Thank you for visiting our FAQ Page! If there’s information you’re seeking that cannot be found either here or on our retreat homepage, feel free to contact us and we’ll do our absolute best to get answers for you. I want you to rest assured that your health, safety and comfort is our #1 priority. Please know that I’ve personally spent time in Fez and have felt safe, at ease and nourished throughout. The following is some helpful information to get you started.
Fez is very safe in comparison to Western cities of the same size, but petty crime is not uncommon. That said, some basic common sense and street smarts go a long way in making your trip safe, fun and seamless. It’s all about being aware of your surroundings and knowing what to look out for/avoid, namely- pick pocketing, scammers on the trains, unauthorized “guides,” persistent salespeople, etc. Our Fez Guest Guide will provide detailed information for addressing all of the above and will be emailed to you prior to departure for Morocco.
Food in Morocco is amongst the best cuisine in the world and there is little cause for concern. All of the dining experiences we’ll share as a group can be considered very safe, as we’ve taken great care in choosing our dining venues. That said, as with food in many foreign countries, some simple precautions can be taken to ensure belly health while in Fez. Wash hands frequently. Make sure with any fruits or vegetables, that you can either peel, wash or cook them before eating. Hot food served fresh from the stove top or oven is usually safe to eat, but avoid food that may have been stewing away all day and then reheated. Drinking water directly from a tap in Morocco is not advised. The Moroccan authorities are, however, concerned about the amount of pollution caused by plastic from bottled water. We advise that you pack a reusable water bottle to fill with filtered water from our B&B so as to avoid creating waste. Alternatively, bottled water is widely available and inexpensive (although some restaurants charge an exorbitant markup). From any street-side shop, a 1.5-liter bottle of water will cost no more than 10dh (or $1 USD). In general, it’s perfectly fine to consume ice. With iced beverages purchased at street stalls, if you tend to have a sensitive stomach, you’ll want to make sure it’s been made from filtered water or err on the side of caution and avoid altogether.
No immunizations are necessary. For general health concerns, be advised that if your current health insurance does not cover you during travels abroad, it is recommended to acquire supplemental insurance in case of emergency. Medical facilities are good in all major cities throughout Morocco.
Located near the Atlas Mountains, Fez has a Mediterranean climate that shifts from cold and rainy in the winter to dry and hot in the summer. We will be visiting in the latter part of spring season, which is relatively mild. Low temperatures average 52° fahrenheit, while high temperatures average 79°. The median temperature is about 73°. You can count on it being somewhat chilly in the mornings and evenings and warmer midday. We’ll provide a suggested packing list in our Fez Guest Guide.
Absolutely not! Many languages are spoken and understood in Morocco. English is growing in importance, becoming more common and generally understood and sometimes spoken in tourist areas. Additionally, we’ll have guides, translators and bilingual speakers accompanying and/or assisting throughout the retreat.
Although learning some Arabic can help you communicate more easily throughout the country, it’s not necessary for enjoying your stay. If you are skilled with animated gestures, then you’ll do well with a few simple words that simply show you’re willing to try. If you opt to learn a little Arabic in preparation for our journey, make sure you learn Moroccan Arabic, specifically. While Moroccans understand standard Arabic, it may not help you understand Moroccans!
French is Morocco’s unofficial second language. Though not as common in villages and remote areas, the bigger cities have French-speaking taxi drivers, restaurants with menus in French, and sometimes even French street signs. You may find it worthwhile to brush up on the basics enough to master a few words and phrases.
Due to Morocco’s close proximity to neighboring Spain, Spanish is somewhat common and can be a helpful communication supplement when attempting to make reservations, navigate transactions and understand directions, especially, in the North.
Finally, Berber is the indigenous language of the people hailing from the Rif and Atlas mountains. Being that Fez is so close to the Atlas mountains, you’ll find that many people in Fez speak Berber. It never hurts to attempt a few Berber words- even if just please and thank you.
Try Rosetta Stone or another audio language course to learn the basics, pack a phrase book and/or download a translation app to your smartphone. I like, use and highly recommend Duolingo for learning new language skills. Check out this article for translation app recommendations.
Local time is GMT. Daylight saving starts on a slightly different day each year, so it pays to check especially as it reverts for the month of Ramadan (May/June). To find out more use this handy time zone converter.
The local currency is the Moroccan Dirham (or MAD or dh). It’s a restricted currency and can only be exchanged inside the country, so it’s advisable to change a small amount at the airport when you arrive. receipts must be retained as proof of legal currency exchange, as well as in order to re-exchange money when departing. ATMs are widely available and are the best and easiest way to get funds. Do not bring travellers cheques or Australian dollars. Euro and USD notes can be exchanged at banks or official bureaux de changes, which are also widespread in major towns. Major credit cards are accepted in the larger shops, hotels and restaurants, but not AMEX. For the most up-to-date exchange rates, please use this currency converter.
Here are some general guidelines:
– Taxis- Rule of thumb is to round up to the nearest 5 dirhams (e.g. if the taxi meter says 17, pay 20). Though often with taxi’s the meter won’t be working, so always ask the price or check the meter before you start your ride.
– Bellboy- 10 dirhams is appropriate, unless your bags are extremely cumbersome, in which case, 15-20 dirhams is the norm.
– Housekeepers- Cleaning personnel are poorly paid, so if you have had fresh towels and your room cleaned then do leave a decent tip. 100 dirhams for a week’s stay would be really appreciated by any housekeeper.
– Restaurants- Moroccans themselves might only leave a few dirhams on a 150 dirhams dinner bill. At many of the upmarket restaurants in the tourist areas they will add 10% to the bill, therefore check your bill before leaving a tip. If you don’t receive good service then don’t tip and if you get great service, leave 15%.
– Hammam / spa services- Depending on the range of treatments you’re planning, you may be serviced by as many as 5 people in a hammam or spa, so bear that in mind if you plan to tip the customary 20 to 25 dirhams per person. Also remember that you will only be wearing a robe, so you’ll need to store the money in your robe pocket as you move from one treatment to the next. Alternatively, you can leave a tip with the door lady on your way out.
– Excursions- Tips are not required on excursions, however, it is customary to offer a tip for exceptional service. Tipping amounts vary widely, though some travelers report that $2-$10 USD per day for your guide and $1-$3 USD per day for your driver is common.
Please check with your cell phone provider. Each company is different and they can give you the most up-to-date information. It’s also recommended to download whatsapp and/or skype for easy, cheap/free communication options.
Yes, but you’ll need a converter. The electrical current is 220 volts, 50Hz. European, two-pin round plugs are standard. Adaptors are not easily found in Morocco, so it’s best to bring your own.
Check out our Travel Info page for tips on how to get from point A to point B.