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Morocco vs. Argentina Travel

Hello,
I was planning on leaving for a month in October to do some volunteering. I was just not sure where! Argentina appeals to me a lot, but so does Morocco. I know that they are completely different. Does anybody have any advice? I guess I should consider weather at that time of year, safety, etc (particularily in Morocco, is safety something I should worry about being a girl?) I previously spent three months in Spain and loved it, especially visiting the Alhambra, which inspired me to visit Morocco. Though Argentina would be a good place to practice my Spanish...too many choices! Any advice is greatly appreciated :) Thanks!

Posted by
4719 posts

A female, travelling on her own? Argentina wins hands down over Morocco.

Posted by
23 posts

JJ,
I was in Morocco in October of 2014 for two weeks, along with my husband and our lady friend. The weather was perfect that time of year. We flew in and out of Marrakesh from Seville Spain on Ryanair...a cheap and easy flight. We went to Marrakesh, Rabat, Meknes, Fes, and Essaouira. We chose these cities after months of research and advise from other travelers. We did venture out in the Atlas mts. to Berber villages with a guide though, that was a remarkable experience.
Marrakesh is so intense! We talked to some Moroccans that won't even go there. Thinking that we wanted the real experience of Morocco, we stayed in the medinas (old town) and rented rooms in riads. We all said that if we could do it over, we wouldn't choose to always be in the medinas. The medinas vary from city to city, each with its own flavor. Essaouira's (where the Brits love to come on holiday) is very clean and has open air markets where we never felt unsafe. Others can be the opposite. You definitely don't want to be out at night by yourself in the medinas. Our senses were constantly bombarded in there, which was exhausting after a time. There are guides that are sanctioned by the government, but they all seem to encourage purchases from the shops they bring you to. (They quickly disappear for awhile as the shop keeper is pressuring to buy.) We decided to just take it all in stride, and politely decline and enjoy the experience.There are a lot of young men who wait to proposition tourists to help them with their luggage, or help them find their way. It is so very easy to get lost in the medinas, so they lay in wait. They can be very forceful!
Morocco is definitely is a male dominated society. When my husband wasn't with us, we found it difficult in some areas to find a restaurant that was willing to serve us, even though the place was filled with men. If you are volunteering, do you have an agency that you will be associated with? You may be an adventurous soul, but traveling along as a women in Morocco might give you quite a challenge.
Let me know if you have any other questions. Fran

Posted by
5714 posts

As a single woman, I wouldn't go to Morocco alone. Argentina will be far less hassle. And better wine!

Posted by
11 posts

Hello, thank you for the answers :) I would be going with a company, I wouldn't feel comfortable travelling by myself in Morocco. Nonetheless both cultures still appeal to me!

Posted by
6879 posts

I've been to Argentina and it's amazing....but HUGE and super spread out. We took two internal flights (very expensive) and rented a car just to cover the northwest, Buenos Aires, and Iguazu Falls on the Brazilian border.

I know this may seem like out of left field, but have you thought about Ecuador? It's a fraction of the size of Argentina, has incredible biodiversity, lots of Spanish language schools, lots of volunteering opportunities in indigenous communities or in private biosphere reserves, and appears much easier and cheaper to get around in (the bus system is cheap and well-linked). The one downside of Argentina is how vast it is and the need to take flights when you want to see a different ecosystem, since there are many. I personally wouldn't want to take super long bus rides everywhere since the cities, sites, attractions are so far apart. Also, this is not at all a big deal, but in many places (in South America in general, and elsewhere), there's a machismo culture that reacts to a woman traveling alone with some amount of surprise and sometimes bewilderment.

Posted by
8510 posts

If you are escorted by a company, Morocco, because who knows how long it could be conflict-free. It could remain stable but nobody knows, so you might as well go now.

Edit: With a group of French friends, I was in Morocco for two weeks in the 1970s, visiting another friend living and working in a town at the base of the Atlas Mountains. We did get to Casablanca, Rabat, and Marrakesh, as well as local villages. Though it was part of France for a long time, the culture is still very different from anything in Europe, North or South America. As long as you are guided by others in the volunteer group, this is a truly different experience that may not be open to us one day. The lives of the poor and working class women are harsh, and they don't always have a lovey-dovey view of us.

Posted by
235 posts

I'd agree with the above. If you are interested in Morocco, I'd go now (with a group or a tour). Absolutely beautiful country. A life-changing experience. It's been stable for years, but we don't know whether that will last.

Posted by
85 posts

Volunteering for what? You can do that at home. But if you haven't been to South America before, I'd spend some time in Uruguay first. Its the best thing going down there, and if you don't like it, you won't like the rest of the continent.

Posted by
11 posts

Hello,
Thank you very much for all of your replies! The volunteer program in Morocco is a women's education program, which caught my interest. It focuses on improving literacy skills, for example teaching English and French, which is one thing I could maybe help with :) The program in Argentina is working with children. And yes, I could definitely volunteer here in Canada too. Thank you again for all your help :)

Posted by
459 posts

GREAT Morocco trip with OAT, Overseas Adenture Travel, in 2011. Check their website. Small groups, max 16, great guides, off the beaten track, Sahara camping, no single supplement, many single women. One of the best trips of my life.

Vicki

Posted by
16883 posts

I spent over 6 months in Morocco and would not dissuade you from choosing that program.

Posted by
4 posts

My son and I took the boat from Spain to Tangier for the day in Feb 2017. Tickets are cheaper if you get a guide with the tickets than if you don't. There's a quick car tour, but the idea is to get you into carpet and antique shops where they'll pester you for hours to buy. Make it a point to politely but firmly walk to the exit even while they're talking, because they never stop even as you're walking away down the street. Don't waste their time or yours by hearing the whole, endless sales talk. Classy/ more expensive shops and restaurants know English tourists very well. The price of the carpet dropped from $2,000 to $300 by the time we hit the street. (I couldn't get the antique store to drop that much.) The dark seedy back alleys of the souk/ market are for locals, and guides don't want you to go there. But we liked wandering there because it's a taste of "normal" life. People either obligingly ignored us or were very friendly. We stocked up on street bread and lots of kinds of wonderfully seasoned olives. Always wear your money belt. We wanted to take the train inland but didn't have time. It's a nice addition to Spain because the culture is so Arab/ North African/ third world/ Muslim.

Posted by
5630 posts

I have been to Morocco twice and Argentina once. Argentina wins hands down. Both countries have interesting places to see. I like the food in Argentina more. The best steak that I have ever eaten, was in Buenos Aires.

I would strongly recommend Argentina for a female.

Go to a tango show, if in Buenos Aires.