To help you enjoy your trip to the fullest extent, we have gathered information for you.
Purchase your airline tickets early. And remember travel insurance, as per our contract. The recommended time to purchase your airline ticket is 4-6 months prior to travel.
Travel : Morocco, Peacock Pavilions is 13km outside the old city (Medina) of Marrakesh.
You will book your own flights to the nearest airport: Marrakesh Menara Airport (RAK).
2020: Book your flights to arrive in Marrakech early afternoon on April 29 or May 3, before 4pm. For Roses & Red, April 29 we will have one van picking us up. For The Red City, May 3 we will have two vans to transport us to Peacock Pavilions. If you choose to travel outside these times ask Samira for guidance on arranging your transportation. Transport outside of our arranged times would be your own financial responsibility.
Book your flights to depart Marrakech after 10am on May 9. We will have two vans to transport us from Peacock Pavilions to the airport.
Check out time for Peacock Pavilions May 9 is 11am.
We recommend that you check multiple airports local to you, as prices may vary a good bit. There is a lot of advice online on how to maximize your airline dollars. Purchasing tickets 4-6 months prior to international travel is the general guideline. Air Maroc has some non-stop flights, depending upon your local airport. Sometimes making the drive to a larger, international US airport can save you a lot of money. Only you know your own money vs time value priorities. We will sent you an email as a reminder in the fall of 2019. As of fall 2018 round trip flights start in the $590 range.
Most flights leave the east coast in the afternoon or evening, and are an overnight flight. Morocco is about 8 hours ahead, so you arrive the following day, usually early afternoon. This means you will book your departure flight on April 28 for Roses & Red, and on May 2 for The Red City.
Flight from DC to Casablanca is about 8 hours. Flight from Casablanca to Marrakech is about 45 minutes. There are other itineraries available, and you choose what works best for you.
Remember to check your airline’s checked baggage fees, and weight restrictions.
If you plan on supporting local artists and artisans, packing one suitcase or duffel inside another is something we have done to make our return packing easier.
This link is for Agadir airport, but international landings all follow the same procedures. These are super handy tips, so you know what to expect! On your plane you will receive a form to fill out. Have this ready upon landing, as they will request it at Passport Control.
Upon arrival, if you have a connection in Casablanca, there is only one vendor for water and snacks. They do not accept credit cards, but do accept Moroccan dh, Euro or US dollars.
Packing & Preparation
At least 12 weeks before we travel, it’s recommended that you check with your physician for their travel recommendations. Check that you are updated on all your regular vaccinations. Morocco has some common sense recommendations for traveling abroad. Scroll down and expand sections for food guidelines and more.
Samira's Mum recommends getting a flu shot before international flights! Samira is glad she listened to her this time. ;)
Remember to pack your usual vitamins, prescriptions and toiletries. High SPF sunscreens are not always easy to find there. Bring sunscreen!
Check your airline guidelines for carry on information. We recommend extra zip lock bags for liquids and creams when traveling by air.
Contact your phone carrier to ask about international use and plans. Purchase and pack a converter for your phone charger.
Contact your bank and credit cards to let them know when and where you'll be traveling.
Weather for May in Morocco. In the Valley of the Roses and in Marrakech, the average this time of year is in the high 60s and low 70s. This is fantastic for traveling! Remember to bring layers. In the mountains it might be cooler at night.
These are health related recommendations for traveling to Morocco from the US government.
Currency and customs
Your local bank will not be able to issue Moroccan money. Bring US cash with you and upon landing in Marrakech go to one of the kiosks to exchange your US dollars to Moroccan Dirham. They’re well marked. Using the currency exchange at the airport will get you the best rates and fewest charges. Here is more information!
Most places in Morocco are cash only! Arrive with some cash, at least $200 US to change at the Marrakech airport. It's a good idea to plan on using cash for purchases. There are ATMs around, but not always convenient. We will be able to arrange a couple stops during the week once we head to Marrakech.
If you are going on our Roses & Red trip, exchange all the cash you think you need until we return to Marrakech. Your only out of pocket expenses for this time will be 1 dinner your first evening, any drinks that are not water or tea, and any tips you may want to offer. You will want to shop, though.
Tipping – Small tips are given for service at cafes and restaurants and it is customary to leave 2 dirham for using public toilets. Samira will be tipping our drivers and guides, but if you choose to tip more, it is an option. They do a great job keeping us safe! As of fall 2018 the exchange rate is approximately 10. So, 2 dirham is about 20 cents.
Dirham - the smallest paper denomination is 20 dh. The coins come in 10dh, 5dh, 2dh and 1dh (and smaller). Hold onto those coins for bathroom tips!
Remember in the Souks, when negotiating, that it's easier to negotiate if you have smaller bills and can pay closer to your agreed upon price.
Wear comfortable clothing and bring layers. Morocco is a fairly conservative culture. Wearing skirts or pants that fall below the knee, and covering up your shoulders and cleavage area will not only protect you from the sun, but will also help our host country feel more comfortable. The average October temperature in Marrakech is 70F, with lows around 61F and highs 84F. For women, we recommend having flowing layers if the days are hot when we are in the city. If you plan on visiting a Mosque, it’s important to bring a scarf to cover your hair.
Samira has created a Pinterest board of packing tips specifically for Morocco.
Choose footwear for comfort. All of our day trips will involve exploring on foot. Old cities and mountain walks may be dusty. I recommend closed toe shoes when we go to Imlil in the Atlas Mountains. Your Fitbit is going to love this trip!
Peacock Pavilions has yoga mats and blocks for our classes. If you have specific other needs, bring them with you. Your regular exercise clothes will be perfect for classes.
Moroccans are known for their gregarious hospitality. You will be delighted by how kind and friendly they are. Unlike many European cultures, tipping is part of the culture. It’s great to keep small change on your for such purposes. Please ask Samira whenever you are not sure of a possible tipping situation. This page is full of fun facts about Morocco.
If you want to photograph individuals, please always ask permission first. Some people are very private, especially in a more conservative culture. Know that in some tourist areas they will charge you for the opportunity to take a photo with them, or with an animal (such as a monkey or a snake in J’maa el F’na Square).
When we are in the markets and “out and about,” people WILL try to sell you things. Just say “no, thank you,” “non, merci,” or “la'” (Arabic for “no”), and keep walking. Samira has made a Pinterest board that includes some guides to the Souks in Marrakech.
We will be enjoying wonderful, freshly made food, much of it from nearby farms. Peacock Pavilions as a retreat specialty facility is used to accommodating traveler dietary needs.
We recommend that you stick to bottled water when away from Peacock Pavilions on this trip. Many people recommend bringing both probiotics and Immodium. See above in links under Preparation & Packing.
Peacock Pavilions provides safe filtered water daily in rooms, pavilions and the fitness tent. The sink water is safe for brushing teeth.
Digestive travel issues sometimes occur in many parts of the world. Morocco is no exception. We had GREAT experiences in 2017, and the places we go, and food we eat is all carefully prepared for travelers. Your doctor might recommend bringing Cipro, in case you run into these issues. In Morocco they prescribe Flagyl. If you are joining us on Roses & Red full tour, we will visit a pharmacy on the first day, in case you want to obtain some. No doctor Rx necessary. In 2017 it was about $11US. It’s better to have it and not need it!
Identification & communication
Morocco does not require a VISA from US citizens, and visitors can stay up to 90 days, which is quite generous. Please note that your passport expiration date MUST be after the date of your intended return if you are a US Citizen. You will need one blank page in your passport for the entry stamp which they will add at customs. For full US Department of State information, click here.
We recommend making 2 copies of all your IDs, cards, medical and other information, such as travel itinerary. One copy you travel with, one you leave at home with someone. We also recommend you email it, so you can retrieve it online, if necessary. Although, keep in mind wifi is not available everywhere.
We mentioned it in Packing and Preparation, but it bears repeating: Check your phone carrier for international travel information as it relates to your own plan. Inform your bank and credit cards of your plans.
If you register solo, we will be assigning a roommate to you. We will share their name and contact information with you before the trip, so you may communicate, if you wish. It will be a wonderful opportunity to get to know someone while enjoying a spectacular adventure. Peacock Pavilions changes their beds to accommodate guests. Each room can be made with one queen/ king size or two twin size beds.
Some of our guests choose to arrive earlier or stay later in Morocco. Samira has some places and guides she can recommend if you choose to do this. You'll be in for an adventure! QUITE the adventure!
Peacock Pavilions transportation is to and from the airport on the first and last day of our retreat. If you are making other plans, be sure to include transportation to arrive at, or leave the retreat.
Morocco is full of adventure! Here are some ideas. Remember, stay safe!
Fitness, culture and FINDS! You will be delighted at the items available in Morocco. The artisans are wonderful and varied! We have built in some time to explore the souks, as that is an integral experience to really enjoying Marrakech.
Negotiating tips. Remember it's kind of like a sport, and do not take anything personally.
If a seller tells you a number, without a currency, he may be pulling a fast one. If he says "500" and you ask "500 what?", he may respond with "$500US." If he says "500" and you react with shock "whaaaaat?" he may respond "500dirham," which is about a tenth as much. Pay careful attention to currency mention in the beginning, and then set about negotiating. We recommend starting YOUR negotiating rate at 1/3-1/2 what their initial price quote is.
If you have a bag or wallet with several pockets, it can be helpful to keep money in separate areas. "I'm sorry, I only have XX amount" as you start to walk out the door, then becomes a legitimate negotiation tactic.
If a seller approaches you and says "I recognize you from the hotel." Simply ask him "which hotel?" They really DO try these ploys!
BUT, this is part of the entertainment in Morocco. You'll be gaining new people skills! We've created a Pinterest Board with links to help you negotiate with confidence!
We will also have opportunity to visit stores that have set prices with price tags, so if negotiating is not your thing, you're still going to enjoy some great finds, and support local artisans and traditional crafts.