Marrakesh, beautiful and charming place but unfortunately also a place where you really need to keep an eye on what is actually going on around you. For sure you can still enjoy it and feel safe (and I enjoyed it a lot!) with having in mind some simple rules. This will help you to make the best out of your Marrakesh adventure and to stay away from potential disappointments. And we all want to have fun during our travels instead of having some bad experiences, right?
Fortunately, right on the arrival we have been instructed by a local person how to behave to avoid unpleasant surprises and stay safe. Read it carefully and remember when traveling to Marrakesh. When planning your trip you can read also my Step by step guide to your Marrakesh trip.
8 tips you should know to stay safe:
- Download MAPS ME application. I know it is hard to believe but google map does not work properly in Morocco and can really confuse you and direct you wrongly. MAPS ME is working offline and is really reliable. It will navigate you correctly through all the small Marrakesh streets. It was super helpful to us and with that map we basically never got lost. So just download it and mark the place of your stay and all the important places you will be visiting.
- Do not accept ANY help on the street in Marrakesh. There will be many people approaching you to give you some guides, so just kindly refuse. Otherwise, at the end they will charge you a lot for any help, including showing the way. If you will not pay they may tell you some rude words or even chaise you until your hotel door. If you get lost try to find the way on your own with the map mentioned above. The busy medina streets (old part of the city) seem to be complicated only at the beginning. You will get use to after a while.
- While walking through shopping streets you will be approached a thousand times by local sellers. If you are not interested in buying just simply say thank you and continue walking. They will still be calling or sometimes even running after you, but it is safe for you just to ignore it.
- When using a taxi ALWAYS ask for the price upfront and negotiate if it’s too high. Standard ride for example from the airport to medina is 15$, any short rides inside medina should be around 2-3 $
- If any showman, animal holder offers you to take a picture of the animal (it can be a monkey, snake etc) or is pushing you to hold it for a second, bear in mind that you will be charged for that. If you do not want to pay, do not accept any offers to hold the animal, even if they are telling you it is for fee. The truth is, it is never for free. You will be asked to pay.
- The same rule applies to complimentary food or drinks. If anything you did not order has been put on your table just refuse and make sure they will take it back from the table. Otherwise you will be charged for that even if at the beginning you have been told it is for free.
- A big scam that also happens in Marrakesh (usually in the big square) are older women that will literally grab your hand and start drawing a henna tattoo on you. The resulting tattoo is usually extremely poor quality that will barely last a couple of days for a very expensive price. Never let them do that. If you want a henna tattoo just go to the nearest tattoo saloon.
- This one will never happen to you in any of the well known restaurants like Nomad or Le Maison Arab, but be careful if you go to some random places. It usually looks like this: you see the menu and everything seems so cheep. You order your food but when ask for the bill it turns out that the bill is bigger than you thought it would be. You ask for the menu again and get the menu with totally different prices, of course much higher. What to do? Do not pay and call the police. They know this scam very well and for sure will take your side.
I hope I did not scary you off from a trip to Marrakesh. Just to make it look more optimistic – non of those scams happened to us during the stay in Marrakesh. So just keep it in mind all the tips and enjoy your adventure!
PS. One more thing added by one of you my lovely readers – once checking out from the hotel, read the bill carefully. It may happen that you will find there some services you did not order. Does not happen in any of the highly rated places but may happen if you choose some random hotel/riad.