- Remember this is a Muslim country. Be respectful in the way you dress, trying to cover your shoulders and knees if you are a woman .
- Hire a guide or tour group to take you through the medinas. The knowledge and experience you will gain are well worth it.
- In Marrakech make sure you agree on a price for a taxi ride before you get in the taxi.
- Negotiate if you are buying anything. They expect this and it is all part of the experience of shopping in the souks and markets.
- Respect their culture, their prayer times and their mosques. They are not tourist centers they are holy places of prayer. There is only one mosque we know of where you can enter as a non-Muslim and that is in Casablanca and only at certain times of the day.
- Know that the government has zero tolerance for any violence against tourists. If someone threatens you or hurts you make sure to tell the police. They will enforce the law to protect tourists to the fullest extent.
- Know you will get called names like “Angry tourist” or “Unhappy tourist” if you say No to some people try not to take it personally and just move on.
- Embrace the culture, eat the yummy tagines, drink the AMAZING mint tea, enjoy the hospitality of many of the people, it is an incredibly unique experience.
- Trust your gut.
- Be firm with your No’s. It is not necessary to be rude just firm. After a few firm No’s most people will leave you alone.
- Go to the desert. I can’t stress enough what an otherworldly experience this was for us!
- Go out into the medina at night.
- Get lost in the medina unless you are not bothered with people approaching you, following you, or tricking you into following them.
- Follow anyone you don’t know. They will expect money, no matter how kind they seem.
- Take pictures of anyone without asking their permission. They will possibly want money if they allow you to take a picture. I took pictures of alleys and streets and twice someone tried to demand money from me, this is a scam.
- Let women start putting henna on you without your permission, or monkeys on your shoulders etc. They will tell you it is just for fun but they will demand money afterwards. It can get a bit aggressive.
Things to Know:
- The official guides make commission when you purchase things from the stores or stalls in the souks. They also make commission for your meals. If you do not want to buy things be clear with them upfront and consider giving them a little extra tip to compensate for the loss in commission.
- As a woman there is no way I felt comfortable enough anywhere to go out alone. I am a very seasoned traveler, and adventurous woman but there was no way I wanted to be alone. The riad managers all advised me to never go out by myself.
- We never felt endangered in Morocco. However we did feel harassed, disrespected and poorly treated by many people. Many people seem to be territorial of their neighborhoods and would prefer tourists to stay in the “tourist attractions”. Be mindful if you are walking, this is their home where they live their daily lives.
- While many of the products are still handmade in Morocco there are many things imported into Morocco now from China. If you want to buy something genuinely Moroccan ask first to make sure it is made there. You can also tell by the price and generally the quality as well.
- If you travel during Ramadan know that the Moroccan people do not expect you to follow their fasting tradition, however we tried to not walk around drinking or eating things, they get pretty hungry and thirsty so I felt like it was a bit cruel to walk around eating and drinking.
- If you drive yourself it is quite common for the police to have checkpoints set up. If they find you speeding or not wearing your seat belt it is customary for them to try to get you to pay them on the spot. Our drivers all said that is the easiest way, and much cheaper than paying in court.
- We found many kind and wonderful people in Morocco. People willing to help us find where we were going, or make sure we experienced the best of Morocco, trust your instincts on who you can and can’t trust. If they are males between the age of 16 & 30 be cautious of them wanting money when it seems they are helping you.
- The medinas are made up of tiny streets and alleyways with few, if any, street signs. If you decide to venture out on your own it isn’t like any other place in the world and even the best sense of direction can fail you in the maze of the medina.