It is hard to do justice to Casa Faly in writing, but given the magical month we spent there, we will at least put forth our best effort.
The home is perched on a small cliff in the Northwestern region of Nosy Be, a small, beautiful island that sits off the Northwestern coast of mainland Madagascar.
Ensconced among the palms and mango trees, Lemurs hop from tree to tree, and occasionally onto the woven ravinala roofing, a beautiful feature of Casa Faly and a staple of Malagasy architecture. Tropical bird songs harmonize with the wind’s rustle and produce a soft, constant sound, which is only interrupted (quite delightfully) in the mornings by a long, drawly “bonjooooour” as Tina, Sabrina and Felicitie greet you for the day.
Mauro and Fausta, the lovely couple responsible for Casa Faly, have designed and decorated their home with characteristic authenticity. The cozy, earthy tones of the home perfectly balance the strokes of light and color produced by the lush vegetation and glimmering ocean that surround it. In each corner there are traces of a lifestyle - collections of shells and corals, Crusoe-esque driftwood furniture, rustic versions of classic games such as marble solitaire and mancala. All items in Casa Faly have their story (if not multiple), and all contribute to the home’s contagious, leisurely pace.
Casa Faly is stellarly staffed and amenitized. We enjoyed uninterrupted Wi-Fi, hot water, and electricity - priceless treasures when traveling to even the most upscale destinations in this region of the world. We were extensively cared for by Tina, Sabrina and Felicitie. They cooked, cleaned, and guided us to the best of their abilities, and always with a smile on their face. We enjoyed a variety of dishes, and they gleefully accommodated our dietary preferences and idiosyncrasies. They learned our hours and habits, and made significant efforts to make us feel at home.
Life at Casa Faly was so pleasant, for a while it silenced the itch to explore beyond it. However, when that itch inevitably appeared, it was thoroughly satisfied by all Nosy Be has to offer. We enjoy diving and spearfishing, and there were plenty of reefs ranging from 3-20 meters in depth, a short swim from the shore of the private beach only a 3 minute walk from the home. The immersion into the local marine life is gradual, then sudden. We saw green turtles, snapper, grouper, lobster, triggerfish, pufferfish, whale sharks and dolphins all within 100 meters from the shore. It is a diver’s paradise, simply put. The people of Nosy Be do not disappoint, either. They are always smiling, eager to converse, and equally laid back as the rhythm of Casa Faly. We visited the market, some small villages, a few beaches, and a restaurant or two. Considering the size of the island, the variety is tremendous.
In the spirit of brevity, there are many details we’ve left out about both Casa Faly and Nosy Be, places of equal magic that seem to be made for one another. Ultimately, it is an island on an island on an island, and it beckons to be known. We gave ourselves a great gift in doing so, and hope that many others may as well.