#1. Alcohol is not available everywhere.
Being a Muslim country, the purchase of alcohol is definitely frowned upon in Morocco but allowances and acceptance is given to tourists who would like a drink on holiday. If you can, buy directly from supermarkets such as Carrefour as the prices are drastically lower than the cost of alcohol in restaurants, hostels and hotels. Much of this has to do with the high tax of selling alcohol, and also the time and cost associated with stocking it for guests
We found it a bit annoying when we were at a well known restaurant that they didnt have any alcohol!
#2. People will hollar at you in the Souks
You will hear things like “MISS, MISS, CHEAP PRICE” or “YOU FROM QUEBEC?” ( they know one or two things about each country and constantly reference it). A few other times I heard inappropriate things like “NICE BODY” or “SEXY”. Don’t feel like you have to be polite to anyone who’s being rude to you. Be firm in saying no and just walk away, if you’re ever feeling uncomfortable.
#3. Carry Cash
Very few places aside from the larger supermarkets accept credit or debit cards. You definitely won’t be able to use a card to pay for purchases in a souk or local village shop so consider this when going shopping.
#4. Fridays are holy days
Keep in mind that it is a Muslim country, so pay attention to their holidays otherwise you might be there when everything is closed. Also, most shops and attractions are closed on Friday since it’s their holy day. A friend of mine went during Ramadan and told me it was very difficult to eat meals. We happened to arrive in Morocco on Eid al-Adha, where they were slaughtering and sacrificing animals on the street. Shops were also closed that day, and most were closed the following day. Plus, it was a bloody mess, most of which we avoided. Below you can see what is usually a crowded marketplace is deserted.
#5. Watch out for stray animals ( mainly Kittens!!!!)
If you have a soft spot for puppies and kittens, the strays of Morocco are certain to pull on your heartstrings! There was some moments where it was almost nauseating though as we would see Kittens without eyeballs or they would have big cuts on their heads.
#6. You will get lost in the Medina/Souks. Just accept it.
Medina is the name given to the old walled inner cities of Moroccan and other North African cities. These old cities contain tight meandering alleyways, and only the main streets (of which there are few!) have street names. So to see a lost tourist (or ten) in a medina is not uncommon! We downloaded an app though that was called “Map.me” and it saved our lives. You can use it offline which was HUGE!
#7 Learn to Haggle.
If you’re shopping in the markets or medinas, you will have to learn to haggle. It is part of the culture and sellers will always start much higher in anticipation of this. I would normally say the price I wanted ( without low balling them and still being respectful) and if they wouldnt negotiate back with a reasonable offer, I would walk away. They would then come running. So basically what I am telling you is walk away!
#8. Stay Away from Strangers Offering Free Tours or Directions.
Even if you don’t hire a local guide, there will be a lot of locals offering you tours while you’re walking around the markets and medinas. If you go with one of them you may end up completely lost and pressed to spend money. Most of the time they will ask for a tip afterward too. This is the same with asking for directions. A lot of them will offer to walk you to where you’re going but then ask for a tip. If you’re so inclined, always have money to pay them off or just plan ahead and ask your hotel or pull up some maps when you have WIFI.
#9. Dress Relatively Conservative
While I was never covered head to toe, I also was never wearing my daisy dukes. Marrakesh is much more modern than other cities but that doesn’t mean to disrepesct the culture. I would stick to maxi dresses or flowly dresses with a scarf just in case you end up somewhere that requires you to be a bit more covered. If you are heading into the rural areas, I would wear a t shirt and long skirt!
#10. Beware of Sketchy Taxi Drivers
The taxis here are not like home. There is no meters so you must set the price before you go and also notify your driver of the exact location you are headed. Also- they are not reliable like back home either. We repeatedly had a taxi driver take us to the wrong location and then demand more money before continuing our journey