Although Marrakesh’s Medina is quite compact and best explored on foot, you will probably find yourself wanting to take a taxi from time to time, and certainly if you decide to venture into the newer parts of town. For us, with my lack of mobility, they were essential, although many parts are accessible only on foot and some of these were beyond my reach.
There are two types of taxi, grands and petits. Almost all of the former are Mercedes, while the latter are of various makes and, as the name suggests, smaller. These are better for journeys within the city, for several reasons: they are cheaper, can go down some of the smaller lanes, and are “single hire” vehicles. The grands taxis meanwhile are great for longer journeys such as excursions and airport transfers. Locals share these, hailing them like buses and hopping out when they reach their destination. A driver will assume that as a tourist you are hiring the whole vehicle so you will need to let him know if you are happy to share in order to reduce the costs.
Talking of costs, it is essential to negotiate in advance and never take the price first quoted as the definitive fare. Katy, the owner of our riad, said that we shouldn’t pay more than 20 dirhams for the ride back from the Djamaa el Fna, but several times we were quoted 40 or even 50. While we never managed to beat them down to her figure, we also never paid more than 30. If a driver won’t agree to the price you propose, walk away – almost certainly another standing nearby will have heard the conversation and will step in to accept the fare.
I found that the petit taxis were a handy way of getting around Marrakesh. I never had to wait long until one appeared, just flag them down or go to the nearest taxi rank.
Some drivers use their meters, but as a general rule, in the day time, travel around the city is 10dh, at night it's 20dh.
Some drivers will ask for 20dh(or even more!) in daytime, but after a couple of days I was wise to this, and had the right money to hand over.
As with all services in Morocco, a tip is expected.
I found that when I started trying out my newly learnt Arabic words such as Shukran bezzef (Thank you very much), and afak (please) I was charged the lower price automatically.
Marrakech is just like any other city in the world. Guidebooks and travel websites are full of cautionary tales of travellers being "ripped off" by unscrupulous taxi drivers just minutes after setting foot outside the airport.
With this in mind, I did a bit of research and found out that I should expect to pay about 80 Dhs (5 GBP) for a taxi from the airport to my hotel (Hotel Islane) near the Djemaa El Fna in the centre of Marrakech. If the taxi driver quoted me a higher price, I'd simply ask him to turn his meter on. Faultproof!
And so it was that after getting off my flight, tired, in a strange city and carrying a couple of heavy bags, I wandered into the airport's car park and made my way over to the waiting queue of yellow taxis.
"How much to Hotel Islane?"
"Can you turn your meter on?"
"I don't have one!"
And that was that! Maybe I should have paid just 80 Dirhams for the 5km journey to my hotel, but what choice did I have? Was I going to stand there arguing over 50 Dirhams (3 GBP)? Of course not, I just wanted to get to my hotel, dump my bags and start exploring the city!
Later in the week, I spoke to people who had paid 150 Dirhams for their taxi ride from the airport.
Don't let worries of being fleeced out of a few Dirhams ruin the start of your holiday in Marrakech. Keep things in perspective - a few extra dirhams on the taxi fare is a lot more significant to the taxi driver than it is to the majority of holidaymakers!
We were lucky one night, early in our holiday to meet Mohamed. Mohamed, like the culture of all taxi drivers in Marocco, expects to barter. But after that, during our first trip from the busy 'French' area one night to the house, he asked if we wanted to visit the atlas mountains. This is a typical request from many taxi drivers. We agreed on 500MD for a day trip. A fantastic day in a Grande taxi (there were 4 of us) and our new found friend spoke English, was helpful, stopped for photographs without even asking, stopped at a pottery, an Argon oil maker, and showed us us the various vantage points with a smile.
As he said himself 'I am the only one legged taxi driver in Marrakesh'. With the adapted car, he was THE SAFEST TAXI DRIVER IN MARRAKESH. The driving leaves a lot to be desired, but we always felt safe with Mohamed at the wheel.
This man has been driving these crazy roads for 20 years and nothing seems to phase him. What really amazed us was that one night he invited us to his house for a meal, and that was when we had a real taste of Marrakesh. A genuine local inviting us to his home. How often does a taxi driver ring YOU when you are back in the UK to ask if you are ok?
If anyone is going to Marrakesh and they genuinely want Mohamed's mobile number, email me, and I will pass it on to you. All I would ask is that you pay him fairly.
We got a "grand taxi" from the Marrakesh airport to as close to our riad in the medina as the car could get for around 150 dirhams. Grand taxis are probably the better way to go to and from the airport depending upon how much souk shopping you intend to do, thanks to their larger size/bigger trunk space. You should tip the taxi driver.
You'll find several taxis waiting outside the airport upon your arrival. Or you can have your riad schedule one to be there waiting for you with a sign at your arrival time. Upon departure, have your riad/hotel call a grand taxi for you to meet you as our driver did.
We found that grand taxis in Marrakesh do not run on meters, instead, they ask where you want to go, then tell you a fare. Not sure if this can be negotiated, it probably can. We didn't bother as the price seemed fair enough.
To distinguish the two types of taxis, the small yellow ones are the "petite taxis" and the larger '80s Mercedes are the "grand taxis".
When taking a petite taxi to anywhere in Marrakech, note that if you are being charged more than 25 Dirhams you are being ripped off. I was told this by a local.
Petite taxis can hold up to 3 people while grand taxis can hold 4 or more people. When taking a petite taxi, insist on having the meter turned on or else you run the risk of being ripped off outrageously. Taking small change with you will be very helpful as well!
The only exception is when you are travelling to/fro the airport when you might have to pay just a bit more. One-way cost of such a ride would be about 50-70 Dirhams.
Getting around Marrakech by taxi is quick and easy and cheap - in Morocco called petit taxi - in Marrakech theyre small beigey coloured (beaten up a bit usually!) car - they really are cheap - 15 dirham or 20 at the most to get out to Marjane for example which is quite a long trip - usually 15 for anywhere around the city and cheaper if you are sharing as often if theres room and someone going your way the driver might let someone else jump in - usually asking you quickly first if its not okay.
Charges are a little more at night ie more so 20 and even 30 to come back from Marjane than 15 for general trips to places.
The story changes though if its getting from the airport though - then the rip off the tourist stuff sets in - 150 dirham they usually ask without blinking knowing that first time visitors will not question this - Ive seen the signs that said taxis should be 55 dirham into the city centre but that was while the new airport while still getting its finishing touches and no new sign has appeared - and now its even more difficult unless youre a local or speaking arabic to do much about it - as they will just tell you to take the bus if youre not happy about it!
Grande taxis are big 6 seater diesel mercede cars which are usually used for long distance travel between towns and cities - and are usually based at their 'Grand taxi station' near the main bus station in the city - but are used from the airport for groups - taking up to 6 passengers - and of course travellers with luggage that mightnt fit in a tiny petit taxi. Their asking price is not much different getting from the airport as the rip off little ones. but try and haggle anyway. Really the price shouldnt be more than 70-100 dirham.
Taxi's are quit cheap in Morocco.
The city center is covered by little cars ,
often peugeot 205. Covered , that is the streets
where they can drive and the places they can
reach. You can ask them to put on the meter
and get out of the car if they don't want to
or you could ask them for the price from here till
there. We choose for the last option. They charge
you about 3 times the real price , but it still
is cheap and then the tip is included.
2 euro for a drive into the city from the
congress center....And they also take the
shortest way if you do it at a fixed price.
I found it very pleasant to take a taxi. The drivers
were fun to talk too. I felt comfortable. Sometimes
if you ask for the price they just say , give
whatever you want. And they mean that. ;-)
A few times we did some co-driving. Sharing
a taxi. And for your information , it were always
local woman who took us with them.
Yes , local woman , with or without veil.
You can move around the city also with the Petit Taxies and with the Grand Taxies ... The firts ones are for sharing ... so they can pic 3 persons ... and are cheaper than Grand Taxies ... a medium fare of the pettit taxies are around 10 dirham ... if you go to the airport is around 60 dirham ( 100 dirham if you take it at night )
If you are at a bus stop is normal to take a petit taxy between 3.
We negotiated with an extremely pleasant "Grand Taxi" driver to take 4 of us on a trip to the Ourika Valley for the day. We stopped on the way to see a typical Morroccan house, to take pictures of beautiful landscapes, visit the waterfalls.and have lunch. We asked him to show us the Menara Gardens when we got back to Marrakech.
The next day he took two of us to Ouarzazate to see all the Kasbahs on the way - a 12 hour trip and we found he was a courteous, considerate and safe driver. In terms of cost we paid 1000 dirhams for the second trip which we felt was excellent value.
Mohamed Douissi was an excellent guide and we highly recommend his services. His telephone number is 062 73 8\97 45 and his taxi is number 1515. If you contact him beforehand he could pick you up from the airport and organize your city visit.
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