Sainte Marie Island, located off the east coast of Madagascar, 35 km from Soanierana-Ivongo, is one of the most beautiful destinations of the big island. This piece of land is a real paradise, a must for tourism in Madagascar with its beaches, forests and historical sites.
The island is one of Madagascar's leading destinations for a stay in a natural and authentic setting. The beauty of Sainte Marie and the diversity of entertainment offered make it an ideal destination for a family holiday or to relax.
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Sainte Marie is a historical island, full of legend. It is located on two important trade routes of the 17th century: the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean. Also known under the Malagasy name of Nosy Boraha Boraha, it owes its name to the arrival of a Jewish merchant. At the beginning of the 16th century, the Portuguese who discovered it baptized it Santa Maria, hence its current name. During the XVIIth century, the island was used as a hideout by many pirates such as John Avery, Thomas Tew, William Kidd,... Moreover, some vestiges of the occupation of the territory by the pirates are scattered in the region.
The island is surrounded by a few islets that can be visited: l'île aux Nattes, l'îlot Madame and l'île aux Forbans. Ile aux Nattes is a small paradise for those who seek calm and serenity. It reminds one of a small piece of deserted land, worthy of the legend of Robinson Crusoe. A walk through the beautiful sandy beaches is very pleasant. The island rises in the middle of a superb turquoise and translucent sea. History lovers will not fail to visit Islet Madame where the former residence of the governors and administrators, dating from 1871, still stands.
Humpback or mega whale watching is the specific attraction of Sainte Marie Island. From July to September, the sea bordering the island becomes a paradise for whales. They come here to mate and procreate because the water is warm. Visitors are treated to a rather unusual spectacle: humpback reels, pectoral fin games, ballet of caudal fins and jumps are on the program during the mating season. A reservation of a few months in advance is recommended during this high season period.
The arrival of the whales off the east coast is the subject of a major event in Sainte Marie: the Whale Festival. Many distractions are proposed for the happiness of the visitors: animations, concerts, sports and cultural events, ... A whole program to put the island in festival. Safaris in the open sea are also organized to observe the whales more closely.
The distractions are not lacking in Sainte Marie. Hiking or biking are particularly enjoyable to visit the island. Those wishing to go on an underwater exploration will be delighted. A kayak ride and diving sessions are offered to appreciate the beauty of the landscape off the coast. The dive sites of the island are among the most beautiful in Madagascar. The discovery of colorful bottoms of the lagoon bordering the island will transport you into a spectacular universe. The lagoon is indeed very rich in wildlife: multicolored fish, dolphins, dugongs, parrot fish, sea eagles, red snappers, barracudas, soft corals, lobsters, crocodile fish, shells, napoleon fish, lions fish, sea turtles, groupers , rays, ... You will have the opportunity to contemplate them during a dive in the turquoise waters of Sainte Marie.