– MOROCCO IS CONSTANTLY ON THE LIST OF WORLD’S TOP DESTINATIONS, HERE IS HOW TO PREPARE FOR THIS AMAZING ADVENTURE
Depending on what you read you may be super excited to visit Morocco, somewhat nervous and scared, or somewhere cautiously between. The reality is Morrocco is an incredibly fascinating country that requires some common sense and a little guidance to ensure a safe and worthwhile adventure. There is no sugarcoating the fact that shop owners, snake charmers, entertainers, and even those posing as tour guides can get a little aggressive. In the man square of Djemaa El Fna in Marrakech, there is a constant feeling that you’re being pulled into a bait and switch. These so-called “local tour guides” will tell you their info is free and then act like you are very disrespectful for not paying them for their advice. Shop owners will lure you into their store and then throw anything and everything your way hoping to guilt you into a purchase. But if you’ve been fortunate enough to travel the world, this is nothing more than what you’ve run into in other major urban plazas or centers. Take a quick look at our guide to Morroco and you’ll be as ready as ever to discover this African gem.
Depending on when you go, be prepared for the weather
Morroco is typically warm, but in the Summer months, it can be downright blazing. Because Morrocco is a very conservative Muslim country, it is respectful to adhere to local rituals regarding how you may dress. Typically, showing any type of skin is very frowned upon and is often looked at as offensive. In the summer months when temperatures can reach 100*F/ 38*C the urge to dress for the heat with tank tops and shorts will, of course, be there. If you can, do your best to avoid any type of tank tops. It really can bring on some unwanted attention. Breathable T-shirts or long sleeve shirts with sleeves rolled up is the optimum attire.
Avoid carrying any expensive electronics out in the open/ flashy jewelry.
To many, this is pretty common sense but flashy jewelry is one that some travelers may forget about since they so routinely have it on their person. Do leave your jewelry locked in your hotel or hostel as this is a certain way to draw unwanted attention. Most of the time it is hard to avoid looking like a tourist, but walking around with a camera or phone constantly out in the open is a great way to be targeted for all types of unsolicited services and products. Marrakech is specifically known for having some skilled pickpockets and small teams of petty thieves so you really want to avoid having anything of significant value with you at all times.
Book tours in advance online, not on the street
Specifically, in Marrakech, there are people all around claiming to be Tour Guides or officials offering tours and trips to all types of areas around Marrakech. Do yourself a favor and book online prior to your tour day and save yourself a large headache and hassle. The street guides have all types of varying prices and for the most part, you have to aggressively haggle with them. Even if you settle on a price before you pay they’ll make one last effort to upcharge you for one thing or another. Also, tours will be a lot shorter than they originally tell you as they try to squeeze as many as they can in one day. Find a legitimate tour company and book with them to avoid the pointless stress.
Do yourself a favor and stay in a Riad (at least one night)
A Riad is a traditional Moroccan house and there are plenty of amazing options to rent for short-term stays in Marrakech. The majority of them are built around a courtyard and have beautiful architecture, some type of fountain, and amazing interior design. There are options for every budget
ranging from $15/ night to some that will cost you similar to a premium hotel. If you need optimal privacy you may want to limit the number of nights you stay in a Riad as the noise from the courtyard can get a tad loud and many of them are at full occupancy during peak tourism seasons. But the reality is many times this can be an amazing experience, an opportunity to meet some fellow travelers, and they are very safe. You can get specific and search for a Riad that has a safe in the room, to feel extra safe regarding your valuables while you’re out and about.
If you take a photo of someone, especially a performer, be prepared to pay
The street performers in Marrakech are some of the best you will ever see, no matter where you travel. There will be acrobats performing all types of aerial stunts that will have you absolutely mesmerized. They will have random performers and groups that will be flying all over the place effortlessly landing insane stunts time after time. You should absolutely stop and watch as it will be difficult not to. Just keep in mind that if you watch for even a short period of time, you’ll most likely be asked and semi-aggressively persuaded to leave a tip. Be prepared that this is what will be asked of you and get your monies worth, stay and enjoy the show knowing at the end you will tip the performers. If you take a picture, you will absolutely be asked to leave a donation and that is the norm in this area, so get a good shot and leave a good tip.