Getting there & around
Cargo boats sail relatively frequently between Mananara, Île Sainte Marie, Maroantsetra and Toamasina. There are usually several departures, depending on the weather, although there are no set schedules. This journey is only really safe between September and March – at other times the sea is much too rough to make the journey.
Inquire at the small port in Mananara – boats often come in and leave again fairly quickly, so you’ll have to return often on the chance of finding a ship in port. Fares between Mananara and Île Sainte Marie or Maroantsetra average about Ar50, 000; the trip takes at least eight hours, often sailing through the night. Decent boats to look for include Estilina, Geralda II and Tsiriry. Occasional cargo boats go as far as Sambava, Antalaha or even Diego Suarez in the north. There are no facilities of any kind on the boats – bring sun protection (an umbrella is handy for shade), food and water.
Another option is to charter a speedboat from Maroantsetra.