Morocco is a destination that offers countless possibilities, but by fears and unfounded prejudices, the yearning for adventure of hundreds of travelers it’s just holding back.
Our desire is to disrupt this kind of mental barriers and sharing with you some tips before your trip, as easy and attractive as possible. Get comfortable on your seat and get ready to know which are the most importnat things you must know before traveling to Morocco.
It’s a low cost country.
Surely you’ve heard or read somewhere that Morocco is a destination very cheap for the traveler. Well, we have to tell you that you read or hear right. You will spend very few dollars to eat and drink. A meal at a luxury restaurant is about 70 dirhams (7 dollars). Here you have an example of a luxury hotel menu:
It’s a very safe country.
We heard that one of the reasons that slow down traveling to a country like Morocco, it’s the fear that’ll happen something bad. It is totally normal to have fear or respect of the unknown. Our personal experience about this wonderful country, a Kingdom that was a protectorate of France and Spain, make us believe that Morocco is a very safe country for both men and women, if not, the safest Arabic country to visit in the World. Prejudice towards the Arab culture and Muslims, unfortunately, are very common nowadays. We won’t try to convince you with arguments, in fact, we’re not here to force you to do or not do something, just to show you the potential benefits and let you be the one who will make the final decision.
One thing was to say that you are not going to spend much because it’s a low cost country and another thing is that you’ll do a lot of selfies with your new iPhone 7 Plus at 2am in the blind streets and markets of the Medina. Independent of the destination to which you are traveling, take a few precautions and squeeze out the wisdom of your common sense are the key in order to avoid bitter disappointment. Walking alone at night through streets and neighborhoods you don’t know may not be such a good idea. The idea is to follow the same principles and act in the same way that if you were in your own city. About the health insurance, two basic tips: Always drink bottled water, wash your hands thoroughly before each meal.
The official languages of Morocco are Classical Arabic and the Berber. The French spoken in virtually all of the country, and that you will not be unlikely to hear them also speak Spanish. For something Morocco is the first country in the Arab world where it is most studied Spanish. Anyway, is very easy to learn some words in the language of the Moroccans, and it’ll help you a lot to communicate and have a better relationship with locals.
You’ll drink a lot of tea.
The beer, being forbidden for Muslims, can only be found in hotel chains or restaurants geared solely to tourism, which means a high price to pay. You have the option to bring it from home, but the best thing you can do is forget about it during your days of travel. One of the basic principles of every true traveler is trying to adapt to the local culture with the aim to learn from it and better understand the world in which we live. So our advice is to substitute beer for tea. In Morocco, it is drunk at all hours and it is the perfect excuse to start a conversation with strangers and make new friends. Oh well, it is delicious!
And also, you’ll eat a lot.
In Morocco, you can eat a lot spending very little. You should try the “Tagine”, chicken or lamb; the Moroccan soup or “Harira”; salad of tomato, pepper and onion well chopped; couscous; and the famous Arabian sweets. Always look for the establishments most frequented by the locals, it will mean that the food they serve is quality. Avoid judging by appearances. The facade of the restaurant is not very attractive does not mean that their dishes are not. Don’t miss the chance!
You’ll have to haggle.
Let us give you some tips for the art of haggling: Don’t feel bad about having to haggle. Negotiate the price of what you purchase is something that is intrinsic in the form of trade and the Arab culture. Don’t be mad if you feel that you are offering a price much higher than you estimate real. Take it as a game and try to be the best bidder (even if it is almost impossible!). Avoids haggling amounts below one dollar. And that can be a somewhat absurd and ridiculous! The trick to counter the offer of the merchant is mostly offering half the price you were told or think how much you would be willing to pay and launch your counter-offer below that price. Haggling can be frustrating for some and fun for others. Bring out your best smile and try to enjoy all you can of the situation. The last advice is to buy if you haggled a good price.
Check your documentation.
If you never have traveled to Morocco before we recommend you to read the article “Documentation for traveling to Morocco”. Make sure it’s not something you let for the last moment and get rid of this bureaucratic task as soon as you can. Mostly, be sure to check the expiration date of your passport is higher than 3 months to avoid unnecessary problems.
Have a good travel insurance.
When you travel with us, you’ll always have health insurance in case of hospitalization or need for repatriation in case of major illness. Hiring a reassuring travel insurance is essential, especially in those destinations, not external to the EU regulations of the European Union. The two coverage most important that you we ensure are health care and repatriation in case of illness.
You’ll get a lot of surprises.
Even being a major 99% muslim country you will never see a burqa in Morocco, it’s a country where the king is a man down to earth and very friendly with his people. You will have more than one happy surprise each day. Not only you will have the opportunity to discover fascinating places like Aït Ben Haddou or the desert, also you’ll be surprised to find yourself in the middle of the Medinas such as Marrakech, between both: chaos and wandering to nowhere in particular. We’re not going anywhere further into details so you won’t lose the magic of the unexpected, but we warn you that more than once on the tour you’ll end up with the face of a dummy 🙂
The official currency of Morocco is the Dirham. The current exchange rate for the dollar is 9.72 Dirhams. Avoid whenever you can the changes of currency before the tour in places such as airports or you home banks to save unnecessary commissions. In big cities you will find dozens of places with a type of change much more better. If you have no idea which is the place that offers the best exchange rate, don’t be shame to ask our guides.
The weather in Morocco.
Believe it or not, Morocco can become a country quite cold, specially in the higher elevations and mountain if you plan to visit the villages of the Atlas mountains or spend a night in the desert during the winter. The best time to travel to Morocco is autumn and spring seasons, when the temperatures are much more kindly with the traveler. In summer, it is not very attractive to travel to Morocco because of the high temperatures. In the south of the country and the desert areas you can reach up to 113°F.
Reserve your shopping instincts.
Travel to Morocco will awaken your consumerist shopping instincts. In all the cities you’ll find hundreds of street stalls and markets with a thousand and one inventions that will catch your attention. If one of your first plans is to go to wander the hearts of the city, it is quite likely that you will not return with your hands empty. Buying clothing, handicrafts or souvenirs for your friends and family is great, but with so low prices try to resist until, at least, you get sure you can get back on the plane with all the weight. You always can try to collaborate with the local economy. Thus, you avoid buying in the main posts where every tourist buy and save your Dirhams to invest in smaller family businesses.
Get ready to be welcomed.
The hospitality that characterizes the Moroccan is more widespread among travelers alike. You can check these rumors by yourself and acknowledge that the generous treatment and good response of Moroccan people that you meet will be something you would never suspected before. From the people on the streets of the big medinas up to the generous hospitality of Berbers on the desert.
One of the trends of a certain type of people be traveling to Morocco, is to enjoy smoking hashish at a bargain price. However, this is an aspect that requires special attention. Possession of cannabis can be punished with a simple fine up to a season in prison. And I don’t think that anyone would want to check the quality of Moroccan prisons. If you want to smoke, do it, but stick to the possible consequences. Like everything in life, the decision is always yours.
Be respectful and friendly.
Always keep in mind that you are traveling to a country with a strong cultural and religious contrast. You may disagree in certain points of social-view, or with certain customs or traditions, but don’t forget that you’re not in your country, in your city, in your neighborhood. Here you are the foreigner. You are the one who needs to take a proactive stance and focus your efforts on understanding the vision of a culture that both differs from yours. Don’t get angry if they do not let you enter the mosque and try to empathize with the population. So, please avoid behaving like an idiot, and if you find things that just do not fit with your principles and values, nobody is going to force you to return in the future. Judge by yourself and don’t let other people or the media decide whether or not to make a tour.
Dealing with the police.
The police will always be on your side, they pay special attention to tourism. When the economy of a country gets strong revenues from tourists visiting the place, nobody is interested in annoying them, stole or deceive them.
You’ll want to return some day.
This is something that you will discover as your adventure concludes. Visiting this country and, above all, traveling to the desert, is something that everyone should do at least once in a lifetime.