beach palm trees in cuba 

What to Pack for Cuba

By globedrifters Uncategorized

What to Pack for Cuba

What should you pack for your trip to Cuba? It’s a pretty straightforward affair, but the best advice we can give you is to pack everything you need! This is because there’s an extreme lack of products in Cuba so getting anything you forgot to pack will be very difficult. This blog is your guide on what to pack for Cuba!


How’s the weather in Cuba?

The weather in Cuba’s weather is warm to hot year-round. Average nighttime temperatures are always cooler than daytime and it’s important to have an umbrella or poncho for rain at any time of the year. Tropical weather can be very unpredictable! Winter months will have the occasional cold front and temperatures can drop into the 50s °F. The winter months (November – March) do not coincide with hurricane season and there’s a small amount of rainfall which makes it an ideal time to travel to Cuba. 

weather in cuba

Monthly average highs and lows in Cuba

What are the outlets like in Cuba?

The outlets in Cuba are equipped with 110v electricity. If you have appliances from the US, you will not usually need an adapter or converter. Otherwise, you will need adapters and/or converters for your rechargeable electronics.

outlets in cuba

This is what most electrical outlets look like in Cuba

What to pack for Cuba

Wondering what to pack for your trip to Cuba? Our advice is to pack everything you’ll need. Finding phone chargers, shampoo, conditioner, bandages, aspirin, socks and pretty much everything else in between is hard to find in Cuba. If you can find it, it is very expensive. That’s why it’s best to pack everything you think you’ll need. If you have any extras, you can leave them behind as gifts for the Cuban people.

Below is a list of items that we recommend our 9 day trips travelers bring with them to make your trip more comfortable:

  • An open mind and an adventurous spirit
  • Sunglasses, Hat, Sunscreen
  • Bathing suit
  • Comfortable walking shoes (with good tread and ankle support)
  • Flip flops
  • Water shoes (useful for the Bay of Pigs’ rocky & sharp coral)
  • Small towel (for after swimming)
  • Umbrella (for shade and rain)
  • Mosquito repellent
  • Flashlight/Headlamp
  • Daypack/Backpack (across the shoulder & securely closing)
  • Diarrhea & constipation medicine, Prescription medicine (if needed)
  • First aid kit (travel size)
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Soap, shampoo, conditioner
  • Toilet paper & tissues
  • Chargers for phones, cameras, etc. (*pack extras. If you lose these, they won’t be easily replaced!)
  • Hair dryer (some casas have, but some do not)

For the winter months, it’s best to bring a sweater and/or scarf and jacket for the occasional cold front. Also, it’s a good idea to bring 1 – 2 pairs of jeans for those cooler days.

What to wear in Cuba

Anything goes in Cuba and you can wear pretty much anything. You’ll see Cuban men and women wearing all types of Western style clothing and the young people try their best to keep up with the current trends. We recommend lightweight clothing that dries quickly.

small group having fun in cuba at la guarida in havana

Anything goes in Cuba so pack comfortable clothes and lightly!

Support for the Cuban People

In Cuba, most people lack access to a lot of the things that we would consider basic necessities. Most of you, including travelers on our 9-day trip, will visit Cuba under the OFAC category “Support for the Cuban People”. Your trip is a great opportunity to bring some small things that could make a big difference and help the Cuban people.

Read more about what kinds of gifts you can bring for the Cuban people in our blog.


As long as you keep these things in mind while traveling in Cuba, you’ll have a wonderful adventure with memories that will last a lifetime! Happy travels!

Afro Cuban religion dance 

How to Get a Cuban Visa

By globedrifters Uncategorized

How to Get a Cuban Visa

Getting a Cuban visa is required for many travelers to Cuba, including Americans. Most don’t need to fill out an application form or hand in your passport to a consulate or embassy. Where you’ll get a Cuban visa and how much it’ll cost depends on where you’re traveling from. In this blog, you’ll read all about how to get the Cuban visa as an American.


What is a Cuban Visa (Tourist Card)?

A Cuban tourist card, also referred to as a visa, is a document needed by most travelers to enter Cuba. In addition to your passport, you’ll need to present this to Cuban Immigration officials when you arrive in Cuba. It is a slip of paper on which you’ll need to fill out your name, date of birth, passport number and citizenship. The slip has 2 identical sides with a perforation in the middle. Upon arrival, a Cuban immigration official will take one side and when you leave, an official will take the other side.

Cuban visa, tourist card

Example of a Cuban visa (or Cuban tourist card).

Do I Need a Cuban Visa?

Most travelers to Cuba will need a tourist card to enter and travel within the island. These are the countries that do not require visas to enter Cuba. If you do not see your country on this list, then you will need a tourist card to visit Cuba. Travelers from the US, Canada, UK and Australia all need tourist cards to travel to Cuba. Otherwise, we suggest contacting your nearest Cuban embassy or consulate to ask if you need a visa for Cuba.

Where can I Get a Cuban Visa?

Most American travelers to Cuba can get the Cuban tourist card with the airline they’re flying to Cuba with. If flying from the US, below are links with more information about obtaining tourist cards with a few US airlines that fly to Cuba:

You can usually purchase your Cuban tourist card either at check-in or at the departure gate of your flight to Cuba by credit/debit card only. If you have questions, it’s best to call your airline.

Alternatively, you can pre-purchase your Cuban tourist card online with Cuba Visa Services.

PRO TIP: Everyone on our 9-day trips will be traveling under the OFAC category “Support for the Cuban People”. This is probably the most common category for many travelers to Cuba.

How Much is a Cuban Visa?

The price of a Cuban tourist card will vary depending on where you’re flying from and the airline you’re flying with. The cost for most US travelers flying with US airlines will be anywhere from $50 – $85 USD payable in cash or by card with your airline.

How does the Cuban Visa Work?

Once you receive your Cuban tourist card, you will need to fill it out in black pen neatly and completely. Some airlines might also fill it out for you. You will need to print your last name, first name, date of birth, passport number and nationality on both sides of your Cuban tourist card. Keep it in a safe place during your travels. When you arrive in Cuba, an immigration official will take one side. Be sure to the other side safe during your visit in Cuba because you usually need to present it to immigration upon departure from Cuba.

PRO TIP: Make sure you fill out each side legibly and correctly. If you make a mistake, you will need to purchase a new tourist card.

Cuban visa in hand and you’re ready to visit Cuba!


There you have it… The ins and outs of the Cuban visa (or Cuban tourist card). Check out our other blogs about Cuba for more information on accommodation, tipping, currency, donations, food, etc. Happy travels!

Malecon at sunset in Havana Cuba 

Accommodation in Cuba

By globedrifters Uncategorized

Accommodation in Cuba

When it comes to accommodation in Cuba, there are a couple of options: hotels and casa particulares. Hotels are government-owned and -run while casa particulares are owned and operated by private Cuban citizens. This is your guide on how accommodation in Cuba works and information about each type.


Casa Particulares in Cuba

A casa particular is a type of accommodation in Cuba that is similar to a guesthouse or bed and breakfast. You can find casa particulares in most large to mid-sized cities and in some smaller, more well-traveled towns in Cuba. You can identify a casa particular by the mandatory sticker with a blue anchor on the door. This indicates that it is a legal place of accommodation for tourists.

They are generally very safe and most casas have a small safe inside each room where you can securely store your valuables. 

Casa particulares are owned and operated by private Cuban citizens who often live on the property. A casa may consist of up to 5 – 7 rooms or as little as 2 – 3 rooms. On our 9 day trip, we only stay at casa particulares. 

The families who own and work at the casas will try their best to make you feel at home. Most Cubans are very friendly and love to talk to guests. In some houses, the family members speak English well while in others, they are practiced at communicating with their non-Spanish speaking guests simply by gesturing and smiling. Most see overcoming these communication challenges as part of the fun!

Our travelers have said that the casa particular accommodation in Cuba was a highlight of their trip. The casas provide you a great opportunity to interact with everyday Cubans. They also offer a different experience than staying in hotels.

It’s important to keep in mind that in Cuba, replacement parts for basic things such as TVs, air-conditioning units, beds, etc. are hard to come by. If a part is needed, Cubans have to improvise with whatever they have and cannot simply order it online. Please understand that things might break and there is almost never an ‘easy’ way to fix it in Cuba.

Accommodation in Cuba, Casa particular exterior

A casa particular is the home of a private Cuban citizen set up similarly to a B&B.

What are Casa Particulares in Cuba like?

In most casa particulares in Cuba, each room is air-conditioned and has 1 – 2 beds as well as its own en suite bathroom with a toilet, sink and shower. The rooms are comfortable and clean, but basic and will vary from casa to casa. Some provide shampoo, soap and a hair dryer while others do not. So you may consider bringing these things with you from home for your travels in Cuba. Check out our blog on what to pack for Cuba to find out more about what to bring for your trip.

Accommodation in Cuba, Casa particular room

Rooms in a casa particular are simple and will vary, but are comfortable with the basic amenities.

How Much does a Casa Particular in Cuba Cost?

Casa particulares in Cuba are generally much more affordable than the government-owned hotels. The cost per night of rooms can vary. There are some with very basic rooms for about $25 – $30 USD per night while others are private and much more high-end. These can cost $100 – $200 or more per night. The casas we select on our 9 day trips are on the nicer end, but are not the most luxurious ones out there.

Most casas will offer breakfast for an extra fee of anywhere from $5 – $10 USD per person. This is included every morning on our trips. The breakfast usually includes eggs and bread, seasonal fruit, fresh fruit juice (i.e. guava, papaya, mango, etc.), coffee and tea. Please keep in mind that there are shortages on the island so the quantity and what’s available will vary. Please also be mindful of the amount of food you waste.

PRO TIP: Bring a couple of sealable plastic baggies with you to take some breakfast “to go” or as a snack for the road during your travels in Cuba!

Breakfast at casa particular in Cuba

Fresh seasonal fruits… It’s what’s for breakfast at a casa particular in Cuba!

Can Americans stay in Casa Particulares in Cuba?

Yes! Travelers from the U.S. visiting Cuba can stay in a casa particular. This is because they are owned by private citizens and not by the Cuban government/military which is prohibited by the U.S.’ OFAC.

PRO TIP: If traveling independently to Cuba, you can easily find a casa particular on Airbnb.com. Note that we do not vouch for the quality or safety of any casas you may find on the internet.


Hotels in Cuba

Nearly all hotels in Cuba are operated in conjunction with the Cuban military or one of its affiliated entities. This means that travelers from the U.S. to Cuba cannot legally stay at most hotels in Cuba. We do not stay at hotel accommodations on our trips, but rather in casa particulares. This is the list of prohibited entities according to the U.S. Department of State.

We suggest all travelers stay at a casa particular in Cuba to support the Cuban people and local economy. It’s also a way to have more authentic interaction with local Cuban people.

Fusterlandia in Cuba

Cuba: Fall in love with Its architecture, culture, history and people.


Accommodation in Cuba is pretty straightforward and your best bet for a more affordable and authentic visit is to stay at a casa particular which we highly recommend. Happy travels!

 

Tipping in Cuba

By globedrifters Uncategorized

Tipping in Cuba

Cuba has a very modest, but very present tipping culture. In restaurants, taxis and for personal services, all tips are at your discretion. Many locals, especially those working in the service industries, are poorly compensated for their work so tipping helps them earn decent wages. Knowing who and how much to tip in Cuba is not always an easy task. Refer to this blog for your ultimate guide to tipping in Cuba.


Who should I Tip in Cuba?

Cubans tend to tip anyone who offers them any kind of service. Cuban people will leave tips for waitresses at restaurants, grocery store cashiers, mechanics, bartenders, taxi drivers, barbers, maids, etc. During your travels in Cuba, we suggest tipping anyone who gave you service that went above and beyond their duties. Also, anyone who helped enhance your experience is a very good candidate for a tip. If you did not receive exemplary service, you are not required to tip.

tipping in cuba, tip anyone who gave great service

You can tip anyone who gives you great service in Cuba.


What Currency should I Use for Tips in Cuba?

A tip in any currency will be appreciated, but we recommend tipping in EUR, USD or CUP (the local Cuban currency) while in Cuba. For more information on what currency to use in Cuba, check out our blog about Exchanging Money in Cuba

Leaving a tip of 10% of the total bill in restaurants and bars is a good rule of thumb.

When tipping in USD/EUR, you might want to leave a 1 – 2 USD/EUR tip. When eating out, you might consider tipping as a group and taking turns. For example, one person will tip for the group with a 5 or 10 euro bill at a meal. And at the next meal, someone else can leave the tip and so on. 

When tipping in USD, we recommend bringing about $25 – $50 worth in 1 USD bills to leave as tips.

When tipping in CUP, the 10% rule also applies, but it’s a bit trickier and involves a little more math. The exchange rate for CUP vs USD/EUR is higher at private businesses than in the government exchange offices. Many restaurants will value 1 USD/EUR at anywhere from 30 – 40 CUP. 

You can read in our blog about the currencies in Cuba to better understand how this works. 

You’ll most likely be paying in USD or EUR most of the time, but will receive change in CUP. Before calculating your tip in CUP, you should ask the restaurant what their exchange rate is for CUP vs USD/EUR. 

From there, the example below explains tipping in CUP the best:

  • The restaurant values 1 dollar at 50 CUP.
  • Your meal at a local restaurant costs 15 dollars.
  • You pay with a 20 dollar bill. Your change is 250 CUP (5 dollars).
  • You want to leave a tip of 2 dollars in CUP.
  • 2 dollars x 50 CUP = 100 CUP is the tip in local currency.
tipping in cuba, you can tip in cup!

It’s up to you in what currency you tip in Cuba.. EUR, USD or CUP!


How Much should I Tip in Cuba?

How much to tip in Cuba is always up to you, but as mentioned previously, 10% of the total bill is acceptable in a restaurant. You’re always free to leave more if you feel like the service you have received went above-and-beyond the call of duty. Below is a recommended list of who and how much to tip in Cuba:

  • Taxi drivers: 1 – 2 USD/EUR (only if very good
  • Luggage porter: 1 – 2 USD/EUR per suitcase (keep in mind weight & size)
  • Waiter/Bartender: 10% of total bill
  • Cleaning ladies: 1 – 2 USD/EUR per day
  • Local guide: 5 – 10 USD/EUR per day (or in one lump sum at the end of the trip)
  • Bus driver: 3 – 4 USD/EUR per day (or in one lump sum at the end of the trip)
tipping in cuba, just tip what you feel right!

Don’t worry about who or how much to tip. Just do what you feel is right and come ready to enjoy the beauty of Cuba!


Tipping in Cuba is really all up to you; there are no set rules. Just tip what you feel is right and deserved. Remember that those who give you service will be greatly appreciative of any tip you may give. Another way to help the Cuban people is to bring gifts with you to Cuba due to the lack of access to goods there. Check out our blog about bringing gifts for the Cuban People to learn more about this. Happy travels!

Gifts for the cuban people, Cuban people street scene 

Gifts for the Cuban People

By globedrifters Uncategorized

Gifts for the Cuban People 

Want to know what gifts for the Cuban people you can bring on your trip to help them? In Cuba, most people lack access to a lot of the things that we would consider basic necessities. Most of you, including travelers on our 9-day trip, will visit Cuba under the OFAC category “Support for the Cuban People”. Your trip is a great opportunity to bring some small things that could make a big difference and help the Cuban people. Below is a list of some ideas of gifts for the Cuban people you can bring.


Why Bring Gifts for the Cuban People?

There is an embargo placed on Cuba by the U.S. and Cuba’s government tightly controls the distribution of goods to the people. A combination of these two things (as well as many other political, economic and social factors) makes getting items that most consider basic necessities very difficult in Cuba. For example, many of us wouldn’t think twice about running to the local pharmacy to pick up some Ibuprofen or Aspirin if we had a headache. This simple task isn’t so easy in Cuba because shortages of over-the-counter medicines are common, especially these days.

Due to shortages of everything from cooking oil to antihistamines and everything in between, we always recommend that travelers to Cuba who want to help bring gifts for the Cuban people to donate to those in need. You don’t have to pack your suitcase full of donations, but if you have some spare space in your luggage, basic items to help the people of Cuba are a great way to do some good while traveling. 

Cuba embargo billboard, Gifts for the Cuban People

The embargo is just one factor that makes getting basic goods very difficult in Cuba.


What Gifts to Bring for the Cuban People?

Any gift for the Cuban people you bring will be greatly appreciated as there are shortages of pretty much everything you could imagine. However, there are three main things that are extremely hard to come by in Cuba: medicine, clothing and toiletries.

Medicine

Most over-the-counter medicines, ointments, vitamins, supplements, etc. are next to impossible to find in Cuba. These are probably the most necessary things that are hardest to come by for the Cuban people. Below is a list of ideas of medicines and medical supplies you could bring:

  • Ibuprofen/Aspirin/Paracetamol
  • Antihistamines
  • Antacids
  • Antibacterial ointment/cream
  • Vicks Vaporub 
  • Bandages
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Sterile gauze pads
  • Anti-itch creams for children

Toiletries

Anything related to personal hygiene is hard to obtain in Cuba. When you can find it, the supply is very low or it’s very expensive for the average Cuban person. Here is a list of things that don’t take up much space in your suitcase and would make great gifts for the Cuban people:

  • Bars of soap
  • Toothbrushes
  • Toothpaste
  • Sponges/Loofahs
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Baby powder
  • Disposable razors

PRO TIP: If you bring shampoo, conditioner and shower gel for your trip, you can just leave them behind for the cleaning lady at your casa and even if they’re just half full, they’ll make great gifts for the Cuban people. And as a bonus, your suitcase will be much lighter on the way back home!

Clothes

Clothing of any kind can also be difficult to find for many Cuban people. When you can find it, it’s expensive, very low-quality and often in poor condition. For this reason, we always suggest bringing clothes as gifts for the Cuban people. They don’t have to be brand new or high fashion; even lightly used, but in good condition is alright. 

PRO TIP: We recommend children’s clothing because these are often the most expensive and difficult to find in Cuba.

Miscellaneous

Pretty much everything under the sun in Cuba is hard to find so any little extras that you would like to bring will be great gifts for the Cuban people. If you bring bottles of any liquids or creams, even half-full bottles are OK! The items below are not essential, but are still hard to get. Here is a list of miscellaneous items that you can bring to help out the Cuban people:

  • Perfumes/Colognes 
  • Lotions/Beauty creams
  • Makeup
  • Deflated soccer/basket-/kickballs
  • Small, handheld ball pump
  • Children’s backpacks
  • Hair accessories (i.e. brushes, combs, hair ties, bobby pins, etc.)
  • USB cables (for phone chargers)
  • AA or AAA batteries
  • Pens/markers
  • Small candies or lollipops
Cuban musicians, Gifts for the Cuban People

Any gifts, big or small, will be greatly appreciated by the Cuban people.


Who do I Give my Gifts for the Cuban People to?

Most travelers on our small group trips have told us that they weren’t sure who to give their gifts for the Cuban people to. It can be hard and awkward to decide who to offer them to. We understand that giving them to a random person on the street can be uncomfortable. We recommend giving your gifts to the cleaning ladies at your casa particular. They are often part-time hires by the casa owners and make less than the average Cuban so they are great recipients for these gifts. You can give them the gifts in person or leave them in your room with a little note at the end of your stay. 

PRO TIP: The casa particular owners are often in better economic situations than many other Cubans as they have family in the U.S. or overseas that often help them with goods and money. They’ll be appreciative of any gifts you may have for them, but we recommend giving your gifts to the cleaning ladies as they typically earn less and have access to less.

Plaza de la Revolucion Havana, Gifts for the Cuban People

Traveling to Cuba is an experience of a lifetime so why not do some good while you’re there?


Pretty much any Cuban person you encounter on the island will be happy to receive a gift in any form as long as it is offered with a warm smile. Gifts for the Cuban people are not mandatory, but can make a big difference. Whatever you decide to bring and whoever you decide to give it to will be very much appreciated. Happy travels!

 

How to get from the Tangier Airport to the City Center

By globedrifters Uncategorized

How to get from the Tangier Airport to the City Center

Getting from the Tangier airport to the city center is easy enough and you’ve got a few options. The most common mode of transportation is by taxi, but if you signed up for a Morocco tour with us, we’ve got you covered! See some of your options explained in more detail below.


Airport pick-up

Airport pick-up from Ibn Battouta International Airport in Tangier (TNG) is included in the trip cost if you signed up for a Globe Drifters Morocco tour. Your driver will be waiting for you in the Arrivals area just after the baggage claim area exit. All you need to do is look for the driver holding a sign with your name on it. Tangier is a small airport and you won’t have any troubles finding the driver. You’ll then be transferred to the tour accommodation and the adventure begins!

Tangier airport luggage claim

Collect your luggage in the baggage claim area first.

Tangier airport arrivals hall

Your driver will be waiting for you just through the glass doors after you’ve collected your luggage.

Tangier airport pick-up

Your driver will be waiting for you in this area with a sign with your name on it.

You must contact us if there are any delays or lost luggage so we can rearrange your airport pick-up. If you do not contact us, your airport pick-up will be forfeited. 

PRO TIP: Free wifi is available at the Tangier airport. You’ll need to enter your email address to connect. That way, if there are any delays or issues, you can connect with Globe Drifters and your tour leader.


Taxi

Morocco taxi tangierThe most common way to get from the Tangier airport to the city center or your hotel is by taxi. The cost of a taxi from the Tangier airport to the city center is about 250 – 300 dirhams (approximately $20 – $30 USD). It will take about 20 – 30 minutes depending on traffic. 

When you exit the airport, you’ll see a line of cream colored taxis lined up. These are called grand taxis and are a legal mode of transportation in Tangier. Show the driver your hotel address, but be aware that some locations in the medina are not accessible by car so you may be dropped off as far as the driver can go by car. If this happens, you’ll have to go the rest of the way on foot. 

PRO TIP: Before hopping in a cab, be sure to agree upon the fare with the driver!


Hotel shuttle

Some hotels in Tangier may offer a free or paid airport transfer. If you didn’t book a Globe Drifters Morocco tour or don’t feel comfortable taking a taxi from the Tangier airport to the city center; this may be the option for you depending on whether or not your accommodation offers the service. Contact your hotel/riad/Airbnb to see if this option is available to you.


Private transfer

Another option is to pre-book a private transfer from the Tangier airport to your accommodation in the city online. Personally, we do not recommend this option, but there are plenty of private transfer companies out there to choose from with just a quick Google search. Please be careful when selecting a private transfer company. We do not vouch for the reputability of any of the companies out there.

Ait Ben Haddou Morocco

Morocco is waiting for you!

PRO TIP: If you exchange money at the airport, be sure to ask the cashier for small bills that are easier for small, local vendors to break. Be sure to check out our Money in Morocco blog for more information on currency.


Getting from the Tangier airport to the city center is pretty easy and most travelers don’t have any issues. Happy travels!

 

Money in Morocco: Currency, Exchange & Card Usage

By globedrifters Uncategorized

Money in Morocco is a pretty straightforward, simple affair. It’s easy to obtain and as long as you stick to legal money changers or ATMs, you won’t have any problems getting Moroccan currency during your travels.


What is the currency in Morocco?

Morocco’s official currency is the Moroccan dirham (MAD). It is important to note that the dirham is a closed currency so you can’t buy, sell or trade it outside of Morocco. This means, you won’t be able to legally exchange currency for dirhams before your trip and will need to do so once in Morocco.

You can see the live mid-market rate for your preferred currency vs the Moroccan dirham online with a currency converter such as Wise’s.

For the sake of convenience when making purchases during your travels, it’s sometimes easiest to think of $1 USD as approximately 10 MAD.

PRO TIP: Australian and Canadian dollars aren’t accepted for exchange in Morocco so we suggest sticking with US dollars, euros or Great British pounds.

Moroccan currency dirhams MAD

Moroccan dirhams (MAD)


How can I exchange money in Morocco?

Exchanging money in Morocco can be done in two main ways: 1.) Currency exchange offices also known as bureaux de change and 2.) ATMs. Each one is explained in detail below.

Exchanging Money in Morocco: Exchange Offices

You can easily exchange money in Morocco upon arrival. The best and most recommended place to do this is at a bureau de change. These exchange offices are located in most tourist areas of Morocco and there is also one at the Tangier airport if you prefer to have cash upon arrival. Airport currency exchange offices often offer less than favorable rates so if you want to exchange at the airport, it’s best to get just a small amount and then seek a better deal elsewhere.

If you choose to exchange money in this way, it’s best to bring clean, crisp notes with limited to no creases, wrinkles, markings or tears.

PRO TIP: If exchanging cash at any Moroccan money exchange office, be sure to ask for smaller bills as making change for small, local vendors can be difficult. This is also handy when you need to leave a tip. Check out our Tipping in Morocco blog to learn more about this!

Morocco currency exchange office

An example of a currency exchange office in Morocco


Exchanging Money in Morocco: ATMs 

We recommend withdrawing money from ATMs as the best way of getting dirhams in Morocco. It is easy, fast and convenient. Like the above option, you can also withdraw from the Tangier airport ATM, but we suggest withdrawing just a small amount as airport ATMs tend to have less favorable exchange rates and higher transaction fees.

ATMs are easily found in larger cities and airports, but are less common in rural and remote areas. When traveling outside of the city, be prepared by having enough cash as ATMs aren’t always as readily available.

If you’ve signed up for a Globe Drifters Morocco trip, your Moroccan guide will advise you of safe, reputable places to exchange money and/or withdraw from an ATM and will plan stops before traveling into areas without ATMs.

PRO TIP: Try withdrawing odd numbered amounts from an ATM to get smaller bills (i.e. 480 dirhams instead of 500). This will be practical for tipping since smaller bills are easier for small, local vendors to break. Read more about Tipping in Morocco in our blog.


Can I use my debit/credit card in Morocco?

Credit and debit cards aren’t widely used outside of the cities and tourist areas in Morocco. However, in more upscale establishments, you may be able to pay with your card (Visa or MasterCard). Other than these high-end places, Morocco is a largely cash-based society and it’s advisable to carry cash with you most of the time for purchases.

If you do decide to use your debit or credit card in Morocco, make sure your bank knows that you’re planning a trip. If not, they may block your cards.

Many of the rosewater, argan oil, Berber rug, pottery and leather cooperatives will accept debit/credit cards. Many can also provide shipment to your home address for a reasonable fee.

Morocco Berber rug cooperative

Most Berber rug cooperatives will accept card payment


How much money will I need for my Morocco trip?

We recommend bringing around $400 – $700 USD for your trip to Morocco. This is based on past Globe Drifters’ Morocco travelers’ feedback.

We strongly advise having access to more money than you expect to spend in case of an emergency!

Moroccan ceramic plates

Morocco has lots of great souvenirs so plan your budget accordingly!


Again, money in Morocco is not a very complicated matter and knowing what to expect beforehand will help your trip there be a bit smoother. Remember that on our Globe Drifters Morocco tour, your guide will be there to help point you in the right direction. Happy travels!

 

Food & Drink in Morocco

By globedrifters Uncategorized

Moroccan food and drink are rich in flavor and culture and during our 12-day Morocco tour, you’ll get plenty of chances to taste the traditional flavors of some of Morocco’s most well-known dishes such as tagine and couscous.


What’s the food like in Morocco?

Fresh produce at a market in MoroccoFood in Morocco is pretty typical of the region. Various tagines, couscous, seasonal salads and breads are standard fare. The most common meats are chicken, goat, lamb and chicken. Common ingredients in Moroccan cuisine include lemon, olives, argan & olive oil and dried fruits. Moroccan food is rich in herbs and spices such as mint, parsley, coriander, oregano, cumin, turmeric, ginger, paprika, saffron, fennel and the list goes on!

Moroccan food in a restaurant in Morocco

The most popular Moroccan dish is probably the savory tagine. This is a slow-cooked stew made with either meat, poultry or fish alongside seasonal vegetables and seasoned with spices such as ginger, turmeric, cumin, cinnamon and saffron.

Bread is a staple in Morocco and will be served with nearly every meal. It is a very simple, dense bread and it’s hard to find a Moroccan table without it!

Desserts are common in Morocco and absolutely delicious! You’ll find a variety of Moroccan cookies made with powdered sugar, almonds, coconut, dried fruits, etc. They’re perfect with a glass of Moroccan mint tea to wash them down. Our favorite dessert is probably one of the most simple:orange slices with cinnamon. It’s refreshing and the perfect way to end a meal.

Meal at a restaurant in Morocco

A delicious tagine with the obligatory Moroccan bread


Vegetarian and vegan food in Morocco

Finding vegetarian or vegan food in Morocco isn’t too big of a challenge, but most will agree that the variety is not as great as you may be used to back home. 

Vegetarians and vegans alike will enjoy Moroccan salads composed of zucchini, eggplant, carrots, tomatoes, potatoes, onions, peppers, beans, etc. depending on the season. Salads are frequently dressed with Argan oil or orange blossom oil. Vegetarian and vegan tagines and couscous are also frequently offered in restaurants. 

All in all, finding vegetarian and vegan dishes isn’t too terribly difficult in Morocco, but you may find the food to be a bit repetitive after a while. For this reason, we do recommend bringing your own snacks along with you on your trip.

Vegan and vegetarian food in Morocco

Moroccan salad!


Can you drink alcohol in Morocco?

Alcohol in Morocco will generally not be that easy to find during your travels. Some restaurants and hotels will offer it, but mostly in bigger cities. The consumption of alcohol is legal in Morocco, but it’s not common to see due to the religious values prevalent across the majority of the country. You will only be able to purchase alcohol at the few restaurants, hotels and supermarkets that are licensed to sell it. 

On our 12-day Morocco tour, our guide will schedule stops along the way at stores that sell alcoholic beverages legally so if you would like to purchase wine, beer or spirits, you can do so during these stops. 

PRO TIP: Our hotel in Tangier does not serve alcohol so we suggest picking up a bottle of alcohol at a duty free shop on your way to Morocco if you like to enjoy a drink on arrival. Read more about what to bring with you to Morocco in our blog: What to Pack for Morocco.

Moroccan tea

Skip the beer. Go for a cool, refreshing mint tea!


No matter what your preferences and dietary restrictions are, there is something for everyone to enjoy  in Morocco. What’s your favorite thing to eat in Morocco? Happy travels!

 

What to Pack for Morocco in May

By globedrifters Uncategorized

Packing for a Morocco trip can be daunting because Morocco is a large country and the weather can vary depending on where and when you go. Typically, the northern parts of the country stay a bit cooler than the southern parts due to their topography and altitude. All in all, the weather in Morocco in the month of May is pretty much warm to hot with a couple of exceptions. 


How’s the weather in Morocco in May?

The weather in Morocco in May is generally warm to hot. You can expect temperatures from 73 – 87°F (22 – 30°C) during the day throughout most of the country. Note that it can get significantly cooler at night, especially in the Sahara Desert with temperatures there dropping as low as 55 – 60°F (12 – 15°C). 

Morocco weather in May

Weather in Morocco in May is ideal for travel. Not too hot with cooler evenings!


What are the outlets like in Morocco?

outlets in Morocco

The electrical outlets in Morocco are the European plug-type (see picture) with 220 – 240 volts (V) and 50 Hz frequency.

PRO TIP: Pack extras of all the necessary adapters and converters for your devices as these items are commonly left behind in hotel rooms.


What to pack for Morocco in May

Below is a list of items that we recommend our Globe Drifters Morocco trip travelers bring with them to make your trip more comfortable:

  • Sunglasses, Hat, Sunscreen, Lip balm (it’s dry in the desert!)
  • Sealable plastic bags for your electronic devices in the desert (in case of a sandstorm; rare, but possible!)
  • Light clothing that covers the knees and shoulders (Morocco is a Muslim country so please respect local customs)
  • Bathing suit
  • Comfortable walking shoes (with good ankle support and traction!)
  • Jacket/Coat (for cooler nights)
  • Warm pajamas & socks (for the night in the Sahara Desert)
  • Flashlight/Headlamp (for the Sahara Desert)
  • Umbrella (for shade & rare rainfall)
  • Daypack/Backpack (we recommend across the shoulder)
  • Diarrhea/Constipation medicine, Motion sickness medicine, Prescription medication (if needed)
  • First aid kit (travel size), Hand sanitizer
  • Washcloth (some hotels don’t have)
  • Adapters/Converters for electronics (2 or more of each just in case!)
  • Hair dryer (if needed; two hotels do not have*)

*All hotels except for the one in Midelt and the Sahara Desert camp will have a hair dryer and a small toiletry kit. Please bring your own if you think you’ll need them for the 2 nights in these places.

PRO TIP: Pack light! You’ll be on the move a great deal on our Morocco tour and while most hotels we stay at offer laundry services for a fee, we won’t stay at most of them for more than 1 night so packing light is important. No one will judge you for wearing the same clothes throughout your trip!

wrong shoes to bring to Morocco

These shoes are not ideal for walking around in Morocco. Ankle support and good traction are a must!


What to wear in Morocco

What to wear in MoroccoWe recommend dressing conservatively in Morocco in order to respect the local culture and to avoid unwanted attention. You’ll see many Moroccan women and men wearing Western clothing as well as traditional outfits while out doing their daily business. 

For men, jeans and t-shirts are generally fine. Long shorts and t-shirts are also fine in hotter regions, but shorts are sometimes viewed by the locals as similar to underwear depending on the area. Men in Morocco will most often wear long pants and a shirt, but you might encounter some wearing long, light gowns and a little cap on their head. Of course, no one expects you to wear clothes identical to the locals’.

For women, you’ll want to cover your shoulders and at least your knees most of the time. In general, you should expect to show a bit less skin than what you may be used to at home. Please try not to show cleavage and leave the strappy tops and shorts at home. Long dresses and skirts are perfect for the Moroccan heat. So are loose-fitting, long-sleeved tunics, shirts and pants. It’s all about the material you choose. Baggier and airy clothes will protect you from the aggressive Moroccan sun and from unwanted glances by the locals. 

In more rural areas, full length is even better and so is covering your head with a light scarf. You won’t always need to cover your head, but it’s best to bring a scarf for visits to holy sites. You can also purchase one while in Morocco at one of the many shops. 

Some Moroccan women wear long gowns with hoods and scarves while others show their hair. You might even come across a local female dressed in a European style. No matter what, it’s important to be conscious of the amount of skin you’re showing and to avoid showing too much.

what to wear in Morocco

The three L’s are key for what to wear in Morocco: Long, Light and Loose!


As long as you keep these things in mind while traveling in Morocco, you’ll have a wonderful adventure with memories that will last a lifetime! Happy travels!

 

Tipping in Morocco: How Much & Who to Tip

By globedrifters Uncategorized

Learn the ins and outs, dos and don’ts of tipping in Morocco. The tipping culture in Morocco is not as rigid as some countries you may have traveled to, but it is the norm. Read all about it in this blog!

Camel riding in Morocco Sahara Desert

Camel trekking in the Moroccan Sahara Desert


Should you tip in Morocco?

Tipping is customary in Morocco, but it is not mandatory. The best rule of thumb when it comes to tipping is to roundup the bill and leave spare change. If you received poor or inadequate service, you are not obligated to tip. Tips are generally not included in the bill in Morocco, though some more upscale restaurants have begun adding a 10 – 15% service charge to the bill. In this blog, we’ll explain how much and who to tip during your travels in Morocco. 

PRO TIP: For the sake of convenience, it’s sometimes easier to think of 10 dirhams as approximately 1 USD.


Who do I tip in Morocco?

Server at restaurant in MoroccoIt is standard practice to tip tour guides, tour bus drivers, restaurant & cafe servers, taxi drivers and hotel luggage porters in Morocco. If someone offers you exemplary service by going above and beyond, we recommend offering a tip as a gesture of appreciation.

Expect to be asked for a tip if you wish to take a picture of a market vendor, artisan products, a snake charmer, etc. They’ll generally ask for anything from 10 – 50 dirhams (≈ 1 – 5 USD). Remember that it is always good practice to ask permission before taking a photo!

Tipping your tour guide and tour bus driver at the end of your trip is also strongly recommended, especially if you are satisfied with the service they provided and they helped you have a great trip.

NOTE: We always suggest tipping your hotel maids as the majority are females. Morocco is a very male-dominated society with many women lacking access to education and decent job opportunities. Hotel maids are very hard working and deserving of a tip just as much as your luggage porter or restaurant waiter.


How much should I tip in Morocco?

Below is a list of who and how much to tip while traveling through Morocco:Waiters in a restaurant in Morocco

  • Restaurant/Cafe servers: Round up the bill & leave spare change. (i.e. If the bill is 137 dirhams, round up to 150)
  • Taxi drivers: Round up the fare & leave spare change. (i.e. If the fare is 25 dirhams, round up to 30)
  • Luggage porters: 10 dirhams per piece of luggage. More if your luggage is extremely heavy.
  • Housekeeping: 10 dirhams per day on the nightstand/desk at the end of your stay.
  • Photo of vendor, products, etc.: 10 – 50 dirhams depending if and how much they ask for.

PRO TIP: Try to pay with larger bills whenever possible in order to make small change for tipping at more upscale restaurants or when purchasing something that’s a bit more expensive. Making change for market vendors or small cafes and eateries can sometimes be very difficult!

Tangier hotel room

Hotel maids make sure your unique Moroccan accommodations are beautiful and comfortable!


Should I tip my tour guide in Morocco?

We always recommend tipping your Moroccan tour guide and tour bus driver, especially if you feel they did an exceptional job and enhanced your experience.

Below are suggested amounts for tipping your tour guide and bus driver at the end of the trip based on our past travelers’ feedback from our 12-day Morocco trip

  • Tour guide: 500 – 1500 dirhams (≈ $40 – $150 USD)
  • Driver: 200 – 400 dirhams (≈ $15 – $35 USD)

PRO TIP: When withdrawing from an ATM in Morocco, try to take out an odd numbered amount (i.e. 490 instead of 500 dirhams) and you’ll get smaller bills that are easier for small, local vendors to break! For more information on exchanging currency in Morocco, check out our How to Exchange Money in Morocco blog.

Oranges in Chefchaouen, Morocco (The Blue City)

Chefchaouen, also known as The Blue City


Tipping in Morocco is pretty modest and straightforward. Just remember, tipping is not compulsory and tips should only be given when excellent service is received. Happy travels!