexpensive pirogue trips along the coast, or to Île aux Forbans or Île aux Nattes, can easily be arranged with locals.
A couple of top-end hotels rent out cars with drivers for expeditions around the island, although this is seldom the best way to get around. Try Hôtel Soanambo in the south of the island, or the Boraha-Village. Rates are around Ar100, 000 per day for a 4WD.
Hiring a motorcycle or quad is a much better way of getting around the island and off the beaten track. Many of the roads are heavily potholed, so you’ll need to be a fairly confident rider to negotiate them safely; if you’re hesitant there’ll usually be someone who can do the driving for you for no extra charge.
The easiest place to pick up some wheels is from the guys who set up in front of the Bank of Africa in Ambodifotatra every day; the going rate is Ar50, 000 for a trail bike. Several other shops and stalls in town, along with the majority of the mid- to upper-end beach hotels, also have fleets of motorbikes, scooters, quads and bicycles for hire.
Île Sainte Marie is ideal for mountain bikes, although some of the steeper roads at the northern end of the island (particularly the road north of Lonkintsy) are too rutted and rough to be enjoyable, particularly in the rainy season, when they can become very slippery.
Virtually every hotel and all kinds of other places have bikes of varying quality for hire. The going rate is around Ar7000 per day.