CUSTOMS (VEHICLES)

If you come to Morocco with your car, besides passport control, you will have to undertake an additional formality (that could take you up to one hour). When you get to the port of Tangiers or to the border of Ceuta, you´ll have to go to the DOUANE office (windows) and collect a three page form for your car, fill it in and hand it in, together with all the other vehicle´s papers. ALL of them, inclusive the insurance green card. There is another item of special interest. If the owner of the vehicle doesn´t travel with you it is of extreme importance that you bring with you a cession document duly validated by the Moroccan consulate or diplomatic representation. You should consult the nearest Moroccan consulate, where they will tell you of the procedures to follow. To help you with these procedures, the Moroccan customs administration have a web page from which you can get this form, which is in French, namedD 16 terwhich you could fill in at home and then hand it in at the DOUANE windows (office).

When you leave Morocco you have to hand in this form (two pages) and they will give you back a stamped one. If you are thinking of returning to Morocco with a vehicle it is advisable to keep this document safe.

The entry with a vehicle in Moroccan territory is registered in a personal police file. It is therefore advisable to leave with the same vehicle, unless you can justify with good reason why it remains in Morocco.

Occasionally this procedure, especially during the summer, can be carried out on the ferries at Tangiers, but there are not written rules to comply with.

As it happens in most customs there are some restrictions and limitations, in Morocco and in Spain, regarding the introduction of alcohol, tobacco or perfume, among other products. Inquire about all of this in advance so as to avoid greater inconveniences later on.

It is advisable to cross the border at Ceuta rather than at Tangiers as the procedures are carried out with greater speed especially since it came into service the new motorway to Asilah. Nonetheless you should avoid the rush hours of the working days: from Morocco to Ceuta first hours in the morning (8h to 11h); from Ceuta to Morocco last hours in the evening (17h to 20h).

If this is the first time that the owner of the vehicle comes into Morocco or if he has changed his passport when he reaches Tangiers they will have to write down in their data bases his new C:I.N. (your identification number in Morocco). Therefore do not be surprised when they send you to the Maritime Station on the upper floors.

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Cabo Espartel

Travel time
30 minutos.
Main distances
Length of visit
de 3 a 4 hours
How to get
Notes of interest
Very popular tourist area. Beaches. Climate Atlantic. Recommended round. Combine with visit to Tangier or beach day. No guidance is needed.

 

Chefchaouen

Tiempo de desplazamiento
2h. 15 min. a 2h. 30min.
Distancias principales
Duración de la visita
3 h. + COMIDA
Como llegar
Planos turísticos
Notas de interes
Zona turística muy frecuentada. Clima de montaña. Muy caluroso en verano. Evitar conducir por la noche. La duración del desplazamiento depende del tráfico pesado. Medina pequeña y fácil de recorrer. No se necesita guía.

 

Fez

Tiempo de desplazamiento
3h. (Autopista)
Distancias principales
Duración de la visita
2 días.
Como llegar
Fotos
Notas de interes
Zona turística muy frecuentada. Clima de montaña. Muy caluroso en verano. Utilizar autopista. Evitar conducir por la noche. La duración del desplazamiento depende del tráfico pesado. Medina compleja, difícil de recorrer. Se recomienda guía.

 

Larache

Tiempo de desplazamiento
Duración de la visita
3 horas
Como llegar
Mapas
Notas de interes
Zona turística poco frecuentada. Clima atlántico. Realizable todo el año. Combinar con visita a LIXUS y/o Moulay Bousselham. No precisa guia.

 

Lixus

Tiempo de desplazamiento
Duración de la visita
4 horas
Como llegar
Notas de interes
Zona turística poco frecuentada. Clima atlántico. Realizable todo el año. Combinar con visita Larache y/o Moulay Bousselhamo. NO REALIZAR SIN GUÍA.

 

Marrakech

Tiempo de desplazamiento
4,30h. por autopista. (desde Asilah)
Distancias principales
Duración de la visita
2 días (mínimo)
Tiempo total
3 días
Como llegar
Notas de interes
Zona turística muy frecuentada. Clima de interior. Muy caluroso en verano. Evitar conducir por la noche por carreteras. Medina fácil de recorrer. No se necesita guía.

 

Meknes

Tiempo de desplazamiento
2h. 30 min. por autopista.
Distancias principales
Duración de la visita
Más de 6 h.
Tiempo total
Toda la jornada
Como llegar
Notas de interes
Zona turística poco frecuentada. Clima de interior. Muy caluroso en verano. Evitar conducir por la noche por carreteras. Medina fácil de recorrer. No se necesita guía.

 

Moulay Bousselham

Tiempo de desplazamiento
45 min. (Por autopista A1)
Distancias principales
Duración de la visita
más de 3 horas
Tiempo total
Más de 6 horas.
Como llegar
Mapas
Notas de interes
Concertar "barquero" desde el hotel y acordar mejor hora para recorrer la laguna. Muy recomendable en los meses de migración de aves. Complementar con visita a Larache y Lixus.

 

M´Soura

Tiempo de desplazamiento
Duración de la visita
30 minutos
Como llegar
Notas de interes
Realizar la visita aprovechando el mercado de Sidi el Yamani (lunes). Preguntar por el estado de los caminos después de las lluvias. No aconsejable en los días de máximo calor (viento de levante).

 

Rabat

Tiempo de desplazamiento
1h. 30 min. (Autopista A-1)
Distancias principales
Duración de la visita
Mínimo 6 h.
Notas de interes
Zona turística poco frecuentada pero muy interesante. Buen clima todo el año. Para poder aprovechar el tiempo seguir el trazado sugerido en los planos.

 

Tánger

Tiempo de desplazamiento
40 min. (Autopista A1 ó N1)
Distancias principales
Duración de la visita
Mínimo 4 horas
Notas de interes
Combinar la visita con Cabo Espartel. Medina fácil de recorrer y frecuentada por turistas. No se necesita guía. Buen clima todo el año. Para poder aprovechar el tiempo seguir el trazado sujerido en los planos.

 

Tetuán

Tiempo de desplazamiento
1 hora (Autopista A-1)
Distancias principales
Duración de la visita
Mínimo 5 horas
Mapas
Notas de interes
Medina poco frecuentada por los turistas pero muy interesante. Buen clima todo el año. Para poder aprovechar el tiempo seguir el trazado sugerido en los planos o contratar los servicios de un guia.

 

Volubilis

Tiempo de desplazamiento
Duración de la visita
3 horas.
Notas de interes
Combinar la visita con Moulay-Idriss o Meknes. No se necesita guía. Buen clima todo el año excepto en verano. Para poder aprovechar el tiempo seguir la visita guiada y el trazado sugerido en los planos.

 

Zilis

Tiempo de desplazamiento
Duración de la visita
30 minutos
Como llegar
Notas de interes
Realizar la visita aprovechando el mercado de Had el Rharbia (domingos). No aconsejable en los días de máximo calor (viento de levante).

 

Mercados- Zocos- Souk

Tiempo de desplazamiento
CASABARATA (tanger): 30min.
HAD GHARBIA:15min.
EL YAMANI: 20M.
K. BENNI ARROUS: 45 min.

Distancias principales
Duración de la visita
2 horas
Tiempo total
Media jornada, más de 4 horas
Notas de interes
Ausencia de turistas. Sólo por las mañanas. En verano visitar con "la fresca" . No se necesita guía.

 

CUSTOMS

In order to enjoy Moroccan pleasures it is necessary and desirable to forget the topics, the unfortunate and malicious gossip that we frequently hear coming from people who don´t really know this country, and whose words so deeply hurt and burden our senses.

The only advice, THE GOLDEN RULE to fully enjoy what Morocco so lavishly offers, when certain customs are so different, is RESPECT the others. We are in a different country and we cannot and should not impose our own habits and customs. An example: we can order alcoholic drinks in any bar or restaurant that we choose and nobody will be offended by this, but not all the establishments are authorized to sell alcohol and they will not serve us simply because they don´t have any alcohol and they will tell us so. We can purchase alcohol in the establishments allowed to sell it and we can drink it in the authorized bars and restaurants; drinking in public is still frowned upon and we should not cause a scandal for “having a few too many”. Common sense, that is. This travellers´ saying is always right: “When in Rome, do as the Romans do”.  

Morocco is a country of sharp contrasts, and the same can be said about the strict implementation of her customs. What is acceptable in a tourist and coastal city like Asilah, will not be acceptable in Fez, a tourist city which is set in the interior and wholly unacceptable in a mountain village. And even in the city, what is acceptable in a tourist quarter can be unacceptable in other quarters. How to know what to do in every case? As it has been said before, you need a little intuition and lots of common sense.

Bearing this in mind it is relatively easy to guess, for example, what to wear in the city and which swimming suit is the most appropriate if we decide to go to the beach. Do everything in the appropriate manner without attracting unwanted attention to yourself.

Morocco is a Denominational Country, and therefore has an official religion,Islam, which influence the personal status of all the citizens and sometimes it conditions the conduct of foreign tourists. The practice of other religious cults is allowed, but attempts by other religions to convert is persecuted. The entry to the mosques and other religious buildings is not allowed to non Muslims with the exception to the mausoleums of Mohamed V in Rabat and the Moulay Ismail in Meknes and to the saadies tombs of Marrakech and Hassan II Mosque of Casablanca.

Morocco´s calendar follows the GMT+0 time zone (Western Europe: Portugal, United Kingdom…) and there isn´t a definitive or established change of calendar for the months with more hours of sunlight. Below we show the time difference between the countries of Central Europe (Spain, France, Germany, etc…) with the GMT+1 time zone and Morocco for the year 2009:

 

 

1/01–27/03

28/03-31/05

1/06-20/08

21/08-25/10

26/10-31/12

DIFFERENCE

-1H.

-2 H.

-1 H.

-2 H.

-1 H.

Two calendars coexist in Morocco: the universal or Gregorian (year 2009) governed by the sun and the Muslim or Islamic calendar (year 1429-1430) governed by the moon). It has between 11 and 12 days less than our calendar and the months begin two days after the full moon. The first calendar (the universal) governs the administrative and productive life of the country while the second calendar (the Islamic) governs the religious life.

COMMERCE OPENING AND CLOSING TIMES

In Morocco, there aren´t any set rules governing the opening and closing times of shops, restaurants and banks. When we travel to the interior of Morocco, the climate, especially in the summer, is the main factor that sets the life´s rhythm of the citizens. In the north the opening and closing times are more like those in Spain, while in the south they are more “French” like. It is not the same in a large city (Rabat or Casablanca) than in Tangiers or Asilah.  And, if this wasn´t enough, during the month of Ramadan everything is topsy-turvy. (See the paragraph about the Ramadan)
 
A constant feature throughout Morocco is that business hours for stores that deal with everyday products and restaurants are governed by the market laws. As long as there are customers the markets, the souks, the shops and the restaurants will stay open.

Asilah´s stores open their doors from 9.00 or 10.00h, close half an hour for lunch, from 13.30 to 14.00 hours. They open again in the afternoons at 16.00 or 17.00 hours and don´t close till 20.00, 20.30 or 21.30 h. Most of them stay closed on Friday mornings and part of the afternoons, but on the other hand, they open on Saturdays and Sundays. The opening and closing times of the “medina” are not set in advance, they open and close according to consumers´ demand, the climate and their own customs or habits.

Banks open from Mondays to Fridays, from 9.00 to 16.00 h. On Fridays they close at midday for the hour of  prayer. All banks have automatic cash machines.

In Asilah, as in Spain, lunch time is much later than lunch time in other countries. Breakfast, the first meal of the day, is usually between 9.00 and 11.00 h. Lunch is served between 14.00 and 15.00 hours and dinner between 21.00 and 22.00 hours. Nonetheless, the restaurants schedules can be tailored to the clients´ working and tourist life, so, one can have lunch from 13.00 h to 16.00h, while dinner is usually served from 21.00 till 23.30 hours.

Driving in morocco 

In Morocco traffic regulations are similar to those in Europe and one must comply with them completely; nonetheless, “other drivers” will surprise us by the way they break all the rules they can, even those hazardous for one´s personal safety like overtaking in a brow of a hill or disregarding the stop signs. These “other drivers” know when they can and cannot do it and besides they drive “somewhat differently” and “sometimes” they make a mistake. This is why it is not a coincidence that the accident rate in Morocco is a lot higher than in Europe, and that it is quite frequent to see road accidents.
 
Therefore, when we are considering whether or not take the car to Morocco, we should think less about the possibility (quite unlikely) that our car might be stolen  and more about our personal safety when we drive on those roads.

We must be careful for two reasons:

  1. The roads and motorways are congested with pedestrians and animals, day and night; the lighting in the approach roads to the cities is very poor; they do not observe the right of way at crossings and even less at unbroken lines; secondary roads are very narrow, and so on. Taking all this in mind, speed becomes a bad travel companion.
  2. An on the other hand, there are zones with speed controls (mobiles radars), many of these are located at the approaches to the cities and on the motorways.  And you get a fine even if you go only  1 km above the speed limit. And I can assure you that they are extremely efficient at this.

What I can assure you is that you will be surprised, if you are not used to it, by the way they drive. When we drive on roads that are not controlled by the police or on winding roads, we have to be very careful at the cross roads, the ditches and bends without visibility and of the brows of the hills. And if it can be avoid it, do not drive at night on secondary roads. It is quite normal to see the cars driving in the middle of the road and with the main lights on, on motorways and on other roads, in order not to crash with pedestrians and animals that use the ditches as if they were pathways.

Therefore, I must once again repeat the same advice: pay attention and don´t rush.

Regarding petrol supply there is no problem in most zones. The number of gas stations is quite high and there is unleaded gasoline. The price is quite less than that in Europe. It is a good thing to ask our insurance company if it is convenient to widen one´s insurance.