Budget and Shopping in Morocco
Morocco is a cheap country to travel in, certainly compared with Europe, but much will depend on your bargaining skills and how much you want to rough it. The potential is there to wild camp every night and cook all your own food but so is the possibility to stay in beautifully restored riads and feast in restaurants.
Two people cycling around the country can live quite handsomely in Morocco on 30 euros a day, taking regular mid-range hotels and a few luxury extras like trips by 4×4 into the desert. Equally, we met people travelling on as little as 5 euros a day each, staying in basic hotels and eating a lot of bread and jam!
Overcharging can be common. Ask before you buy and negotiate or say something if you feel the price is too much. A trick we have experienced is where we ask the price and afterwards the merchant says he actually meant a higher price, using the similarity between the French word “dix” (10) and “six” (6). Learning the Arabic numbers and using hand signals to clarify the price before you buy will help avoid this.
Typical costs in early 2007:
Bottle of coke in a cafe – 5dh
Tea – 3-4dh
Cafe au lait – 4-6dh
1kg couscous – 6dh
1kg mixed vegetables – 8-10dh
Meal from a fast food stall – 20dh
Tagine in touristy area – 35-45dh
Touristic menu – 90-100dh
Hotel room with bathroom – 100dh (more in major cities)
Bottle of water (1.5L) – 5dh
Internet – 4-6dh/hour
When buying supplies from various shops, take this little maths lesson or you’ll risk having a heart attack when the shopkeeper presents you with a four-figured bill for a few cans of tuna and some pasta! The bill is not in dirhams as you might think but actually in rials, a special way Moroccans express amounts in stores, especially in small towns.
To convert from Rials to Dirhams is actually quite simple, just divide by 20. So, if you ask how much a kilogram of olives is, the man behind the counter may say 320 Rials, which equates to 16 Dirhams per kilogram.
0.05 Dirhams = 1 Rial
1 Dirham = 20 Rials
And now you know not to panic when you see all the zeros coming up on the calculator!