Morocco was not a place that was on my radar for long before I planned a trip. When a close friend said he needed a vacation, we started exploring flights and found reasonable tickets to Casablanca, and it suddenly became a contender. When a colleague of Dylan’s recommended a tour guide he personally used on his visit to Morocco earlier that year – of whom he couldn’t speak highly enough – we were sold.
Soon we set to planning our trip. The result was a 5 day excursion, flying into Casablanca and immediately taking the train to Marrakech. From there, we had a tour guide for 2 nights/3 days, who led us from Marrakech through the Atlas Mountains, to the Sahara Desert, and all the way back to Fez. And then eventually on to Casablanca again when we missed the last train out of the city. I wrote all about our guided tour if you want to read more specifics.
From a financial perspective, Morocco was about what I expected. Most things were more affordable than the United States, though not to such a degree that frivolous spending won’t add up quickly. With so many beautiful Riads and restaurants, plus market places that wind for miles tempting you with every type of trinket under the sun, it’s easy to blow your budget.
Here’s a bare bones account of what I spent between Marrakech, Fez, Casablanca, and in between – a total of 5 full days in Morocco. May it help you have a better grasp on your ideal budget than I had on my trip.
Note: All prices are reflected in US Dollars. I was traveling with one friend, so many items were split between the two of us, as indicated. Otherwise, the prices listed are what I individually paid. (For example, the flight prices listed were for my personal flights, however I listed the total price of our taxis and accommodations and indicated what that would be per person as well, since the prices might be different if you’re a solo traveler or have a larger group.)
Travel – $618
FLIGHTS – $576
Indianapolis to NYC (RT): $87
NYC to Casablanca via Madrid (RT): $489
TRAINS – $15
Casablanca to Marrakech: ~$15 each (first class ticket)
TAXIS – $55 total ($27.50 each)
Fez to Casablanca – $40 (estimated tip for gas to our guide who transported us on this four hour trip without pay AFTER our tour was over because of our crazy debacle losing, then finding my phone in the Sahara desert)
Taxi to Casablanca airport – ~$15 (arranged by our Riad)
Accommodations – $370 ($185 each)
Riad Anjar | 2 nights – $155 total
Hotel Babylon | 1 night – $0 with our tour ($84 regularly)
Merzouga Luxury Desert Camp | 1 night – $0 with our tour (420 euros/tent)
Hotel & Spa Dar Bensouda | 1 night – $133 total
Eurostars Sidi Maarouf | 1 night – $82 total
Food & Drinks – $148.50
DAY ONE: $67.50
Airport food – sandwich, coffee, 2 snack bars, 1 bag roasted chickpeas – $25
Airport Sandwich and Coffee – $8.50
2 airplane meals (included with flight) – $0
Espresso at train station – $1.50
Dinner in Marrakesh @ La Table Du Palais – $32.50 each
There were set menus at La table Du Palais, from 150 dirham (~$16 for a main course, from 5-10 options) to 220-250 dirham for a starter, main course, and desert (~$23 to $26 depending on the course). We also opted for a bottle of wine which added to our total. Tip was included in this amount.
Note that alcohol is not available in many of the Riads and Restaurants, though it is available for purchase in specific places and can be bought in liquor stores around the city. To be respectful, avoid bringing alcohol into Riads where they do not serve liquor themselves.
DAY TWO: $24
Breakfast @ Riad Anjar (included with tour or stay) – $0
Lunch at La Rose Du Sable by Ksar Ait Ben Haddou – $12 each for soup or salad, a main dish, and fruit; drinks for $1
Dinner @ Hotel Babylon Dades (included with tour or with room reservation) – $0
2 bottles wine – $12
DAY THREE: $12
Breakfast @ Hotel Babylon Dades (included with tour or with room reservation) – $0
Lunch at roadside restaurant- $12 each
Dinner at desert camp (included with tour) – $0
DAY FOUR $18
Breakfast at camp (included with tour) – $0
Lunch – $14 each
Dinner on way to Casablanca – $4 each
DAY FIVE: $27
Breakfast buffet at hotel – $17 each
Coffee at airport – $3
Soup and chips at JFK – $7 (technically not in Morocco)
Attractions, Tours & Tips- $685
3 Day Marrakech to Fez Tour – $470 USD per person
Fez 1/2 day tour – $30 per person
TIPS: $185 (each)
(not including waitstaff at dining establishments)
Tip for 3-day tour guide – $125
Tip for desert guide – $10
Tip for cell phone search team – $20
Porter Tips X4 – $20
Tip for Fez tour guide – $10
Miscellaneous – $337
Neck Pillow & Hair Ties @ airport – $35
Money Exchange Fees – $17
Blue Patterned Scarf & Henna $10
(This was from an awesome souvenir shop called Razouk el Mahjoub where you could get traditional Berber clothing and learn a bit about their traditional dress.)
Fossil souvenir cutting board & serving platter – $97
(Purchased from Morabit Mabre)
Rose Oil from Coop Rosa M’Gouna – $103
Argan Oil – $75
Travel – $618
Accommodations – $185 (for my 1/2)
Food & Drinks – $148.50
Attractions & Tours- $685
Miscellaneous – $337
GRAND TOTAL: $1973.50 ($394/DAY)
First, as with most trips, I think there are places where I could have done worse and places where I definitely spent more than necessary. This was a short vacation for me with a friend who was in desperate need of a getaway and we indulged ourselves more than I typically would. We opted for the luxury accommodations on our 3-day tour and sprung for some incredibly nice stays outside of the two nights included. Instead of bringing snacks or finding cheap street food, we frequented restaurants with set menus and multiple courses. I also spent an egregious amount on Argan oil and rose oil products in several moments of weakness after touring the two female cooperatives and deciding to make a stand for my skincare routine.
Not including flights, my total personal costs were $1355 (or about $271-ish a day.) I also spent a fair amount of money on tips to the various network of people who helped me retrieve my phone from the Sahara Desert once we’d arrived 8 hours away in Fez. Opt for some cheaper rooms, the less luxurious tour, more casual diners, and a partner to mitigate your impulse purchases and you could probably get this down to $75/day or less, rooms included.
That said, I think every penny we spent was worth it for the amazing experiences we had.
Our guide took us places we would not be able to find on our own – the small kindergarten he started in his town, his parents’ home for tea, female-run co-ops, delicious restaurants, hotels with the most wonderful staff – and for far less than we would have paid alone. After traveling in 30 countries and taking countless tours of various lengths, this was truly one of my favorites. While we spent $470 you could find similar excursions with large groups for $2000 more and up, while we had a private guide the entire time.
So in summary, as I’ve concluded in my other posts about Morocco, I think you’ll find what you’re looking for whatever your price range is. I hope my totals give you a better idea of what you can expect, where you should splurge, and where you might be able to save. Happy travels!
Here’s the accommodations we used this trip (all of which we would 100% recommend).
Morocco Happiness Tours | Country-wide: Great for solo travel or groups of any size
Riad Anjar | Marrakech: Perfect for solo travelers, couples, or small groups; luxury rooms
Hotel & Spa Dar Bensouda | Fez: Couples, groups, solo travelers; luxury rooms
Hotel Babylon Dades | Atlas Mountains: Incredible service & location!
Eurostars Sidi Maarouf | Casablanca: Best for early airport flights & business travel, corporate rather than traditional Moroccan feel