Morocco Travel TipsThere are so many mistakes we often make when visiting a new destination. Things that are often quite simple yet missed, and something we wish someone had told us before we embarked on our adventures. Here are the ultimate Moroccan Travel advice that can save you time, frustration and some cash .
- Before you have even arrived in Morocco, and while you are still sitting in the comfort of your own home. The first tip begins with booking transfers from your tour operator. These usually retail for between $30 – $50 dependent on the size of your travel party. Don’t book it!Morocco has an abundance of reliable and super cheap taxi’s that wait at the airport. Airport transfers especially in Marrakech usually cost no more than 100 Moroccan Dirhams which is approximately $12. Don’t pay more than 100 – 120 dirhams for your journey. This is the usual price for this. Don’t be afraid to stand firm and haggle. Everything can be haggled in Morocco.
- Taxi madness…Morocco as a whole is driven on tourism and they use this to their advantage. There are metre’s in almost all taxi’s which are conveniently never put on, leaving you to negotiate a price with the driver, or in many cases for him to dictate the price. There are 2 things you can do here, simply ask the driver to run the metre, with an average journey within the city costing between 5-20 dirhams, but for which you are often charged 40-50 dirhams. Or you can negotiate your price before entering the taxi. Trips within the city should realistically not exceed 20 dirhams and that’s being generous. An alternative is to jump on a bus which is approximately 4 dirhams, they are clean, air conditioned and take you everywhere you need to go, providing a fun alternative to the taxi.
- When in Morocco, the likelihood is that you would want to visit a neighboring city. The Atlas Mountains and Essaouira are popular touristic additions, being just over 1 hour from Marrakech. There is an overflow of tour companies and guides throughout the city, often charging triple the price to take you to these locations. However if you are looking to save some serious change, then opt for a local coach which takes just over an hour to these destinations and costs no more than 120 dirhams, which would cost you 300-400 dirhams with a tour company. Alternatively ask a BIG taxi to take you to these locations, and pay no more than 100 dirhams. There are benefits to using tour groups, as it allows you to see the core attractions of each destination but if you are keen on exploring then going it alone is best. Also you get a tour guide thrown in when taking a BIG taxi…call it the hospitality of the Moroccan’s who are always keen to share their history.
- Moroccans are very simple and friendly people. Often very vocal and expressive, but overall no harm is meant. Be sociable and receptive. Indulge in conversation, sit down for mint tea, which is often offered by the traders and don’t be standoffish. In my experience there is little to no theft, primarily within Marrakech. So despite what you may have heard, read or assumed, you are very safe in the city.
- When visiting any souk (market) you will always get traders wanting to show you something, lead you somewhere; offer you the best price for spices, leathers and much more. If you have time then embark on the journey with them and explore as you will often find you discover magnificent Moroccan treasures. However if time is not on your side you can find that this can become tiresome. Simply say “laa shukran” (no thank you) in Arabic and be on your merry way. They can be persistent, so this is the best way to allow yourself to enjoy the experience at your leisurely pace without being disturbed.
- When you arrive in Morocco and are ushered to your wonderful hotel. Dependent on where you are staying, there is usually an onsite spa, offering wonderful treatments, especially the traditional Hammam. This usually retails for between 600-700 sometime 1000 dirhams and you feel that you are at the mercy of the hotel. Don’t waste your money, these are inflated hotel prices. There a hundreds of Spa’s and treatments dotted around the city, especially when it comes to a traditional Hammam treatment, which realistically retails for no more than 120 dirhams. I would advise that you have a look around before settling on your final spa option.
- Finally and most importantly, don’t be afraid to HAGGLE! Everything in the Souk is overly inflated; haggling is what Morocco and the Souks are all about. Whatever price you are quoted, offer half, don’t be afraid to walk away and this often results in the traders agreeing to your price or at least meeting you at a more realistic figure.
Overall, enjoy your trip, in the knowledge that you are in a very safe and friendly place. Engross yourself in the culture, the people and the abundance of experiences afforded to you.