Hello all, My girlfriend and I are currently doing a 1 year long trip through Europe and are debating on adjusting our itenary to accomidate Morocco.. We have JUST started researching Morocco and have found many negative comments about it.. as far as locals are concerned.. Is it as dangerous as we are thinking it is?? We will be traveling with american passports and fair skinned complextion.. Does this pose a problem?
We would both really love to go for a week or 2.. How far does the US Dollar get you compaired to the local currency. Also any advice on places to stay or if hireing a guide would be better would be greatly appreaciated. Thanks
As far as I'm concerned, after 6 years experience of Morocco I'm quite sure you are safer here than you are in most European capital cities.
The last place I was threatened with a knife? London.
The last time somebody punched me? Paris
Also bear in mind that statistically, Europe is generally much safer than the USA - see http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/pdfs2/hosb502.pdf
Morocco has a strong police force, and a peaceful population. I can only think that you are confusing accounts of people being hassled in the souks with a situation that is genuinely dangerous. Keen as a shop keeper may be to take your money, he won't resort to violence!
American passports? Did you know that Morocco was the first nation to recognise the independance of the US?
Fair Skin? Ginger hair isn't rare amongst the Berbers...
The US Dollar... easily exchanged at banks and big hotels. Euros are easier, but the local 'rule of thumb' exchange rate is 10 Euros to 100 Dirhams - so you loose out.
Much better to change your currency into Moroccan Dirhams, or use the (occasionally unreliable) ATMs to draw cash.
Arrive by ferry at Tangiers - now regaining it's status after years of neglect. Chefchaouen, perhaps the most beautiful mountain village in the continent. Fes, past capital and the largest medina in the world. Marrakech needs no explanation. Use it as a base to explore the Atlas and the desert as well. Return by heading back to the coast. Essaouira, the salt lagoons and oysters of Oulidia, then Casablanca (briefly!), Rabat, and don't forget Asilah before you return to Tangiers.
Morocco is a safe place to go to. All the negativity surrounding it is over-exaggerated. If you're going to Morocco, definitely stay 2 weeks there and you should go to cities like Marrakech, Essouaira and Fez. You can probably skip Casablanca.
Today's rate for Dirhams is: 1 USD = 8.68950 MAD
I've met Americans at Marrekech studying Arabic art there and they've been enjoying their time there. You shouldn't worry too much.
The only hassle in Morocco is that the shop owners tend to drag people over to buy their items.
If you have time, you might want to pass by Ait Benhaddou, your trip to Morocco cannot be complete without seeing Kasbahs! If you're going to big cities, you don't need a guide, a guidebook would be enough. Catching a train is easy and getting around is very easy. If you know some French, you'd be way ahead of the game.