Unsexy sex and AIDS
I noticed many bars and night clubs, not so many as in European Mediterranean resorts but many more than in any other destination in Morocco. In most of them, however, the majority of Moroccan women were prostitutes or... they at least looked as prostitutes. Maybe in few high class discos/bars things go different way.
I was told that Tangier is the place in Morocco with highest rates of HIV - positives. Paid sex (I mean prostitutes) is easy available in many nightclubs but it is NOT my recommendation - isn't it unsexy by the way? Maybe there are any better sex destinations closer to your place? Maybe your own bed...
Just in case... do not make a mistake and don't believe that normal use of contraceptives is unnecessary, simply because you're in a Muslim country.
- Budget Travel
- Road Trip
Dirty cheap accommodations
Well, I was not going to stay at night in Tangier. But, being highly flexible, when I noticed proud commercial Hotel somewhere off the beaten path in the medina I entered poor and simply room (a lobby?) with large writing on a wall: "no strangers allowed into the rooms" and I asked a guy about room for two. He was talking a lot in strange language (mix of Arabic, French and English) and showed us the best room with no bathroom at the best price ($7 or so). The room was very basic with... dirty bedding and window glass. Better don't ask me about the shared restroom/toilet... I saw something like this only in the former Soviet Union many years before...
Conclusion: skip the cheapest hotels or pensions in the Tangier's medina or take more time to look for a clean one and do not except to find any.
Stay in more expensive hotels (numerous but in high season reservation in advance recommended) or drive to Asilah like I did. I paid approx. $12 - $20 for simple room for two at clean local hotels, whereas touristy, at least 3-star, hotels cost over $50 in Morocco.
- Road Trip
- Budget Travel
Tangier Taxi Drivers
Ok, I wanted to give the benefit of the doubt going into Tangier after all the horror stories I heard. It wasn't nearly as bad as I prepared for but it definitely has its share of hassles. My biggest conscern were the taxi drivers that didn't have your interest as their upmost priority.
I picked up a taxi driver from the train station and gave the name of a pension that was recommended to me. The first taxi driver admitted he didn't know where it was so I told him i'd find another. The second one claimed he knew where it was and then took me on a joyride through Tangier eventually stopping at some other pension offering to drop me off here. I told him absolutely not. Tangier is wild and exciting but at this point I just wanted a place to drop my bags. He pulled off and started driving around again, the meter was rising and I was getting anxious. The driver pulled a small vile out of his pocket with powder on it and proceded to snort it off his hand. This was the final straw. I asked him to let me out and didn't even worry about the amount of money I really owed him. I just tossed him a 5EUR bill which was the smallest I had on me and didn't care about change. I just wanted out of that taxi.
- Budget Travel
Don't get lost
We were on a group tour of Tangier, and halfway through walking down in the medina, one old lady decided she did not want to continue, and she turned round to go back to the bus. Lesson number one - always tell the guide if you are leaving the group.
The bus was no longer at the drop-off point - it had driven around the medina and was meeting us at the bottom. Lesson number two - always make sure you know where the bus will be.
Fortunately, the old lady had her wits about her, and had taken a taxi from the medina back to the hotel, and she was there waiting for us when we returned with the bus, much to her friend's relief. Lesson number three - always make sure you have the name and address of the hotel written on a pice of paper with you - preferably also in Arabic. Also make sure you have enough money on you for a taxi!
Please be aware of false guides in Tangier.
I have been warned by VT-members before
shipping in to Tangier, and what happened?
Still an old man snatched me, carried my
luggage, helped me store it - I had 6 hours
left until the train left to Rabat - and I was
already following him to the Medina of
Tangier. Suddenly he said he was finished,
I should visit the new part of the city myself,
and he demanded about 30 Euros. My
first time in an African country, I was scared
and hesitantly gave him the money. I did
not want to be impolite or make him mad
or shout words at me. Yet I regret it nowadays. On my way back, I acted wiser though!
As far as I know Tangier - even among
Moroccans - has a bad reputation. Many
dubious people, false guides, drug-dealers,
etc. The city itself does not offer a very picturesque view, despite the warm
On my way back, I saw many people at
the port offering me tickets back to Spain.
I knew immediately that those were forgers.
Be aware of that, too! Go straight to the
Drug and Prostitute Peddlars
People will approach you on the street offering you drugs or prostitutes, and WON'T leave you alone. They speak several languages and they'll try them all. We figured out the way to get rid of them: speak gibberish! After a couple of sentences, they figure you speak some bizarre language they've not learned and will leave you to look for easier prey.
Forget Hotel Reservations
Before going to Tangier, I was begged by friends in Gibraltar to make alternative plans and visit a different Morrocan city; I didn't listen, telling them I'd already arranged reservations. They said, "The reservations won't be there when you get there". Sure enough, the people at the hotel acted like I was a LUNATIC to suggest I'd made reservations, though I'd called 3 weeks earlier and confirmed them.
Get Mentally prepared!!
Just get mentally prepared to step in Tangier and many cab drivers trying to get you as a customer. They will fight for you and many people that will try to take you as a guide. They will bother you and follow you for hours if is possible. They are usually close to hotels, ports, and other tourist places. They will tell you that is dangerous to walk without a guide and things like that. The best way is to tell them directly that you are not interested and you will call the cops. Trust me I almost fought a guy because I was arguing with him for 30 minutes because the guide was still following us. Is very frustrating, so get preapared if visiting Morocco.
Money and valuables
People always says that you should watch you wallet, money, cameras etc incase of pickpockets or muggers. However I no of a number of people who have travelled to Morocco and never had any problems. Just like Ive known people to go to more exotic posh places and be robbed.
My advice though is never let shop keepers/stall holders see just how much money you have as the more they know you have the more they will want you to spend and if your worried about valuables dont take them with you.
- Arts and Culture
Just like everyone says, there's a huge number of men waiting when you get off the ferry wanting to take your bags and give you a tour of the city. I made the mistake of going with one, knowing exactly what he was, and I was glad I did because it sure beat sitting at the train station all day. However, he claimed I could pay whatever I wanted which I knew was a lie. He repeatedly took me to dark places, put his arms around me, and said "Are you happy with Mustafa?" We did the typical carpet shop thing, and he took me to an overpriced empty restaurant, but the food was excellent. In the end he asked for 200 dirhams, and when I gave it to him he told me 300. Then I went off on him and told him if he's that desperate for money to just take it all from me which got him upset. He said I embarrassed him in front of his cousin (the taxi driver), and he just took the 200. In the end he tried to make out with me at the train station which was disgusting, but luckily he just said a couple of rude words when I pushed him away. These guides can be useful for seeing the city, but be very careful, and it's definitely advisable to arrange something beforehand than to just go with whatever random person approaches you.
- Women's Travel
Touts, Hard sell, and Hassle
The hassle one can have from street sellers following you arround can be most unpleasent. They just can not take "No" or "La" for an answer.
When we were with our tour group whe level of harassment was just AWFUL & really ruined the tour. I have to admit we were really not looking forward to spending another day in Tangier .
The next day when we ventured in to Tangier alone, it was wonderful, not one person approached us and we were left totally alone. I think these sellers must just hunt down the tour groups.
We got lost, I asked a lady for help and within seconds 5 or 6 people came to help. Which was lovely, a much better experience than the day before.
Photo is of Nice Tangier People, Not the Horrid ones! (~_~)
Get a Guide
As soon as I had left the ferry there was someone following me asking for money. The only respite from this bombardment was when I went and got myself a guide for the day. A really nice guy called Charlie. I asked a bloke at a small art gallery and he put us in touch.
Vendors and beggars
As soon as you step in Tangier you will face the hassle of many vendors trying to sell you different goods and small boys asking for money. They will walk around you trying to get your attention. If you answer or show the least interest, you can be sure that they will insist in bargaining a deal with you for hours. So, your best course of action is just don't even look at them and keep on walking.
Tangier has had problems with crime, just like many other border cities and large cities. But if you take precautions, you won't have any problems. We didn't have any problems. Wear a money belt. Don't wear flashy jewelry. Try not to dress like a tourist so you don't attract unwanted attention and pickpockets. Dress conservatively in long pants or skirts and shirts with sleeves. Don't walk in dark , desolate areas and wander around the medina alone at night. Basically, don't let your guard down because you're on vacation, but don't be paranoid either.
It seems on my tour - and with others I spoke with - we only saw what the guide wanted us to see, and we were only able to shop where the guide wanted us to shop.
The typical tour includes lunch, a trip to the rug & leather shop, and a stop in the herb shop.
I would encourage you to be wary of the prices - 1/4 to 1/2 of the asking price would probably be reasonable. Also, use your own judgment when your guide assures you that you're getting a good deal in one of the shops, as he's probably getting a cut of the sales.
It really seems to be quite a racket... 3 separate tours left from my hotel, and we all got the same tour, and the same sales pitch in the same shops!
However, I'm not sure I would've done it any differently for the first visit.
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