Is Marrakech Cheap?
Morocco is an inexpensive country, but it's also a place where you can easily fall bankrupt. On my first trip to Morocco, I fought against numerous scams, succumbed to a few, and learnt how to live on a tight budget. Is Marrakech Cheap? The following are a few of the tips I have that will help you save money when getting around Marrakech.
You should be aware that in Morocco, credit cards are rarely accepted and ATMs are limited. Don't forget to take some cash out of an ATM at the airport. Avoid using money changers at all costs; this is always a bad idea.
Is Marrakech Cheap : Hostels
The first thing to know is that when making a reservation with a hostel in Marrakech, you won't see the total cost of your stay up front. Even though the hostels are marketed for as little as $5 per night, the local tax is not included in the price. That works up to an additional $3 per night for each person. That's not much, but if you're on a tight budget, make sure to account for the additional cost. When you check out of most places, be prepared to hand over cash to cover city taxes.
I stayed at the Dream Kasbah, one of the cheapest hotels in town, for the first five days of my Morocco tour. Nothing positive can be said about them. When they saw I was running late, they opened up their 24-hour reception for me, and I had to wait another 45 minutes to collect change after paying for my accommodation. Having to walk 15 minutes to get to an ATM to pay for my hotel was a major inconvenience, and the breakfast was brought so late that I never had a chance to eat it. To put it another way, you get what you pay for.
That was not the case in my second hostel. Only a few dozen beds are available at Bed Square, a newer hostel just a few minutes' walk from Marrakech's main square (including private rooms). For roughly $14 a night, you may sleep in a 6-bed dorm with a giant, incredibly comfy bed, plush cushions and blankets, and a darkening curtain. The design throughout the hostel is stunning, and the employees are always willing to go above and beyond. Guests can have a hearty breakfast on the patio or in the dining room if it's raining. I've never had anything like it at a hostel.
Is Marrakech Cheap : Riads
Accommodations in Riads in Marrakech are slightly more pricey. Are you familiar with the term "Riad"? Think of it as a high-end inn. Many of these can be seen throughout the Medina, which is the walled old town. It's not uncommon for them to have an operational indoor swimming pool, which also serves as a cooling mechanism in the heat. There were a few opulent hotels that I visited, even though I didn't stay in any of them. Their rooftop patios offer stunning views of the city as well as gourmet meals prepared by their chefs. One even has individual internet connections for each of its rooms!
While riads aren't the cheapest option, they're also not as expensive as most resorts. A nice Riad may be had for as little as $20 per night, and most offer a fantastic local breakfast as part of the package. Finding the Riads is the biggest challenge. Only a small portion of the Medina's streets are depicted on Google Maps. The rest of the labyrinth is made up of smaller passageways. Additionally, you'll likely have to wander about for a few minutes until you discover the appropriate door on Google Maps. Last but not least, several of the doors bear no markings at all. At the end of a long, dark, winding passageway, the magnificent Riad Star was simply identified with a single star on the entrance. Fortunately, many Riad managers will meet you in the city's main square to show you the best routes to your destination.
Is Marrakech Cheap : Buses
For travel outside of the Medina, I always suggest taking the city buses…but only if you can locate the correct one. They only cost four dirhams ($0.42) each. They're widely dispersed throughout the metropolis. It costs 30 dirhams to take Bus 19 from the airport (which is only a 15-minute drive from the Medina). Google Maps appears to display some of the buses. Use this interactive map for the remainder of your needs.
Taking the buses was strongly discouraged by a number of residents. When I asked if the buses would carry me to my destination, they said no, since they would be too crowded. As it turned out, it couldn't have been any more incorrect. According to Google Maps, I could get to the railway station from the main square via four different buses. As soon as a bus arrived, I jumped on it. It was just the two of us on the bus. It may have looked like a 1960's antique, but it got me to my destination at a fraction of the cost of a cab.
Is Marrakech Cheap: Taxis in Marrakech
Taxis are an option as well, but I wouldn't call them inexpensive. Petit Taxis and Grand Taxis are both yellow, according to official city websites, and they are both accessible for use. Using the meter, which would likely cost $1-5 for a 15-minute ride, is the proper course of action. You can't get a meter in any taxi in Marrakesh for the 12 days I was there!
I'm going to come clean about something. My entire stay in Marrakech was limited to a single taxi. I asked many drivers how much a cab would cost for a buddy. We took a bus from the Movenpick Hotel to the city center for 100 dirhams ($10.50). On the other hand, I have heard stories of individuals being charged up to $35 for a taxi journey that takes less than a quarter of an hour to complete.
If you need a taxi in Marrakech, avoid the Medina and the airport. Leaving the neighborhood, you should have a greater chance of getting picked up by a meter-using or inexpensive taxi. Unlike Rabat, where a taxi (the white one) costs only 5 dirhams, Marrakech is far more expensive.
Is Marrakech Cheap : Walking
Walking is the greatest method to see the city of Marrakech. Only if you're staying in a city center resort will you need to use a taxi to go to most of the sites you'll need to see during your vacation. Airports and bus stations can be reached in under an hour by foot, although I realize that's a long walk for most people.
In order to navigate the Medina, you'll have no choice but to walk everywhere. The narrow streets are too narrow for taxis. Unless you have a buddy who will give you a ride, it's unlikely that you'll be able to find a taxi service that uses motorcycles. Finding a certain shop or Riad amid the Medina's infinite labyrinth is a feat in and of itself. Even while not everyone has your best interests in mind, those who gave me advice were beneficial. If you become lost, always keep a duplicate of your present location.