Getty Images/Robert Harding World Imagery

Diego Suarez (Antsiranana)

With its wide streets, old colonial-era buildings, and buzzy atmosphere, Diego is an appealing base from which to explore Madagascar’s northern region. While the city has a slow-moving pace (nearly everything shuts between noon and 3pm while residents indulge in long afternoon naps), there's a plethora of good restaurants, places to stay and plenty of shopping.

Diego is an important port in Madagascar; the town notably exports tinned fish, and soft and alcoholic drinks – there is an important Star (THB) bottling plant on the outskirts of town. Thanks to its deep-water anchorage, Diego has also become a firm favourite of cruise ships, which visit between December and March. The ships are a magnificent sight as they cross the bay.

There are no beaches in Diego itself, but plenty of amazing views of the bay, and those glorious beaches with all their activities are but a short drive along the coast.

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Diego Suarez (Antsiranana).