This African island nation is probably the most expensive in terms of airfares (though it's cheaper for Europe-based fliers than for North Americans). However, it is one of the cheapest countries on Earth to travel around if you are willing to forego the package tour route in favor of a more independent experience. Basic accommodations are in the $5 to $10 range. This is the case everywhere, even in the the main city of Antananarivo and in the resort area of Nosy Be.
The amazing wildlife and plant life (a majority of the plants and animals in Madagascar are endemic – they are not found in the wild anywhere else on earth) and the unique culture of Madagascar truly make this a destination like no other. For $5 can get a “fancy” meal, while there are infinitely cheaper options if you are willing to stick to local fare or self-cater with food bought from a market. Actually, water (like many places, bottled water is a necessity unless you are willing to boil or use a filter) might be the most expensive aspect of a backpacker's budget.