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Money for Morocco Trip

I am taking a tour that starts in Lisbon (3 days), Morocco (8 days) and Spain 7 (days). I am perplexed on the money I need for Morocco. Can I get Dirhams before I leave or do I get them in Morocco. I have read numerous articles about the woes of using a credit card so I want enough cash on hand. I've also read they accept the US dollars? Is that only in the hotels and upper end stores or will the street vendors take it? What about Euros? I have read many conflicting stories about not using credit cards and not being able to exchange their currency back. I'm sorry if this appears to be rambling but My mom and I leave in a month and we need to get our money situated. We will also visit Gibraltar for a day so I will need some pounds too.

Thanks you so very much.

Wendy

Posted by
6876 posts

What's wrong with using an ATM once you get to Morrocco, just as you would in any other country? I can't picture any bank in the US having Dirhams on hand to sell you so I don't think that's an option.

Posted by
16883 posts

You can get cash from ATMs in Moroccan cities, normally attached to banks, or can change money at change offices at ports of entry. How much is already paid for with the tour? Just for a few meals, you won't need much cash. Don't take out too many dirhams at once; you can get more if you need them. Some craft and souvenir vendors will take euros or even dollars. Their exchange equation may not match the banks, but your price is a matter of haggling, anyway. Do plan to change back any leftover dirhams at a port office before leaving Morocco, since they are not regularly traded outside the country. Like in other regions, they may just change paper money, not coins. However I have seen the exchange offices at Tangier port to be closed right when we wanted them, which is why you should aim to spend the dirhams you get. In Gibraltar you can certainly get pounds from ATMs but also should be able to use credit cards for most purchases.

Posted by
34 posts

Nothing wrong taking an ATM card-I just didn't want to take mine and as long as there are plenty of ATM's to get Dirhams that is good to know.

Thanks for the help.

Posted by
29 posts

Sallam Wendy,
You ask a very good question, which we always encounter with our travelers coming to Morocco.
Morocco’s official currency is the dirham (MAD abbreviated to dh), divided into 100 centimes. Coins are issued in denominations of 1dh, 2dh, 5dh, and 10dh, as well as 10, 20, and 50 centimes. Banknotes are issued in denominations of 20, 50, 100, and 200. As the dirham is a restricted currency and isn’t traded internationally, there is no black market and exchange rates vary only marginally between banks, bureaux de change and even most hotels. There is no need to acquire Moroccan dirham prior to your departure. While Morocco is still very much a cash society, ATMs are prevalent throughout the country and cards bearing the Cirrus, Plus, and Maestro symbols are generally accepted by all banks. However some of our previous clients have experienced great frustration by having their card/s constantly rejected by some or all ATMs throughout the country. We strongly advise you don’t entirely rely upon accessing your travel funds via an ATM - bring along some foreign exchange as a ‘Plan B’. Though most Western-style supermarkets, upmarket restaurants, quality accommodations and some tourist-friendly shops will have the necessary equipment for payment by credit card, cash is generally still the preferred form of payment when paying for smaller purchases. When it is possible to pay by credit card for goods and services, MasterCard and Visa are accepted, but rarely American Express. Changing money at a bureau de change is quicker than at banks, although some banks do have dedicated booths just for money exchange. It has become quite difficult to exchange traveler’s checks nowadays, and we recommend just bringing along notes. The euro is by far the easiest foreign currency to exchange and is sometimes accepted as payment if you don’t have any dirham on hand. US dollars and British pounds can be exchanged at banks and bureaux de change, but will rarely be directly accepted as payment. As a general rule, make sure your foreign currency notes are in good condition. Specifically with US dollar notes, try to bring along notes that are dated post-2000. Scottish pounds and both Australian and New Zealand dollars are generally not exchangeable in Morocco.There is always a problem making change in Morocco, and it is often difficult to pay with large banknotes. Always be on the lookout for smaller denomination bank notes (10 and 20) and dirham coins as this will make your life easier when paying for inexpensive everyday goods such as bottled water. Moroccan dirham can be exchanged back into hard currency (usually euros or US dollars) at Casablanca or Marrakech airports. You may be asked for an exchange receipt or an ATM withdrawal slip, so keep a few handy along your travels. Duty free shops past the immigration counters generally do not accept dirham, though you can usually buy a sandwich or a drink in the local currency.

Posted by
34 posts

Darren, Thank you so much for your help. We are traveling with a tour group from Portugal into Morocco and our loop is Rabat, Casablanca, Marrakesh, Ouarzazate, Erfoud, Fez and Tangier. So with many stops I'm our guide will tell us the best places to exchange our money before we head back to Spain finishing in Madrid. You information is extremely helpful and I will certainly use it.

Twenty four days and counting and I can't wait:)

Thank you again!!
Wendy