Travel Tips for Morocco

Morocco was high on my list of places to go because it is so close to Spain.  Initially I was a little scared to go alone because I’d heard all of these terrible stories and Africa is very different than travelling through Europe.  When I found a cheap organized tour I jumped on the opportunity.  After my week in the sand, I want to share my new pearls of wisdom for travelling through Morocco.

Money

  • Dirham is about 10 cents to the euro making most things cheap.  The City Life tour was $389 included most breakfasts and dinners, transportation and hotel.  However, our group was about 90 people as a whole so our lunch situations ended up being more expensive than the average Moroccan meal usually costing between 5-10 euros but a meal should cost less the 5 euros usually.
  • You don’t tip at restaurants but tip your camel leader, the bus driver and maybe your tour guide.
  • When we were in Chefchaouen the children asked for pens and not many of us had any.  Bring a lot to hand out but don’t hand out money to children!
  • School is compulsory until age 13 in Morocco.  Many parents pull their children out of school to beg on the streets because children make more money begging.  So if you give money to a child you are perpetuating a culture that forces children to beg instead of going to school.  Give money to adults.
  • Also, if you want to give money DO NOT OPEN YOUR WALLET.  Sometimes the beggar is a distraction so someone in a corner can grab your stuff.  Instead keep a few coins in your pocket or easily accessible to give to adult beggars.

Booze

  • Bars and booze are scarce.  Morocco is a Muslim country and the only places that have liquor are usually hotels.  They only have it for foreigners.
  • Booze can be found in large supermarkets like Carrefour and they are in a separate part of the store.  The alcohol is also over taxed.
  • It should be noted plenty of people came with a bottle of two on the ferry with no problem. So if you really want to drink I suggest storing a bottle for the journey.

Packing

  • It was cold!  I thought it would be warm but the whole time I was wishing I brought my parka!!! Don’t underestimate Africa, it was wet, windy and cold a lot of the time.  A good rain jacket and some sneakers or hiking shoes are a must.
  • Dress modestly. No shoulders or knees and that applies for both genders.
  • Pickpockets are everywhere so be very aware.  I used a money belt but it’s totally fine to just have a purse and be aware.  I wore a backpack with a lock on it too.
  • People speak French in the North and Spanish in the South better than English.  Everyone speaks Arabic so try to learn some Arabic phrases if you have time.  You can’t depend on many people speaking English.

Safety

The biggest question I get is, “Is it safe?”  I was with a group so we didn’t have a lot of problems.  We had some men shouting things and trying to hit on us.

We had very few problems because we were in such a large group but the last day was rough.  Some children tried to sneak under the bus to get to the ferry so they could go to Spain.  It was a big fiasco but no one was hurt.

I didn’t experience anything serious.  I’d heard all of these horror stories about black henna causing chemical burns, men grabbing women’s hair and people getting mugged but I didn’t experience that (thankfully).  Some of it may be over dramatizations.  The best advice I can give is dress modestly and try not to call attention to yourself.

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