When planning a trip to a new destination, one of the first questions that comes to mind is, “Is it expensive?” Morocco, a breathtaking country nestled in North Africa, offers a unique blend of vibrant cities, historic landmarks, and stunning landscapes. But how does Morocco fare in terms of affordability?
Well, the answer isn’t straightforward. While Morocco can be budget-friendly for travelers, it can also be relatively expensive if you’re not careful with your spending. Like any other destination, the cost of your trip to Morocco will depend on various factors including your travel style, accommodation choices, dining preferences, and the activities you decide to pursue.
Being aware of the average costs and knowing how to manage your expenses will prove handy when exploring this enchanting country. So let’s delve deeper into some key aspects of the cost of living in Morocco.
Before we dive into the details, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the currency in Morocco.
The official currency of Morocco is the Moroccan dirham (MAD). It’s important to note that the Moroccan dirham is a closed currency, which means it cannot be exchanged outside the country. Therefore, it’s advisable to exchange your currency to Moroccan dirhams upon arrival or withdraw cash from ATMs.
While credit cards are widely accepted in major cities, it’s always a good idea to carry some cash, especially when venturing to remote areas or small towns where card payment options might be limited. ATMs are easily accessible in most urban locations, and you’ll often find them at airports, banks, and shopping centers.
When exchanging your currency, be sure to compare rates and choose reputable exchange offices or banks to avoid unnecessary fees or scams. It’s also advisable to keep smaller denominations, as larger notes may not always be accepted for smaller purchases.
As of writing this article, the exchange rate is approximately 1 USD equals 9 MAD, but it’s important to check the current rates closer to your travel date as they may fluctuate.
Keep in mind that tipping is common in Morocco, especially in restaurants, hotels, and when hiring guides or using car services. It’s customary to leave a tip of around 10% of the total bill or round up to the nearest dirham as a token of appreciation.
When it comes to accommodation in Morocco, you’ll find a wide range of options to suit every budget and travel style. From luxurious resorts and boutique hotels to budget-friendly hostels and guesthouses, there’s something for everyone.
In popular tourist destinations such as Marrakech, Fes, and Casablanca, you’ll find a plethora of hotels offering different levels of comfort and amenities. The prices of these accommodations can vary greatly depending on the location, time of year, and the facilities offered.
If you’re looking to save money, consider staying in riads or guesthouses, which are traditional Moroccan houses converted into small-scale accommodations. Riads often feature beautiful interior courtyards, providing a charming and authentic atmosphere. These options tend to be more affordable than larger hotels and can provide a unique cultural experience.
If you’re a budget-conscious traveler, hostels and budget hotels are also available in major cities and tourist hotspots, offering affordable dormitory or private room options. While they may not have all the amenities you’d find in higher-end accommodations, they provide a comfortable and economical place to rest.
Outside of the cities, you’ll find a variety of accommodations, including ecolodges, campsites, and traditional Berber homestays. These options allow you to immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the Moroccan countryside and interact with local communities at a reasonable price.
The cost of accommodation in Morocco can range from as low as $10-15 for a budget hostel or guesthouse room to $150 or more for a luxurious hotel or riad, depending on the location and season. Keep in mind that prices may also vary during peak tourist seasons, such as the summer months or major holidays.
To get the best deals and secure your preferred accommodation, it’s advisable to book in advance, especially if you have specific requirements or are traveling during the high season.
Food and Drinks
One of the highlights of visiting Morocco is undoubtedly its delicious cuisine, which is a fusion of Arabic, Berber, and Mediterranean influences. The country offers a wide range of culinary experiences, from street food stalls to fine dining establishments.
When it comes to food, Morocco is known for its flavorful tagines, couscous dishes, and aromatic spices. Traditional Moroccan meals often consist of a variety of small dishes, known as mezze or tapas, which are shared among the diners.
In local markets and street stalls, you’ll find an array of affordable and tasty street food options. Popular street food choices include Moroccan pancakes known as “Msemen” or “Rghaif,” “Brochettes” (grilled meat skewers), “Harira” (a hearty soup), and various types of savory pastries like “Briouats” or “Sfouf.”
If you’re dining at local restaurants or cafes, you’ll find that prices for a meal can vary depending on the location and type of establishment. In general, a mid-range restaurant meal in Morocco can cost anywhere from $10-25 per person. Fine dining experiences may be pricier, especially in high-end establishments.
However, for those on a budget, fear not! There are plenty of affordable options. Look for “Menu du Jour” (menu of the day) or opt for local eateries frequented by the locals, which tend to offer more affordable prices without compromising on taste.
Drinks, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic, can also vary in price. Bottled water is readily available and inexpensive, while soft drinks and freshly squeezed juices are reasonably priced as well.
Alcohol, on the other hand, tends to be more expensive in Morocco due to higher taxes and restrictions on its availability. If you’re planning to have a drink, be prepared to pay a premium at bars, hotels, or restaurants that serve alcohol.
To save money, consider trying out local non-alcoholic drinks like mint tea or avocado juice, which are not only delicious but also refreshing.
To fully immerse yourself in the Moroccan culinary experience, consider exploring local markets and trying out street food. Not only will you get to taste delicious dishes, but you’ll also have the opportunity to interact with locals and learn more about their culture and traditions.
Getting around in Morocco is relatively easy, thanks to its well-developed transportation network. Whether you’re exploring the bustling cities or venturing into the countryside, there are various options to suit your needs and budget.
One of the most popular modes of transportation in Morocco is the train. The national railway company, ONCF, operates a network that connects major cities like Casablanca, Marrakech, Fes, and Tangier. Train tickets are affordable, and the trains are generally clean, comfortable, and reliable.
If you’re looking for a budget-friendly option, consider traveling by bus. Morocco has an extensive network of bus routes, with several companies offering both intercity and regional services. Buses are a cost-effective way to travel around the country, and ticket prices are generally lower than train fares.
In urban areas, taxis are a common mode of transportation. You can easily find both shared taxis (known as grand taxis) and private taxis. While private taxis can be more expensive, they offer convenience and flexibility. It’s essential to negotiate the fare beforehand or ensure the driver uses the meter to avoid any misunderstandings.
If you prefer more flexibility and autonomy, renting a car is also an option. Renting a car gives you the freedom to explore off-the-beaten-path destinations and rural areas at your own pace. However, it’s important to note that driving in Moroccan cities can be chaotic, and parking can be challenging to find. Additionally, be prepared for toll fees on major highways.
When it comes to local transportation within cities, you can rely on taxis, trams, and buses. Major cities like Marrakech and Casablanca have efficient tram systems, while smaller cities usually have a network of buses. Taxis are readily available in most urban areas and can be hailed on the street or found at designated taxi stands.
Overall, transportation costs in Morocco can vary depending on the mode of transport you choose and the length of your journey. On average, expect to spend around $5-15 for intercity bus and train rides. Local transportation within cities can range from a few dirhams for short trips in taxis or buses.
By planning your transportation ahead of time and choosing the most suitable option for each leg of your journey, you can save money and make the most of your time in Morocco.
Attractions and Activities
One of the great things about visiting Morocco is the abundance of attractions and activities that cater to a wide range of interests and budgets. Whether you’re interested in exploring ancient medinas, trekking in the Atlas Mountains, or relaxing on beautiful beaches, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
One of the must-visit attractions in Morocco is the historic medinas. These labyrinthine old quarters are filled with narrow winding streets, vibrant markets, and stunning architecture. Exploring the medinas is usually free, although some attractions within them may have entrance fees.
Visiting iconic landmarks like the Koutoubia Mosque in Marrakech or the Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca is also a great way to immerse yourself in the rich history and culture of Morocco. Entrance fees for these cultural sites can vary, so it’s worth checking in advance.
Nature lovers will be delighted by Morocco’s diverse landscapes, such as the Sahara Desert, the Atlas Mountains, and coastal towns like Essaouira or Agadir. Taking a desert safari, hiking in the mountains, or enjoying water activities along the coastline are popular activities that allow you to experience the natural beauty of the country.
If you’re interested in history and archeology, Morocco is home to several ancient ruins and historical sites. The Roman ruins of Volubilis, the medieval city of Ait Ben Haddou, and the Phoenician ruins of Lixus are just a few examples of the country’s rich historical heritage. Entrance fees to these sites can vary.
To fully embrace the Moroccan culture, consider participating in cooking classes, traditional music and dance performances, or even a traditional hammam experience. These activities offer a hands-on approach to learning about Moroccan traditions and can be a fun and immersive way to spend your time.
As for the cost of attractions and activities in Morocco, it’s important to budget accordingly. Major tourist sites and landmarks usually have entrance fees that range from a few dollars to around $10 or more per person. Some attractions may offer discounts for students or specific time slots, so it’s worth checking for any available promotions.
Additionally, it’s important to factor in the costs associated with hiring local guides or joining organized tours, should you choose to enhance your experience with expert knowledge and insights.
Remember, not all experiences in Morocco require additional fees. Simply wandering through the streets, interacting with locals, and soaking in the vibrant atmosphere can be an enriching experience in itself.
With so much to see and do, it’s helpful to prioritize your interests and budget accordingly to make the most of your time in Morocco.
Shopping in Morocco can be a delightful experience, offering a wide array of unique and traditional products. From vibrant textiles and intricate Moroccan carpets to exquisite pottery and spices, there’s something to suit every taste.
When it comes to shopping, one of the most famous destinations in Morocco is the medinas. These bustling markets are filled with small shops and stalls where you can find a variety of local products. The medinas are known for their craftsmanship, and you can find beautifully handcrafted leather goods, ceramics, and jewelry.
As you browse through the medinas, prepare to haggle. Bargaining is a common practice in Moroccan markets and can be an enjoyable part of the shopping experience. Be polite, friendly, and have a figure in mind that you’re willing to pay for the item. Remember, both parties should feel satisfied with the final negotiated price.
If you prefer a more relaxed shopping experience, you can explore the souks or boutiques found in major cities. These shops offer a curated selection of traditional Moroccan products, often at fixed prices, making the shopping process simpler.
When it comes to prices, it’s important to have a general idea of the value of the items you’re interested in purchasing. Research the average prices for specific products beforehand to ensure you’re getting a fair deal.
Keep in mind that the quality and authenticity of goods can vary, especially in touristy areas. Be cautious when purchasing high-value items like carpets or antiques, and consider seeking advice from locals or reputable sellers.
Negotiating prices aside, it’s important to respect the local artisans and their craftsmanship. Supporting local communities and buying directly from them is a way to ensure that the traditional art forms and skills are preserved.
Lastly, be aware of customs regulations and restrictions on importing certain items. It’s essential to familiarize yourself with any limitations to avoid any issues when leaving the country.
Remember, shopping in Morocco isn’t just about acquiring souvenirs; it’s about immersing yourself in the vibrant culture and taking home a piece of the country’s rich heritage.
Safety is always a top concern when traveling to any destination, including Morocco. Like any country, it’s essential to take certain precautions to ensure a safe and enjoyable trip.
Overall, Morocco is considered a relatively safe country for tourists. The Moroccan government puts significant efforts into maintaining visitor safety, and tourism is a vital part of their economy. However, it’s always wise to exercise caution and be aware of your surroundings.
One of the most common concerns for travelers is petty theft, such as pickpocketing or bag snatching. Like many tourist destinations, crowded areas, bustling markets, and public transportation can be prime targets for thieves. To avoid becoming a target, it’s advisable to keep your belongings secure, be cautious of your surroundings, and avoid flaunting valuable items.
It’s also important to be aware of potential scams. Be cautious of strangers offering unsolicited help or trying to sell you goods or services. It’s best to rely on reputable sources for assistance or recommendations.
It’s always a good idea to familiarize yourself with local customs and observe cultural norms. Respect the local traditions, dress modestly, and be mindful of cultural sensitivities. This will not only show respect but also help you blend in with the local community.
While Morocco is generally a safe destination, it’s advisable to stay informed about current events and travel advisories from your home country. Stay updated on any potential safety concerns and follow any guidelines or recommendations provided by your government.
As with any destination, it’s recommended to have travel insurance that covers medical emergencies, trip cancellations, and lost or stolen belongings. Ensure that you have essential contact information, including the nearest embassy or consulate of your home country.
Lastly, it’s important to note that, as a tourist, it’s always wise to be cautious and use your common sense. Trust your instincts and avoid any situations that may seem unsafe or uncomfortable.
By being aware of your surroundings, respecting local customs, and taking necessary precautions, you can have a safe and enjoyable trip to Morocco.
Tips for Saving Money
Traveling to Morocco doesn’t have to break the bank. With some strategic planning and a few money-saving tips, you can make your trip more budget-friendly. Here are some suggestions to help you save money while exploring this beautiful country:
1. Travel during the shoulder or off-peak seasons: Prices for accommodations, flights, and attractions tend to be lower during non-peak times. Consider visiting Morocco in spring or fall when the weather is pleasant, and tourist crowds are thinner.
2. Book accommodation in advance: By booking your accommodations early, you can secure better deals and have a wider range of options. Look for promotions or discounts offered by hotels, riads, or guesthouses.
3. Try local street food: While dining at fancy restaurants can be expensive, savoring the local street food is not only delicious but also budget-friendly. Explore the local markets and street stalls to sample authentic Moroccan cuisine at a fraction of the price.
4. Negotiate prices: Haggling is a common practice in Moroccan markets. Don’t be afraid to negotiate prices for goods and services. Be respectful, but assertive, and aim for a fair price that works for both you and the seller.
5. Use public transportation: Public transportation options, such as buses and trains, are affordable and convenient in Morocco. Take advantage of these options when traveling between cities or within urban areas to save money on transportation costs.
6. Plan your own activities: While guided tours can be informative, planning your own activities and exploring independently can save you money. Research attractions and create your itinerary, allowing you to have a more personalized experience while avoiding extra tour fees.
7. Stay hydrated with tap water or filtered bottles: Instead of spending money on bottled water, consider refilling your water bottle with tap water or using filtered bottles. This cost-saving tip also helps reduce plastic waste.
8. Use local SIM cards or Wi-Fi: Avoid excessive roaming charges by purchasing a local SIM card for your phone. This will give you access to affordable local data plans and keep you connected. Alternatively, take advantage of Wi-Fi available at hotels, cafes, or public areas for internet access.
9. Visit free attractions: Morocco offers several attractions that are free to visit. Explore parks, gardens, and public spaces, visit local mosques or enjoy scenic walks in picturesque neighborhoods without spending a dime.
10. Participate in free or low-cost activities: Look for free or inexpensive activities such as attending local festivals, exploring museums on discounted days, or enjoying nature walks. These activities can provide unique experiences without straining your budget.
By implementing these money-saving tips, you can make your trip to Morocco more cost-effective while still experiencing the beauty and culture of the country. Remember, it’s all about finding the right balance between saving money and enjoying unforgettable experiences.
As we come to the end of this insider’s guide to the cost of living in Morocco, it’s clear that the country offers a diverse range of experiences and attractions for travelers. While Morocco can be an affordable destination, it’s important to plan your trip wisely and be mindful of your budget.
From the bustling medinas to the serene Atlas Mountains, Morocco has something to offer every traveler, regardless of their budget. By making smart choices, utilizing local transportation, sampling street food, and taking advantage of free or low-cost activities, you can keep your expenses in check while immersing yourself in the vibrant culture and beauty of the country.
Remember to factor in the costs of accommodation, transportation, dining, and attractions when planning your trip. Research and compare prices, book in advance, and be prepared to negotiate when shopping in markets. By being proactive and informed, you can make the most of your budget and have an unforgettable experience in Morocco.
Lastly, while it’s essential to be cautious and take necessary safety precautions, Morocco is generally considered a safe destination for tourists. Stay aware of your surroundings, be respectful of local customs, and stay informed about any potential safety concerns or travel advisories.
So, is Morocco expensive? Well, it ultimately depends on how you choose to spend your money. With careful planning, smart choices, and a bit of haggling, you can enjoy all that Morocco has to offer without breaking the bank. So go ahead, pack your bags, and get ready to embark on an incredible adventure in this mesmerizing North African country!