For us, we did some research online beforehand and stumbled upon a private tour company called Taxi Marrakech who was really good about offering transfer service from/to the airport to our hotel in Marrakech and helping us customize our tour in Morocco via email. They confirmed we would have an English-speaking tour guide, they provided the guide’s name and that we would pay them directly.
Although we did not receive quotes from any other tour services, we highly recommend you do this in order to get an accurate idea of the average cost for each destination/activity and to give yourself options. The best thing to do is to obtain at least 3 price quotes (when possible) before deciding to go with any tour service or company.
As stated above, we only got one quote. Fortunately, things still worked out for us, but that might not be the case always. The bottom line is, when it comes to planning a trip, it’s important to do your due diligence.
If you’re looking to get some quotes on pre-booking your airport pick-up, the average cost to travel from the airport to the Medina (Marrakech) area is around €6.52 Euros or 70 dh (Moroccan Dirham).
Be sure you have enough local currency so that you can pay and tip your guide. You also might want to work out ‘when’ you are suppose to pay them (e.g. before or after the trip).
A good place to purchase foreign currency is from your local bank or credit union as they usually offer lower rates than foreign currency exchange kiosks at airports. Make sure you allow yourself at least two weeks before your trip to receive it. By the way, if you are an AAA member, you can order/buy currency there, too. Although at present, AAA uses Travelex as its currency provider which is essentially the same as going to an airport.
When visiting Morocco from the US, you do not need to obtain a tourist visa.
No vaccinations were required for Morocco either, but we still checked with our family physician before going and made sure all of our vaccinations were up to date.
If you do need vaccinations for a destination, it is important to give yourself a couple of months before the trip to do this as some vaccinations require a two-week to sixty-day period to be fully effective.
Our TRIP began with us searching various destinations on Google Flights and Skyscanner. After some extensive research, we purchased cheap round-trip tickets on Norwegian Air (we DON’T recommend using this airline!) for $402.90 pp to fly from JFK Airport in NYC to Oslo-Gardermoen Airport in Norway. Seeing as we’re from Indianapolis and wanting to cut down on travel costs, we drove from Indiana to New York and parked at The Parking Spot JFK (an off-site parking facility that offers a free shuttle to/from the airport) for $208.10 for a total of 12 nights. (Side note: To save money on gas for long driving trips, you might consider purchasing gas station gift cards like Shell or BP from supermarket chains like Kroger who offer 2X fuel points on gift card purchases. For those interested, they run 3X and 4X fuel point promotions as well. Though, it’s usually over the summer, before a school break or major holiday.)
After our flight to Oslo-Gardermoen, we took a bus transfer to Oslo-Rygge Airport for $33.29 pp (or 300 NOK) on NOR-WAY Flybussen, Bus F11 (FB2 or F-Line). (Since their site doesn’t take credit cards from the United States, we had to purchase our tickets once we arrived at Oslo-Gardermoen Airport.) From Oslo-Rygge Airport, we took a one-way flight on Ryanair to Milan Bergamo Airport in Milan, Italy for $62.28 pp. Then, we took a pre-arranged taxi service with Airports Taxi Transfers.com from Milan Bergamo to Milan Malpensa Airport. We spent the night at a hotel near Milan Malpensa called Moxy Milan Malpensa Airport that was within walking distance of the terminal.
The following morning, we took a flight on Easyjet from Milan to Marrakech which was $58.75 pp.
Typically, we use public transportation to get around. In our experience, it’s been a great way to escape the normal touristy thing and delve into the actual local experience. This time around, however, since we had already booked a private guide, we did not get a chance to take public transit during our trip to Morocco.
After landing in Marrakech and going through Customs (which wasn’t difficult), we were greeted by our first driver/guide (Hussein) who was holding a sign with our name on it. From the airport, our driver/guide drove us to the Atlas Mountains region of Sti Fadma.
Along the way, we got a chance to stop and go inside an actual Berber home. We were able to take pictures, see how a traditional Moroccan flat bread called “naan” was prepared and even sampled some along with Moroccan oils that looked like olive oil.
Next, we were taken to a small town. It was there we went inside a crafts shop where the town’s women made and sold essential oils and soaps to stimulate their local economy. We also watched them grind nuts by hand to make Moroccan nut oil and fresh nut butter.
After that, we met our second guide (Mohammad). We then followed him on a short walk through town before we began our long and treacherous hike up the Atlas Mountains.
To his credit, our new guide was extremely knowledgeable about the area and its people. He was also very patient (even though our group climbed at different speeds) and took great care of us.
After our hike, we rejoined our driver and had lunch at a little restaurant in Sti Fadma that wasn’t far from the hiking trail.
Once we were finished, our driver dropped us off at our hotel in Marrakech.
Unfortunately, we did not stay in Sti Fadma.
Yes! The local Berber people we encountered in Sti Fadma and its surrounding areas were some of the nicest we’ve ever run across. They were fun, extremely humble and generous and we would not hesitate to visit the region again. Also, though it was rigorous to climb and we had to be mindful of our footing in various places, it felt great to hike a mountain and see a waterfall up close. We got some wonderful pictures from it, too!
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