Île Sainte Marie
The best thing about Île Sainte Marie is that it contains all the ingredients for a great holiday and great travel. This is a very long (57km), thin, lush and relatively flat tropical island surrounded by beaches and reef and spotted with thatched villages. The port of Ambodifotatra, a quarter of the way up the western coast, is the only sizeable town. South of here, the shore is lined with a great variety of hotels and resorts, which don't overpower the setting, culminating in the small island of Île aux Nattes, a postcard tropical paradise where you can easily imagine pirates coming ashore with treasure chests in tow. In contrast, the upper half of the island is quite wild, and its great length means that there is plenty of room for exploration.