I'm not great at the whole invasive vibe I get from Morocco, so would it be best to get a guide? Anyone know any reputable ones?
It all depends on your comfort level. i would say no but it will be a little overwhelming for the first few days! there are a couple things you need to know. the taxies have trouble getting into the heart of the bazaar, so grab a local kid and he can take you anywhere. but they take you on the most confusing roundabout way so you feel overwhelmed to make you think you need them lol.
So after getting comfortable with the locals, the smells, and the mopeds whizzing buy in every direction, go get lost. after an hour or so you will start to get the hang of it and its the best way to find all the hidden stores and food off the beaten path.
Learn to haggle! this is a way of life in Morocco. nothing is at face value, its all about half the asking price. we paid $50 for a taxi ride from the airport to our riad at night and he just dropped us off kinda close and said he could go no further so we stumbled around with our packs asking people were the riad was, after a week we got the same ride back for $15 lol. also when shopping, if you stop, pause, or glance in a store the store owner will come and grab you and nicely force you into the store to look. we learned to walk fast and only look if we really wanted to buy something. my wife became a pro at haggling and got great stuff for nothing.
The main square is great but is a rip off. i know you have to go but avoid taking photos of all the cool stuff because you will be shaken down for money for taking there picture. instead go to a roof top cafe with a good camera and buy a soda and take all the pictures you want also the good food isn't on the square and its expensive so save your money and just look around.
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We did not use a guide in Marrakesh. Really, outside of the medina is laid out like any other large city and is very easy to get around and understand with plenty of street signs. The medina is not too hard if you get directions from your hotel/riad. They usually give them in terms of monuments (i.e., turn left at the mosque). The souk is crazy and you will get lost, but you'll find your way out and will have had a much more exciting and memorable experience because of it!
Hello Emma! That's a tough call. In the Medinah, you will be anywhere from annoyed to almost getting accosted if you let yourself. Getting a guide for your first day may not be a bad idea if you want to learn the ropes. We enjoyed just diving right in with the understanding that some people were going to be a little in your face and aggressive, if you let them. Embrace the experience of the alleyways, the sights, sounds and smells, and "enjoy the annoy." 😉
We did have our Riad hire a driver to pick us up at the airport and they took us as far as they could go in a car, and then carted our luggage and showed us to the Riad. It helped to have that initial little buffer. If you do get a guide, I would talk to your hotel, or riad and have them set up something for you. We did this in Fes. Just make sure you are very specific with the hotel and guide about your desires. Many guides are notorious for taking you into shops where they get a commission from the store if you buy something.
And finally, enjoy the spectacle of Jemaa El Fna Immobilier. Truly a very unique and exciting experience. Safe travels!
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We thought about hiring a guide for our entire trip around, but most of the people we contacted wanted to take us on a standardized tour of country with lots of time in a car and very little exploring. We had a great time with an unofficial guide in Sale, but it was pretty sketchy. We went around Marrakech by ourselves and didn't have any trouble, but I don't know what hidden gems we may have missed out on by not getting a local guide.
It depends how deep you wanna get. I don't think you need one and if you're afraid you'll get lost I have to admit, this is actually the best thing that can happen to you in Marrakech :-) . And if you start to be really, really tired and nervous and want to be sure about your location, just go to the nearest restaurant or coffee shop, ask for the wi-fi password and a mint tea, relax little bit, and find your location on a map. Take a deep breath and return to the jungle.