Diego Suarez in the north of Madagascar was named after a Portuguese explorer. There is influence from Arabic and Indian architecture, with a beautiful bay and surrounding area. The north of Madagascar is a much more chill vibe than most of Madagascar, a lovely break from the hustle and bustle of the rest of the country. Make sure to come on a Sunday, where everyone heads to Ramena for a big day of partying. Diego is a great city to explore, has some of the best food in the country, and has some amazing parks to explore. Split your time between Diego and Ramena to get a full week of activities in the area.
Diego Suarez – Walking Tour
Check out the food stalls just off Rue Colbert
Walk down to the abandoned military hotel at the end of Rue Colbert
Head over to Point Joffre overlooking the Port and Bay
Head down to Le Melville restaurant for a sundowner, for the best rum arrange in Madagascar
Day Trip: Tsingy Rouge and Amber Mountain National Park
Combine Tsingy Rouge and Amber Mountain into 1 day for a perfect adventure, while saving on hiring a 4×4 car for only one day. The tour will leave early in the morning from Diego around 7 AM and you will return in the evening sometime between 6 PM and 8 PM depending on your hike at Amber Mountain.
One of the main highlights of Madagascar was Tsingy Rouge. Unlike Tsingy de Bemaraha, Tsingy Rouge is situated in a lovely canyon, with several viewpoints to see the colors and shapes beneath you. The red and white coloration makes for lovely photo’s. There is a short walk down to a section where you can walk up to the red rock formations.
Amber Mountain is a large mountain rainforest that is 40km from Diego with very lush green plant life and lots of animals. You can choose from several hikes to go on, including a short, medium or long walk. The cost is different depending on the length of the hike which includes a guide.
Book with Toto Circuits Diego. They have an office in Diego at 08 Rue Sadi-Carnot Place Kabary or contact them at 00261 32 07 597 75.
4×4 Car hire for the day 250,000 Ar
Tsingy – 10K Ar at park entry
Amber Mountains MNP Ticket 55,000 Ar pp
Guide 50,000 Ar – 75,000 Ar
This beautiful bay is just a short boat ride from Ramena. Come for a day trip to enjoy one of the best beaches in Madagascar. Your boat right will bring you right to this beach where you can relax, lay in the sun, or chill under the cover of your private “hut.” Your team of fisherman will go out fishing in the morning and return at lunchtime to cook an excellent meal. You will leave around 2 PM to head back to Ramena to finish your tour. Booking from Diego will include transfers to and from Ramena.
COST: 70,000 Ar per person book with Toto Circuits Diego which includes a private transfer from Diego. You can also book in Ramena with several boatmen near the pier the day before you would like to go on the excursion, for 60,000 Ar.
Three Bays Hike
The Three Bays are on the Indian Ocean coastline near Ramena. You can start this hike in Ramena and hike entirely on your own to Sakalava (4-5 hours). This is a good option, then you can hire a taxi to return to Ramena. Another option is to hire quads for the day, which take you to several bays including Sakalava starting from 80 Euro. For the hike, head to the beach in Ramena and turn right. You can stay on the beach until you reach the military guard post. Pay a 10,000 Ar entry fee for non-nationals to the military complex. You can walk around and explore the abandoned complex. Make sure to go to the fortress with old canons above a very scenic rocky beachfront.
Continue on the trail, which will split. Stay left to go to the abandoned lighthouse and great views down the coastline. The trail will continue walking through the forest until you reach the first bay. From the first bay, you can walk entirely on the beach or a path right off the beach to Sakalava. The best section of this hike is after the second bay, on the long stretch to Sakalava Beach. Finish at the very large Sakalava Bay, where it is well-known for Kite Boarding. Head to the Sakalava Lodge at the end of the beach, enjoy a refreshing drink and ask them to arrange for a Taxi or car hire back to Ramena.
COSTS: 10,000 Ar per person entry at old Military complex if hiking from Ramena to Sakalava. From Sakalava, you can hire a taxi or private car for 30,000 Ar to 40,000 Ar. Quad tours starting from 80 Euro.
Ramena Sunday Party
Every Sunday, locals all head to Ramena for a beach party. Start your day around noon or 1 PM, where you can join a buffet and live music lunch at one of the several Join the relaxed environment and buffet at Badamera, which includes appetizers, entrees, and desserts with live music. Following a much-needed siesta, head down to the pier for where the real Sunday party gets rowdy and the drinks flow until 10 PM.
Where to Stay in Diego Suarez and Ramena
Budget Stay in Diego Suarez: Hotel Belle Vue has private rooms with shared bath for 25K Ar ($7 USD)
Mid-Range Stay in Diego Suarez: La Belle Aventure has private rooms from 85k Ar ($25 USD)
Eat in Diego Suarez: La Cantine, entrée’s from 7K Ar to 12K Ar ($2 – $3.50 USD)
Budget Stay in Ramena: Badamera has bungalows from 25K Ar to 50K Ar per night ($7 – $14 USD)
Mid-Range Stay in Ramena: Hotel Lakana Ramena has nice bungalows for 100K Ar ($30 USD)
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