Please sign in to post.

Tangier for the day

We are taking the ferry over and will walk aboard. I have read that we will be accosted by "guides" once we get off the boat. How do we tell who is a good one and who is a bad one. I don't want to join a group, we can wander but would like a little direction and local knowledge so a guide is ok.
When we do go over we will get back on a late ferry to return to Spain/Tarifa, how late should we stay?

Posted by
1100 posts

So you are going to spend a day in Disney at Tangier and hope to gain what type of experience?
Pick any other experience other than this trip and you will be enhancing your travel pleasure.
I know, way too negative of advice.

Posted by
5011 posts

What you are proposing is exactly like this:

We will be in southern California, and we are interested in visiting Mexico, a large, diverse and fascinating country right next door. We will walk across the border into Tijuana and spend a few hours there. If people approach me, how do I know who is a good one and who is a bad one? How late should we stay?

Do you think your 3-hour visit to Tijuana would give you much insight into Mexico, and a good experience?

Tangier is the Tijuana of Morocco. Where you will find a crass, fake, grotesque, manufactured-for-tourists experience that only bears the slightest resemblance to actually visiting the wonderful country of Morocco. You are guaranteed to experience the absolute worst possible that the country could show you.

Morocco is a complex, fascinating, beautiful and yes, different (some would say "exotic") country, filled with great things for the visitor. It's as worthwhile a destination as any country in Europe. It's also inexpensive, safe, and (dare I say it) quite easy to visit - tens of thousands of people (mostly Europeans) flock there every year. There are crazy-cheap flights to points acrooss Morocco from all over Europe - dirt cheap. Flying there is quick, cheap, easy, and makes sooooo much more sense than wasting a whole day of your trip to Europe on the ferry crossings (which may or may not go, due to conditions) - but most of all, the ferry takes you to the dregs of the country, while the flights (which may actually work out to cost less than the ferry) takes you to the stuff you really want to see (which is far away from the awful day-trip, ferry port/bordertown "Tijuana" places).

Morocco is great, and is worth a few days. Do yourself a big favor. Skip the miserable day-trip/ferry experience. Fly to Marrakech or Fes, and spend a couple days there, get out and explore deeper into the country if you have time.

Good luck.

Posted by
681 posts

You can do what you are proposing. See the RS Spain guidebook for a small section on Tangier that has hints about encountering this situation and also contains the names and contact info for several reputable guides. This section has been in previous Spain guidebooks but I don't know if it is in the most current editions. Have a great trip!

Posted by
599 posts

When are you thinking of travelling to Tangier? If in May, you will experience Ramadan from May 5 to June 4. Worth experiencing, but there will be fewer ferry sailings each day, so book early.

Posted by
353 posts

We took the ferry from Tarifa to Tangier for the day and thoroughly enjoyed walking around by ourselves. Just have a plan ahead of time for what you want to see and only ask people who clearly have a business other than tour guide for directions.

For what it's worth, I didn't see or feel any resemblance whatsoever to either Tijuana or Disneyland.

Posted by
16832 posts

Tangier may have camels on the beach, but they don't have donkeys painted to look like zebras (a memorable feature of Tijuana, to me). There are tourist shows available, especially for tour groups, but the point of going on your own is to skip those. If you're sleeping in Tarifa, then just book the last ferry of the day. You can't really "day trip" over from other parts of Spain without sleeping in either Tarifa or Tangier.

Yes, the area and a short list of local guides are still covered in Rick's Spain 2019. If you're choosing from guides who meet the ferry, talk to them and establish what you want. They also should be able to show an official license, which is not the same as a guarantee of quality.

Posted by
3753 posts

Perhaps you want to arrange a knowledgable guide before arrival. 'tours by locals' is a website of just that. Most have reviews, and try to review them or google them on other sites as well. My credo is you get what you pay for. If you want local knowledge and an enhanced visit, then arrange ahead with an experienced guide. Others might disagree, as I suspect there are a number of trained and licensed guides all scrambling for work and willing to bargain, but is it worth the hassle? You decide.

Posted by
224 posts

We did an overnight in October and it was great. Stayed at the Hilton, we’ve stayed in a lot of Hiltons and this by far was the nicest. We booked Aziz, the guide that RS talks about in his podcast. It was a very memorable trip. We learned a lot and it was an exhausting day but definitely unforgettable. Book a guide to meet you, you don’t want to traverse without a guide and you’ll want someone that speaks English and knows the history. Be very clear ahead of time with your guide in telling the what you want to do. Also take lots of small Euros with you, no one in all of Morocco “has” change, so if it’s €10 and you give a €20, you’re going to have to buy two of whatever it is. Have fun!!!

Posted by
18349 posts

I wouldn't expect Moroccan vendors to make change in euros. That's not their currency. They'd already be doing me a kindness by accepting euros at all--and I'd never want someone to do that, because I can't imagine the exchange rate would be very good.

I think my long-ago trip to Morocco was before ATMs were introduced, but there should be no problem in using a US ATM card to withdraw some of the local currency (dirhams) from an ATM.

Posted by
6 posts

Back in 2012 we also took the ferry to Tangier from Tarifa while visiting in Spain and spent 2 nights. We did not have a guide. We did some research before going and had a reasonable map so we just arrived and navigated a very different place by ourselves. Yes, we were accosted by guides we didn't want but being firm and polite gets you far, so does a few learned words of the local languages. Most Moroccans were wonderful and very helpful. We stayed at the beautiful Dar Nour in the medina and thoroughly enjoyed our stay. It gave us a first taste of Morocco which was culturally so different from what we were experiencing in Europe that it made us want to return. 4 years later we did and we went deep into the country. This year we will return for a third time. So, nothing is wasted. Even a short trip to what may not be considered the "real" Morocco will open your eyes and expose you to a different culture on some level.

Posted by
122 posts

HI Mari have you done a trip report on Morocco? I would love to know more about solo travel there on a budget.