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Tunis sightseeing

Has anyone been to Tunis lately or since the 2011 revolution? I've read such diverse reports from many travelers and can't find a decent website to answer any key questions. Is it safe to use the local trains/trams? Do taxi drivers try to rip off tourists? Are Euros accepted by taxis and at the museums and sites? Do restaurants accept credit cards?

We will be arriving at La Goulette cruise port and I cannot even determine if there are ATM (Bank o Mat) machines there in order to get Dinars. There is no exchange desk at the port.

We prefer touring on our own so we can spend the time necessary to really visit Carthage and the Bardo Museum. We also are hoping to walk through the Medina and the town of Sidi Abu Said but have no interest in bartering or buying anything. Most organized tours take you shopping and spend little time on the history. Individual private tours are too expensive. I've read that some taxis agree to a price and then extort more money later or refuse to return you to the port. It looks like the train is the best option but Dinars are required and they cannot be taken out of the country so we would need to either find an exchange or just leave it behind.
Anyone out there have any recommendations? I'm open to all ideas except the ship's shore excursion. The only visit the baths at Carthage and nothing else. Thanks!

Posted by
16764 posts

Sorry, nobody in this office has been to Tunisia in the past few years. If your sources say it is generally safe, then other issues like haggling with taxi drivers are just part of the experience; insist that they use the meter.

Posted by
1289 posts

Can you confirm that you have checked out both the TripAdvisor and the Thorntree (Lonely Planet) forum for the latest information. In general, I rely on the Thorntree forum for upto date information.

With regards to taxi drivers ripping you off - this happens in almost every country in the world including all of Europe and possibly the US (possible exceptions to the rip off are Colombia (amazingly honest cabbies) and London). I would expect them to try and take advantage of you - you need to do your homework and be prepared.

It seems like you are being overly afraid - I would expect a greater hassle factor but wouldn't worry too much about the rest of the stuff - go with the flow.

If you have already checked out the Thorntree forum and the TripAdvisor one, check Fodors. If you can't find an answer, post your questions and maybe someone will respond.

Good luck - I've always wanted to go to Tunisia and Libya but so far have only gotten to Egypt and Morocco in N. Africa.

Posted by
20597 posts

We were La Goulette/ Tunis about five, six years ago and it was fine. We used a taxi driver to and from the port and we were always quoted a price that seem reasonable. They took Euros but with the caution of know the exchange rate. If you are haggling in Euros in the kasbah then it makes no difference what the exchange rate is.

However, this past fall we were on a Med cruise with a schedule stop in Tunis when that stop was cancelled a couple of weeks prior to our departure. Lonely planet has caution about being in Tunis and I think the State Department has a warning so I am a little surprise that the stop is scheduled.

Posted by
144 posts

Thanks, Frank. I did read the travel warnings and am pretty sure it's only about travel to the middle of Tunisia where there has been some violence and protests. Tunis sounds pretty safe.
Arnold, if you haven't ever been to Tunisia why are you giving me advice? It's non-productive. I've been all over Europe, including Greece, Egypt, Turkey as well as Mexico, Central and South America and know all about taxi driver scams. That's why we almost always take public transportation wherever we go. You haven't read what I have during my research about taxi drivers picking up tourists at the port and then extorting them for more money. Two different groups reported the driver refused to return them to port and dumped them on the road. I'm not a worrier, believe me, but this makes me mad and I don't want to have to deal with it if I don't have to.
I've read dozens of websites and written questions to several travel forums including Trip Advisor, Cruise Critic and this one as well as emails directly to the port of La Goulette. I even tried to buy a decent guidebook but the most recent was written in 2010, which was before the Revolution and therefore obsolete. I will try the forum that Frank recommended, which I am not familiar with. Thanks, Frank.