Northern Morocco on a Shoestring
Modern, ancient, bohemian, sophisticated – no matter how many superlatives you can think of, Northern Morocco surpasses them all, and we’ve put together a trip that shows you all the best sights while still leaving money for bargaining in the medina. Over eight days, you’ll tour charming Tangier, old-world Fes, and the famous blue-and-white buildings of Chefchaouen, then explore mysterious Marrakech and the bustle of Djeema El Fna. If exotic magic exists anywhere in the world, trust us – it’s right here in beautifully cultured Morocco.
Free time to explore ancient medinas and souks. All transport between destinations and to/from included activities.
Get lost in ancient medinas, dodge snake charmers, bargain in exotic souks, experience this land of mystery for yourself.
1. ITINERARY PACE. This is a very fast paced itinerary which covers lots of ground. While this is great as it allows us to see a huge amount in the available time, it also means some early starts, some long drives in the mini van and less free time than many other G Adventures. We feel that if you enter this trip with this knowledge and expectation, you will appreciate even more the variety of locations we are able to include in this itinerary.
2. WEATHER. Please note that the climate in Morocco can be both very hot during the day in summer months (up to 50°C) and cold at night in the mountains in autumn, early spring and winter (down to -6°C). Summer months, from April to September are very hot throughout Morocco. Winter months November to March can be cool to cold, especially in the Atlas Mountains, with high probability of snowfall. Most Moroccan buildings are not equipped with heating, so without proper layers you will be cold at night. Please bring appropriate clothing for the months in which you are travelling and check temperatures before you leave. Bedding is provided in the desert camp and the gîte, but in winter months if you feel the cold you may wish to bring a sleeping bag too.
3. RAMADAN. Depending on the lunar cycle, Ramadan will fall between June 7th and July 7th, 2016. Please note that Ramadan is a month of fasting observed by Muslims throughout the world, during which time the followers of Islam should not eat or drink between sunrise and sunset. There may be some limitations to services and disruptions to schedules during Ramadan, but generally our tours still operate effectively during this period and food is available to non-muslims throughout the day.
Group Size Notes
Max 18, avg 14.
Breakfasts on tour
Many breakfasts are included as part of your tour.
Moroccan breakfasts tend to be different from your usual cereal and toast morning fare – most will be very simple – a croissant or sweet roll with jam and instant coffee and some hotels will have buffets where you will have more variety.
While you are experiencing what a Moroccan family would eat, some travellers do find the provided breakfasts a bit “bread heavy” and enjoy buying fruit the day before to supplement their breakfast.
Lunches and dinners
Moroccan cuisine is world famous and your CEO will be taking the chance to show you the best of it.
Staples include cous cous, a type of grain topped with stew, tagine which is actually the name of the pot this tasty dish is cooked in, and brochette, bbq skewers of meat. These meals will generally cost between 45- 70 MAD depending on the type of restaurant and which part of the country you are in.
Other tastes not to be missed include pastilla, a sweet pasty with a savoury filling which is traditionally pigeon and harira, a delicious soup based on chick peas and filling enough when teamed with fresh bread to be a whole lunch. If you are heading to the coast the fresh seafood cooked at one of the local markets is a must eat!
Morocco’s fresh orange juice is highly recommended and you should not leave without trying a glass. The brave can try the tiny snails which are perhaps the local’s favourite snack but you might prefer a cone of piping hot bite-size fried cake donuts.
Generally meals are not included in the trip price when there is a choice of eating options, to give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat. It also gives you more budgeting flexibility, though generally food is cheap. Our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other’s company. There is no obligation to do this though. Your CEO will be able to suggest favourite restaurants during your trip. The above information applies to G Adventures group trips. For Independent trips please check the itinerary for details of meals included. For all trips please refer to the meals included and budget information for included meals and meal budgets.
Air-conditioned private vehicle, public bus, walking.
About our Transportation
Please note that there is a lot of fast paced travel on this itinerary which necessitates some long travel days in our mini van. We feel that if you enter this trip with this knowledge and expectation, you will appreciate even more the variety of locations we are able to include in this itinerary.
The legroom in the minivan is possibly smaller than you may be used to and taller passengers may find space a little cramped. It is important to be aware that as it is not a legal requirement in buses in Morocco, your vehicle may not be equipped with seat belts. The minivans have air conditioning, however please note that summer temperatures in Morocco can easily reach 50 celsius. When the outside temperature is so hot, a minibus air conditioning system will not be able to cool the bus to the temperatures you are used to enjoying at home. Please bear in mind that travelling in Morocco in summer will inevitably involve very hot temperatures and some discomfort may be experienced when travelling.
Simple hotels (7 nts).
On this trip you can expect to stay in local hotels or pensions (with the exception of the start and finish hotels, which are often larger city hotels), which will vary a little in standard and facilities: some may not have elevators, air-conditioning or English-speaking staff, but most importantly all are locally-run, with some traditional character, and in excellent central locations to give you maximum time for exploring the sights. Where a town has both an ancient medina and a “ville nouvelle” we generally stay in the ville nouvelle, both because the standard of hotels is higher, and because travellers (especially women) often find the medinas at night a little confronting.
Please note that Morocco is a developing country and as such the infrastructure is not as reliable as you would expect at home. Expect quirky plumbing and the odd cold shower!
83-85 Boulevard de la Liberte
Please note that day 1 is an arrival day and no activities have been planned on this day. Upon arrival to the city on day 1 (or earlier if you have booked pre-accommodation with us), please make your way to the joining hotel (note that check-in time will be in the afternoon). Once you arrive at the hotel, look for a note or bulletin board in the reception with a note from your CEO. This note will give the details of your Welcome Meeting on day 1 (usually between 5pm and 7pm), where you will get a chance to meet your CEO and other travellers, as well as learn more about how the tour will run. If you don’t see a note, please ask reception for details!
If you are arriving later and will miss the Welcome Meeting, your CEO will leave a note at reception for you with any information you may need, and with morning instructions for the next day.
If you have pre-arranged an arrival transfer, look for the driver holding a G Adventures sign in the arrivals hall. Please approach them, and ask them who they are supposed to be picking up (do not tell them your name, they should have this information already). Once they give you the correct name, have your passport ready to show them and you will be on your way!
If you choose to get to Hotel Casablanca from the airport on your own, take an official taxi. It will cost approximately 300Dirhams and take around 1hour to reach the Hotel.
We do not expect any complications and nor should you but the following information is supplied in case of extra ordinary circumstances.
PRE-BOOKED AIRPORT TO HOTEL TRANSFERS
If you have pre booked an airport to hotel transfer, please look for your transfer driver at the Airport Information Desk in Terminal 1. He will be holding a G Adventures sign and waiting in this area for you. Your name will not be on the G Adventures sign, so please ask the driver whom they are there to meet.
The Airport Information Desk is located in the main Arrival Halls in Terminal 1, next to the stairs and escalators to the train station.
If you have arrived in Terminal 2, please make your way to the Airport Information Desk in Terminal 1 to find your driver.
If you are unable to locate your G Adventures airport representative, please call our local staff at +212 528 824898 (during office hours Mon-Fri) or +212 661 429700 (after office hours or at any time if you are unable to get through to the office) They will assist you in getting to the joining hotel.
If you have arrived at Casablanca airport, before calling please double-check with the airport staff which terminal you have arrived at. (This may not be the terminal stated on your airline ticket, as Casablanca flight arrivals often experience a change in arrival terminal). Please make your way to the Airport Information Desk in Terminal 1 (this is a short walk from the other terminals)
If you are not travelling with a telephone, please head to the airport Information booth who will be able to assist you in the purchase of a phone card and direct you to a telephone.
If for any reason you are unable to commence your trip as scheduled, or your flight is delayed, please call the above numbers to inform our staff so we can re-book your transfer.
What to Take
You will be on the move a lot, so our advice is to pack as lightly as possible. We highly recommend using a backpack or light sports bag, whichever you find easiest to carry, plus a small daypack. Luggage space on public transport is limited. You must be prepared to carry your own bags and be comfortable carrying them between transport and hotels (max. 15-20mins walking), hopping on and off trains and public buses and up and down stairs.
•Light fleece top
•Light windproof/waterproof jacket
•Small towel and swimwear
•Personal clothing (See also “What to Take” and “Local Dress” sections of this dossier)
•Hiking boots/sturdy walking shoes
•Watch or alarm clock
Additionally for departures Nov-Feb:
•Sleeping bag (optional but recommended in a cold winter or if you feel the cold)
•Warm winter coat
•Passport (with photocopies)
•Travel insurance (with photocopies)
•Airline tickets (with photocopies)
•Credit or debit card (see personal spending money)
•G Adventures vouchers, pre-departure information and dossier
•Any entry visas or vaccination certificates required
Laundry facilities are offered by some of our hotels for a charge. There will be times when you may want to or have to do your own laundry so we suggest you bring non-polluting/biodegradable soap.
All countries require a valid passport (with a minimum 6 months validity). To date, citizens of the UK, EU, US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand do not need visas for visits of up to three-months. Other nationalities may need to organize a visa pre travel; please check the individual requirements of your passport nationality.
Please note this information is given in good faith, is beyond G Adventures’s control and subject to change at any time.
Contact your local embassy, or consulate for the most up-to-date visa requirements, or see your travel agent. It is the individual’s responsibility to ensure that travel documentation is correct.
The local currency in Morocco is the Moroccan Dirham (MAD).
ATMs are very common in Morocco with Cirrus and Plus system cards are the most widely accepted debit cards. While ATMs are commonly available, there are no guarantees that your credit or debit cards will actually work – it is important you check with your bank before departure and advisable to travel with more than one type of card. Visa cards are the most widely accepted credit cards, but are generally only useful for larger/expensive purchases. You should be aware when purchasing products or services on a credit card, that a fee usually applies.
The foreign currency most commonly accepted in Morocco is the Euro. You will be able to exchange Euros, as well as GBP and USD at money exchange offices in major cities. Do not rely on credit or debit cards as your only source of money. A combination of cash (EUR, GBP or USD) and cards is best.
As currency exchange rates can fluctuate often we ask that you refer to the following website for daily exchange rates: www.xe.com
Morocco has a strong tipping culture – it is customary and even expected to tip small service providers such as restaurant and bar waiters, hotel staff, reception, cleaning personnel, bell boys, taxis and van drivers. Tips are regarded as an essential means of supplementing income for those working in the tourism industry.
Even though this might not be customary to you, nor such common practice in your home country, it is generally expected and of great significance to the people who will be assisting you during your travels.
Depending on your preference and/or that of the group, you may choose to tip individually, organize the tipping with your travelling companions, or, your CEO will offer to collect the tip money at the beginning of your tour and tip as a group with your participation as the tour progresses. A recommendation for tipping small service providers is about $3 USD per day, depending on the quality of the service (this does not include your G Adventures CEO).
Feel free to ask your CEO for the breakdown/distribution of the tips. Note that if you have been very disappointed by a particular service, please inform your CEO right away, and the tip will be adjusted accordingly.
Also, at the end of your trip if you felt your G Adventures CEO did an outstanding job, tipping is also expected and appreciated. The precise amount is entirely a personal preference, however USD20-25 per person per week can be used as a general guideline.
Your CEO will recommend different optional activities, feel free to ask him/her for more information.
All prices are per person (unless stated otherwise), and are subject to change as services are provided by third party operators. Please note that prices are quoted in Moroccan Dirham (Dh).
Casablanca (for those who have time in the city before the trip starts)
Hassan II Mosque (Sat to Thurs) 9, 10, 11 and 2pm – Dh120
Villa de Arts (Tues to Sat) – free
Jewish Museum (Mon to Fri) – Dh30
Medersa bou inania – Dh10
Medersa el Attarine – Dh10
Dar batha museum (Wed to Mon) – Dh10
Belghazi museum – Dh20
Traditional Hammam (steam bath) including massage – Dh 300
Moroccan 3 course dinner and folklore entertainment in a traditional restaurant overlooking the famous Djemma el Fna Square – Dh 400
Ali Ben Youssef Medersa – Dh 40
Koubba Ba’adiyn – Dh 40
Museum of Marrakech – Dh 40
El Badi Palace – Dh10
Dar si Said – Dh10
Majorelle and Museum of Islamic Art – Dh 50
Bicycle hire – Dh 70–100 per day
Please note inoculations may be required for the country visited. It is your responsibility to consult with your travel doctor for up to date medical travel information well before departure.
There are no specific health requirements for this trip. However, you should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information before departure. We recommend that you carry a First Aid kit, hand sanitizers / antibacterial wipes as well as any personal medical requirements . Please be aware that we are in remote areas and away from medical facilities for some time during this trip, and for legal reasons our leaders are prohibited from administering any type of drug including headache tablets, antibiotics, etc.
When selecting your trip please carefully read the G Adventures brochure and itinerary and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org should you require any clarification on what is involved on your itinerary. G Adventures reserves the right to exclude any traveller from all or part of a trip without refund if in the reasonable opinion of our CEO they are unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group.
Safety and Security
A Couple of Rules
Planeterra-The G Adventures Foundation
While visiting mosques and other religious monuments you should dress modestly, cover your shoulders and you shouldn’t wear short shorts or skirts. Outside of capital cities and the more touristic centres, local dress is often more conservative and as a matter of respect we ask that both men and women are aware of this and recommend loose-fitting clothes with your shoulders covered. Ask your CEO for more specific advice.
Chief Experience Officer (CEO) throughout.
Allow USD205-270 for meals not included.
PRODUCT_LINE: DCCM, ID: 23188
Terms, conditions and restrictions apply; pricing, availability, and other details subject to change and/ or apply to US or Canadian residents. Please confirm details and booking information with your travel advisor.
Day 1 Casablanca
Arrive at any time.
Day 2 Casablanca/Tangier (1B)
Travel up the coast to Tangier. Get lost in the winding streets and alleyways of the medina, and take a beachfront stroll. Be sure to sample some Moroccan mint tea.
Private Vehicle (5.00 hour(s))
Day 3 Tangier/Chefchaouen (1B)
Explore this beautiful mountain town with white-washed buildings and blue accents. Opt to hike the Rif Mountains, take a traditional hammam or visit a local weavers’ cooperative.
Private Vehicle (2.00 hour(s))
Day 4 Chefchaouen (1B)
Enjoy a free day in Chefchaouen to explore. The city, whitewashed in different shades of blue, is spectacular on its own, but with the surrounding mountains, it’s a sight to behold.
Day 5 Chefchaouen/Fès (1B)
Enjoy free time to shop in the world’s largest medina, visit a Berber pharmacy, and take in the many colours of an ancient tannery.
Private Vehicle (5.00 hour(s))
Day 6 Fès (1B)
The Fès medina is the world’s largest living medieval medina and a UNESCO site. Explore the artisan quarters, sample treats from the carts, and view Fès’ famous leather tannery from above.
In the evening, opt for dinner in a converted riad complete with local specialties, music, and belly dancing.
Only certified local guides are allowed to act as guides in the medina, so your CEO cannot go with you to the medina during free time.
Day 7 Fès/Marrakech (1B)
Travel across Morocco to the bustling city of Marrakech, and enjoy an evening exploring this fascinating city.
Private Vehicle (8.00 hour(s))
Day 8 Marrakech (1B)
Consider booking extra nights to fully explore this city.