© 2007 YaninaTravels
The most visited city in Morocco is Marrakesh. Based on TripAdvisor user reviews, Marrakesh was chosen number 3 on the list of the top world destinations in 2016. When I started planning my trip to Morocco, I felt confused how to organize visiting various cities in that part of the world. But don’t worry! This post will give you a simple summary of my Morocco travel plan, and will help you to organize your own trip much easier!
Anywhere I travel, I always want to see different places than the most popular tourist spots. That can cost more if you need to hire a guide. In some places, organizing and doing it 100% on your own- works, while in other places- it simply doesn’t, unless you have months to plan beforehand and at least a month to spend there. Morocco is one of these places, where if you want to explore outside of Marrakesh and you have only a week to be in the country, the help of a guide would be highly valuable.
Finding a Guide
I found a guide to hire through a friend. I was traveling together with 3 more people, so sharing the cost for a guide, helped to keep the trip still on a good budget. If you decide to explore only Marrakesh, you should be fine without a guide. However, if you want to travel outside of Marrakesh and need to find a guide, I would recommend you checking on TripAdvisor Expect to pay somewhere about $40/day for a guide (without car service included) and about $90/day for a guide with a vehicle. Contact few of the guides you find there, based on TripAdvisor users reviews and start negotiating a price. That would be a good skill for you to practice before visiting that part of the world, since most prices are not fixed. Bargaining is part of life there and it’s not something to feel bad about.
Once you are in Morocco, keep in mind that the initial price you will be given is usually much higher than what you should be paying. For example if they ask you to pay 30 dirhams for something, most likely the real price for that same thing is half of the asked price or sometimes even less. If you are hiring a local guide, he can help you with that part too, since prices for locals are always much lower than the prices for tourists. (This is not just in Morocco but also in countries such as India, Jamaica, etc.) If you want to avoid being ripped off, always negotiate a price before you get on a taxi too, especially if the taxi meter is not set on.
Getting There & Following A Travel Plan
As a budget traveler, you should always do your research and make a list of things to see and do. Then figure out how you can fit them within your visiting time frame. Here is my list of places & things to see, while in Morocco for a week.
1. Marrakesh – I flew to Marrakesh from London with Ryanair, an Irish really low cost air company. However, watch out for excess luggage since they will charge you a lot for it. They have the lowest baggage allowance in Europe (15 kg) and the highest excess luggage fee (20€ per kilo). That was the place where I learned my lesson that I should always travel with a foldable duffel bag, which can come really handy in situations like that. Upon arriving in Marrakesh, I stayed in Oudaya Hotel & Spa and planned the next day for sightseeing of the Medina in Marrakesh. Get some fresh squeezed orange juice from the street vendors, walk around the Jamaa el Fna (a square and market place in the Medina quarter) and enjoy the vibrant energy of the city. Another sites to see are the Marakesh Mellah (walled Jewish quarter) and Bab Agnaou (one of the 19 gates of the Marrakech Medina, dating from the 12th century). If you hire a guide, ask him if can bring you to eat couscous at a traditional Moroccan family. Another thing to consider is visiting a hammam (bathhouse) – it’s an excellent way to experience the local atmosphere and culture.
2. Essaouira- It’s a gorgeous port city about 2-3 hours driving from Marrakesh (with a guide or taxi) and you should not miss visiting it! You can either go with a guide like I did or get a taxi from the Grand Taxi stands in Marrakesh.
3. Fez- The Leather Tanneries of Fez are fascinating site to visit! This is the place, where the leather (used for making hand bags, belts and other leather products) is being treated and dyed. It is impressive to watch the entire process right in front of you. A process interesting for the visitors to witness and the same time- another tough day for all those workers there.
4. Imlil, Atlas Mountains- It’s 2 hours drive from Marrakesh. There is no bus running to there. Go with a guide or get a taxi. Going to Imlil will be your chance to visit a traditional Berber village! I really wish I revisit this place and the country again one day for more than one-week stay 🙂