Visit Morocco: Things to Know Before Traveling to Morocco

When to go: Plan your trip around Ramadan. In case you don’t know, Ramadan is the holy month during which Muslim people fast from sunrise to sunset. So if you happen to be in Morocco during this time, a number of restaurants and other businesses may be closed, especially in more rural areas. But that’s not to say you should avoid visiting during Ramadan. At night, the country comes alive.

“You might find shops opening at 10-11pm,” says El Mouatasim. “After that the city comes back to life, cafes full of people, it’s a different life. People will stay out until 2am during the week when it (falls during) summer.”

How to dress: Morocco is just as culturally diverse as it is geographically diverse, and expectations around proper clothing and behavior will vary from region to region. “Americans often have questions about how to dress and behave, but it’s very diverse. We have different religions and cultures in this country,” says Bencheikh. “In a city like Marrakech, you have a lot more freedom in how you dress, or act with your boyfriend, or drink. But if you go out in the High Atlas Mountains, don’t kiss your husband or drink in front of people, and be sure to cover your shoulders.”

With each new city or region you enter, take care to communicate with locals about what is or is not OK. No rule is all-encompassing, but it’s important that you’re prepared to shift your habits (and your outfits) accordingly.  In rural areas and near the mountains, travelers should avoid public displays of affection. Save your shorts and tank tops for the big cities.

For female travelers in Morocco, navigating these complex factors can sometimes prove intimidating. Outside of progressive city centers like Casablanca, Marrakech, and Fez, there are restrictions on where women are allowed to go and what they are allowed to do. It can be tricky, too, to meaningfully interact with locals or to get a sense of what life is like for Moroccan women. Some women might be more comfortable opting for a guided group excursion rather than winging it solo. For the first time ever, a travel company is offering female-only expeditions in Morocco, led exclusively by local women tour guides. Intrepid’s 8-day itinerary includes opportunities to explore rural villages and meet local women — from female cooks, artisans, artists, and business owners.

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