Morocco is an in-your-face overload to the senses that will be loved by some, and hated by others. Expect delicious sweet mint tea, amazing street food, overly eager street vendors and markets, medinas to get lost in, and coastal deserts to wander.
Currency: 1 USD = 10 MAD
Accommodation: 70-100 MAD for dorms and 120-350 MAD for privates in major cities. Prices range quite a bit depending on what city or town you’re in.
Food: 35 MAD tangine (a local staple made up of meat, veggies, and rice). Sit-down restaurants will charge 100 MAD for a meal.
Etiquette: Tipping is common (and often required for public bathrooms), so carry small change; 5 MAD is usually acceptable in most situations. Dress conservatively: women should keep their legs, arms, and shoulders covered. If offered mint tea, be polite and accept the offer of hospitality.
What to do: Haggle hard in the local markets, visit the local hammam (bathhouse) for a spa treatment, travel the desert between towns via camelback. See the Jemaa el-Fnaa of Marrakech, camp in the Sahara, see the blue city of Chefchaouen, hike the High Atlas Mountains, surf in Taghazoute, and explore local history everywhere you go.
When to visit: Late March through May. Summer is unbearably hot, especially inland, so stick to the mountains or costal areas if visiting during this time. Late Fall (November) can be pleasant during the day, but surprisingly cold at night.
Sleep in a riad: Traditional Moroccan house built around a garden. This is the way to go!
Barter: Everything is negotiable. In popular tourist markets, start negotiating at 1/3 of the quoted price. Agree on a taxi fare before you get in. Be aware of faux guides trying to offer to take you somewhere, as they’ll likely just take your money and lead you to a friend’s business.
Speak the language: Learn a few phrases and earn some respect:
- Hello: as-salam ‘alaykum
- Thank you: shukran
- I don’t understand: la afham
Beware of pickpocketing: Do not walk alone at night and be careful to keep anything of value very close to you. Small children are just as likely to be pickpockets as anyone else.
Eat from street stalls: Street stalls are everywhere and offer the best food for little price.