Marrakech can be a beautiful city. Full of color, sun, culture, food, great shopping and more! With all of the door posts or girls wandering in cute sleeveless sundresses on Instagram, beware false advertising. Marrakech is gorgeous. Marrakech is overwhelming.
So remember in The Simpsons how Bart Simpson likes to prank call his principal and other people. He asks for someone like I pee freely and laughs. Well, that’s nearly every man in Marrakech. Well not every man but upon my trip there, my boyfriend and I ran into young boys, elderly men and middle aged men who told you wherever you were going was the wrong direction. Now this would be helpful if their words were true. Men will offer advice without asking, purposely sending you in the wrong direction or tell you that the place you’re headed is closed. They don’t laugh or see the look on your face when you realize they’ve lied but that one bit of misdirection is enough for them.
I call them Medina grifters but they are just wonky looking men looking for any foreigner with a suitcase. If you get out of a cab, a bus or horse drawn carriage, their eyes are out for you to fast talk you and get you to your Riad located somewhere in the Medina. If you think “wait, I know he’ll ask for money, I’ll give him a few dirham.” Think again. He wants Euros. A lot of Euros. Save yourself the headache and just tell him to get lost (or polite thanks but no thanks however, he may have a hard time taking no for an answer).
Just Say No To Sandals.
This one might be silly but if you’re in the ancient Medina, sandals may not be your friend. The roads are small, people are zipping by on motorbikes and the roads are mainly dirt and oddly misshapen so stepping in mud, puddles, gaping holes, poo – it’s all likely. Just skip the hassle of looking down at your feet the whole time. Go for comfy sneakers or if you must wear sandals, practical ones that have support and comfort (no heels girls, just no).
Cabs, meals, mint teas, you name it. It’s all likely to be overpriced if you look foreign and gullible enough to be taken for a ride. How do you avoid this? It’s tough. My best advice is to do your research. Make sure you scope out a few restaurants via Tripadvisor or another review platform before you land. You should also be certain of what you are willing to pay for anything. Don’t get in a cab if you haven’t agreed to the price (ask local shopkeepers the rates for cabs if you need). Scope out various prices for items even if you barter a guy low. It all helps and in the end, you’ll feel like you won.
Having Your Photo Taken With Animals. Wait, Any Animal Ride or Attraction!
You see those camels on your way from the airport by the side of the road? The horses waiting to drag a family on a carriage ride? Or the man carrying a flock of peacock (yes, we saw this)? Leave them be! I’m not a vegan or an animal activist but it’s honestly so cruel and not to mention risky, to bother with those animals. Half of them look mangy, like they need to be fed and the other half are likely to have some sort of disease as they are poorly taken care of. This doesn’t go for all animals but it seemed like most of them were in dire need of a true friend (the animals). I say avoid the stinky carriage ride and just catch a cab. Also don’t pose with a monkey – don’t.
Those are my top 5 must avoids. I think with this floating in your mind – it will elevate your overall Marrakech experience and leave you better prepped to handle to medina. Now if you don’t heed my advice, will your trip be a fail? No. This advice may be centered to someone who is frugal or might not be used to a lot all at once (I have 7 siblings and I thought I was used to A LOT). You can still live your life like it’s golden in Marrakech, though I think this might better prep you.
Share in the comments what your top avoids are! We all have something. And if you need more specifics, shoot me a note as I’m happy to share more details (but do stay tuned for more posts).