Budget Madagascar: what does travel and backpacking in Madagascar cost?

What is a realistic budget for Madagascar? How much does a trip through Madagascar cost? Is Madagascar a possible destination for backpackers? The answer to these questions depends on the type of traveller you are, the activities you do and how long your trip is. But I can tell something about what we have spent in Madagascar. So in this blog: how expensive was our trip through Madagascar, what is a realistic daily budget and how much does food cost in Madagascar?

How much money does it cost to travel in Madagascar?

First a disclaimer: Everyone travels in his or her way and has different priorities. That is completely fine, but keep this in mind when you read our costs. It can always be more expensive or cheaper.

We travelled through Madagascar at a very slow pace: we had all the time and mainly travelled by car or public transport. During this trip, we paid attention to our budget by sleeping mostly in cheap hotels (with an occasional luxurious night) and making breakfast and lunch ourselves. The biggest costs are in the car rental and associated petrol. During this trip, we had collaborations, which gave us a discount on activities or transport. I did not include this discount in the calculation below to give a representative view.Ile Sainte-Marie

Read about all the hotels in Madagascar we can recommend!

What were our total expenses for traveling Madagascar?

Number of days: 58
Total spent in Madagacar: Ar 30,494,781 / € 7,392 / $ 8240.60
Expenditure per person in Madagacar: Ar 15,247,390 / € 3696 / $ 4120.30
Cost per day for Madagascar: Ar 525,779 / € 127.45 / $ 141.58
 Our daily budget: Ar 569,301 / € 138 / $ 153.84
Category most over budget: Transport
Category most under budget: Accommodation
These expenses do not include airline tickets and are based on two people. I have calculated the prices and exchange rate Ariary / Euro and Euro / Dollar at the time of this trip (July 2019). The currencies displayed are: Malagasy Ariary (AR), Euro (€) and USA Dollar ($).

Cost of hotels in Madagascar: 15.9% of total budget Madagascar

Total spent: Ar 7,326,668 / € 1176 / $ 1311.00
Number of nights: 56
Average overnight stay for 2 people: Ar 86,632 / € 21 / $ 23.41

Accommodations in Madagascar are really cheap (€ 10- € 18 for a basic double room)! That said, most hotels are very basic! Like no hot water, poor WiFi and very simple rooms. There are more luxury hotels in places where more tourists come, such as Nosy Be, Ile Sainte Marie and at the RN7. Sometimes we splurged on one of those beautiful hotels and spent the night there. When you go camping, it’s really cheap, most campsites are only a few euros per night.

Tip: looking for a nice hotel for your first nights in Madagascar? Check out the blog I wrote about hotels Antananarivo near the capital city.

Cost of transport in Madagascar: 59.8% of total budget Madagascar

Total spent: Ar 18,230,037 / € 4419 / $ 4926.31
Car rental: Ar 14,851,354 / € 3600 / $ 4013.28
Diesel: Ar 2,073,785 / €502.69 / $ 560.40
Other (ferry, bus, taxi): Ar1,304,897 / € 316.31 / $ 352.62

The above spendings do not include the flighttickets to Madgascar. Click here for the most recent flight deals to Madagascar!

The vast majority of our expenses in Madagascar consisted of transport costs. We rented cars for six weeks, which is not cheap. Gasoline (or in this case) diesel is cheaper than in the Netherlands, but because of the large distances, you have to refuel quite often. On average, we spent €105 per day on cars and fuel.

Car rental in Madagascar for a self-drive adventure:

Renting a car in Madagascar is not expensive. For renting a car (four-wheel drive) for three weeks in Madagascar you pay around € 1800. That is a lot of money, but it is definitely worth it. This way you can make a cool (self-drive) road trip that is guaranteed to be full of adventure.

We traveled all over Madagascar by 4×4! Read everything you need to know about car rental in Madagascar here!

Public transportation in Madagascar:

Doesn’t car rental fit your backpacker’s budget? Then travel by public transport. Public transportation in Madagascar is very cheap. Taxi brousse (local vans) are the cheapest, but if you want to travel a little more comfortably, the Cotisse bus company will travel on the most famous routes for a few euros more. Keep in mind that you are on the road for longer with public transport and cannot get anywhere.

Madagascar budget tip: Domestic flights are very expensive (easily 200-300 euros for a return ticket). But throughout 2019 there is an advantageous deal with the Tsaradia airline: if you buy a ticket that you use within three weeks on Tuesday or Wednesday, you will get a 50% discount! Not bad at all!Roadtrip Africa

Cost of food in Madagascar: 15% of total budget Madagascar

Total spent: Ar 4,562,913 / € 1106.06 / $ 1233.04
Including food and drinks: Ar 2,783,303 / € 674.68 / $ 752.13
Of which groceries: Ar 1,779,604 / € 431.38 / $ 480.90

Yoghurt with fresh fruit and granola in the morning, a baguette with avocado or sardines in the afternoon and a simple meal in our hotel in the evening. Because Madagascar has long been a French colony, many French influences can be found in the Malagasy cuisine, not bad at all!

We bought yoghurt in the few supermarkets that Madagascar has (mainly in the five largest cities). Take into consideration, as soon as products have to be imported from abroad (for instance granola, cheese or apples) the prices are a lot higher. We expected to spend a lot more on food, but things like fruit, vegetables and bread can be found cheaply on the market which is around in every little town. In addition, eating out is also not expensive.

Tip: do you not eat meat like me? Then don’t worry about travelling in Madagascar, there is a lot of vegetarian food to be found.

Whale watching in Ile Sainte-Marie: All you need to know about Ile Sainte-Marie in Madagascar!

Cost of activities in Madagascar: 6.6% of total budget Madagascar

Total spent: Ar 2,009,181 / € 487.03 / $ 542.94
Visiting National Parks: Ar 1,211,457 / € 293.66 / $ 327.37
Whale safari: Ar 336,630 / € 81.60 / $ 90.97
Nosy Be boat trip: Ar 288,776 / € 70 / $ 78.04
Other: Ar 172,316 / € 41.77 / $ 46.57

Most activities in Madagascar are not that expensive, especially when compared to mainland Africa, the national parks are extremely cheap. Whale watching is a bit more expensive and in Nosy Be we did a slightly more expensive boat trip to Nosy Iranja.

Tip: in Ambanja we rented bikes (at Rando Raid) and did a bike ride ourselves, this was five times as cheap as when we had made a bike ride with guides.

Free travel guide to Avenue des Baobabs: the scenic trees of Madagascar!

Other expenses: 2.8% of total budget Madagascar

Total spent: Ar 843,589 / € 204.49 / $ 227.97
Telephone subscription: Ar 242,448 / € 58.77 / $ 65.52
Visa: Ar 331,845 / € 80.40 / $ 90
Washing clothes: Ar 67.728 / € 16.66 / $ 18.57
Other: Ar 200,740 / € 48.66 / $ 54.25

A 60-day Visa costs a little more than 40 euros per person and we also bought 10GB of telephone credit + a SIM card twice so that we would most often have internet. We usually washed our clothes ourselves with some soap, but sometimes real laundry was more than necessary. We also spent some money on massages, gifts and beauty products.

Tip: a visa on arrival can be obtained for up to 90 days. The process to obtain such a visa is very smooth, just make sure you have (new) dollars or euro notes with you to pay.

Read here everything you need to know about Nosy Be and what you can do there!

Buying bread Madagascar

What is the price level in Madagascar?

What is the price level in Madagascar? I answer that question below by showing the prices of normal food and expenses during a trip.

  • 1 Kilo of apples: AR 8,600 / € 2.13 / $ 2.39
  • 150 Ml olive oil: AR 6,100 / € 1.49 / $ 1.68
  • 1 Bag of chips: AR 6,000 / € 2.30 / $ 2.59
  • 1 Kilo of bananas: AR 1,000 / € 2.36 / $ 2.65
  • Yoghurt (1L): AR 8,800 / € 2.18 / $ 2.46
  • 1 Baquette: AR 1,000 / € 0.26 / $ 0.42
  • 1 Avocado: AR 1,000 / € 0.26 / $ 0.42
  • Pack of milk (2.2L): AR 5,000 / € 1.24 / $ 1.40
  • Bottle of cola (1L): AR 8,000 / € 1.96 / $ 2.19
  • Water (2L): AR 3,000 / € 0.52 / $ 0.58
  • Bottle of wine in supermarket (750 ml): AR 30,000 / € 7.48 / $ 8.41

  • Beer in the supermarket: AR 4,500 / € 1.15 / $ 1.29
  • Bottle of shampoo: AR 9,300 / € 2.30 / $ 2.59
  • Cappuccino: AR 14,000 / € 3.45 / $ 3.88
  • Glass of wine in restaurant: AR 18,500 / € 4.60 / $ 5.17
  • Local beer in a restaurant: AR 14,000 / € 3.45 / $ 3.88
  • Simple lunch / evening meal (1 person): AR 11,600 / € 2.80 / $ 3.23
  • 1 liter of diesel: AR 6,350 / € 1.57 / $ 1.76

Read here everything about the self-drive itinerary from Morondava to Toliara by 4wd!

Belo sur Mer madagascar

Conclusion: is Madagascar an expensive country to travel?

Yes, we stayed well within our budget! Our daily spending (with just the two of us) was € 27 per day, which is just over €60 per person per day. This means we stayed more than 11 euros a day below our budget, which means that we have spent more than 600 euros less than we intended. We did everything we wanted to do and had a great time.

If you travel by public transport, you can travel a lot cheaper. However, keep in mind that you need extra time for travelling. More than 70 euros of our daily expenses were car rental and gasoline.

What is a realistic daily budget for Madagascar?

Do you travel by public transport, don’t mind cooking yourself or eating on the street and are hostels your thing? Then Madagascar can be done on a backpackers budget for €35 per day per person!

A realistic daily budget for a midrange traveller in Madagascar is €75 per person. For this you rent a car to travel the country, you sometimes sleep in a middle-class hotel and you often eat at restaurants.

Do you have questions about travelling through Madagascar? Do not hesitate to leave a comment or send us a message since we are more than happy to answer your questions!

Travel Blogs MadagascarClick here for all my blogs about Madagascar.

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  1. by Arnold on 14 July 2020  17:15 Reply

    When is it happening to madagascar?

  2. by Takudzwa on 27 September 2022  10:47 Reply

    Great 👌. I've learnt a lot and i'm inspired. Thank you for taking your time to write this down for all of us who find it useful. I'm defo following you on Instagram

  3. by Magic on 4 November 2022  21:25 Reply

    Hi Charlotte,
    Great to read this!
    I'm right now on my way to Madagascar, which rental company did you use for self drive rent a car ?

  4. by Dimitrios on 11 March 2024  08:22 Reply

    We stayed for three months and spent much less than that. Accommodation for decent places never came to more than €20 a day (prices are much lowered when you show up in person instead of booking via a platform). A 4x4 for 16 days with a driver including his accommodation and food came to €42 per day.

  5. by Steve on 21 April 2024  19:55 Reply

    Is Madagascar a safe country to visit?

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