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World Travel Guide > Guides > Africa > Madagascar

Money and duty free for Madagascar

Currency and Money

Currency information

Ariary (MGA; symbol Ar) = 5 iraimbilanja. Notes are in denominations of Ar20,000, 10,000, 5,000, 2,000, 1,000, 500, 200 and 100. Coins are in denominations of Ar50, 20, 10, 5, 2, 1, and 2, 1 iraimbilanja.

Note: Malagasy Francs are no longer accepted.

Credit cards

American Express, Diners Club, Mastercard and Visa are accepted at top-end hotels in Tana and the provincial capitals. However, outside of the main cities cash is king.

ATM

ATMs can be found in and around the capital and in some of the larger towns. However, many of these only take visa; the daily withdrawal limit is 400,000Ar.

Travellers cheques

These can be exchanged in banks and major hotels. Traveller's cheques in Euros or US Dollars are advisable to avoid additional exchange rate charges. Cashing traveller's cheques can be very time-consuming.

Banking hours

Mon-Fri 0800-1100 and 1400-1600.

Currency restrictions

The import and export of local currency is restricted to the amount of 400,000 Ar. There are no restrictions on the import or export of foreign currency, but amounts exceeding the equivalent of MGA10,000,000 need to be declared. 

Currency exchange

Currency can be bought only at banks and official bureaux de change in hotels and at the airport in Antananarivo. Exchange rates in hotels are less-favourable than other outlets. The Ariary is a non-convertible currency and cannot be exchanged back into tradable currency. Changing small amounts, as required, is therefore advisable.

Madagascar duty free

Overview

The following goods can be imported into Madagascar without incurring customs duty by persons 18 years of age and over:

• 2 cartons or 20 packs of cigarettes.
• 2L of alcoholic drinks.

Banned Imports

Unauthorised firearms and ammunition, and endangered species (unless accompanied by a CITES permit). 

Plants, fruit and vegetables require a phytosanitary certificate.

Banned Exports

Endangered species (unless accompanied by a CITES certificate).

You must obtain a certificate/permit to export animals and plants and their products, precious wood and precious stones.

Tourists should be aware that many items on sale may have been manufactured illegally and may not be taken out of the country, with or without a permit.

For certain goods, there are limits to the quantities you can export from Madagascar. For example, you can export up to 2kg of vanilla or 1kg of precious stones (250g for residents).