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MOROCCO TRAVEL INFORMATION FROM ACCESS TRIPS

ARRIVAL & DEPARTURE TRAVEL INFORMATION

Arrival Airport
You should arrive at Casablanca’s Mohammed V International Airport (airport abbreviation: CMN). Group airport transfers are generally scheduled for late morning and late afternoon. We will not know the final times until we have received the final flight information from all guests. We will notify you in advance should there be a wait time longer than one hour from your flight’s scheduled arrival time. In this case, you may choose to wait for the included group transfer or we can arrange in advance of your trip a private car and driver for an additional cost ($75USD). Alternately, our guide or driver would be happy to assist you with a taxi ride to the hotel (approximately $50USD with tip).

Among others, the following airlines fly into Casablanca: Delta Air Lines, Air France, Royal Air Maroc, Iberia, Lufthansa, and Easy Jet.

Notes:

  • We are not responsible for last minute adjustments due to changes or delays with arrival flights.
  • We are not responsible for the quality of taxi services.

Departure Airport
You should depart from Marrakech-Menara Airport (airport abbreviation: RAK). Group airport transfers are included until 10:30 AM. If your flight departs after 12:00 PM from RAK or you prefer to depart from Casablanca (a 2.5 hour drive), we can arrange your transfer (at an additional cost). Please contact us for details.

Among others, the following airlines fly out of Marrakech: Royal Air Maroc, Iberia, Ryanair, Easy Jet. Airport transfers are included until 10:30am.

Pick-up & Drop-off Information
We provide complimentary group airport pick-ups and drop-offs at the specified airports and times on the first and last day of the trip. We will be waiting for you with a sign saying ‘Access Trips’ as you exit customs at Casablanca’s airport. If you would like a private transfer, to be picked up or dropped off on a different day, or brought somewhere other than the airport, please contact us.

Flights
We do not book international flights to or from Morocco for our clients. If you would like assistance with purchasing your flights, please let us know and we will forward your contact information and trip details to our travel agent partner.


TRAVEL REQUIREMENTS FOR MOROCCO

Travel Insurance
Travel medical insurance, including emergency evacuation coverage, is compulsory for all our trips. We strongly recommend that you purchase travel insurance that includes cancellation protection so that you will be covered in the event that you are unable to attend our trip (due to injury, illness or other unforeseen circumstances). Please do not attend any of our trips without purchasing appropriate insurance coverage and providing the details to Access Trips.

We do not provide travel insurance for our clients. Additional details are on our website at: http://www.accesstrips.com/company/insurance/

Passports & Visas
All countries require a valid passport (with a minimum of 6 months validity). Citizens of some countries will also require a visa. To learn more about visa and entry requirements for Morocco, please check out the Morocco Tourism website at: http://www.visitmorocco.com.

Please note that it is your responsibility to ensure that you have the correct travel documentation.


HEALTH AND SAFETY IN MOROCCO

Emergency Contact
If your friends or family need to contact Access Trips due to an emergency while you are on the tour, please have them refer to the pre-departure email that is sent out three weeks prior to departure, which will have specific contact information relevant to your trip. If you need to contact Access Trips while traveling, please also refer to the emergency contact information in the pre-departure email.

Health Requirements
Guests with preexisting medical conditions are required to disclose this information prior to traveling with Access Trips, and all guests with preexisting conditions are required to provide a note from a doctor clearing them for travel to Morocco. The US Department of State recommends that travelers with medical prescriptions consider bringing small additional amounts of prescribed medicines as well as a copy of the prescription and a letter from the prescribing physician explaining the need for prescription.

We strongly recommend that all of our guests visit a travel doctor before embarking on international travel. Please note that it is your responsibility to ensure that you receive any necessary vaccinations before traveling on your trip with us. If there is a chance that you may be pregnant during your trip, please discuss your travel plans with your doctor.

Please carefully review the health information section of the following webpage for up-to-date health information, including information on the quality of medical care, the availability of medications and the necessity for vaccinations in the destination country: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/traveler/none/morocco

Fitness Requirements
Our trips are open to anyone who wants to explore our exotic destinations through cuisine. Many of the countries we operate in do not have adequate facilities for the disabled. The accommodations may not have elevators, the sidewalks may not be even- or even paved! At our accommodations in the High Atlas Mountains, you will need to be comfortable walking up a short, steep, dirt path to reach your accommodations. We also do a good amount of walking during our sightseeing tours, sometimes several hours.

Safety & Security
To maximize your safety during our tours you should exercise common sense and caution at all times. We recommend that you always stick to set travel arrangements, and avoid unknown areas. We also recommend that you wear minimal jewelry and that you keep valuable items (including cell phones) safely stored. Always keep a copy of your passport, airline tickets, and credit card numbers separate from where you keep the originals.

Women walking alone in certain areas of cities and rural areas are particularly vulnerable to harassment from men. Women are advised to travel with a companion or in a group when possible and to ignore any harassment. Responding to verbal harassment can escalate the situation. The best course of action is generally not to respond or make eye contact with the harasser.

For more information on safety and security in Morocco, please review the safety and security section of the following webpage: https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/country/morocco.html

Note: As a rule, do not drink tap water or use ice in Morocco, even in hotels. We strongly recommend buying bottled water. Also, you may consider avoiding uncooked and unpeeled fruits and vegetables.


CURRENCY, BANKING & SPENDING MONEY IN MOROCCO

The national currency is the Moroccan Dirham (MAD). There are exchange bureaus in airports, certain hotels and most banks. Counters require your passport for the transaction. We recommend exchanging at least $300 in local currency at the exchange counter located in the baggage claim area at the airport in Casablanca. Remember to exchange your remaining Dirhams before leaving: it is illegal to take more than 2,000 Dirhams out of Morocco. For the latest currency exchange information please go to: http://www.finance.yahoo.com/currency

ATMs are available in all cities and major towns. (Please note: There are no ATM’s where we stay in the High Atlas Mountains.)

It is recommended to notify your bank or card issuer that you intend to travel abroad so that no block will be put on the usage of your credit or ATM cards.

Spending Money
Meals: All breakfasts, one lunch, and five dinners, including the dinners you cook yourself are included. Please plan to bring at least USD $10-$20 per lunch and USD $20-$30 per dinner (more for the optional upscale dinner in Marrakech) for those meals that are not included, as well as money for snacks, drinks, and bottled water.

Alcohol: Alcohol is not included in the trip price. Most of our hotels and riads have alcohol available to purchase. The two exceptions are in Fez and Essaouira. In these cases, if desired, your trip leader will arrange an opportunity for you to buy alcohol to bring to the hotel.

Tipping: Restaurants may include a 10% tip for meals. If not, a 10% tip is appreciated. In taxis, just round up to the nearest 5 dirhams. For someone who carries your bags to your room or from your hotel to a taxi, 10 dirhams would be appropriate, unless your bags are extremely cumbersome. 20 Dirhams is also appropriate for the Berber family that you have tea with. Finally, most public restrooms are staffed and a tip of 1 – 5 dirhams is expected – keep a few coins handy!

Discretionary tips to your tour staff for good service are very much appreciated. For your cooking instructors, 30-45 Dirhams per guest is recommended for each cooking class. For mountain and city guides, 40-45 Dirhams per guest/per day is recommended. For your trip leader, approx. 90 Dirhams (USD $10) multiplied by the number of days in the tour (per guest). For the driver, approx. 45 Dirhams (USD $5) multiplied by the number of days in the tour (per guest) would be appreciated.

Tipping is a part of the cultural experience of traveling in Morocco. We have tried to give you an estimate of what would be considered “fair” tips. However, tipping is not a science. Please tip how you feel most appropriate. In addition to those mentioned above, there may be other people you encounter who provide a service for you and expect a tip, such as hammam attendants or people in the marketplace. If you are in doubt as to whether or how much to tip, please ask your guide for clarification.

Other expenses: there are no required additional expenses for this trip, but you might like to take spending money for such things as souvenir shopping and nightlife.

Note: You may decide during your trip to purchase tagines to continue your Moroccan cooking adventure back home. Your trip leader can certainly assist you with this while you are in Morocco.


MOROCCAN CULTURE

Morocco is a very conservative country. Out of respect for the culture we are visiting, please note the following:

Other than at the beach, men and women should always dress modestly by wearing loose fitting clothing that covers the shoulders, midriff, and knees. Local dress is more conservative outside of major cities and tourist areas. However, it is not necessary to wear a headscarf.

When handling money or shaking hands, one should always use your right hand.

Public displays of affection and public inebriation are considered offensive.

You may want to indulge in a traditional Moroccan hammam or hot bath. This is taken in groups and the custom is for you to be without any clothing during the steam and scrub. If you are not comfortable with this, please let the hammam provider know and bring a bathing suit or extra pair of undergarments to wear.

Some our our guests have requested information on scheduling hamman/spa services while in Morocco. If you are interested in this experience, you may consider making an appointment ahead of time online. You are welcome to use any spa provider you wish, however, we have received good feedback for Les Bains de Marrakech. In terms of the group schedule, the most ideal time to schedule treatments is on Day 7 before dinner, which is generally around 8PM. If you do not schedule anything before your trip and would like to once you arrive in Morocco, please speak with your trip leader as early as possible and he will try to arrange something for you.

Language: Most people speak Arabic. Other common languages are French and Berber dialects.


MOROCCO’S CLIMATE

Our Moroccan cooking vacation takes us to a wide variety of Moroccan villages and cities. All of the locations we visit have lovely, mild weather most of the year, and we don’t offer this tour in the hottest summer months. Spring and autumn are the best time to visit Morocco, but the winter months are nice as well, with fewer crowds.

In bustling coastal Casablanca, the weather is moderate year round, but can get cooler and wet in the winter. In the relaxed fishing village of Essaouira, the weather is mild, although windy. While in the Berber mountain village, we stay at an altitude of about 1200 feet (365m), so the weather remains mild year-round, although plan for it to get fairly cold in the evenings during the winter months (November to March). In Marrakech, the weather is lovely and warm most of the year. In October and November, the average temperatures are 70F-80F during the day and in the 50’s during the evening. December through April, you may expect temperatures between 65F-75F during the day and 45F-55F during the evening. Beginning in May, temperatures usually begin to climb into the 80’s during the day and cooling off in the evenings to between 50F-60F.

NOTE: During winter months (November to March), please be prepared for some rain and low temperatures ranging from 32F-50F at night and 59F-70F during the day, depending on the location.

Please check specific weather for your dates before you travel. You may consider a website such as Weather.com.


ELECTRICITY & INTERNET IN MOROCCO

Morocco uses 220V, 50Hz and plugs are two prong rounded.

You may purchase wi-fi access at the hotel in Casablanca for approx. $30 USD per day. There is complimentary wi-fi access in the common areas of all of the riads. Please note: Internet access is not 100% reliable in Morocco. If you are having difficulties connecting, please let your trip leader know.

Most US cell phones will not work in Morocco, unless you have a specific international plan. Contact your cellular provider to see what options you have in terms of international calling plans.


WHAT TO TAKE ON YOUR MOROCCO TOUR

We strongly recommend using TSA approved luggage locks on your bags and to hand carry valuables on the plane.

Many of our trips require us to move our base several times, so we recommend that you pack as lightly as possible. There will not always be someone available to help you carry your bags so you should only bring as much as you can carry on your own.

We suggest that you bring the following items:

Clothing & Equipment

  • Season-specific casual clothes (men and women should always dress modestly out of respect for the culture they are visiting- no tank tops, low cut tops, or short shorts. It is not necessary to wear a headscarf.)
  • Clothes to wear for optional dinner at upscale restaurant in Marrakech
  • Hiking clothes and shoes (NOTE: They can get quite dirty/dusty)
  • Bathing suit
  • A pair comfortable walking shoes
  • A light jacket/windbreaker (NOTE: It can be very windy in Essaouira)
  • A warm jacket (NOTE: It can be quite cold in the High Atlas Mountains from November to March. Please pack appropriately for cold, winter evenings.)
  • Power adaptor for 220v, 50 Hz (outlets are two-prong rounded)
  • Toiletries
  • Sunscreen, sunglasses and hat
  • First-aid kit with lip balm, aspirin, band aids, cream for sore muscles (e.g. deep heat), Imodium or similar tablets for mild cases of diarrhea, any extra prescription drugs you may be taking

Travel Documents

  • Passport (with photocopies)
  • Travel insurance (with photocopies)
  • Airline tickets (with photocopies)
  • Any entry visas or vaccination certificates required
  • Credit and/or debit card and/or cash (MasterCard and Visa are the most commonly used; American Express and Maestro cards are difficult to use in Morocco.)
  • This document, printed

RECOMMENDED READING LIST

Click here to check out our recommended reading before your tour!


FINAL NOTES ON YOUR MOROCCO CULINARY TOUR

This is a tool meant to help you decide what you should bring on your upcoming trip. It is by no means comprehensive. While we do our best to be as thorough as possible, we cannot foresee every possible condition. If you have any other questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

The information contained in this document is provided in good faith. Due to the nature of travel, details in this document may change. You should thus use the above information as an indication only and not as a contractual obligation on the part of Access Trips.