Morocco in march
January 30, 2012 2:14 PM   Subscribe

I'm heading to Morocco for 4 days in mid march. I'm on a bit of a budget. Are there any things I MUST do or experience?
posted by dazed_one to Travel & Transportation around Morocco (6 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Morocco can be done really cheaply, if you're willing to sacrifice luxuries and rough it a bit (and you're not too attached to Western-style toilets). For example, for my last couple of nights there after I'd run out of money, I rented a room for about 5 USD and ate like a king for $2. I'd definitely make it a point to wander through the old quarter of Marrakesh and eat at one of the food carts in the Djma al Fna after dark. If you have the inclination, you could make a quick day over overnight trip into the Atlas mountains to experience some of the Berber culture, or out into the Sahara to gaze up at the endless night sky.

But really, I think the answer to this will depend pretty heavily on a) why you're going there, and b) what your interests are.
posted by booknerd at 2:43 PM on January 30, 2012

Jemaa el Fna..... Marrakech is wonderful! You can eat for nearly nothing - the carts have wonderfully fresh food. I'm jealous! Have fun!
posted by PorcineWithMe at 3:31 PM on January 30, 2012

The old medina in Fes, Fes el Bali, is pretty special. World heritage site, so many people packed into the most amazing network of lanes and alleys and so much history. If you can't put it on the back of a donkey it doesn't get in there. From the tanneries to the walled gardens it just blew us away.

I'll agree with the chorus on Marrakech too. Buying a bag of olives and wandering through the souk with dinner later at Djeema el Fna is a great day and a cheap one.

With four days pick one to visit and you won't regret it. I'd lean toward Fes myself but they are both some of my favourite places in the world.
posted by N-stoff at 4:55 PM on January 30, 2012

Four days? You can really only do one city - definitely Marrakech or Fes. Fes is still cold and windy in March, normally - Marrakech weather will probably be a bit more balmy.

I'd go along with what the posters above said - just wander around, get a little lost. Please don't take a caleche (horse carriage) anywhere, the horses aren't treated very well.

Make sure you go to the Saadian Tombs, the Jardin Majorelle, and the Marrakech Museum (oh that chandelier).

If your stomach is good, drink some fresh orange juice in the morning in the square.

You can Memail me if you have more specific questions - I think my total trip count there is around 19 (really!), so you can tell it holds a special fascination for me. :)
posted by HopperFan at 5:08 PM on January 30, 2012

Echoing the comments above, four days is just enough time to see any one place (transportation will take you longer than you anticipate). Keep in mind that I don't know your port of entry/exit, where your interests lie, and whether this is your first/only visit to the Maghreb, so...

The most 'Morocco' sort of thing to do is to visit one of the Imperial Cities, in line with the recommendations above. I enjoyed Marrakesh; dinner from one of the vendors in the main square is fun (as is watching the food court set up), it's big and bustling in the medina without the over-crowdedness that I felt in no-wider-than-a-donkey Fes.

But I think you have a few other options as well.

My absolute favourite place in Morocco was Essaouira. It's a bus or grand taxi from Marrakesh, on the Atlantic with beach, but not a resort town so. There's docks where the fishing boats come in and a pier where you can point at the seafood you want for your lunch. The medina is compact and car free, and while it get's busy when the daytrippers come in from Marrakesh, there's generally a lot less tourist hassle and some good restaurants.

A completely different experience would be going to the Sahara like somewhere like Merzouga in the south-east of the country. We hired a driver to get us there (memail me for contact info) but I believe you can get a grand taxi to get you there too. We spent one night in the desert (camel ride, Berber tents, scary big bugs, lots of stars) but you know it was almost even more awesome just being at the guesthouse in the desert. It's the sort of place that makes you think you're at the end of the world, that you could very easily choose this place to go write that book (if you were going to go away somewhere to write a book that is).

Last comment, not about where to go but where to stay. Morocco was affordable when we were there just over a year ago. Not sure what your budget is, but I'd recommend getting as good a room as you can afford. Morocco is a place of ceaseless activity, the streets and souks are so alive that you want a room you can go chill out (and re-energize quickly if you're only there for four days). You want hot water, comfortable clean bed, quiet, and good ventilation/AC. Most of the places we stayed at were about 40-50EUR a night. I know this is on the higher side of things, but when we stayed a couple times at placed that were 25-35EUR we were happy to move on.

Have fun.
posted by dismitree at 8:50 PM on January 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best things about Morocco:
  • Old medina in Fes
  • Any hammam used by locals
  • Jemaa el Fna in Marrakech
  • Sharwarma and orange juice
  • Midnight in the Sahara
  • Atlas mountains and Todra gorge
If you hit any two or three of those you'll be pretty happy...

Agree that if you're on a budget $5-$10 should be fine for lodging as long as you're not too wound up or have experience of travelling in non-Western countries.
posted by turkeyphant at 4:47 AM on January 31, 2012

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