Required for all visitors: €31/39/54 for 30/60/90 days. A vignette (tourist tax) of €10 is also charged upon arrival at the airport.
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Madagascar is a huge place, the roads are bad and travel times long (it takes 24 hours to drive from Tana to Diego Suarez, 18 hours to Tuléar etc), so be realistic about how much ground you want to cover or you’ll spend every other day in the confines of a vehicle.
Private vehicle If you can afford it, this is the best way to explore Madagascar. You'll be able to go anywhere, whenever suits you. The off-road driving can be great fun too.
Taxi-brousse (bush taxi) They are slow, uncomfortable and not always safe, but they are cheap, go (almost) everywhere and you can't get more local than that.
Plane Can be huge time savers, but they can be expensive and subject to frequent delays and cancellations.