ANTALAHA, with its airport, is a practical gateway town for Masoala and an obvious stepping stone for Marojejy. As well as the legitimate vanilla business, with plantations all around (and opportunities to visit and learn something about cultivation and preparation; ask in town), Antalaha is a centre for illegal rosewood exports: the trade has made some here very rich.
The town stretches for several kilometres along the coast behind the beach, which is protected by a reef. Even so, you should be very careful if you swim, as the sea is rough and the tides and currents strong: the port itself is probably the most sheltered area.

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