Will we have a driver and a tour guide?
In Morocco, tour guides and drivers have distinct and separate roles, and this is actually regulated by the local government. Your private driver will be with you throughout your stay in Morocco and will facilitate your entire trip. Our private drivers are proud of their country and love to share their in-depth knowledge with travelers. They are multi-lingual (English is a must!), out-going, friendly and professional. Don’t be surprised if you are invited to their home for afternoon tea! They are not, however, legally allowed to act as tour guides, so tour guides will be provided as part of your trip for city visits such as Fes and Marrakech.
What is included with the private driver?
Apart from a recommended tip for your private driver, all expenses associated with your private transport are covered. This includes things such as parking, fuel, mileage, tolls and a per diem for the driver.
What is your cancellation policy?
We can provide you an initial and informal quote. We will work with you to create your dream vacation, catering to your needs and tastes. Before we can proceed with reserving a driver and accommodations, we will require a deposit. When booking with Mint Tea Tours, you agree to the following:
- 50% of total service cost non-refundable deposit
- 30% refund, if service canceled 30 days in advance
- 50% refund, if service canceled 45 days in advance
- No refunds will be granted for cancellations 29 days or less of scheduled service
What will the weather be like?
Morocco is a land of contrasts, and its climate follows suit. While temperatures and rainfall vary greatly between major tourist destinations and seasons, Moroccan weather is typically sunny. Spring and autumn are the most popular seasons for travel. Use this link to plan for your trip – you can search for forecasts by major cities: www.weather.com
What kind of clothing is allowed for women / men?
Foreign women are in no way expected to cover their hair, arms or legs, but we suggest that they err on the side of modesty and avoid spaghetti-type strap shirts, tight/revealing clothing and very short lengths. Men may feel more comfortable in pants, as shorts are generally reserved for young Moroccan men. Since morning and nights are cooler, take layers with you. Moroccans tend to dress up when going out for dinner, and you may feel more comfortable by doing the same.
Do we need to bring toiletries with us?
Most hotels and riads offer toiletries such as small bars of soap and shampoo packets. They may have hair dryers available. However, you may be most comfortable by bringing your preferred brands and favorite products with you.
We are vegetarian – will we be able to find vegetarian options in many restaurants?
Please let us know ahead of time of any dietary restrictions. We will work closely with your driver/guides to ensure your diet is respected.
While there are few Moroccan vegetarians, there are definitely vegetarian options available. Your driver/guide will definitely help you in this area. Breakfasts are typically continental-type with rolls, jam/butter/honey, yogurts, cheese, etc. Salads are mostly made of vegetables but sometimes have tuna or egg. Lunches/dinners: ask for vegetarian tajines (stews) or couscous. There might be veggie soups, but harira typically has some meat in it. One local favorite is an avocado smoothie and can be enhanced with dried fruit and nuts. If you’re in the south, they serve “Berber pizza” or medfouna, stuffed with onion and almond. Msemen is also a local favorite and is best described as folded fried dough, which can be eaten salty or sweet, and is sometimes stuffed with caramelized onions.
We don’t speak Arabic. Can we manage well with English?
Most people in the tourist industry speak multiple languages, including enough English for you to get by and have simple conversations with them. The average Moroccan learns French in school and so will be more comfortable in French than in English. But rest assured: our drivers are fluent in several languages, and you will have no problems communicating with them.
Do you have any suggestions for “Must See” destinations?
Our private tours include the highlights of Morocco, so you won’t miss a thing! Most travelers rave about their overnight trek to the Sahara desert. The size and grandeur of Casablanca’s Hassan II Mosque is most impressive, and it’s one of few religious buildings open to non-Muslims in Morocco. The medinas in Fes and Marrakech are definitely fun to explore. Essaouira is a calm oasis with its white-washed walls, and Chefchaouen is almost surreal with its omnipresent blue hues. Consider taking a cooking class – you will gain a better appreciation for the local food, and some classes include a trip to the local souk to shop for ingredients. Do you like photography? Morocco is a photographer’s paradise! Definitely lots of fantastic photo opportunities and your private driver will surely stop along the way for cool scenic shots.
What is your recommendation of carrying cash for all our expenses vs. using traveler checks? Do they even accept traveler checks? Does the hotel charge for exchanging money? And do all hotels have exchanges?
Morocco is very much a cash society, and traveler checks are not readily accepted for payment at shops or restaurants. They can be exchanged at most larger banks. There are ATMs all over Morocco, which is a very easy way to obtain cash. In Morocco, the ATMs don’t charge surcharges, but your financial institution may, so consider checking with them prior to traveling. It is also a good idea to call your card issuer to let them know of your travel plans, in case their fraud system alerts on non-typical transactions. Worst case scenario: if your card does not work in an ATM, then you should be able to get a “manual cash disbursement” or “cash advance” at a bank teller. Most currency exchange offices, whether in a hotel, airport or stand-alone agency, will typically charge fees. Their rates may not also be as favorable as those you will get through an ATM. It is a good idea to take at least some cash with you.
Do you have any tips for shopping? Any specific recommendations- what to buy or what not to buy?
In Morocco, you can definitely find anything and everything you might want, for every taste and every budget! If you like to cook, check out the various spices, tea sets (with silver tea pots, glasses and trays), pretty painted/glazed pottery and clay tajines. One specialty in Fes is blue-hued pottery. Fes is also well- known for its leather work, such as “babouches” (slippers for men and women in every color and design), purses and bags, jackets and pants, and “poufs” (sort of an ottoman which you can stuff once you’re back home to sit on or use as a footstool). Berber pharmacies are interesting to visit and also sell spices and holistic remedies – plus you might just get a nice shoulder rub! Argan co-operatives are a great way to discover this unique culinary and cosmetic oil as well as support local women. Morocco is known for its craftsmanship, which is apparent in such items as tiles, mosaics and stone with fossils, which you can find as tiles, counters, tables, etc. Marrakech is known for its metalwork, especially lanterns. Products made out of thuya wood are primarily found in Essaouira. You may not be able to find a flying carpet, but Morocco boasts a wide array of rugs, in every color, material, size and style. Fes is particularly well known for their style of rugs, as is the South for local Berber designs.
Is tipping expected?
Yes, tipping is expected in Morocco. Morocco is very much service-oriented, and many local salaries depend largely on tips received. While a few dirhams suffice for most small services rendered, consider offering 15% in restaurants and $15-$25USD per person per day for your private driver. $10-$15USD per person is reasonable for city or historical guides. If you receive excellent service, you may want to acknowledge it with a more generous tip.
Do I need a passport? Do I need a visa?
You will need a valid passport with an expiration date no less than 6 months to enter Morocco. While entry visas are not currently required for visitors from the U.S., Canada, Europe or Australia, you may want to check with the Moroccan consulate or embassy in your home country. Any stay over 90 days requires registration at the local police station.
You are required to fill out a simple police form upon arrival in Morocco. Your passport will be issued a one-time visitor number, as well as a dated stamp for each arrival and departure in/from Morocco. You may be asked to provide this number or date when checking into hotels or riads. You will also need to complete the police form when departing Morocco. Consider bringing a pen with you to complete the forms at the airport, as pens are not made available at the forms desk.
Is it safe to travel in Morocco?
Yes, it is. The Moroccan economy relies heavily on tourism, and the government takes many precautions to safeguard a tourist’s well-being. There can be some petty crime, such as pick-pocketing or muggings, as in any area so use your common sense in dimly lit or unpopulated areas. Keep your purse or bag close to you, and don’t flaunt large amounts of cash or personal belongings. Distance yourself from public demonstrations or soccer matches. You can also rely on your driver for advice – he has your best interests at heart.
Do we need travel insurance?
We strongly suggest that you purchase travel insurance from a third-party prior to your departure. Many insurance companies do not cover medical care overseas. For a nominal fee, you can travel peacefully knowing such things as medical emergencies, trip interruption and cancellation due to personal reasons or adverse weather conditions will be covered.