History tells that during the 17th and 18th centuries, nearly a thousand buccaneers took refuge on the island of Sainte-Marie. The presence of the wrecks of their ships in Ambodifotatra Bay confirms the veracity of the stories. Subjugated by the beauty and calm of the island, famous pirates such as Christophe Condent, John Avery, Thomas Tew, the Hawk and Thomas White had settled in Sainte-Marie. For these, the strategic location of the island, located on the trade route of the Indian Ocean and the Red Sea, has also made it a haven of choice. This is how about twenty vessels of pirates have chosen the island as home port.
The Pirates Cemetery, a fascinating place
Among the impending buccaneers who took refuge in Sainte-Marie, many of them decided to be buried on the island. To comply with their last wishes, the Pirates Cemetery was built on the side of the hill overlooking the southern part of Ambodifotatra Bay. The oldest tombs date back to the 18th century. Established among the expanses of greenery, the burials of the famous pirates are covered with black gravestones engraved with their names. The symbol of the skull and the two crossed tibias is often carved or drawn on the tombs. This mausoleum perched on the heights of Ambodifotatra is accessible for a symbolic entrance fee returned to the guards of the site. After the payment of the right of access, visitors can opt for a visit accompanied or not by a guide.