Frequently Asked Questions
Travel to Morocco
Are passports, visas and vaccinations required?
A valid US passport that is NOT due to expired within 6 months of travel IS REQUIRED. There are no visa or vaccinations required for travel from the US. We recommend purchasing travel insurance with health coverage should any emergency arise that required medical care.
Which airlines provide best access from the US?
Iberia provides the most convenient flights to Marrakech Menara Airport (RAK) from New York, Miami and Chicago. Royal Air Maroc is also a great option from New York. Air France also provides good access from Los Angeles and other major US hubs with options for longer layover in Paris, should you want to take a stroll by the Eiffel Tower on the way to or from Morocco. We are glad to help you research flight options.
What is the time zone?
Accounting for US fall back time change, during winter Morocco is 6 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time. During summer, it is 5 hours ahead.
What are the options for airport transfer from Marrakech airport to the Riad hotel?
We will arrange private airport transfers through the Riad.
What is the weather like in Marrakech, the Atlas Mountains and the Zagora desert?
Overall, expect a considerable fluctuation between daytime and evening weather, typical of semi-desert climate. Marrakech is dry and pleasant in November with temperatures fluctuating between 50 – 70°F. Temperatures are similar in the desert during daytime but cooler in the evenings with potential low of 40 - 45°F. Temperature is lowest in the Atlas Mountains at average of 40 – 60°F.
What should we pack?
Other than your beauty potions and customary toiletries, we recommend packing casual comfortable layers of clothing to manage temperature fluctuation of 40 - 70°F. While Moroccans are very used to western style, modest attire covering cleavage, back and upper legs is most appropriate, of course, without compromising on creativity and cuteness. Comfortable walking shoes for Marrakech and a pair of walking/hiking shoes/boots for the Zagora Desert and the Atlas are in order. Do not forget your Yoga attire, warm sleepwear and long pants/jeans for camel ride in the Zagora Desert, and any prescription medications.
What level of experience is required to enjoy yoga practice?
Our yoga practice will accommodate all levels, including guests who are not avid practitioners or might never experienced yoga - this would be a great time to start or recommit to your practice!
Can we communicate in English? What languages are spoken?
Moroccans speak a mixture of Arabic, Berber, French, and many also speak English and Spanish, particularly in the larger cities like Marrakech and the tourism areas. It is always a good idea to learn a few key phrases in Arabic to show appreciation for their culture.
What is the currency and customary payment options?
The Moroccan Dirham goes for roughly 9 Dirhams per 1 Dollar. Be ready with the local currency by exchanging currency. In order to get the best exchange, I personally pick up a base amount of my cash at my local bank, but it takes 2-3 days for them to have it available. I recommend being a step ahead and bring Dirhams with you - cash is still king in Morocco!
The restaurants we recommend accept credit cards, as do the established shops. Visa and Master Card are preferred, American Express often times is not accepted. Most smaller markets, street vendors, and cabs transact in cash. When paying with credit card, it is best to use one that does not charge for international ATM withdrawal, or currency conversion.
While you can also use Euros and withdraw Dirhams from ATM machines in Marrakech, machines are sometimes not readily available or functioning. For credit card and ATM use, it is important to make sure that you consult your bank first as many have a security locks that prevent them from working overseas, so make sure you get the lock removed before you travel.
Should we negotiate pricing when shopping?
Absolutely. Bargaining is part of the art and enjoyment of shopping in Morocco. If you are a skilled negotiator, you will pay 30-50% less that the asking price. If after negotiating you do not feel you are getting a fair price, walk away and you will likely hear the shop owner calling you back with their best offer. If you are not willing to spend $1,000+ on a Moroccan carpet, do not enter any carpet shop, even if the luring salesmen insist and offer you tea…. Just say LA LA LA. Nope.
Tip on tipping
People working in Morocco’s tourism industry (lodging, restaurants, tours, transportation) depend on visitors tips to make a living. When dining on your own, I recommend leaving a 10% tip. As far as tips for the personnel in our Marrakech and Atlas hotels, I will provide further suggestion about best options to tip and recognize their kind hospitality.
Are cabs readily available?
There are taxi stands in several spots in the Medina. You must agree to a price before you ride away, otherwise you will be overcharged.
Do we need electric converters?
Yes. As in Europe, Morocco uses the following 220 voltage. Good news… we will be able to charge devices while in the Zagora Desert!
Will my cell phone work in Morocco?
Contact your carrier for best options to enable cell phone and data use. Unless you have set up an international package with your provider, cell and data use could be expensive.
Is the tap water safe to drink?
We always recommend drinking filters or bottled water.
Is it acceptable to consume alcohol in Morocco?
While it is forbidden for Muslims, it is acceptable for tourist to consume alcohol. You will find that alcohol is served only in selected restaurants and hotels. You may purchase alcohol in a shop outside the Medina for your consumption in our Riad in Marrakech and our Atlas Kasbah.
Is Morocco safe for women travelers?
Yes, Morocco is safe for female and all visitors. If you have never visited the country, the old cities’ market alleys filled with people, and others quiet in the residential pockets, may be intimidating. After taking couple of strolls and getting your bearings, you will likely feel up to exploring. Do not be concerned if you hear compliments from any gentleman eager to sell you something, just play ignore it.
As it is the case with travel to any country, one must practice caution and common sense. This includes not wearing expensive looking jewelry, not flashing large sums of cash in public, keeping a good hold on cell phone and cameras, and staying aware to avoid pickpocketing. We recommend using a zipper cross body bag for comfort and worry-free exploring.
NEVER accept tour offered by eager guides in the city streets – while the intention is usually to lure you into shops where the guide gets a commission, it is best to take advantage of our Renovad guided tours, or use GPS and sense of direction to explore on your own. Hiking in the Atlas is best with a guide; our itinerary includes an Atlas hiking tour.
Before you leave the U.S., leave a color copy of your passport along with information about where you will be lodging with a loved one in the U.S.