How to find a reliable guide in Morocco?
June 4, 2014 5:52 AM   Subscribe

My husband and I are travelling to Morroco in a few weeks, with stops in Fes, Marrakech, and Taghazout. I'd love to hire a guide for the day for at least Fes and Marrakech. How can we find a reputable one and avoid getting ripped off? Any personal recommendations would be awesome.
posted by kidsleepy to Travel & Transportation around Morocco (2 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I don't have recommendation for a particular guide, but if you're staying in a riad in Marrakech (memail me for my recommendation), ask the proprietor. They probably won't steer you wrong because you know where they live* and they want to stay in your good graces. If they deliver the goods, be sure to go on Trip Advisor or or another review site and spread the word for what fabulous stand-up guys they are. The converse is also true.

* Obviously, I'm joking about this, but they do want to keep your custom and aren't likely to screw you over.
posted by Emperor SnooKloze at 11:04 AM on June 4, 2014

I went to Morocco earlier this year, and spent one day with a guide in Fes. My recommendation: follow Emperor SnooKloze's advice and ask the owner of whatever place you're staying at. Barring that, call a major hotel ahead of time and ask for a specific recommendation. But really, ask the folks who run the riad you're at.

Realize that there's going to be a lot of fake/false guides around who run scams to various degrees (I saw a couple get snookered into following one, whose setup was rather elaborate and began on the train in to Fes). Based on discussion with random tourists I kept bumping into, there's also a lot of variability in the quality of the guide even if the guide is official.

And no matter how clear you make yourself, no matter that the guide is official, no matter how upstanding the owners of the riad you're staying at are, expect to be dragged through the tourist mill of shops. The carpet shops and tanneries are as unavoidable as they are interesting. Everyone gets a kickback.

Finally, realize that the difference between haggling over 5 or 10MAD for cab fare is literally buying yourself out of a headache for a bit over a buck US: I've seen people argue over such a small amount with groups of drivers collectively arguing back about whether the fare is fair of if they even go to destination X. Seriously. 20MAD = bickering and irritation. Just say fukkit, say 30 dirhams, and BLAMMO! You're on your way.

I had an especially great experience with one particular riad in Fes. MeMail me if you'd like my recommendation. The location, price, and their guide recommendation were more than fair.

Lastly, anything I may have said in regards to phones or travel in the past do not apply here: offline maps won't help you as GPS/GLONASS signals are unreliable in the medinas, but don't let that scare you out of getting your phone unlocked and a SIM card at the airport if you really want service/data. You're not gonna walk out of any riad with massive quantities of soap, but don't be afraid to ask for things you need, like toilet paper (anyway, you ARE bringing your own emergency roll, right?).

Sorry, one last thing, I swear: realize that 5MAD will get you out of immediate minor trouble almost all the time. Keep extra coins in a bunch of pockets. Use them to dismiss the more aggressive "guides" after you've found a recognizable destination, for the privilege/courtesy of taking photos of performers in Djemma el-Fna, for food, for water, and yes, for fucking orange juice. Again.
posted by herrdoktor at 9:21 PM on June 4, 2014

« Older I really just need a walkthrough.   |   Please help me figure out if this friendship is... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.