Taxis from the airport
Theres an advertised bus service of 25 dirham per person which is a regular half hourly service til about 930pm that leaves from just outside the main entrance doors into the airport. Very hand bus route goes into the centre near the main square Djma Elfnaa across the road from Hotel Foucauld and into the Gueliz (new town) with stops at the railway station and bus station.
The driver also gave me a map which I snapped up as in all the years of visiting Marrakech have never seen one other than the fairly basic ones in the guidebooks!
There is also a well displayed list of prices for services into the city at the exit out of the airport which is designed to put some sort of boundary against the desires of taxi drivers to take tourists for all they can - which Ive seen well enough at Tangier - pity Im not an unsuspecting tourist but have been travelling in and out of Morocco so many times and with various Moroccan friends and family that I have had plenty of cause to know better!
It doesnt mean that it necessarily makes it easy for me to haggle and have the success Id desire to get the prices that I think that I should be it at least helps....!
Unique Suggestions: Be aware that 150-200 dirham is not a good price to get into the city for 15 minutes of driving - despite it being comparable with whatever country you come from!
Why make it easy for sharks to be sharks! (sure there are many trying to make a living but these guys are taking 'opportunism' to extremes - especially when I think of many other hard working people elsewhere in Morocco working a lot harder and honestly to get a lot less and would still help a person in need for free!)
Check out the board that lists prices which is at the exit as you leave the arrival terminal and have a determination - a polite but firm one - that you have an idea of the price. There are both grande taxis - the large 6 seater taxis that generally would prefer to fill up a bit or can charge a little more if its just one set of customers with their big bags and then theres the small 'petite' taxis which can fit 3 or really squeeze in 4 but with bags and so on even 2 can be a squeeze! so they generally are a little cheaper to get into town - around town they run on meters and generally only about 15 dirham for a trip.
The last time I took a friend taxi drivers were offering me prices of 150 dirham which to me was - are you joking!?- im almost a local and that price is for dummies!
My friend went back to the board and she got so upset with me when I accepted 70 dirham instead of getting the driver down to 50 dirham - at that point I think its fair enough to say that it doesnt warrant wasting any further time for the extra 20 dirham or £1.30 - which then is peanuts between the two of us to get going and get into the city!
Ive just got back from another visit - Feb 09 - and the taxi drivers at the airport are just sharks - I am adamant! catch the excellent and reliable bus service if you can and avoid these dreadful rip off extortionists - I couldnt even get them down to 100 this time - and it truly is only a 10-15 minute drive into the city if that.
Fun Alternatives: For Moroccans that are opportunists they offer a price to see if they will get it - if a tourist agrees to pay too much then so be it its the way a lot of it is - otherwise we dont have to accept the any price verbalised - nicely haggle - you care about your money and realise that the price is higher than it should be - so haggle it down.Related to:
- Historical Travel
- Family Travel
- Adventure Travel
Barow boys at the medina
If you are staying at the medina in a town/city in Morocco, your taxi/car will only be able to deliver you to the medina wall, (or just inside.) From here its all on foot - and the streets are incredibly narrow, small, and not named.
Before you have gotton out of the cab, you bags are already in a bag boys barrow who will take you to your hostel/hotel/riad. You are in their hands because with out them you have no hope of finding your accomodation. They expect to be paid, and sometimes ask for more than the cab fare to get you to the medina. They have you over a barrel and they know it.
Pay up (it's cheap enough anyhows,) you won't need them again, and you will be wanting to check in and relax.
Airport to city center/Railway for less than 20dh!
As you perhaps already know, many taxi drivers in Marrakesh have a very low level of ethics, they will try to charge the maximum they can extort from you.
Many tourist are charged 150DH or 50 DH per person from the airport to the city center, in reality this course doesn't cost more than 20 DH (2 euros) whether you are alone or with up to 3 people!
Fun Alternatives: To pay this low fare you just have to walk 5 minutes to reach the main boulevard just outside the airport as shown in the picture.
Outside the airport area, taxis must use the counter and cannot charge high fixed fares, so insist on the driver to use it !
for you way back to the airport tell him to use the counter and that you want to go to Mhamid (the neighborhood close to the airport), once you are close to the airport ask him to drop you close to its entrance without entering the parking from there you will have to walk 5 minutes but you will pay just 20 dh instead of 50dh or more!Related to:
- Budget Travel
apothecaries and herbalists
Don't get me wrong! I'm not doubting the healing powers of many of the products...
...I'm warning you about being taken into a sideroom within a store and receiving a hard sell. Okay, you are not held prisoner but you would find it difficult, socially and perhaps physically, to get out of the room until the salesman has 'pushed' the bags of saffron etc.
Can saffron etc be imported into all countries?
Unique Suggestions: Do not buy! Do not engage in conversation! Do not make eye-contact!
Those in our group who expresses no interest were given less grief.
As a teacher, from the UK, I felt that I had to be polite by asking questions/taking an obvious interest and soon regretted it.
A Day or maximum 2 days trip
Marrakesh is cultural city not many things to do.
MY tip is do not stay there for more than 2 days you can cover all attractions in 1 day.If you wake up early and be active.
you can always take the train to meknes,Rabbat Casablanca city is cheap and worth a visit and you will see you will have peace of mind since there (Rabbat and Casa)no body will chase you and try to sell you stuff spiel you.
Watch out for the Snake Charmers
You either like them or you don't. For all the warnings I gave hubby, he couldn't walk past without stopping to grab a pic whilst I continued on. No cranned finger silently requesting hubby to come on and avoid the big con stopped him.
So after taking a stack of photos and hubby kissing the snake for good luck, we departed minus 200 dirhams.
Tip - decide before hand if you are going to stop at the Snake Charmers umbrella and if so, be prepared to pay for the privilege.Related to:
- Arts and Culture
I read the reviews here and i was concerned that it wil take long at the passport control,I was wrong I am Dutch it did not take us that long max 10 min .
Believe me is quicker than The UK passport control.
WEARING A SNAKE
Yes. That is a picture of me wearing a snake. This is one of the tricks they use to get money out of you. “Hello – I will put a snake on you and take your picture”. Now they want money! Of course they do! And they want a lot of money!
Go ahead and get your picture and give them $1. They want $20. Forget it. You will get pleading and shouting from them, but just walk away. Or don’t bother in the first place.
Throw the snake to the ground and walk on it. Run away.
I really wanted to do this.
Go for it.
Tour Companies - Atlas Mountains
We booked a daytrip into the Atlas Mountains with a Tour Company, although I cannot remember their name (which begins with an H) and they have a stall situated on the top floor of one of the main restaurants in the square. We thought it sounded like a good deal as they picked us up at our hotel entrance and included various activities and sights. Although we had a good day, we feel like we've been ripped off:
- They did not provide us with a guide, only a driver who obviously did not want to be there, only spoke French and made no effort to ensure we understood anything. He just drove, stopped the car, waved briefly at *sight* and expected us to take a few pictures before being herded back again into the car.
- He stopped at this restaurant for lunch with outrageous prices - what I paid for myself could have bought a dinner for two anywhere else.
- When we finally reached the mountains and was about to climb them to see the waterfalls, he told us that he was not coming with us and we would need to hire a guide separately, paying extra.
- When speaking to the other couples on the tour with us, it turned out we paid the lowest price for the tour (200dirhams) through sheer luck as it had not occurred to me to haggle for a daytrip! Another couple was told they were being given 50% off and still paid 250 dirhams.
Unique Suggestions: Although I would recommend going to the Atlas Mountains, I would be extremely careful when going with a tour company - try to lower the price and make sure you know exactly what you are getting for your money. We basically paid 200dirhams for a driver.
On another note, as we climbed the Atlas Mountains a little boy offered to be our guide for 15dirhams per person. We saw the first waterfall and as we trekked up higher and higher was on a ledge, he suddenly stopped and demanded more money if we wanted to see more sights. After arguing for a long time, he still refused to budge or even lower the price (being aware that we were stuck on the side of a mountain with no one else anywhere near). Once again, negotiate carefully beforehand so you know exactly what you are going to get.Related to:
- Hiking and Walking
friendely ask for 10 times the price
in the souks the sellers try to create a friendely sfere but asking 10 times the price, they talk very good, they are masters in psychological manipulation,they say it's authentic,old,real ,mostly is false,you have to be very wake to reduce the price of walk way,it's almost robbery,
at the ensemble artisanal it's relaxed and nice and you can look, and see the prices and is a very good place to buy.
the bar of the ensemble artisanal is also nice but the person working there 'forgets' to give the change back of give wrongely lesser,be wake
Unique Suggestions: see first he price at the ensemble artisanal,you have to know wat you want to buy and how much you want to give before you engage talks at the souk
Fun Alternatives: buy at the ensemble artisanal and even the shops at the airport are sometimes better than all the hassle at the souks
Cruelty to monkeys
Among the “attractions” on offer in the Djamaa el Fna are several men or groups of men with monkeys on chains who will approach you and attempt to perch the monkey on your shoulder. If you allow this, they will expect a fee for the resulting photo opportunity. Now I think monkeys are really cute and would love to have got closer to one of them, but there was no way I was going to condone this practice by giving them a penny. It is obvious that the monkeys cannot live in the best of conditions, i.e. in something approaching their wild state as they might do in a good zoo or safari park. The cages in which they are transported to the square are tiny, and even if they have a larger one for their off duty time I would be surprised if it were much bigger given how crowded a city Marrakesh is, and their owners not likely to have large homes.
Fun Alternatives: If you want a photo grab one with a zoom lens and refuse to pay for the privilege.
Caleche tour - scam of scams!
You can't avoid caleches in Marrakesh. These horse-drawn carts are everywhere, used mainly by locals as an alternative to taxis, but also by tourists as a different way to see the city. As they aren't purely for the tourists, you might expect them to be relatively good value. Perhaps they can be, but as with so many things in Marrakesh prices are strictly subject to how much the seller thinks he can rip you off.
We hadn't planned a city tour. We just wanted a ride back to our riad, but the driver was adamant: it was a tour or nothing. Well, this ought to have sounded warning bells. 25 euros. This did seem a bit steep but again he wasn't budging - and our guide did recommend a city tour. An hours ride around the walls was mentioned. And so we got in.
The ride did start interestingly enough, and while we were navigating the narrow streets, it was very almost magical (I say almost because I couldn't dispel the feeling of being conned) and it was great to avoid the scrum below. But it wasn't long before we were out of the streets where things were going on and onto a long, dark road with absolutely nothing of interest or even a single living soul. We did see the famed heron nests there, but then we could have walked to see these. And then, at the end, we found ourselves close to the riad. The whole trip must have taken 15 minutes at most, probably closer to 10. 25 euros.
Now this was our first experience of being ripped off in Marrakesh and sadly not the last (the opportunities for scamming gullible visitors seemingly endless), but it was the worst. See my suggestion below, but if you find yourself with a driver like ours just give it a miss.
Unique Suggestions: Credit where credit's due: going through the streets in a caleche is a fantastic experience in itself, especially at night when the streets of Marrakesh are most bustling. So how to get a tour worth having? Well, next time I would fix ask about the driver's proposed duration and any sites we would see. I would haggle, bargain and I'd make suggestions. And if that didn't work, I'd move onto the next driver.
They only want your money!
I took a picture of these musicians and continued on my way across the square. Big mistake! One of them chased after me, demanded money for the photo and complained when I only gave him 2 Dirham. So I gave him one more. Quite what I was paying for I don't know, as I hadn't really listened to the music.
Later when we were having a cafe overlooking the square, I saw the same musicians being filmad by a professional photographer. They were happy to pose for many shots. However, when he tried to walk away without paying all hell broke loose. He seemed to be saying he was exempt from paying as he had some sort of accreditation which he kept showing to the band when they demanded money. Eventually the police had to get involved as it was turning nasty.
Unique Suggestions: If you want to take a photo of the street musicians (or any entertainer on Djemma el-Fna) you will probably have to pay for the privilege. Trying to be discreet does not really work as they seem to have eyes in the back of their heads. The musicians do add a bit of colour to the square but it's a bit off-putting the way they demand money. My advice is to ignore them.
On our way to the Menara gardens, and also in the gardens too, we noticed there were plenty of opportunities for camel hire. Actually, it’s not really camel hire, it’s an opportunity for you to sit on a camel and pretend your in the dessert. Now, Marrakech is not quiet in the dessert so it seems a strange place for a camel ride. It's more of a photo opportunity than anything else, aimed at the many tourists who make it to Marrakech but no further south.
Dont even try to take a photo to them before asking the price, they will overcharge as much as they can. in my case i am a photografer, i was takin the picture and more then one man put a snake on the picture, everione whants money, they surround me i felt very nervous because they are agresive,
Unique Suggestions: try to have little money small cash or coins, they will not do nothing onluçy say no.Related to:
- Road Trip
- Budget Travel
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