Just in case you’re too lazy to flip through a guidebook for Morocco tips & tricks…
Home of the stunning “Red City”, Morocco is full of things to see and must-do’s. Just in case you’re too lazy to flip through a guidebook, here’s a quick rundown of Morocco tips & tricks so you’re familiar with local etiquette, Wifi info, cash exchange, SIM cards…and more!
5 things to avoid:
- Don’t eat or greet with your left hand as it is considered unclean.
- Try not to drink alcohol in public, especially if you’re a woman. There are a few sophisticated bars and restaurants where it’s socially acceptable to drink in public.
- During the month of Ramadan (Muslims’ month of fasting), try to eat, drink, and smoke indoors to show respect.
- If you’re not Muslim, you may not be able to enter most mosques.
- Unfortunately, homosexuality is considered illegal and is punishable.
Morocco is warm all year round. Summers can be uncomfortably hot while winters in the northern region may be slightly snowy. Check the weather before your trip. But the best times to go are spring and autumn especially if you’re planning to visit the Sahara Desert.
- Sahara Desert: Extremely hot and dry summers but breezy and cold at night.
- Atlas Mountains: Very cold winters but cool and sunny summers.
- Atlantic Coast: Perfect beach weather during summertime.
You can stay up to 90 days if you hold a passport of an English-speaking country (except for South Africa.) But check with Moroccan embassy’s website to double check. Save one blank page in your passport for entry stamp at customs.
Moroccans speak many languages: Arabic, Berber, English and French. Out of the four, you’ll most likely hear Arabic as their main language and French as their second language.
- Hello – السلام عليكم (pronounced: ah-sah-lam-ah-lay-koom)
- Goodbye – مع السلامة (pronounced: ma’a as-salaama)
- Thank you – شكرا (pronounced: shookran)
- Where is the toilet/WC – من فضلك ، فين الحمام؟ (pronounced: men-fadlak-fen-el-hammam)
- No, thank you – لا شكرا (pronounced: la-shukrran)
Greetings: Always greet with your right hand as left hands are considered unclean. Kissing on the cheeks is fine between the same sex, not allowed between opposite sexes.
Dress code: Women: Although Moroccans are quite open-minded compared to other Muslim countries; if you’re entering a mosque, be respectful and cover yourself from shoulders to ankles (bring an extra scarf to cover your upper body and wear pants or long skirts). Pack shoulder-covering tops, knee-length skirts and long pants.
Men: Wear collared shirts or T-shirts paired with jeans or long pants.
NOTE: If you’re invited to a local’s home, be sure to take off your shoes before entering the living area. Follow the lead of your guide.
In general, Morocco is pretty safe for travelers. Use common sense: avoid walking alone at night, avoid dark alleys, keep you bags close to you, especially at souks and markets.
It is forbidden to exchange money into Moroccan dirham (Dh or MAD) outside of Morocco, so before you leave the country, make sure to exchange all your dirhams back to your own country’s currency because you won’t be able to do it back home.
By law, exchange rates should be the same at all banks and official exchanges. So it’s okay to exchange money at airports, hotels and certain banks.
Make sure to have lots of small bills as most places only take cash.
Phone & SIM card:
You can buy a SIM card at Casablanca airport from a newspaper/magazine vendor for 50dh (USD $5.70). For around USD $20, you can also get a phone, a local SIM card, and about an hour of talk time. If you’re not at the airport and looking to buy a SIM card in the city, then look for Maroc Telecom or Meditel.
Morocco’s country code is 212, and all phone numbers have 9 digits (excluding leading 0): 0 _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _.
More and more small, independent cafes and restaurants are providing free WiFi hotspots. If you want to use WiFi but don’t want to buy a SIM card, then turn your phone to airplane mode. Turn on WiFi, then select whichever relevant hotspot that does not require a password.
Electricity in Morocco is 220V and AC 50Hz (cycles per second). Make sure your appliances like shavers, hairdryers, curling irons, camera chargers, laptops, etc. have a switch to change the voltage to 220.
To avoid upset stomach, don’t drink tap water from the sink in private homes or hotels. Water in Morocco contain higher percentage of minerals that travelers may not be used to. Locals are accustomed to their own water so don’t be surprised if you see Moroccans drinking tap water and seem to be fine.
Sticking to bottled water throughout your trip is the safest option.
- 1dh per person: waiters in cafés
- 5dh per person: restaurants (or 10-15% in upscaleand restos)
- 3–5dh: museum and monument curators
- 5dh: drivers (but not taxi drivers, only if you feel generous)
- 5dh: porters or bellboys
Look out for two types of taxis: Petit taxis are for within cities, grand taxis are for larger groups and longer travels between cities.
Petit taxi: Make sure the meter is always on. If the meter’s not on, be sure to ask for the price of your ride before getting in the car. Remember: 1dh/minute is a good rule to go by. Or ask your hotel for an approximate rate so you’re not being ripped off.
Grand taxi: Usually it’s a 10-year old Mercedes that takes travelers from one city to another. You can find them at bus stops. You’ll need to negotiate the price ahead of time with the driver. It’s normal for you to share a grand taxi with other passengers, front seats are usually reserved for women. You can also hire grand taxis for an entire day to tour around the city (ie: Marrakech). Luggage is changed 20dh additionally.