Guide to Marrakech Morocco
So I recently went on the best vacation ever to Marrakesh, Morocco. It was actually a last minute travel change (originally I was scheduled to go to Mexico, but thank goodness I didn’t!). I booked my flight 4 months in advance after tracking the flight prices for about 2 months via Google Flights. I think I got a pretty decent deal but probably could have gotten it cheaper by about $100 if I’d waited a bit longer. But I didn’t want to chance it. Plus, I knew this would be the biggest expense of the trip and once I was there I could live like a queen.
Check out all my videos below to get a feel of what you might experience in Marrakech.
Monroe In Morocco Vlog Day 1: Riad Yasmine, Souks, NOMAD, Ben Youssef
Monroe In Morocco Vlog Day 2: Jardin Marjorelle, YSL Museum, El Fenn Marrakech, Comptoir Marrakech
Monroe in Morocco Vlog Day 3: Scarabeo Desert Camp
Monroe in Morocco Vlog Day 4: La Mamounia Marrakech
What I Packed for Morocco Video
The exchange rate is pretty amazing. It’s pretty much times 10 for the US dollar. So $10 = 100 Moroccan Dirhams or MADs. Which basically means, I bought a lot of shoes. You don’t need much when bringing extra spending money if you’ve planned well in advance. I would recommend visiting one of the ATMs once you arrive at Marrakech Menara Airport and taking out a few hundred dollars (or thousands of Moroccan Dirhams). The most you’d need for about 5 days is $400 unless you plan on balling out of control.
My Money Breakdown
Plane Ticket $800 (bought 4 months in advance)
Riad Yasmine for 3 nights split 3 ways: $200 per person
Night in the Desert at Scarabeo Camp (includes car transfers, lunch, dinner & breakfast and a camel ride) $200
Spending Money $400
WHERE TO STAY
I’ve already got you covered on where to stay in Marrakech, Morocco in this post and this post. Whether you’re looking for a small authentic yet 5 start experience at Riad Yasmine, or a lush oasis at El Fenn Marrakech or the palatial palace at La Mamounia Marrakech there’s something for everyone in Marrakech. If you’re on a bit of a budget, I’d definitely recommend Riad Yasmine. It is stunning and has a more traditional Moroccan feel. It’s located in a bustling neighborhood in the medina, just a 10 minute walk from The Souks and Ben Youssef Madrasa. When you step out of the doors you are right in the heart of a classic Moroccan neighborhood with
children playing, car horns honking and the calls of prayer that can be heard in the distance. The great thing about Riad Yasmine is you can prepay so no need to worry about unexpected costs. You can even have dinner’s arranged for you for an extra $20 as well as airport transfers for about the same price. See more about Riad Yasmine here and more about El Fenn Marrakech & La Mamounia Marrakech here. If you don’t have the money to stay at El Fenn or La Mamounia which can carry a hefty price tag, they are still worth visiting for a lunch, to shop at the boutiques they each have or even for a day pass.
Visit the Souks — I’d definitely recommend visiting the souks early in the morning (because we got lost when we were there once the sun set) and get ready to bargain when it comes to prices. We rarely spent anything more than $20 or 200 Moroccan Dirhams for anything and that includes; clothing, scarfs, throws, bags, shoes and jewelry. To give you a price point I got a very large round straw bag for 80 Moroccan Dirhams and a custom handmade pair of shoes for 300 Moroccan dirhams.
Spend a night in the desert at Scarabeo Camp — Hands down the best experience I’ve ever had on a vacation. Take a look here at my Scarabeo Camp Vlog experience to see what $200 get’s you. Shhhhh, it should probably cost a lot more. For about $200 you get roundtrip transportation, lunch on arrival, dinner, breakfast the next morning, an hour long camel ride and superb accommodations in a luxury tent complete with a sofa seating area, a workstation and a working shower and toilet. Book your stay here.
Visit Jardin Majorelle & the newly opened YSL Museum — It’s one of the most magical places in all of Marrakesh and definitely worth the 160 Moroccan Dirhams (around $16) to visit both the gardens and the museum. If you are into fashion, the exhibitions at the YSL Museum will blow you away. If you’re like me and love a good tote make sure to buy one from the YSL Museum for around $20. I’d recommend getting to the gardens early before the doors open to avoid long lines. You can also go next door to the YSL Museum to buy a ticket for both the gardens and the museum and then skip the garden lines all together and show them you’re purchased ticket and get in immediately. Watch here as we visit Jardin Marjorelle.
Spa Day at La Mamounia — If you need a little rest and relaxation definitely book a day pass to La Mamounia Marrakech where for 600 MADs or around $60 you have a day to roam the stunning grounds and have full access to the pools and spa. Skip the outdoor pool and go straight for the indoor pool and hot tub. It’s so much more tranquil and you can pretty much have it all you yourself for a relaxing swim. See my Day 4 Vlog sharing my day at La Mamounia here.
WHERE TO EAT
Dar Mama — A 10 minute walk from Riad Yasmine is a little eatery with outdoor space that we discovered on our last night in Marrakech, Morocco. The food was delicious, some of the best food we had during our entire trip! For two people our bill came up to 160 MADs which is about $16 and we both had drinks, entrees and shared an appetizer. Thus typical meals at an authentic Moroccan eatery are pretty cheap.
Riad Yasmine — At our hotel we choose to have an authentic meal prepared for us for our first night in Morocco. You can book a dinner at almost any small riad even if you aren’t actually staying there, this goes for all hotels as well. Our meal consisted of succulent and well seasoned Chicken Tangine with olives (my favorite), and rice with herbs. We also had a delicious apple tart for dessert and a bottle of wine for $20 each or about 200 MADs. See what our meal consisted of here and a little tour of Riad Yasmine.
NOMAD — Nomad Restaurant is pretty popular and more of a tourist destination but it does have an amazing rooftop (which we neglected to visit). The food is really delicious but the coffee was some of the best I’ve ever had! It’s the perfect stop for a quick bite to refuel from shopping in the souks, as this restaurant is right in the thick of it. Being that it’s frequented a lot this restaurant is slightly pricier than Dar Mama with entrees starting at 100-130 MADs. Get the lamb and check out my meal here on my Day 1 Vlog!
El Fenn Marrakech — The best meal I had during my entire trip to Marrakech was had compliments of El Fenn Marrakech. The hotel itself is stunning with 3 pools and a boutique but the food is was you need to come for! On their beautiful rooftop you can dine on a full coursed meal complete with wine, tea and dessert. Make sure to call ahead or book in advance online especially if you’re not actually staying at the hotel. It’s worth it, trust me. Wanna see what you’re meal will look like? Check out my Day 2 Vlog for a tour or El Fenn Marrakech.
Comptoir Marrakech — Do you have dreams of being in a dimly lit and velvet lush paradise with belly dancers, music and amazing food? Then Comptoir is where you need to be. We had an amazing night at Comptoir which you can see here in my Monroe in Morocco Day 2 Vlog. The food was also exceptional but very pricey at about $50-60 per person but it’s definitely worth the experience.
WHAT TO WEAR
Here’s a little curated Moroccan Travel Wardrobe of my favorite things. Or you can see what I actually packed here in this video.
Getting Around — Download maps.me Marrakech before arriving to Morocco. This was a great help when getting around. Google Maps also works well too but you’d need to have cellular services or wifi for use. You can use maps.me without wifi or cellular services which makes it awesome
Taxis — Never hail one on the street. Where ever you are staying can arrange a car for you with little to no notice. Rides usually cost around 50-100 MADs anywhere in Marrakech, anything more and you’re getting taken for a ride (see what I did there). Negotiate the price before you get in!
Don’t look lost or ask for directions — This act will generally elicit Guides who will then want payment for showing you how to get somewhere. This includes the souks. If they guide you to a certain store within the souks and the owner sees you with “A Guide” then the prices automatically go up for anything you buy because the guide will get a percentage of any sale made. Store owners or merchants actually don’t like giving guides money either, so find what you’re looking for on your own and save yourself the hassle of having to pay more.
TIP GENEROUSLY: You’re basically paying next to nothing for everything is this country.
The key to planning any trip is research and early execution. Saving up matters especially when it comes to the plane tickets which will be the most expensive part of the visit. This trip went smoothly because every day was planned with time to do nothing as well. The internet is the only tool I used when planning this trip. I’m not rich and everything was not compensated. Some costs were cut thanks to the lovely folks at El Fenn Marrakech for providing us with a sponsored lunch and La Mamounia Marrakech for providing us with a day pass to use their spa and facilities.