Money Matters: How much does it cost to travel in Madagascar?

Money Matters: How much does it cost to travel in Madagascar?

The large majority of species in Madagascar are found nowhere else on earth. No surprise Madagascar is a paradise for nature and wildlife lovers. Famous sights include the Avenue of Baobabs with the gorgeous Baobab trees, the pinnacles of the ‘Tsingy de Bemaraha’ limestone plateau and the Andasibe-Mantadia park home to eleven lemur species. But how much does it cost to travel in Madagascar? Margherita Ragg of The Crowded Planet explored Madagascar with her husband Nick and backpacked throughout the country. Take a look at their expenses. 

This article is part of the Money Matters series in which we ask travelers to keep their expenses for Bunch of Backpackers. Real travelers, real expenses.  

COSTS 35-DAY MADAGASCAR TRIP: 1100 EURO (1352 USD)
DAILY TRAVEL EXPENSES MADAGASCAR*: 31 EURO (38 USD)

*These daily travel expenses are per one person per day.  Including all tours, domestic flights, souvenirs, lodging, food, drinks, entrance fees, tips etc. Excluding international flights.

A man transporting cargo on the Tsiribihina River. ©The Crowded Planet.
A man transporting cargo on the Tsiribihina River. ©The Crowded Planet.

EXAMPLES OF PRICES IN MADAGASCAR:

These prices are per person unless stated otherwise.

Standard Madagascar expenses

One night in a hostel dormitory: 3,00 euro
One night in a double room in a simple guesthouse: 10,00 euro 
A short 10-minute taxi ride: 1,00 euro 
A bottle of water (0,5L) at the store: 0,40 euro 
A local beer at a bar/restaurants: 1,00 euro 
A glass of coca cola in a restaurant: 0,75 euro 
Basic lunch at a local restaurant: 0,90 euro 
Dinner at a local restaurant: 6,00 euro 

Notable Madagascar expenses 

7-day tour of Western Madagascar to the Tsiribihina River, Tsingy de Bemaraha, Avenue du Baobab: 300 euro (inclusive of accommodation, food, transport, local guide and entrance fees)
3 day trek around Andringitra National Park (including climbing Pic Boby, Madagascar’s 2nd highest mountain): 75,00 euro 
2 dives in Anakao: 70,00 euro 
Entrance and day trip in Ranomafana and Isalo (guide hired directly at park headquarters): 20,00 euro 

Wonderful scenery in Andringitra National Park. ©The Crowded Planet.
Wonderful scenery in Andringitra National Park. ©The Crowded Planet.

SOME DETAILS ON THIS TRIP:

About the backpackers: Margherita Ragg and her husband Nick, 31 years
Destination and travel period: Madagascar in July 2014 for 31 days 
Visited places: Antananarivo, Antsirabe, Tsiribihina River, Tsingy de Bemaraha, Ranomafana National Park, Andringitra National Park, Isalo National Park, Tulear, Anakao.
Type of trip: Couple, independently
Accommodation*: budget (mainly hostels and guesthouses)
Transportation*: budget (cheapest available mode of transportation) 
Food*: budget (local places and cheap western places)
Currency rate: 1 euro = 3250 Malagasy Ariary

*4 options: basic, budget, standard and luxury

A brown lemur climbing over the limestone pinnacles of Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park.
A brown lemur climbing over the limestone pinnacles of Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park. ©The Crowded Planet.

MADAGASCAR BUDGET TIPS BY MARGHERITA

  • In terms of traveling, you will save A LOT of money traveling by taxi-brousse, shared minibuses that shuttle across the country. They are cramped and uncomfortable, but they can be up to 10 times cheaper than the same ride in a rented 4X4.
  • It’s worth taking a tent as many national parks have campgrounds for a minimal fee, but it may be cold in July/August and you may be miles away from restaurants. We camped near Ranomafana National Park in the grounds of a restaurant, for 5000 ariary per night (1.5 euro).
  • When visiting national parks, you must be accompanied by a guide that takes up to 4 people. Solo or couple travellers can hang around park headquarters for a while, waiting for fellow travellers to team up with to share guide fees – the perfect way to make new friends!
  • Traditional Malagasy food, served at establishments called ‘hotely’, is usually a big pile of tasteless rice with some pieces of meat for less than a euro. Dishes usually have nondescript names such as ‘chicken sauce’. I’m sure that even the thriftiest of travellers will have a hard time eating only at hotely – or maybe I’m getting old? Luckily, French cuisine is widespread and inexpensive throughout Madagascar. Think green pepper steak, pommes frites and banana flambé for 5/6 euro – heaven!
Margherita and Nick of  the Crowded Planet
Margherita and Nick in Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park. ©The Crowded Planet.

Note: The top photograph (featured image) was taken at sunset on the Avenue of Baobabs in Western Madagascar. ©The Crowded Planet.

Have you been to Madagascar? Can you relate to these travel costs? 

Meet 'travel mastermind' Manouk: a 29-year-old sassy girl from Rotterdam, the Netherlands. With BoB she inspires you to explore the world, meet the unexpected and follow your dreams. Happy travels!

13 COMMENTS

  1. I had no idea it would be so inexpensive to travel in Madagascar! I’d travel there to see the trees alone. This post is an awesome resource. I only imagine a plane ticket from Europe or North America might cost more than the trip itself.

  2. Me too Emiko! The Avenue of Baobab goes on my travel wish list! Amazing! And, Madagascar looks like an affordable country for backpackers :)

  3. What incredible photos, wow gosh! Looks great! Prices aren’t too bad, though my understanding of euros is pretty shaky. Were there a lot of vegetarian food options out there, did you notice?

    • Ah I’m sorry Charlie! Will add the USD equivalents later! Think Marghe and Nick will be able to answer the vegetarian food question :)!

  4. Great read! I guess I need to learn more about how to manage my money why travelling :) But it does look promising money-wise :) Might even check flights and consider it for my next year travel destination :) Looks like really cool and exciting place to visit!

    • Thanks for reading Monika! Yes, after seeing these photo’s and reading the Madagascar articles on The Crowded Planet I’ve become quite enthusiast about visiting! And it indeed does quite promising money-wise! Yay!

  5. This is really useful especially since we have been considering Madagascar for awhile! I would love to take part in your series as we have been to Burma and I know a lot of travellers are always asking how much it costs to got there! Let me know if this is something I can take part in :)

    • He Samantha! Thanks so much for offering! I actually already have one for Burma, but I’ll send you an email for maybe a next trip :)? I’d be happy to feature you!! I hope you will make it to Madagascar by the way! It looks fantastic!

  6. Hi everyone! Just to follow up on some of the questions: Emiko was absolutely right! we DID spend more on flights than in the country itself! And it didn’t really feel like we were trying to go as cheap as possible. It’s quite an affordable country, as long as you don’t hire cars with drivers.
    Charlie: we asked vegetarians in the country how they were coping and had mixed reviews. In hotelys, the veg option is likely to either be plain rice, or some sort of veg stew with the meat taken out of it. A Dutch traveler said she found really great veg food at street markets, and of course most French restaurants will have a vegetarian option. For vegans, I’m not sure. Hope it helps!

  7. Great article if you are after the most basic trip…I have been driving around and I live in Madagascar and those rates are for locals only. You have always to negotiate the price, you need to have a very strong stomach to eat in those hotelys and to sleep in hostels (no hot-water and winter at night is very cold – dirty toilets to share etc..), you better camp outside or bring your own pillow and sheets. Like travelling using public transport? Ok, but be prepared to waste a whole day waiting for the bus to be full and, reach your destination at a speed of no more than 50 km/h (I own a bus that does the Tana/Diego route 24/28 hrs). A trip from Tana to Morondava will take more than a whole day, in a tiny mazda designed for 7 people that actually carries 18 ppl in one of the hottest area of the country. A domestic flight leg (ei. Toulear/Tana) is from €220 pp and a visit to a main national park is min. €15 pp. Madagascar is amazing and unique but it is not the right country for backpackers, infrastructure is just way too basic. However, good luck to all backpackers wishing to come to Madagascar, you will remember your trip!

  8. Hi Roberto, Thanks for your comment! I see your point, but for us backpackers that’s all part of the fun! We don’t mind spending time in a tiny Mazda carrying 18 persons ;)!

  9. Hi fellow backpackers,

    I plan a world trip with my best friend, starting in April 2017.
    We also want to travel to madagascar for 2-3 weeks.
    Does anybody know how the the security situation is at the moment?
    Did the prices change? And does anybody know how much we have to spend for a jeep with a driver
    in comparison to the public transport?

    Thank you very much!
    Greetings from Germany
    Ole

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