Morocco is a gateway to Africa, and a country of dizzying diversity. Here you’ll find epic mountain ranges, ancient cities, sweeping deserts – and warm hospitality.
PASSPORT & VISAS
U.S. citizens with a valid passport can enter Morocco and stay up to 90 days without a visa.
Although Moroccan water is generally safe to drink (in cities at least), it’s better to drink only bottled water and canned or bottled soft drinks to be on the safe side. Look for the blue-and-white labels of Morocco’s most popular bottled mineral water, called Sidi Ali. Try to resist the temptation to add ice to room-temperature beverages. Use reasonable precautions and eat only fully cooked foods, but if you have problems, mild cases of diarrhea may respond to Imodium (known generically as Loperamide) or Pepto-Bismol. Be sure to drink plenty of fluids; if you can’t keep fluids down, seek medical help immediately.
Despite neighboring regime changes, Morocco continues to be a safe and popular tourist destination for international travelers. Throughout the country, modern tourist facilities and transportation are widely available. Though pickpockets are problematic in bustling public areas, souks, and beaches, violent crime is relatively rare in Morocco. Female visitors, especially those traveling alone, may face irritating harassment and unwanted attention from vendors and local men, though it’s rarely dangerous. It’s best to avoid eye contact, ignore the pestering, and walk away briskly, as you would anywhere in the world. Traveling to remote regions of the country poses no particular safety risks; however, it’s best with a qualified guide.
CURRENCY & EXCHANGES
The national currency is the dirham (DH), which is divided into 100 centimes. There are bills for 20, 50, 100, and 200 DH, and coins for 1, 5, and 10 DH and 5, 10, and 20 centimes. You might hear some people refer to centimes as francs; others count money in rials, which are equivalent to 5 centimes each. A million is a million centimes or 10,000 DH. There is usually more than one style of banknote in circulation at any time.
The exchange rate for the U.S. dollar is the same at all banks, including those at the airport; wait until you get to Morocco to get your dirhams as they are not widely available anywhere else. You can change dirhams back into U.S. dollars or euros at the airport upon departure, as long as you’ve kept the exchange receipts from your time of entry. The limit for this transaction is 50% of what you converted over the duration of your stay.
At Restaurants: 10 percent is generous, but check to make sure the service isn’t included in the bill.
Our suggestions for daily tipping are the following:
Drivers: $ 2.00 to $ 5.00
Tour Guide: $ 10.00 to $ 20.00
House Keepers: $ 2.00
Porters: $ 1.00 per luggage
Clothes are particularly important: many Moroccans, especially in rural areas, may be offended by clothes that do not fully cover parts of the body considered “private”, including both legs and shoulders, especially for women. It is true that in cities Moroccan women wear short-sleeved tops and knee-length skirts (and may suffer more harassment as a result), and men may wear sleeveless T-shirts and above-the-knee shorts. However, the Muslim idea of “modest dress” (such as would be acceptable in a mosque, for example) requires women to be covered from wrist to ankle, and men from over the shoulder to below the knee. In rural areas at least, it is a good idea to follow these codes, and definitely, a bad idea for women to wear shorts or skirts above the knee, or for members of either sex to wear sleeveless T-shirts or very short shorts. Even ordinary T-shirts may be regarded as underwear, particularly in rural mountain areas. The best guide is to note how Moroccans dress locally
To use electric-powered equipment purchased in the United States or Canada, bring a converter and adapter, though many electronics these days are dual-voltage; check your AC adapter to see if yours is. The electrical current in Morocco is 220 volts, 50 cycles alternating current (AC); wall outlets take the two-pin plug found in Continental Europe. Power surges do occur.