Moroccan dirham (Dh)
Budget: Less than Dh500
- Basic double room with shared bathroom: from Dh50
- Soup or sandwich: Dh4–30
- Four-hour local bus trip: Dh60
- Admission to sights: Dh10–50
- Hotel room: Dh400–800
- Dinner main: Dh70–150
Top end: More than Dh1400
- Car hire: Dh300
- Day tour: Dh300
- Double in a city riad: from Dh1000
Bargaining or haggling is part and parcel of the Moroccan experience, especially for tourist goods and services. If you want to avoid this, many tourist shops have fixed prices.
ATMS are widely available. Credit cards are accepted in most midrange hotels and above, and at top-end restaurants.
ATMs (guichets automatiques) are the easiest way to access your money in Morocco.
A common sight even in the smallest towns, virtually all accept Visa, MasterCard, Electron, Cirrus, Maestro and InterBank cards. Most banks charge you for withdrawing money from foreign cash machines; check before travelling.
BMCE (Banque Marocaine du Commerce Extérieur), Banque Populaire, BMCI (Banque Marocaine pour le Commerce et l’Industrie), Société Générale and Attijariwafa Bank all offer reliable service.
The amount of money you can withdraw from an ATM generally depends on the conditions attached to your card; machines will dispense no more than Dh2000 at a time.
The easy convertibility of the dirham leaves little room for a black market, but you’ll find people in the streets asking if you want to exchange money, especially in Tangier, Casablanca and on the borders of (and just inside) the enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla. Avoid these characters; there’s no monetary benefit to be had from such transactions and scams are common.
You’ll need to carry some cash with you. Many riads accept payment in euros, but often at less preferential rates than you can get at the bank.
Keep a handful of small denomination notes in your wallet, or just in a pocket (but never a back pocket), for day-to-day transactions. Put the rest in a money belt or another safe place.
If you’re travelling in out-of-the-way places, make sure you have enough cash to last until you get to a decent-sized town.
Keep a small stash of euros in case of emergency.
The endless supply of small coins may be annoying, but they’re handy for taxis, tips and guides.
Major credit cards are widely accepted in the main tourist centres. They often attract a surcharge of up to 5% from Moroccan businesses.
The main credit cards are MasterCard and Visa; if you plan to rely on plastic cards, the best bet is to take one of each. Many large bank branches will give you cash advances on Visa and MasterCard. Take your passport with you.
The Moroccan currency is the dirham (Dh), which is divided into 100 centimes. You might also occasionally hear older people give prices in rials – an old unofficial usage, whereby one dirham equals 20 rials.
You will find notes in denominations of Dh20, Dh50, Dh100 and Dh200. Coins come in denominations of Dh1, Dh2, Dh5 and Dh10, as well as, less frequently, 10, 20 and 50 centimes. Break big notes whenever possible. Moroccans guard their small change jealously (taxi drivers never seem to have any), and so should you. The Dh20 note is the most useful note in your wallet.
The dirham is a restricted currency, meaning that it cannot be taken out of the country and is not available abroad. The dirham is fairly stable, with no major fluctuations in exchange rates. Euros, US dollars and British pounds are the most easily exchanged currencies.
In the Spanish enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla, the currency is the euro. The Moroccan banks on the enclaves’ borders exchange cash only. Banks in Ceuta and Melilla deal in dirham, but at rates inferior to those in Morocco.
For current exchange rates, see www.xe.com.
Any amount of foreign currency may be brought into the country. It is illegal to import and export dirham. Banks and exchange bureaus change most currencies, but Australian, Canadian and New Zealand dollars are often not accepted. You'll occasionally be asked for ID when changing money.
Moroccan banking services are reasonably quick and efficient. Rates vary little from bank to bank, although it doesn’t hurt to look around.
Hang on to all exchange receipts. They show you changed money legally, and you’ll need them to convert leftover dirham at most Moroccan banks and bureaux de change.
Tipping is an integral part of Moroccan life; almost any service can warrant a tip. Baksheesh, frequently taken to mean a bribe, generally means money paid for a service rendered, and can include tipping. Don’t be railroaded, but the judicious distribution of a few dirham for a service willingly rendered can make your life a lot easier.
- Baggage handlers Dh5
- Cafe Dh2
- Car-park attendants Dh3 to Dh5; Dh10 for overnight parking
- Porters Dh10 to Dh20
- Public-toilet attendants Dh1 to Dh2
- Restaurant 10%