It was morning after sumptuous party with locals in Joffreville. Our driver and guide were close to despair after their life lesson ‘do not party with polish – like a polish’. We could understand as we felt the night before as well. We had 90km to be covered on bumpy road to Diego Suarez. One should mentioned bumpy road in Madagascar is 30% of tarmac and the rest holes size of an baby elephant. Next we had 1 hour on rocking boat. The state we were at, trip to paradise island was more like going thru hell. In this circumstances Emerald Sea took us by surprise! We were occupied so much with glorious surroundings we forgot completely about night out pain.
During months of planning road trip part in Madagascar we had to change itinerary several times due to new information and circumstances. We should be 3 days in Diego Suarez as per original plan but in the end we only spend one in Ramena Beach not Diego itself. We didn’t really have a solid plan only a tip in our plan to do ‘ 3 bays’. After good few days spend in a car (and few evenings with beer) we developed unconditional trust to our driver and guide Joe. He suggested we should do Emerald Sea instead of 3 bays and that’s what we’ve done.
All cruises to Emerlad Sea starting in Ramena Beach nearby Diego Suarez. You can catch a boat just on the beach but most required your own guide. We don’t think it’s necessity but if you want to get some information on Emerald Sea it might be an option, mostly it’s a norm due to language barrier. Boats are tiny, wooden and rely on wind power (sometimes you even have to help with putting sail up). Everyone who is not comfortable with small rocking boats on open sea should think twice. We got proper adrenaline rush and had lots of fun. Probably danger is minimal, water shallow and speed moderate but bear in mind it’s still quite intense. Trip one way is around an hour and you do small break for snorkelling (we didn’t try from obvious reasons lol). It’s worth to take your own gear as the one available it’s in poor state and breathed thru by many mouths.
Trip cost 70 000 Ar per person with lunch and drinks during lunch included (beer as well). If you would like a water it’s no problem but you will have to pay for other drinks outside lunch time. You should reserve almost all day for a trip usually 9am – 4pm. For a guide we paid 60 000 Ar we could do without but Antonio was with us 3 days and we were happy to provide him additional business. We think you don’t need reservation but if you’re going in high season and want to be sure try to book in advance and let us know if it works. You could go to the beach yourself and try to talk to vendors but if travelling with driver he will be able to sort all out over the phone.
We didn’t really know what we’ll encounter so expectations were low but how much we were surprised! Name Emerald Sea has much to do with the actual colour of water if you wouldn’t realise already lol. Colour of the sea is amazing! Hard to say if it’s exactly emerald but it’s so intense an unreal. After 1 hour you reach Suarez Island. Water is warm, shallow and azure. Island is tiny there isn’t much to do so lazy beach day sounds like a plan. If you’re into kite surfing thou you couldn’t find better bay! You might be able to take your gear but discuss with organizer first. You spend 4-5 hours there.
!!! Hidden spot !!!
Our guide Antonio told us about this view point which not many people go to see. He claimed it’s a perfect spot for honeymooners ( god knows why ?!) If he meant perfect spot for few pictures and start your drone – correct, what you will do with this secret knowledge is completely up to you 😀
To find this spot you have to go all the way to the end of beach (opposite direction to toilets) and take turn into little path leading to dunes. Going slightly uphill you will reach little arbor where you can almost see 360 degrees around Island and Emerald Sea. You can continue with a path which will bring you to little hidden beach. You can go to this view point first thing after arriving to make sure you have it just for yourself before other will find out. You might take some extra clothing as path is a bit overgrown with spiky vegetation
There is lunch included which was sublime with rice, vegetables, sea food, crabs and freshly prepared and grilled fish. No point stick to given schedule our lunch was late 1 hour but so tasty you couldn’t hold anything against. All lunches during trips were probably the best meals we’ve had. Taking into consideration 17 euro for the trip it’s worth to go just for lunch ?