Morocco is a wonderfully beautiful and unique country, but a lot of tourists are unsure if they want to visit because they feel like they don’t have enough information. You see people asking the same questions over and over again on different forums and rarely getting satisfactory answers. We’ve collected such popular Morocco issues and addressed them all concisely in one post! Enjoy!
Is it safe in Morocco?
A lot of people don’t know what to expect from a country that is so close to Europe yet is also in the region where several revolutions have happened recently. The truth is Morocco is probably the safest Arab Spring country of all. Police presence is very visible in the cities and on the highways (remember that you can’t take pictures of them!) and there are special foreigner police departments in the big cities.
Although locals are very obnoxious and are masters of making you give them money, they understand when you say no (at least ten times) and there is no real aggression about them. Take the usual precautions and don’t panic! Ladies may hear all kind of compliments and suggestions, but again, nothing bad happens if you just learn to ignore them.
What to pack for Morocco?
A corkscrew! No, seriously, it’s even more difficult to find that in Morocco than a bottle of wine itself! But if we’re serious, some of the most useful things are a money belt, sunblock, hand sanitizer, toilet wipes and a scarf (can be bought right there). Just pack them, even though you think now you’re not gonna need them. You can thank me later.
It’s super-advisable to have strong prescription pills against food poisoning if you’re gonna eat on the streets. Just ask your doctor for a suggestion. In case you want to buy them right in Morocco, look for a green crescent moon sign and tell them the magic word Ercefuryl – it’s strong enough to stop a digestive catastrophe of any scale.
In case you’re going to some desert or mountain adventure, for heaven’s sake don’t take a suitcase! It’s the awkwardest thing to try to pack on a camel. A good backpack will free your hands and make you look like a tough traveler!
How expensive is Morocco?
That depends a lot on your travel style. Pre-booked several-day trips are usually pricey (3 days for 150 euros per person is the norm) and they don’t include some guides and lunches. This is tricky because usually, your car stops at a very expensive restaurant in the middle of nowhere and unless you’ve packed sandwiches (hint: do that!) you have no other option but to pay the price.
However, if you travel individually and avoid guides, you can manage on less than 30 euros per day. Accommodation is plenty and cheap (here‘s how to find an ideal option), food is tasty and cheap and public transport is also very affordable and easy to figure out. The most important thing to remember if you want to save money is not to let anybody show you around or help to find your destination. They WILL want your money even though they may say they just like you.
How to get around in Morocco?
Unless you have an organized tour, you have to get the hang of the public transport. The easiest way to get to places in a city is by the ubiquitous taxi. The cars are old and stingy, but it’s cheap if you agree on a price before getting into the car. As always in Morocco – bargain! Taxi drivers are obliged to have meters in their cars, but none do. Remember that cars cannot go into the Medinas – walled city centers with narrow streets – so the driver will drop you at the nearest bab (gate).
Trains are also pretty easy to figure out – the train stations are new, with multi-language ticket machines, and the trains are pretty clean if you stay away from the toilet. Unfortunately, you can’t count on the rail to be on time so don’t plan any short connections.
Buses reach to more places than trains, so they may be your choice in a lot of occasions. You can find tickets here or here for example. Then you can always hail a grand taxi that goes on fixed routes and is shared by locals, but traveling by them is always less predictable :)
What to buy in Morocco?
It’s almost easier to shop than NOT to shop in Morocco, so try to control yourself and get only what you really want, not all the stuff being showed into your face. Stay away from very touristic places, go deeper along the market streets – souks – to find better prices. Always bargain – show mild interest, ask for a price, laugh at what the seller says, accept mint tea, sit down, listen to his offers and suggest your own price at least half less than the one proposed by the seller. Stay good-natured, don’t feel like you’re obliged to buy and have a good fun!
Now as to what to buy. Scarves and shawls are very convenient to wear in Morocco and make great presents. Besides, you’ll most certainly get a bargain if you take more than one. Spices and natural cosmetics are also to be found at prices unimaginable in, for example, Europe. And if your house lacks an eclectic touch, the wonderful brass lamps will not leave you unimpressed.