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Air

  • Air Madagascar flights connect Maroantsetra twice a week with Antananarivo (€260, 2½ hours) via Tamatave (€216, 1¼ hours). The Air Madagascar office is a few kilometres from town on the road to the airport.
  • Flights to/from Maroantsetra are often full, especially between June and November – be sure to reconfirm your ticket. Weather may affect plane schedules, particularly during the rainiest months (July to September).

Boat

  • The Melissa Express passenger boat offers weekly service between Maroantsetra and both Mananara (Ar80,000) and Soanierana-Ivongo (Ar100,000). This is the only service of its kind on this coast, and inexpensive, but is subject to interruptions, particularly from July to September.
  • Hippocampe, in Maroantsetra, has two boats that can be hired to reach Mananara, Antalaha and Île Sainte Marie.
  • There are also unscheduled but regular cargo boats sailing between Maroantsetra and Île Sainte Marie (10 hours), Tamatave (two days), Antalaha (12 to 15 hours) and Mananara (nine hours). Enquire at the port in Maroantsetra, and then be prepared for inevitable delays. The boats that take passengers are sometimes extremely overloaded, and some do capsize, so if the boat looks too full, don’t get on. Good boats to look out for to Mananara are La Baleine and Ambotosoa. To Île Sainte Marie or Tamatave, look out for Savannah, Red Rose or Rosita.

Taxi-Brousse

Maroantsetra lies 112km north of Mananara at the end of the infamous RN5. Taxis-brousses depart for Mananara around 6am Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday (Ar40,000) and carry on to Tamatave (Ar90,000). There are no roads anywhere else.

Private 4WD

Taxi-brousse company Kofifen also rents private 4WDs. They quote Ar1.6 million including driver and fuel to Mananara and Ar2.2 million to Tamatave, but in our experience hard bargaining can cut these prices nearly in half.