This article was featured in Prime Magazine January 2018
When to go
A warm, humid climate characterises this part of the Big Island throughout the year. Migration of humpback whales is between June and November, which explains the regular whale festival around this period. This year, the festival will run from 07 to 15 July. It's up to you to see if you want (and can) wait for that date or go in advance. To your diaries!
How to get there
A regular line connects Toamasina and Sainte-Marie: 170km by car on the National Road 5 then by speedboat or boat (only in the morning) from Soanierana Ivongo. The best way to get to Sainte- Marie is by air, you will be there after just an hour flight from Antananarivo.
Where to stay
The hotels are not lacking in this dream location, you will be spoiled for choice. Here are some suggestions: Tipaniers Lodge, Libertalia Hotel, Soanambo Hotel, Hotel Vanivola, Mora Mora Village Hotel. It seems that the hotel industry professionals in this area are really good at satisfying tourists. The service and the reception in general are exceptional.
Where to eat
Idyll Beach is considered the best table by most visitors. Also try La Crique, a culinary experience not to be missed.
What to see
There are many activities to do on Île Sainte-Marie: scuba diving is possible, or go around the island of mats by canoe or watch the whales. The whales festival in July Initially, the initiative was based on the protection of marine mammals and their habitat, and came from an association working in the protection of the environment. The festival has now become a springboard for local or national tourism with the involvement of other participants from different sectors.