Prepare your senses. From the lively and vivid colors, to the smell of incense and spices as you walk through the ancient Medinas, to the infused flavors of the most amazing cooking you will ever have. Morocco is easily described as the most flavorful and vibrant place in the world. It is a special country enriched with culture, history, and beautiful landscapes.
Have you always dreamed of traveling to such an exotic and beautiful country? To walk through the colorful streets of Chechauoen, drink fresh mint tea on a rooftop in Marrakech, or camel ride as the sun comes up in the Sahara Desert? Well what’s stopping you?? Whether it's the intimidating aspect of traveling to a foreign country, enough time off to travel, or not knowing what to expect or where to even start – we made this travel guide just for you!
Language Spoken: Arabic, Berber, French, Spanish, and English
For the most part you are able to get around by speaking English in the main cities and common areas, using Google translate whenever we needed to translate a particular message across in Berber or Arabic. But spending a lot of our time in the less touristy areas, we noticed that French would have been a very useful language to be fluent in haha. Most small towns almost always speak French, Arabic, and Berber. Thankfully a few times when English was absolutely not working, our friends who are fluent in Spanish got us by.
Currency: Moroccan Dirham
One US dollar got us around 11 dirhams. Morocco is a very inexpensive country. Depending on which area you are in and your traveling style, you can easily spend about 15 dollars a day on meals. Most meals were 5 – 15 dollars for an amazing meal! Also if you plan on shopping (which you should) then cash is what the majority of businesses except. The best way is to withdraw from the ATM once you get there (from a debit card of course.)
The vast majority of this culture is very friendly and warm. The amount of times we all felt touched by their kindness is too much to even keep track of. Sometimes I pretty much cried haha. Honestly the sweetest people ever.
Personally I felt very safe as a female traveler. But I was traveling with three other men and we stuck around some pretty safe places. At certain times of night when walking back to our Riad, some of the men could be slightly more aggressive or susceptive to “street harassment.” This mostly involved small comments, cat calling, or offering help/direction in demand for money. The best thing to do is just ignore it. Say “no thank you” and just walk away. They are very intuitive as to who they can work with and who wont budge haha. Just view them as the best salesmen out there.
Which brings me to my next point.. almost nothing is free. Yes, they are friendly.. but a buddy’s got to make a living some how haha. So if someone offers you directions, help in translating, “gifts you something,” pushes you to get on a camel some how, and takes your photo for you – expect to pay. So if you don’t want to pay, then be stubborn. I’m not saying that everyone is like this, there were plenty of locals that genuinely helped us. But for the most part, they are great hustlers.
Morocco can be very warm during the day and chilly at night. So I suggest packing layers. Also the desert can get suuuuper chilly at night.
You might see photos on Instagram of pretty girls traveling through out Morocco with cute little (slightly covered) outfits on out in public.. don’t do that haha. This is a Muslim country so please dress modestly. Remember that you are visiting their country so it is important to respect their culture. And in turn, you will be viewed and treated with respect.
For the most part if you are in the surf towns or main cities it is more relaxed. But you should still cover your cleavage, shoulders, and knees. In smaller villages it is more conservative. I was literally stared down at a post office once for showing my ankles.. (laundry was running really low otherwise I would have worn pants) so in these areas I would say head to toe coverage is best. You want to cover up but not sweat to death – so think maxi skirts or long flowy dresses with a button up or shawl. I found that button ups, shawls, and light cotton scarves were my best friend! I’d say for the most part I pretty much wore long maxi dresses (because it was so hot) but when we left our Riad I would throw on a button up and scarf. In fact I always carried a scarf/shawl to cover my shoulders, face, or head depending on where we were heading to. And once we made our way up to the mountains, I was able to wear pants with a button up and scarf.
DATA AND WIFI
You will find WIFI in most cafes, restaurants, and hotels. That way you can look up any needed information while you are resting at the Riad. And Google Maps also allows you to pre-download a map or route so that you can access Google Maps without data.
Be sure to wash your hands before you eat and only use your right hand while eating. Sometimes they will provide a utensil but most of the time we found using bread or our right hand to scoop food was common. Also avoid pouring your own drink / tea. When they bring you the tea pot they like to steep the mint, add sugar, and pour multiple times to aerate the tea so just wait for them to serve it to you.
The food is very delicious in Morocco! Obviously if some places look a little sketchy, use your discretion. Food poisoning is really bad.. trust me you don’t want it. So avoid drinking tap water.
Tipping is not very much expected but we always rounded up to the nearest dirham or tipped 10% because they do not take offense to tipping like other countries do.
Foods to try : Tagine, Couscous, Pastilla, Baklava, Kebabs, Mint Tea, and local Watermelon.
Things we wish we knew beforehand :
Many Moroccans are fluent in French. So if you can brush up on that, it might be easier than trying to learn Berber or Arabic.
Bread is pretty much the main portion of every meal especially breakfast. (nothing wrong with this because its freaking delicious but you might be missing protein for breakfast after a while)
The shopping. We knew Morocco had good shopping.. but not THAT much. From rugs, to baskets, woven goods, pottery, shoes, bags, leather goods, silver jewelry, spices, tea, oils, incense.. really anything good in life. I wasn’t prepared for so much goodness.
Want to go to Morocco yourself? Check out our small group trip!
Photo credits: Zephyr and Tide