How Much Will a Morocco Trip Cost these days? Not a whole lot thankfully—this is still definitely still one of The World’s Cheapest Destinations and in many respects the best value in Africa.
Exotic and chaotic, spellbinding and maddening, Morocco is practically rowing distance from Europe, yet it’s the closest you’ll get to visions of Aladdin and Arabian Nights.
Unfortunately, this is no longer the cheap, undiscovered, scary-sounding destination it was when my wife and I traveled around the country in our younger days, spending $6 or $8 a night for our double rooms with bath. Europeans have flooded the country on package vacations and the number of visitors from other parts of the world has also doubled several times since then. While it’s still probably the best value on the continent, budget Morocco isn’t as easy as budget Egypt, but it’s quite a bit cheaper than nearby Portugal and Spain.
Naturally all the popularity has led to a rise in rates and hotels are now more often priced in euros than dirham. On the plus side, there’s more competition in the middle range, and package deals from Europe can be an outright steal.
When I was in Morocco way back when, we let a local design our Morocco itinerary and we ended up with an amazing three weeks in the country. I haven’t been able to return though, so I’ve been relying on the reporting of others ever since, in combination with what can be pieced together from online sources.
How much will your trip to Morocco cost? That depends a lot on two factors: how much comfort you’re willing to pay for and how fast you’re moving.
A couple can scrape by on as little as $50 a day in Morocco, but it’s not easy if you’re moving around much or doing any activities. Two people sharing a basic room (with a basic toilet or shared baths) should realistically expect to spend $60 to $80 per day here unless they take long breaks between intercity travels and self-cater some. Singles should expect $35 and up unless they’re staying put or doing some camping.
Mid-range travelers should be reasonably comfortable at $80 to $150 per day for a couple, but this is a place where spending a bit more on nicer hotels is worth it if your budget permits—you get a lot of beauty for your money.
To give you an idea of the costs for a Morocco tour, G Adventures prices right now are as low as $1,023 per person for a 15-day tour of the country, double occupancy, so $2,046 for a couple. That comes out to $136.40 per day including 14 breakfasts, 1 lunch, and 3 dinners, plus all the accommodation, tours, and transfers.
Apart from some 5-day options, this is their cheapest tour though: you could pay as much as $3,599 per person for a fancier 15-day tour that’s billed as a “National Geographic Journey,” with much nicer places to stay. Most of the others are closer to the low end than the high though.
A few years ago a friend of mine, Eden Rudin, was in the country for a month using a house-sitting service. She wrote a guest post for me about the cost of living in Morocco and what they spent while traveling around the country. It was time for an update, so when my social media manager Paty went there on vacation after visiting Spain a few months ago, I asked her to chime in with prices and experiences she found on her recent trip to Morocco.
So you’ll see some bits from Edith in here, as well as some updates from Paty. I’m chiming in with some third-party research numbers that are as of 2023.
All prices are in U.S. dollars, though you’ll have an easier time changing euros. The local currency is the dirham and 1 dollar gets you around 10 dirhams
Getting Around in Morocco: Transportation Costs
Edith says, “When we arrived at the airport in Marrakesh, the overpriced taxi to go from the airport to a hotel in the city less than 5 miles away was $15. After that though, taxis were metered and reasonable there. Paty says their recent airport taxi was $18.
Taxis in other towns were not metered and there was a set fare per person,” Edith says. “The taxi would max out his seats and then begin the journey. You are allowed to buy additional seats if you wish if you want to leave sooner (we did this several times). In the town where we were house-sitting the cost was $.70 per person locally.
Local buses are just small minivans and ran as low as $.50 for a 15km drive when we were there,” Edith adds. “Very few local buses within a city will be more than 50 cents.
We used the big bus company CTM to travel to and from our destination, averaging $12 for a 3-hour ride. These were big air-conditioned, nice, and clean buses. We felt very safe in Morocco< when we were away from the taxi and bus haggler-type people. My advice, if you are overwhelmed by people being overly ‘helpful,’ I would recommend doing any main travel from one city to another with the big bus company like CTM, which is very relaxing.
We hired a local to take us out a couple of times and he only wanted $7 for a half-day tour. We usually gave him more than double that to cover gas too.”
Paty says, “Prices for a non-shared taxi are approximately $3.50 dirham per km, $3 or so for a ride of a few kilometers across town.” This assumes you can get them to use the meter, however. Otherwise ask a local what it should cost and bargain appropriately before starting.
For the buses between cities, the prices are not uniform and it often depends on the state of the road. For example: between Marrakech and Ouarzazate there are 200 kilometers of mountains and the price is 90 dirham, or $9 from what Paty saw. By shared taxi the cost was more than $35.
“From Marrakech to the north there are good roads though,” she adds, “so the price usually drops a good bit.”
Keep in mind that there is a train system in this country. It’s not extensive, but it does travel between some of the main destinations and offers a nice alternative to buses and share taxis.
Food & Drink in Morocco
“If you love spices then you will love for sure the food in Morocco,” says Paty. “Food is incredibly cheap and vast compared to other places. For $7-11 euros you will get a feast: rice, some dish with protein (I loved the beef tajine), fruit, and water.
Numbeo’s crowd-sourced data puts the cost of an inexpensive place where locals eat at around $3, while they say you’ll spend close to $20 on a meal for two in a nice restaurant. Naturally a tourist spot in Marrakech or Essaouira will be much more if you’re paying for atmosphere.
These grocery costs below from Edith are from the local market in Tangier—a pretty big city—and checked against current online sources. Almost everything is sold by the kilo except milk and bread rolls.
Mixed vegetables (tomatoes, peppers, carrots, zucchini, onion, etc, you choose what you want) – 5 kg $2.50.
Fresh oranges – 1 kg 50 cents
Bananas – 1 kg $1
Chicken wings – 1 kg $2.20
Watermelon – 5-10 kg $1.20 to $2.50
Fresh figs – 1 kg $1.20
Whole chicken – $1.20 to $2, or $5 for a kilo of filets
Camel/beef (chops, mince or stew chunks) – 1 kg $7-$8
Sardines – 1 kg $.70 to $1
Canned sardines in tomato sauce $.50
Round bread individual loafs – $.20 each
Half-kilo loaf of bread – 50 cents
Coffee freshly ground – 1 kg $7.50
Toilet rolls (6) – $1.80
Couscous 500g – $.90
Pasta 500g – $.90
Cheese from $8/kilo
Turkey salami, beef slices (lunch meats) from $8/kilo
Milk box – 70 cents a liter
“A bottle of water if you buy it in a normal store is $1 to $1.50 for 1 liter And if you buy it in a hotel or restaurant a smaller bottle can reach $2.50,” says Paty.
It is similar for soft drinks like Coke and Pepsi: $1.50 outside and $2.50 in hotels and restaurants. A beer or glass of wine will cost more in this predominately Muslim country and alcohol can be hard to even find in some locations.
Accommodation in Morocco
Places to stay in Morocco vary wildly in price and comfort, from dorm beds in hostels that can be under $10 (including breakfast) to palace hotels that can top $1,000. In between there are a lot of good values though if you spend some time hunting and reading reviews.
“We stayed at a 5-star hotel for $80 a night and we also stayed in a 3-star place for $27 per night. Both were honestly equally as good, comfortable, very clean, and spacious,” Edith says.
“We stayed at riads and those were included in our tour price but they were listed for about $70 per night and they were double rooms. They were not the most luxurious riads but you get to live a real Moroccan experience that way,” says Paty.
What is a riad? It’s a traditional Moroccan house or palace with an indoor garden and courtyard. They are located within the old city “Medina” walls, especially prevalent in historic cities such as Marrakech, Fez, and Essouira.
Morocco Travel Notes
Paty was on an organized tour and this is one country where I think that’s a pretty good idea if your time is limited. This is one of those countries where the English language is at least third on the list for most Moroccans, so learning some Arabic or refreshing your memory of that high school French will come in very handy.
Otherwise, you will be playing a lot of charades and pointing to pictures if you don’t have a guide. You’ll find that the people who speak the best English are generally the ones trying to aggressively hassle you to buy something or hire them for some service. Because of the language barrier, it can make sense to pay a guide in the cities here—plus it will also make you tout-resistant the whole time he is with you.
If I were to go back to this country now on a new Morocco trip, I would go on an organized tour or hire a guide straight away for each city because when I did that before it made walking around much more pleasant, especially in areas full of aggressive guides and shopkeepers trying to get a slice of what’s in your wallet. See it from his side in this archived post: Interview With a Tout in Morocco.
ATM’s are in French or English (you choose the language) with no added service fee. Paty’s guide told their group that to exchange dollars or euros, it’s better to do it in a local place rather than the airport as you’ll get a better rate.
Edith says, “We were hassled coming in to the country by immigration, because we were going somewhere he wasn’t familiar with (I had written the town name on my immigration from where it asked where you were going). He even called our friends for specifics of where we would be. Once I said we were staying one night in Marrakesh then they just wanted the hotel name there and it was fine. Another American couple in front of us had no problems.”
“I thought that as a woman I was going to feel insecure in Morocco and no, at no time did I feel insecure,” says Paty. “Our tour guide did give us tips on what to do and what not to do. For example, don’t engage with any vendors if you don’t want to buy something.
One time we were walking around and a man came up to talk to us and ask us where we were from. As we started talking, he showed us some macaroons he was selling and we told him we weren’t interested but thanked him. He was insistent and eventually he took a macaroon out and told us that it was free for us. We told him no, but he kept insisting that it was seriously free. So as not to be rude we took it and after the first bite he started asking for money and yelling at us that they were 20 dirhams. We didn’t want to pay so he screamed at us that ‘nothing is for free in Morocco.’ Lesson learned.
We traveled around Morocco with a tour Guide named Abdou. He organized all excursions, hotels (riads), and transportation. Our tour guide was originally from Morocco and speaks Spanish and French very well. He has his own website here: www.marruecospuestadesol.com
To keep it simple, we paid him a tour price that included expenses. All of the places we visited, transportation, breakfast, and a dinner in the desert was included in our tour price.”
Some attractions are cheap or free, but the big draws will start impacting your budget. Majorelle Gardens in Marrakech is 70 dirhams to enter—around $7. Paty felt it was well worth it, with really beautiful gardens and spaces, but they didn’t have time to tour the Yves St. Laurant Garden, which is in the same area.
You might want to leave some room in your suitcase for souvenirs and gifts. Craftsmanship is universally high in Morocco and you don’t see nearly as much poorly made tourist dreck for sale as in most other travel destinations. Even the most humble house or building is adorned in some way and craftsmen (and women) take great pride in their work.
You could practically furnish and decorate a whole house with what’s on sale in the craft markets—at a tiny fraction of what the designer boutiques are charging in the big cities at home, and it would look designer-chic fabulous.
Sample Places to Go and Morocco Trip Travel Tips
Paty started in Marrakech on her small group Morocco trip and says if you want to get the real feeling of Jemaa el-Fnaa square (the market) don’t get there really early. “We went there as our first stop and there was nothing to see. It was a big disappointment and we thought that it was nothing like everyone shows in their videos or pics but we went back around 1:00 p.m. and it was exactly like we imagined and expected.
You also might want to bring a camera with a good zoom if you have a principle of not paying for photos. “My brother wanted to take a picture of the dancing cobras but the second he took his phone out, three different guys asked for money and were very insistent and pushy,” Paty says.
Paty’s group also went to La Mamounia, a very luxurious hotel, a Moroccan palace with 136 hotel rooms, tennis courts, a spa, a casino, and three amazing restaurants. As non-guests they couldn’t enter the hotel, so they had a drink in one of the restaurants.
They traveled to Ourzazate but stopped in Ait Ben Haddou “It’s a fortified town where lots of movies were filmed and it also appeared in Game of Thrones. We stayed at our guide’s house in Ouarzazate.”
Then they headed to Dades Gorges on their way to the Merzouga Desert, where they spent the night glamping. They got to their spot by camel after sunset. “It was one of the greatest experiences ever, to get to sleep in the desert under the stars and to wake up before sunrise there as well to see the morning sun lighting up the dunes.”
Their next stop was Fez, but before that they drove through “the Switzerland of Morocco”—Azrou—where they got an experience that made the comparison a bit off: “We could see monkeys.”
They toured the Fez Medina and went to see the El Makhzen (Royal Palace). They also spent time checking out the Marinid Tombs, a few Madrasas, and the Blue Gate. “We got to see the Fez Medina in action and felt like we were getting a real Moroccan market experience. The tanneries were a unique experience too.”
Then they headed north to Chefchaouen on their Morocco trip (one of my favorite spots when I traveled around Morocco). There a local tour guide took them around the city. “We learned that this unusual city is painted in blue and white for a reason: blue because they are superstitious and it’s to protect them from bad energies and white just to be practical: it gets really warm during summer.
Their last stop was Tangier, a busy port city and home of the Hercules Cave that they visited. This is where you’ll likely enter or leave from if traveling by ferry from Spain. The cheapest tickets are from Algeciras, near Gibralter, at around $32 for a short hop trip. The most expensive are from Barcelona.
Tangier’s reputation has gotten a bit better over the decades, but it’s still a place where you need to be street savvy, aware of your surroundings, and impervious to scam pitches. Keep your valuables close to your body and it wouldn’t hurt to have some Pickpocket Proof Pants or a money pouch that goes inside your pants.
The Cost of Living in Morocco
If you love Morocco so much that you decide to stay put, this is a quite reasonable place to live. It is one of the featured countries in my living abroad book A Better Life for Half the Price. (See more on that here.)
As I was putting up this post I logged on to Numbeo from Switzerland. Not surprisingly, Morocco comes in quite a bit cheaper than that country:
Cost of living in Morocco is, on average, 74.5% lower than in Switzerland.
Rent in Morocco is, on average, 85.4% lower than in Switzerland.
Since it’s at the top of Africa though and right below the Iberian Peninsula, I thought it might be more apt to compare prices to Western Europe’s best value: Portugal. The cost of living in Morocco still looks good by those standards.
Consumer Prices Including Rent in Marrakech are 41.8% lower than in Porto
Rent Prices in Marrakech are 63.5% lower than in Porto
Restaurant Prices in Marrakech are 29.8% lower than in Porto
Groceries Prices in Marrakech are 35.3% lower than in Porto
Rents in the main cities range from $200-$400 for a decent one-bedroom apartment, about the same for a house on the outskirts or in the countryside. The average salary in Morocco is less than $400 per month, so any rental that’s more than $800 per month is going to be priced for expats or upscale Moroccans—and most of the latter will be owners rather than renters once they have a family.
Most people spend less than $100 per month on utilities, including internet and their cell phone plan. It can be more if you’re running air conditioning constantly, but otherwise it’s easily manageable. Edith paid utilities for a house with a swimming pool and even with that, the electric bill was $16 for a month.
For a refill on a bottle of propane, a kitchen-size tank for cooking, she paid $4.50. Water was $6 a month.
First-person research provided by Eden Rudin and Paty Ramos. Photos by Ramos except where indicated.