11 things you should know before traveling to Morocco
Morocco is a historically rich country where tradition clashes with modernity, so you should know a few things before you visit.
Moroccans primarily use cash in their currency Dirham, also known as Dhs or MAD (10 Dhs = 0.9 € = 1 USD at the time this article was written). Even in big cities or touristy areas, credit cards are not very common at all. As in most countries, avoid exchanging at the airport because you will get the least for your money. Because coins are rare, ask for them at a bank and keep the ones you get. You will need them for tips. Officially, you are not allowed to import or export more than 1000 Dhs.
There are not too many street food opportunities; therefore, you should always eat at a top-rated restaurant, your hotel, or buy some snacks at a store or gas station. But – be very very careful eating unpeeled or uncooked vegetables and fruit and any type of salad. Also, stay away from things with mayonnaise or creme.
Moroccans have a diet high in veggies, meat, and sugar. Vegetarian options shouldn’t be a problem, vegans or gluten-haters have it harder to find dishes.
Plates cost between 8 and 15 USD on average.
Do NOT drink Morocco’s tab water or brush your teeth with it. Always use bottled water and make sure it has not been opened. Otherwise, you’ll spend your vacation in the bathroom.
Unless you’re in a touristy area, alcohol is rare to find. Even in hotels, there are usually only very few options of wine and beer available. In holy cities, you won’t be able to find alcohol at all.
All big hotels have free (and usually unsecured) WiFi. In the South of Morocco, you’re able to get online, but calling from any kind of app will probably not work and data submits slowly.
If you see a maid at the entrance of a restroom, give her/him 5 Dhs. A waiter or driver should get anything in between 10 and 20 Dhs.
If you want to be a respectable traveler rather than an oblivious tourist, always wear something that covers shoulders and knees (male and female), especially in the more rural areas. Inform yourself about the dress code if you’re visiting a mosque.
In Morocco, you can find modern and traditional women as well as everything in between. In cities, they often show their faces and sometimes also their hair or even run around in shorts and skirts. In rural areas and in the South, you will see lots of conservative women who cover everything except for one eye. There will always be less women than men on the streets.
Moroccans usually speak French and Arabic. In more rural areas, some Berbers might only speak their dialect and Arabic. Most Moroccans, especially the sellers, also know German because of the many tourists. English is less used than German, but more common than Spanish. Getting around with English in urban areas is easy; however, once you’re in the countryside, French, Arabic or even German are definitely more helpful.
Cities have two kinds of taxis. Small cabs (petit taxi) usually cost 30-40 Dhs per cab (not per person), can take up to 3 people and are only allowed to drive within city borders whereas bigger (mostly Mercedes) taxis or grands taxis will take as many people as fit and transport them also outside of the city, and are priced accordingly, but never under 50 Dhs per taxi. At night, prices can be 50% more.
Buses will take you and locals from city to city. You can let the driver know the place where you want to get off (even if it’s small).
Trains only go to and from the big cities.
Rentals cars at EVERY major company are in a horrible condition; therefore, always arrive a day or two early, ask them to show you the rental car. If there’s something wrong with it, tell them to fix it. If you have time, go with them to witness the repair. Most of the time, tires are flat and the steering wheels are free-wheeling. Also, rentals are very expensive!
What? Where? Not here. Make sure to either perform your workout with liter bottles or find body weight exercises or lift hotel furniture. One thing’s for sure: You won’t be going to the gym here, not even in hotels.
If you’re planning on going to Morocco, check out these related articles as well:
Join our newsletter!
Be the first to get the latest updates, right to your inbox.
Brazil / Czech Republic / Europe / Germany / Netherlands / Personal Stories & Opinions / South America / Tanzania
The good, the bad & the ugly: 6 travel love storiesBy Jennifer Schlueter
Africa / Around the World / Europe / Tanzania / Uncategorized
10 travel bloggers share their worst culture shock experiencesBy Jennifer Schlueter
Africa / South Africa
Why You Can’t Miss A Cape Town Township Tour in KhayelitchaBy Jennifer Schlueter
Africa / South Africa
“Poverty is no zoo” – thoughts on visiting a township in Cape TownBy Jennifer Schlueter
Africa / South Africa
Faces of Johannesburg – a photo essayBy Jennifer Schlueter
Africa / Personal Stories & Opinions / South Africa
Theft, racial tensions and smelly travelers – Why my South Africa trip was reality TV materialBy Jennifer Schlueter
Africa / Egypt / Personal Stories & Opinions
The Problem With the “Beauty” of White TravelersBy Jennifer Schlueter
Africa / Tanzania
Best Cities To Visit In Tanzania As Recommended By Travel BloggersBy Jennifer Schlueter
Africa / Expats / Morocco / People
Lori: USA -> MoroccoBy Jennifer Schlueter
Personal Stories & Opinions / Tanzania
What it’s like to survive the deadliest malaria parasiteBy Jennifer Schlueter