Spain, Portugal & Morocco Trip Notes

Spain, Portugal & Morocco

Last Modified: 01 Oct 2015
Spain, Portugal & Morocco
Trip code: ZMSQC
Validity: 01 Jan 2016 to 31 Dec 2016
Table of Contents
StyleImportant notesFinish point instructions
ThemesGroup sizeEmergency contact
MapYour fellow travellersEmergency funds
ItinerarySingle travellersVisas
Also available to purchaseAccommodationIssues on your trip
We also recommendMeals introductionWhat to take
Itinerary disclaimerMealsHealth
Culture shock rating TransportSafety
Physical ratingGroup leaderTravel insurance
Included activitiesJoining point Responsible Travel
Optional activitiesJoining point descriptionA couple of rules
Money ExchangeJoining point instructionsThe Intrepid Foundation
Spending moneyArrival complicationsCarbon offset
TippingFinish point Feedback
Departure taxFinish point description
Oh Spain… how you dazzle us with architectural feats and artistic treats, enrich us with historic treasures and nourish us with sangria and tapas! From charismatic cities full of boisterous bars and hip galleries, to sleepy villages dotted with run-down farmhouses and olive groves, Spain never fails to open up travellers’ eyes, minds and hearts.
Gifted with a temperate Mediterranean climate, a bounty of beaches and a rich heritage, Portugal casually flies under the European travel radar. Home to culinary greats, effortlessly cool cities, charming colonial towns and magical stone villages, travellers will find that this enduring historic heavyweight still packs a punch.
Aromatic tajines, palm-spotted, red-earthed landscapes and limitless generosity define the home of the Maghreb. Any visit, whether one week or one month, will give you a glimpse of the friendliness, vibrancy and flavour of this Berber-Arab-Spanish-Portuguese-French melting pot.
To save you money and the hassle of booking multiple trips, this journey is a combination of some of our most popular adventures so your leader and the composition of your group may change.
Style
Original
  • Our Original style trips have a great balance of included activities with your group and free time to explore independently. Where we stay ensures we keep our travellers firmly entrenched in a region’s people and culture, and provides them with unique local experiences that benefits the community too. In most locations we stay in simple tourist-class hotels (i.e. 2-3 stars), plus on many trips you'll also get to experience a night with a local family on a homestay or something a little different like a Bedouin camp in the Sahara. Original style trips come with all manner of transport modes and use a mixture of local and private transport. You might find yourself sailing in a dhow in Zanzibar, jumping on a rickshaw in Sri Lanka or sailing on a yacht through the Galapagos. No matter the mode, it's all about minimising our environmental impact and making getting around part of the adventure.
Themes
Explorer
Map

Itinerary
Day 1 Madrid
Hola! Welcome to Spain.
Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6pm on Day 1.
You can arrive at any time during the day as there are no activities planned until this important meeting; please check with the hotel reception where and when it will take place, or check the reception notice boards. If you can't arrange a flight that will have you arrive at the hotel by early evening, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader.
With incredible restaurants, art galleries, shopping and nightlife on offer, Madrid is a truly world-class city that exudes confidence and style through every pore.
As there's limited time for sightseeing in Madrid we recommend you make arrangements to arrive a few days early to see the highlights of the city and surrounds.
While away hours on the Paseo del Arte, or Art Walk, for a panoramic perspective of Western art history. Start with the Museo del Prado, one of the world's finest collections of European art from the 12th-19th centuries and an unmissable stop on any art tour. Discover modern Spanish masters, including Picasso and Dali, in the Museo Reina Sofia's 20th century collection. Finish with the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, which spans eight centuries of European painting.
Take a break in the oasis of Real Jardin Botanico, a botanical wonderland dating from the 18th century.
Optional Activities
  • Abono Paseo del Arte (3 museum combo voucher) - EUR26
  • Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza - EUR10
  • Museo del Prado - EUR14
  • Real Jardín Botánico - EUR3
  • Museo Reina Sofia - EUR8
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 2 Salamanca
Head north-west by bus to the historical university town of Salamanca (approx 3.5 hrs).
Situated amongst beautiful pastures and rolling green hills on Spain's northern plateau, the rose-hued medieval town of Salamanca is a hidden gem. Its citizens speak the 'purest' Spanish in Spain - Castilian. This is why Salamanca is so popular with people from all over the world who want to learn the language. Salamanca is a real university city - Spanish students are everywhere and you can travel practically everywhere by foot.
Your leader will take you on a sightseeing walk where you can explore the central Plaza Mayor and discover the historic stone buildings that the city is known for. Plaza Mayor is a true centre of local life. Not only is it architecturally beautiful, but it buzzes with activity as locals meet and take coffee, tapas or cocktails on the square.
Inspect some of the unique architecture, such as the distinctly decorated Casa de las Conchas (House of the Shells).
Salamanca is known for its many festivals and generally holds at least one every month of the year. They are big celebrators of music and entertainment, showing off traditional costume and fiestas in honour of ancient leaders of the city. Ask your leader about festivals taking place or research it in preparation for your trip so you don't miss out on the excitement!
Included Activities
  • Orientation walk
Optional Activities
  • Cathedrals rooftop - EUR4
  • Art Nouveau & Art Deco Museum - EUR4
  • Bullfighting Museum - EUR3
  • Unamuno House Museum - EUR4
  • New Cathedral - Free
  • Old Cathedral - EUR4
  • University of Salamanca - EUR9
  • Casa de Las Conchas - Free
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Days 3-4 Coimbra
Head further west by bus and cross the border into Portugal to the laidback city of Coimbra (approx 5 hrs).
A beautiful and ancient town, Coimbra features typical white stone with several excellent examples of colourful azulejos tiling. Some of the historical buildings were originally built in the 12th century, and you can find some of the best examples of Romanesque churches and elegant museums in Portugal.
Your leader will escort you on a walk to help you orientate yourself in the maze of alleyways. Half the fun of Coimbra is just to wander and explore.
The region produces a major red wine that is distinctly known for its smooth texture, deep colour and rich brownish tone as it ages. Rose is among one of the most popular types of wine enjoyed alongside a platter of traditional yellow sausage - alheira - garnished with varieties of goats cheese. It is common for the culture to include piri piri (small fiery chillies) in traditional dishes, as well as cinnamon, vanilla and saffron, for intense flavours.
Experience the local tradition of fado - soulful, beautiful music that tells mournful tales of unrequited love or sailors lost at sea. Coimbra Fado is unique in that you'll also hear amusing student's tales about the struggles of academic life and the tyranny of their tutors, as well as serenades to be sung from underneath a lover's window. Performances are held daily in a lovely old chapel in the heart of the old town.
Kick back and relax on a short boat tour to take in the view of Coimbra from a different angle.
Head out into the countryside in search of ancient Roman ruins (approx 30 mins return by bus). The ruins of Conimbriga, from which the town of Coimbra got its name, are rich in mosaics and a great insight into ancient Roman life. Spend as little or as much time here as you like, as there are several options to return - including a walk through the countryside to the unspoilt rural town of Condeixa (approx 3 km).
There's also plenty of time to visit the university, one of the oldest in the world and situated in a former palace. With its ancient library, beautiful throne room turned assembly hall, and even student prison cells, there are many interesting tales and legends to be discovered here.
Included Activities
  • Orientation walk
  • Fado performance
Optional Activities
  • Boat tour - EUR7
  • Cathedrals - Free
  • Conimbriga ruins - EUR5
  • Portugal Dos Pequenitos - EUR10
  • University of Coimbra - EUR9
Accommodation
Hotel (2 nts)
Days 5-6 Lisbon
Take a train through the countryside of central Portugal to Lisbon (approx 3.5 hrs).
One of Europe's most pleasant and affordable capital cities, Lisbon combines the best elements of Portuguese life, offering fantastic architecture, a multicultural population, delicious seafood and non-stop nightlife.
Included is an orientation/sightseeing walk led by your group leader.
Visit the medieval Citadel in the city centre. Lisbon is a city swarming with endless angular white houses and buildings with distinct red terracotta rooftops. From the citadel, this makes a sharply contrasting panorama when viewed against the deep blue of the sky and ocean.
Lisbon has a number of remarkable museums of modern and ancient art, such as Calouste Gulbenkian Museum, National Museum of Contemporary Art, National Coach Museum, and Carmo Archaeological Museum. However, Lisbon isn't all history and culture - Bairro Alto is the centre of the city's nightlife with various bars and restaurants where fado, traditional Portuguese music, can be enjoyed.
Try some braised squid or hot pickled pork at a local restaurant for an authentic native taste. For those not as daring, go for a green bean dish or a delicious bread-based dessert instead.
Take a day trip into the mountainous region of Sintra, just 45 mins away by train. This starkly beautiful area offers great walking, stunning cliff-top palaces and unique Moorish architecture.
Included Activities
  • Orientation Walk
  • Citadel
Optional Activities
  • National Art Museum - EUR6
  • Fado House - EUR2
  • Folk Art Museum - EUR3
  • Gulbenkian Museum - EUR5
  • Sintra Day Trip - Lisbon - EUR7
  • Castelo dos Mouros - Entrance - Sintra - EUR3
  • Palacio da Pena - Sintra - EUR5
  • Palacio Real - Sintra - EUR3
  • Puppet Museum - EUR2
  • Fado Show with Dinner - EUR25
  • Naval Museum - EUR3
  • Oceanarium - EUR14
Accommodation
Pension (2 nts)
Days 7-8 The Algarve
The southern coastline of Portugal is known for its fertile plains, rich with orange and olive groves, fig trees, almonds and maize fields. Long beaches and hidden coves await us as we journey by bus to the Algarve (approx 5 hrs).
With a historical old town and stunning sunsets, our base in Olhao offers a more relaxed pace of life.
Visit some of the Algarve's lesser known areas with beautiful walking paths and golden sandy beaches.
Included Activities
  • Algarve beach excursion
Accommodation
Hotel (2 nts)
Day 9 Jerez
Leave Portugal for the hills of Andalucia, travelling by bus to the traditional and historic town of Jerez (approx 7 hrs).
With its ancient Alcazar (Moorish fortress), beautiful eclectic cathedral and huge selection of high quality tapas bars, Jerez is an undiscovered jewel in the heart of Andalucia. Its most famous export is sherry, with the drink deriving its name from the town.
Enjoy a bodega tour and sample the sherries on offer.
Included Activities
  • Bodega tour and sherry tasting
Optional Activities
  • Moorish baths - EUR1
  • Alcazar - EUR5
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Days 10-11 Chefchaouen
Travel by bus to the port town of Algeciras (approx 3 hrs), with its spectacular view of the Rock of Gibraltar.
Board a ferry and cross the straits to the chaotic and buzzing city of Tangier (approx 1.5 hrs).
Travel by bus to Chefchaouen, which is in the centre of a mountainous agricultural region (approx 3 hrs).
Chefchaouen lies beneath two mountain tops, known as Ech-Chaoua - 'the horns'. Chefchaouen means 'look at the horns'. It's among Morocco's most attractive towns and it's easy to appreciate the idyllic surroundings offered by this tranquil town. With its blue and white houses and evocative atmosphere, this is a wonderful place to chill out.
We will meet our local guide to explore the maze of streets in the beautiful blue and whitewashed Chefchaouen. Learn about general life in a small Moroccan community, have a look at a communal bakery, watch local women do their laundry and walk up to a former church from where we have a beautiful view over the town nestled between two mountain peaks. A popular shopping destination for handicrafts, carpets, blankets or woolen garments, you may also see the artisans at work.
Ease into the relaxed pace of life in this rural retreat. Take a stroll through the ancient medina, go hiking in the Rif mountains or simply sit at a cafe and enjoy the pleasure of time passing by. If you're feeling peckish, the goats' cheese on offer is a popular treat enjoyed by many visitors.
Included Activities
  • Walking tour with local guide
Optional Activities
  • Hamam (public baths) - MAD150
  • Henna tattooing - MAD50
Accommodation
Hotel (2 nts)
Days 12-13 Fes
Take a public bus to Fes (approx 5 hrs).
Fes is the most complete medieval city in the Arab world. The most ancient of Morocco's imperial cities, it exists suspended in time.
Take a guided walk to discover the treasures of the Medina, a living monument to an ancient past and still very much alive with the many craftsmen, markets, tanneries, ceramics and mosques. Look out for the Medersa Bou Inania, one of the city's most beautiful buildings which has recently been restored and is now open for visits.
We'll also visit the famous tannery, known for the iconic view overlooking its dye pits, and a ceramic factory where you can see potters working in the traditional way.
Consider a visit to the Palais Jamai for an evening drink. Watching the sun set over the huge medina whilst hundreds of prayer calls vie for attention is an experience you are likely to remember forever.
Included Activities
  • Guided walking tour Fes
Days 14-15 Marrakech
Travel by train to Marrakech (approx 8 hrs).
Marrakech is a feast for the senses. Be enticed by the alluring scents and brilliant colours of the spice markets, the sounds of the musicians, the rich folds of carpets, delectable foods, acrobats and perfumed gardens.
See the Koutoubia Mosque and its superb minaret - famous throughout the world as one of the greatest minarets and the 'sister' to the Giralda in Seville. Please note it is impossible for non-Muslims to enter the minaret, and we will only visit its beautiful surroundings.
Go to the Palais Bahia, a superb example of Muslim architecture.
Explore the ruins of the Palais Badi, reputedly one of the most beautiful palaces in the world in its time.
Visit the Saadian tombs - a recently uncovered gem of the Medina.
All of the above can be a challenge to locate, but that is all a part of the experience of exploring the phenomenal medinas of Morocco! As we only have a short time here in Marrakech, if you really want to explore this fascinating city we suggest you stay for a few extra nights.
As this is a combination trip, your group leader and the composition of your group may change at this location. There will be a group meeting to discuss the next stage of your itinerary and you're welcome to attend, as this is a great chance to meet your new fellow travellers.
Included Activities
  • Koutoubia Mosque and minaret
Optional Activities
  • Saadien Tombs - MAD10
  • Palais Badi - MAD10
  • Palais Bahia - MAD20
  • Henna tattooing - MAD50
  • Hamam (public baths) - MAD250
  • Marjorelle Gardens - MAD60
  • Medersa Ben Youssef - MAD40
  • Museum of Marrakech - MAD40
  • Photography Museum - MAD40
Meals Included
1 Breakfast
Accommodation
Hotel (2 nts)
Day 16 Aroumd
A short drive takes us into the towering High Atlas Mountains to the village of Imlil (approx 2 hrs).
We'll store our main luggage and load daypacks on to pack mules before taking a 1 hour walk up to the peaceful village of Aroumd where we spend the night. If you don't feel you can complete walk, don't worry and take the option of riding a mule up to Aroumd.
A family-run mountain home (gite) will be our accommodation tonight, and perched on a great rocky outcrop we have an incredible sight to appreciate from our terrace: views of North Africa's highest peak - Mount Toubkal. Facilities at the mountain gite are shared - both the bathroom and sleeping arrangements - but cosy, comfortable and a unique Intrepid experience.
We have the rest of the day to explore the village and surrounding farmlands. Depending on the energy levels of the group, we can make the moderate 8 km trek to the pilgrimage shrine of Sidi Chamarouch (approx 4 hrs return). This interesting destination is the burial place of a medieval saint and is a popular route for both serious trekkers en route to Toubkal and for Moroccan faithful wishing to receive baraka (blessings) from this sacred place.
Regardless of your level of fitness, the gentle pace of Aroumd makes it a special place beyond the reach of the modern world - and an opportunity not to be missed.
Included Activities
  • Guided trek in the High Atlas Mountains
Optional Activities
  • Mule ride - Imlil to Aroumd - MAD50
Accommodation
Gite (1 nt)
Day 17 Ait Benhaddou
Journey along spectacular mountain roads and over Morocco's highest pass, the Tizi n'Tichka (2260 m) to Ait Benhaddou on the barren edges of the Sahara (approx 6 hrs).
Centuries ago, Ait Benhaddou was an important stop for the caravans passing through as they carried salt across the Sahara, returning with gold, ivory and slaves. Today, its grand kasbah is still one of the most beautiful in all of Morocco and a World Heritage site. This fortified village is a fine example of clay architecture and is also famous for its role on the silver screen, featuring in numerous films such as Lawrence of Arabia, The Jewel of the Nile and Gladiator.
Why not join a simple cooking demonstration of Morocco's most famous cuisine: couscous and tagine. Our local friends will explain the secrets and subtleties of these traditional meals as the ladies of the kitchen prepare a feast.
Optional Activities
  • Cooking class and dinner - MAD100
  • Henna tattooing - MAD50
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 18 Zagora
Journey south towards the mighty Sahara (approx 5 hrs), stopping en route in Ouarzazate.
The film capital of Morocco, Ouarzazate is the location where productions such as Lawrence of Arabia, The Sheltering Sky and Black Hawk Down were filmed.
Make a short visit to Horizon Association for People With Disabilities, an organisation dedicated to the rehabilitation, health and empowerment of people with disabilities. Some of the amazing services they provide include the building and fitting of prosthetic limbs, custom-made wheelchairs, and physio and social therapy for sufferers of accidents and illness. They also operate an artisans workshop which trains local people in trades such as pottery, weaving, metal work and jewellery making. This is a wonderful visit and we're very proud to support this project through The Intrepid Foundation.
Travel through the lush Draa Valley to Zagora, home to the famous 'Tombouctou 52 Jours' sign.
Zagora is known as the 'doors of the desert', as it's the last town before the Draa River. This is a palmerie town with great pottery and ceramic workshops on the way into the desert.
Take a stroll through the palm groves of Amazrou, exploring the ksars and surrounding countryside.
Included Activities
  • Horizon Association for People With Disabilities visit
Optional Activities
  • Atlas Movie Studios - MAD50
  • Kasbah Taourirt - MAD20
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 19 Sahara Camp
Our route continues along the rugged, jagged and desolate Jbel Tadrart Mountain ranges taking us through seas of sand occasionally punctuated by lush oasis of date palms, to the interesting township of Tamegroute.
Once a famous settlement and home to religious scholars since the 11th century, Tamegroute houses a shrine to its spiritual leader.
Visit an intriguing library filled with ancient scripts of science, literature, the Koran and stories of the prophet Mohammed. We'll also join a local friend to uncover the underground kasbah and its famous, but unique, ceramic pottery industry. A great spot to pick up a memorable souvenir.
Drive on until we reach the end of the road at the frontier town of M'Hamid.
Take a short camel ride, with the dunes as a magical backdrop.
Head into the dunes in 4WD vehicles. Our rough piste track runs parallel to the Algerian border, across stony Hamada desert whose only populace is small scatterings of hardy nomadic people and their camels, until we reach the massive Erg Chigaga dunes in the late afternoon.
An erg is a vast sea of shifting wind-swept sand that has formed into picturesque undulating crests and valleys, and the Erg Chigaga is one of the world's classic landscapes.
Our nomad-style camp is a simple affair with bedding and basic toilet facilities provided. Our local friends will prepare a hearty feast so all we have to do is soak up the experience. The camp consists of two large fixed traditional nomadic-style woollen tents. Our camp does provide blankets and simple mattresses but for extra warmth and your own comfort, you might like to bring your own sleeping bag in the winter months from November to March.
Due to passenger feedback, all departures in the summer months of July and August use a slightly altered itinerary in the Sahara. We'll take a 4WD safari to the remote Erg Chigaga dunes but instead of camping in the dunes, we stay at a fixed camp in Ouled Idriss. This camp is more comfortable and better suited during the high summer temperatures.
Included Activities
  • Ancient library
  • Camel ride
Accommodation
Camp site (1 nt)
Day 20 Taroudannt
Rejoin our minivan and continue towards Taroudannt (approx 6 hrs). This drive takes us through more superb desert scenery and along a route that's a reserve for the indigenous argan trees - if we're lucky we might come across the famous image of goats climbing these trees in search of their tasty nuts.
Please note that this is a long travel day and we won't arrive at our accommodation until late afternoon/early evening. Our riad tonight is 45 km outside of Taroudannt and offers the chance to relax by the pool or take a steamed bath.
Accommodation
Riad (1 nt)
Days 21-22 Essaouira
This morning we'll visit Taroudannt en route to Essaouira.
Taroudannt is a vibrant market town located in the fertile Souss plains. With an energetic, bustling city centre this is a great opportunity to see an untouched traditional Berber lifestyle. The souqs of the medina teem with sights, sound and colour, with terrific bargains to be found.
Leave the valleys of the magical High Atlas Mountains behind and head towards the windswept Atlantic Coast and Essaouira (approx 4.5 hrs).
The name Essaouira means image, which is appropriate since it's such a picturesque town. Its charm is undeniable - within the stone ramparts you'll find whitewashed houses with bright blue shutters, art galleries and wood workshops. This laidback artists' town is a former Portuguese trading colony and was once home to sizeable British and Jewish populations. The town faces a group of rocky islands - called the Mogador - and is surrounded by an expanse of sandy beaches and dunes.
It's still a busy fishing port and its pretty harbour is filled with tiny colourful boats which go out early every morning for the day's catch. Visitors who have been seduced by its charms include Orson Welles and Jimi Hendrix, who (according to local legend) spent much of his time here in the 1960s. More recently, filmmaker Ridley Scott chose the ramparts as an important location for his film, Kingdom of Heaven.
Join our local guide for a walking tour through the old Medina, Jewish mellah, port and skala (sea wall).
You have some free time to soak up the romantic ambience.
Everything in the small centre is within walking distance and the beach is clean. Wander the harbour and its adjacent fish markets where you can witness the daily auction. A freshly-cooked plate of the day's catch is highly recommended. Browse the plentiful shops and intriguing art galleries that make this little town a particularly pleasant place to unwind for a few days. It has a growing reputation for its unique art and is becoming even more famous for its burled Thuya wood - delicately formed and inlaid in tiny shops, which are built into the thick walls of the Portuguese ramparts. The scent from the oils used to polish the richly coloured wood permeates the air and makes walking down the streets incredibly pleasant.
Essaouira is a world-famous windsurfing destination. Give it go or you may like to try your hand at the increasingly popular sport of kite surfing.
Don't miss the opportunity to go to a hammam or local-style bath to be spoilt with a good scrub, a mud pack and a relaxing massage with argan oil.
Included Activities
  • Walking tour
Optional Activities
  • Hamam (public baths) - MAD200
  • Berber massage - MAD350
  • Horse riding - MAD250
Accommodation
Riad (2 nts)
Days 23-24 Marrakech
Reflect on our incredible journey with an optional farewell dinner.
As this trip spends limited time in Marrakech, we recommend you arrange a few extra nights of accommodation to make the most of what this city has to offer.
There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time.
Included Activities
  • Farewell dinner Marrakech TRIP NOTES
Optional Activities
  • A Taste Of Marrakech - MAD450
  • Tajine cooking class - MAD546
  • Cascades d'Ouzoud day tour - MAD2207
  • Hammam & Massage in a luxury spa - MAD650
  • Ourika Valley day tour - MAD1817
  • Oukaimeden day tour - MAD1882
  • Asni & Ourigane with lunch - MAD1806
  • Heart of the Atlas Mountains cycling day tour - MAD900
  • Medina, Palace and Tombs half day tour - MAD325
  • Quad Biking the Rock Desert & Palmgrove - MAD660
  • Quad biking Barrage Lalla Takerkoust - MAD1320
  • Palmery cycling tour - MAD300
  • Magical Marrakech City Cycling Tour - MAD300
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Also available to purchase
For many of our trips we have other services or experiences that are also available to purchase to extend your trip or to make your holiday a little easier. Below is a list of other travel products you can purchase in conjunction with this trip.
  • Spain, Portugal & Morocco - Single Supplement (ZMSQC)
We also recommend
If this trip is not quite right for you, cast your eye over these alternatives:
  • Paris to Madrid (AMSF)
  • Marrakech to Barcelona (XMSO)
Itinerary disclaimer
Occasionally our itineraries are updated during the year to incorporate improvements stemming from past travellers' comments and our own research. The information given in this itinerary may be slightly different to that in the brochure. It's very important that you print and review a final copy of your Trip Notes a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans. If you have any queries, please contact your travel agent or our staff in Australia. We are here to help you!
Please note that while we operate successful trips in this region throughout the year, some changes may occur in our itineraries due to inclement weather and common seasonal changes to timetables and transport routes. This can happen with little notice so please be prepared for modifications to the route. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary from time to time.
Culture shock rating

Expect some culture shock. You'll be exposed to signs of poverty and access to services may be sporadic. The food will be quite different to home and English speakers harder to find. Respecting the local culture will make it easier to fit in and really experience the location.
Europe is a region which may be very different to anything you have experienced before. Expense, crowds, differing cultures can result in initial culture shock but should be seen as an exciting new challenge. During our time here we have come to love this region but we know that we should always expect to encounter some difficulties along the way. In some parts of Europe there are very different attitudes to time keeping and service. Buses and trains will sometimes be late, plumbing can sometimes be temperamental and waiters may not seem as keen to serve you as you may be used to. If you are able to travel with a lot of patience and a sense of humour, then we know that you - like all of us - will be captivated by every part of Europe.
Morocco is a country which may be very different to anything you have experienced before. Heat, pollution, poverty and the crowds can result in initial culture shock but should be seen as an exciting new challenge. During our time here we have come to love this wonderfully different country but we know that we should always expect to encounter some difficulties along the way. In Morocco there are very different attitudes to time keeping, public cleanliness, privacy and service. If you are able to travel with a lot of patience and a sense of humour, then we know that you - like all of us - will be captivated by Morocco.
Physical rating

Some easy physical activities included in your trip. No physical preparation is required to make the most of the journey.
Morocco is a country which may be very different to anything you have experienced before. Heat, pollution, poverty and the crowds can result in initial culture shock but should be seen as an exciting new challenge. During our time here we have come to love this wonderfully different country but we know that we should always expect to encounter some difficulties along the way. In Morocco there are very different attitudes to time keeping, public cleanliness, privacy and service. If you are able to travel with a lot of patience and a sense of humour, then we know that you - like all of us - will be captivated by Morocco.
Long and rough travel days:
There are some long travel days and some rough travelling in areas away from main tourist routes. High passes, windy roads and rough surfaces make for some challenging travel experiences. If you experience travel sickness we recommend you consider medication to help ease the discomfort.
The best part about all of these long drives are the spectacular views and fun stops en-route such as mountain passes, kasbahs, palmeries, sand dunes, goats up trees etc...
Early mornings:
On some long travel days we depart early in the morning to ensure we optimise our time at our next destination.
Physical fitness levels:
A good level of fitness is recommended and will certainly help increase the enjoyment of the trip and help you to make the most of the variety of optional walks and hikes around towns and villages.
Included activities
Included activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary, all other activities are optional and at your own expense. If you choose not to participate in the included activities on this itinerary, the cost will not be refunded.
Optional activities
A selection of optional activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only. Prices are approximate and are for entrance only and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability and it may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination.
Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. This means that it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, however we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with booking these activities. The decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk.
The receipt of commissions or kickbacks in exchange for recommending particular shops, services or activities is ingrained in the culture of some areas of the Moroccan tourism industry. In an effort to best control and monitor shopping in Fes with an aim for the best experience possible, Intrepid has established a system of carefully selected shopping experiences based on positive feedbacks from our previous travellers. Please note that if you feel that you do not wish to join in on these shopping experiences we assure you there is no obligation and if you indicate your desire to not partake your group leader will help to facilitate a suitable alternative during this time.
Intrepid have set up a centralised system of receiving a small amount per group from these recommended suppliers, of which are then distributed between the Intrepid Foundation, towards local Responsible Travel projects, traveller information packs, and leader incentives. Further details of these arrangements can be provided by your group leader on request.
While Intrepid endeavours to ensure that these suppliers and services maintain reasonable levels of quality and offer an 'experience' in terms of explanations and cultural exchanges, please note recommended suppliers are chosen based on past travellers feedback and experiences and Intrepid cannot explicitly guarantee the quality of each individual products. A priority in establishing this fund is that the experience of you our traveller is not compromised in any way. Please let us know via the feedback after your trip if we are successfully meeting this objective.
Money Exchange
The Euro (EUR) is the official currency in the following destinations: Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Kosovo, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Montenegro, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain. All other European countries still have their own national currencies.
The most convenient and cheapest way to acquire money is via an Automated Teller Machine (ATM) or Bancomat as they are often referred to. Check with your bank in advance concerning the suitability of your account / card overseas and any international fees that will be applied.
You can obtain local currencies easily at airports and major train stations, but be sure to bring some extra emergency cash in a major currency that can be exchanged if the ATMs are not functioning.
When leaving home don't forget your PIN and make sure you know the telephone number for cancelling your card if it is stolen. Keep this in a safe place.
Credit cards are not always accepted in stores and restaurants. While travelling we recommend you carry some cash to pay for restaurant bills and other services. Change can be difficult to obtain so throughout the day, try to gain as many small denominations as you can.
You might be advised to take some of your money as travellers' cheques from a major financial institute. Travellers' cheques have security advantages, however please be aware that the exchange rates may not be favourable and that it is difficult to change Travellers' cheques in most countries. Be particularly aware that after hours money exchanges and hotel receptions carry high commissions- sometimes up to 20%.
For money safety we recommend that you carry your cash and credit cards in a secure money belt or pouch concealed under your clothes.
MOROCCO
The official currency of Morocco is Dirham (MAD).
Moroccan Dirhams cannot be purchased outside of Morocco, but it is easy to get cash on arrival.
The most convenient and cheapest way to acquire money is by Automated Teller Machine (ATM). Check with your bank for information on international fees. There are now ATMs (which accept both Visa and MasterCard) throughout all Moroccan cities.
There are few problems changing money. There are many banks, all operating with equal exchange rates, and without commission. Cash in EUR, GBP and USD dollars are favoured for exchange. Please note that Australian Dollars (AUD) are not accepted in Morocco.
Travellers' cheques are not recommended in Morocco. While some banks and 5 star hotels will change travellers' cheques this is rare and the process is very time consuming, and commissions can be high (up to 10%).
For money safety we recommend that you carry your cash and credit cards in a secure money belt or pouch concealed under your clothing.
Spending money
Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping, participating in optional activities, and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.
Tipping
If you're happy with the services provided a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, it's of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many Intrepid destinations.
The following amounts are per person suggestions based on local considerations and feedback from our past travellers:
Restaurants: Local markets and basic restaurants - round your bill up to the nearest €1. More up-market restaurants we suggest 10% to 15% of your bill.
Local guides: Throughout your trip you may at times have a local guide in addition to your tour leader. We suggest €2-€3 per day for local guides.
Drivers: You may have a range of drivers on your trip. Some may be with you for a short journey while others may be with you for several days. We would suggest a higher tip for those more involved with the group, however we suggest €1-€2 per day for drivers.
Your Tour Leader: You may also consider tipping your tour leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline €2-€4 per person, per day can be used. Of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. Remember, a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.
In total, we recommend you budget approx €5-€10 per day of your trip to cover tipping.
If you're happy with the services provided a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, it's of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many Intrepid destinations.
Restaurants: Local markets and basic restaurants - leave the loose change. More up-market restaurants we suggest 5% to 10% of your bill.
Your crew: Tipping is entirely voluntary. The crew may be travelling with you for many weeks and usually they become good friends with most members of the group. It is sometimes easy to forget that they do work hard to ensure that you do have a great trip. If you feel you would like to tip them, they certainly would appreciate it. On a number of our trips, we also use a local guide as well as our own crew. These guides live and travel with you through their home country and it is usual to tip them when they leave. We recommend USD10 to USD15 per person.
Over the years we have found that many of our travellers find the need for tipping to be both tiresome and embarrassing, especially if they don't have the correct small change. To overcome this, we have established a tipping kitty system. At your group meeting, your tour leader may discuss the idea of running a group tipping kitty, whereby everybody contributes an equal amount and then your tour leader pays the tips while keeping a running record of all monies spent (except restaurant tips). The record can be checked at any time and any money remaining at the end of the tour returned to group members.
Please don't tip with coins, very small denomination notes, or dirty and ripped notes. This is regarded culturally as an insult
Departure tax
All departure taxes should be included in your international flight ticket.
Important notes
CLIMATE:
Please note that as a desert country, Morocco can have extreme weather.
Winter (approx November to March) can be very cold. Particularly in the mountains or near the desert, night temperatures can drop to 5 degrees Celsius or less. Even in the hot months out in the desert it can get cold at night. It is recommended to bring a good sleeping bag, thermals, scarf, gloves and a warm jacket for travel in winter. Some of our guesthouses / hotels are unable to supply heating as this would be a major financial and environmental strain. It is also a case of energy supply and timing provisions, which is limited in some places. Please be prepared for cold showers.
Summer (approx May to September) can be very hot everywhere we travel, which means that it can be quite uncomfortable for those not used to the heat. Not all our hotels have air-conditioning, and in those that do, it's not always functioning. A hat is essential.
SPANISH SIESTA:
Please note that shops, attractions, sights and businesses may be closed for up to 5 hours in the middle of the day for siesta time. This gives the locals time to escape the heat and spend time with their families, eat a large lunch or simply sleep through the most uncomfortable time of day. This means of course that people work later into the evening and dinner time can seem quite late: 9.30pm is not uncommon for family dinner time.
One of the great things about our trips is that we encourage every member of the group to spend time interacting with local people. In order to best be able to do this in Spain, we recommend that you try to do as the locals do - avoid the heat of the day, and stay out later at night.
RAMADAN, EID UL-FITR and EID UL ADHA FESTIVAL 2016:
In 2016 the important month of Ramadan will be in progress from 06 June through till 05 July, and the Eid ul-Fitr festival will be held directly at its conclusion for 3-4 days. Ramadan is a festival of sacrifice where the devout refrain from eating or drinking during daylight hours. During Ramadan business hours are shortened, including opening hours at some tourist attractions. Alcohol is not permitted during daylight hours and many restaurants will be closed. While you should expect some delays and inconveniences during this period, the month is a fantastic opportunity to travel in a Muslim country and witness this unique period, particularly the nightly celebrations when the sun sets and the fast is broken.
Please note that although the Eid ul-Fitr festival can also be a fascinating time to travel it is a period of National holiday. Most government offices and businesses will be closed and some tourist site opening hours may be effected.
Eid ul Adha occurs approximately 2 months after Edi ul- Fitr, on 10 and 11 September 2016.
Group size
Maximum of 16 travellers per group.
Your fellow travellers
As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part. Due to privacy reasons we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your trip prior to departure.
Single travellers
Our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and don't involve a compulsory single supplement. Single travellers share with people of the same gender in accommodation ranging from twin to multishare. Some of our itineraries have accommodation booked on a mixed gender share basis and where applicable this will be specified in our Trip Notes. On a selection of our trips, you have the option to pay a single supplement to ensure that you have your own accommodation (where available). Please note that this only applies to accommodation during the tour - pre-trip and post-trip accommodation will be booked on a single room basis.
Accommodation
Hotel (14 nts), Riad (3 nts), Pension (2 nts), Gite (1 nt), Camp site (1 nt)
In the smaller villages we will use characterful family-run casa rurales and in larger towns we will be accommodated in larger hotels. All will have en suite facilities and will be beside the actual Camino de Santiago.
HEATING:
Some of our guesthouses/hotels are unable to supply heating as this would be a major financial and environmental strain. It's also a case of energy supply and timing provisions, which is limited in some places. Please be prepared for cold showers, which are a pleasure for most of the year. Air-conditioning systems (if available) don't always function.
Morocco is opening up more and more to mainstream tourism due to increasing coverage from airlines, which has improved the general standard of accommodation in some areas but other areas are still catching up, so please be prepared for a variety of accommodation, from quite basic to very comfortable. All the hotels we use are clean and functional although the rooms and facilities may be basic and limited and the breakfasts simple. Some hotels towards the end of the trip have swimming pools.
Meals introduction
While travelling with us you'll experience the vast array of wonderful food available in the world. Your group leader will be able to suggest restaurants to try during your trip. On our camping trips we often cook the region's specialities so you don't miss out. To give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat, generally not all meals are included in the trip price. This also gives you more budgeting flexibility. As a rule our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. There's no obligation to do this though.
Meals
17 Breakfasts, 1 Lunch, 2 Dinners
Please budget for additional meals and expenses while on your trip. Our suggestion is based on past traveller feedback but you may choose to spend more or less.
EUR 690.00
There are some basic breakfasts included on this trip which may simply include bread/toast or pastries, butter, jam, coffee/tea/juice (or similar.). However, there are generally opportunities to stop for a beverage or a snack along the way.
Vegetarians should be aware that a meat and fish diet is the norm some areas of Spain. Most vegetarians have not experienced problems, however please be prepared to be flexible.
Mealtimes in Spain are later than in many other countries; dinner is usually taken between 21:00 and 21.30.
Breakfasts in Morocco are generally simple affairs consisting of bread, butter, jam, coffee/tea and juice (or similar). This is typical of breakfasts in Morocco hotels and large American/English style breakfasts are generally not available.
Transport
4x4, Public bus, Taxi, Private vehicle, Train, Metro, Bus, Ferry
TRANSPORT IN EUROPE:
Half the fun of travel is the travelling itself, that's why we like to travel the local way – whether that means mingling with commuters on a train in Spain, cycling past a historic chateau in France, or encountering the world's most extravagant public transport system on the Moscow Metro. In Europe, you are guaranteed to travel by genuine local public transport wherever possible, which puts you right in the centre of the action.
There are some long travel days and some rough travelling in areas away from main tourist routes. High passes, windy roads and rough surfaces make for some challenging travel experiences. On some long travel days we depart early in the morning to ensure we optimise our time at our next destination. If you experience travel sickness we recommend you consider medication to help ease the discomfort. The best part about all of these long drives are the spectacular views and fun stops en route such as mountain passes, kasbahs, palmeries, sand dunes, goats up trees etc.
Group leader
All Intrepid group trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. Intrepid endeavours to provide the services of an experienced leader however, due to the seasonality of travel, rare situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other group leaders.
Your leader will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the places visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. At Intrepid we aim to support local guides who have specialised knowledge of the regions we visit. If you were interested in delving deeper into the local culture at a specific site or location then your leader can recommend a local guide service in most of the main destinations of your trip.
Joining point
Gran Legazpi Hotel
71, Paseo de la Chopera
Madrid
28045
SPAIN
Phone: 34 914023280
Joining point description
The Gran Legazpi Hotel is a centrally located modern hotel, offering fully equipped rooms with the latest amenities. The hotel is located next to the emblematic Plaza de Legazpi, making it close to Madrid's shopping, cultural and financial centre
Joining point instructions
Madrid International Airport Barajas (MAD) is located within the city limits, 9kms from the CBD. Options for arrival transport include:
By TAXI
Metered taxis are available in taxi ranks outside any of the main terminal exits. Expect to pay around 20--25 EUR plus an additional charge for each bag. Journey time is 20-25 mins.
By TRAIN:
From the airport take metro line 8 from Nuevos Ministerios and then metro line 6 (circular line clockwise) to Legazpi. The hotel is just off the plaza next to the Gas Station - Respos.
Journey time is approx 30 minutes and tickets are EUR3 for a one way journey available from ticket machines.
Please note that the metro line from the Madrid airport to the city centre is particularly notorious for pickpockets, and travellers with backpacks or suitcases are indeed a target. Please ensure you are careful with your valuables on the metro.
Pre booked arrival transfer from the airport:
You will be met on arrival by your transfer driver who will be holding a board with your name or Intrepid's logo in the arrivals hall.
In case of flight cancellations, changes or if you are not able find the driver, please contact to the emergency +34 91 7477 570
Arrival complications
We don't expect any problems (and nor should you) but if for any reason you are unable to commence your trip as scheduled, please contact your starting point hotel, requesting that you speak to or leave a message for your group leader.
Please also make sure have a copy of the local operator's emergency phone numbers from our Emergency Contact section of these trip notes.
Finish point
Hotel Le Caspien
12, rue Loubnane
Marrakech
MOROCCO
Phone: 212 524422282
Finish point description
Centrally located in the Gueliz district 5mins walk from Avenue Mohammed V, the Caspien hotel has 40 rooms all with en-suite bathrooms, A/C, TV, telephones. The hotel has a small swimming pool and 2 restaurants.
www.lecaspien-hotel.com
Finish point instructions
Marrakech Menara Airport is approx. 5km from the city centre. Petite taxis (small cars which are light brown in colour) can easily be hailed from the street, or ask the hotel to assist. Negotiate the fare before getting in and aim to pay no more than 100MAD (150MAD at night).
Departure from Casablanca:
For those of you that are flying out of Casablanca: Trains from Marrakech to Casablanca, depart on the hour every 2 hours between 4:45am and 8:45pm and cost EUR8 for 2nd class and EUR12 for 1st class. The trip is scheduled to take 3 hours & 10 minutes and is subject to frequent delays.
From Casablanca Voyageurs Station, trains run to the Casablanca airport every two hours at 13 mins past the hour between 03h13 and 22h13. From Casa L’oasis (first station in Casablanca), trains run to the airport every two hours at 20 mins past the hour between 03h20 and 22h20. The trip takes 35 minutes.
Check the useful website (in French) for more information - www.oncf.ma
Alternatively, from Casablanca city the 25km taxi ride to the Casablanca airport costs MAD250 (EUR25)
Please note that private transfer from Marrakech hotel to Casablanca airport are available for sale.
Pre booked departure transfer to the airport:
If you have pre booked a departure transfer, you will be collected from your hotel 2 hours prior to your flight.
Please reconfirm your departure transfers with your tour leader.
In case of flight cancellations, changes or if you not find the driver please contact to the emergency phone numbers: Desert Evasions: +212 (0) 6599 70989/ +212 (0) 6612 43106 or PEAK Adventure Travel on +212 (0) 66192 2693.
Emergency contact
In the case of a genuine crisis or emergency, Intrepid's Europe Office can be reached on Tel: +49 (0) 8677 918 66 57.
In the case of a genuine crisis or emergency, Intrepid's Morocco Office can be reached on Tel: +212 (0) 66192 2693. For further contact details please use the following page:
Emergency funds
Please also make sure you have access to an additional US$500, to be used when unforeseen incidents or circumstances outside our control (e.g. a natural disaster, civil unrest, strike action or an outbreak of bird flu) necessitate a change to our planned route.
Visas
EUROPEAN COUNTRIES ON THIS TRIP (EXCLUDING RUSSIA, UKRAINE, TURKEY):
Australia: No - Not required
Belgium: No - Not required
Canada: No - Not required
Germany: No - Not required
Ireland: No - Not required
Netherlands: No - Not required
New Zealand: No - Not required
South Africa: Yes - in advance
Switzerland: No - Not required
UK: No - Not required
USA: No - Not required
MOROCCO:
Australia: No - Not required
Belgium: No - Not required
Canada: No - Not required
Germany: No - Not required
Ireland: No - Not required
Netherlands: No - Not required
New Zealand: No - Not required
South Africa: Yes - in advance (in general, visa processing can take approximately 20 working days)
Switzerland: No - Not required
UK: No - Not required
USA: No - Not required
Those who do not require visas to visit Morocco as a tourist, are stamped in on arrival for 3 months.
Issues on your trip
While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.
We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager.
You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. But we do ask you to be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is complete.
What to take
What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. Generally speaking you should pack as lightly as possible. On the vast majority of our trips you are expected to carry your own luggage, although you won't be required to walk long distances with it (max 30 minutes).
Most travellers carry their luggage in a backpack, although an overnight bag with a shoulder strap would suffice if you travel lightly. Smaller bags or backpacks with wheels are convenient although we recommend your bag has carry straps. You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water and a camera etc for day trips.
You can find Intrepid's Ultimate Packing List on our website. It should be used as a guide only and isn't intended to be a complete packing list.
CLIMATE & CLOTHING:
Please note that as a desert country, Morocco can have extreme weather. Summer (approx June to September) can be very hot everywhere we travel & winter (approx November to February) can be very cold. It's recommended to bring a good sleeping bag, thermals, scarf, gloves and a warm jacket for travel in winter.
SLEEPING BAGS:
Sleeping bags consume valuable space in your luggage and can be a pain. However in the winter months (from November to March) there may not be enough heating (sometimes none) or sufficient blankets to keep everyone warm, we recommend bringing your own sleeping bag. Unfortunately sleeping bags can not be hired/rented while on the trip and are not easy to find for purchase. Buy a small sleeping bag before you leave, it will definitely come in handy, particularly if you feel the cold.
VALUABLES:
Please try to avoid bringing unnecessary valuables, and use your hotel safe and the safe on the overland truck to store the bulk of your money, passport, and airline tickets. It’s also a good idea to purchase a money belt or pouch that is easily hidden.
We strongly recommend that you photocopy all important documents e.g. air tickets, passport, vaccination certificate, etc. and keep the copies separate from the originals. While not valid, a photocopy makes it very much easier to obtain replacements if necessary.
WATER BOTTLE:
Consider bringing your own water bottle to refill along the way. We recommend at least a 1.5litre capacity. The sale of bottled water contributes to an enormous environmental problem around the world. In addition to the water in bottles, the production of a 1 litre plastic bottle takes 2 litres of water and 200ml of oil. A large proportion end up in limited landfill or discarded in waterways and natural environments.
Health
ASTHMA:
For some travellers, the Sahara sands can bring on bouts of asthma. If you suffer from asthma even occasionally, we recommend you bring your medication as it can not be administered by your group leader and may not be readily available while you are travelling.
HENNA TATTOOS:
Henna tattoos are commonplace in Morocco. You should be aware that some henna tattoos contain the chemical para-phenylenediamine (PPD), which can cause a painful allergic reaction, including swelling and an itchy rash in some people.
Safety
SCAMS:
When walking through touristy areas of cities you may be approached by 'helpful' locals who want to show you where to go or take you to a local spice shop. They will either ask to be your local guide for the day or expect money when you arrive at your destination. Please note these people are not registered guides and will try and get as much money from you as they can. A friendly 'no thank you (or 'la Shukran') should suffice.
MOROCCAN TAGINES:
Moroccan ceramic tagines bought in the souks or other shops in Morocco may contain high levels of lead. We strongly recommend you have any tagine you buy in Morocco tested before cooking with it or buy for decorative purposes only.
Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all areas your itinerary covers. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trip.
We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage.
Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your Intrepid itinerary, and Intrepid makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your Leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns.
For more details on the type of conditions and safety standards you can expect on your trip, please refer to Intrepid's operational safety policy on our website. We recommend that you take a moment to read through this information before travelling, and would appreciate any feedback on how well it's being implemented in the field:
FIRE PRECAUTIONS:
Please be aware that local laws governing tourism facilities in this region differ from those in your home country and not all the accommodation which we use has a fire exit, fire extinguishers or smoke alarms.
TRAFFIC AND DRIVING ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE ROAD:
Depending on where you come from please note that drivers in this part of the world may drive on the opposite side of the road from what you are used to. Look both ways before crossing any road. Traffic can be a little more chaotic than you might be used to at home. Be aware!
PETTY THEFT AND PERSONAL SAFETY:
While travelling there is always the risk of pick-pocketing and petty theft, particularly in the more touristy cities. We recommend that you exercise caution when walking alone at night and encourage you to walk together and only on main, well-lit thoroughfares. Be particularly vigilant on public transport. Simple measures like carrying your day pack on your front, not hanging your bag over the back of your chair or on the floor and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing.
Travel insurance
Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects.
When travelling on a trip, you won't be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by your leader.
If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country.
Please go to our website for links to various travel insurance providers:
Responsible Travel
We believe strongly in low impact or rather positive impact tourism. Broadly speaking this means that we try to minimise the negative aspects of tourism on the local cultures and environments that we visit and highlight the positive aspects. Please visit our website for further details and suggestions on how you can be a responsible traveller:
In Morocco we have built strong links with local communities, craftspeople, animal hospitals, artists, and the handicapped - all of which directly rely on the assistance of donations and products purchased by our travellers and other visitors. We offer Intrepid travellers an opportunity to interact with locals, to value their activities and crafts and help towards sustaining their livelihoods.
While on our trips in Morocco you'll have opportunity to meet plenty of local people. Depending on which trip you choose there's a chance to enjoy a meal in a local family's house in Ait Benhaddou, spend a night in a family guesthouse in the High Atlas Mountains or in the pilgrimage village of Moulay Idriss, or share a camp with a nomadic family in Dades Gorge. These experiences will give you a better understanding of the way of life for a rural Moroccan family. You'll also have some fun by learning how to make Morocco's most famous dish, couscous.
Wherever possible, we contract local Moroccan suppliers and assist them to improve the quality of their services. By booking this tour, you'll be helping us to support service providers, artists, small businesses, guesthouse owners and the disadvantaged in communities throughout Morocco.
We use local guides with wide experience and knowledge of cultural traditions and an ability to interpret the cultural heritage of the people in the places visited.
A couple of rules
Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land, but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for Intrepid travellers. Intrepid's philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter and in particular, the local people who make our destinations such special places. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our group leader has the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.
Everyone has the right to feel safe and secure on their trip. We don’t tolerate any form of sexual harassment at Intrepid, either between passengers or involving our leaders or local operators. Sexual relationships (consensual or otherwise) between a leader and a passenger are unacceptable. If you ever feel another person is behaving inappropriately please inform us immediately by contacting the emergency contact number detailed in these trip notes.
The Intrepid Foundation
Since Intrepid Travel commenced operating in 1989 we've been committed to giving something back to the communities we visit. One way has been through our support for local humanitarian, development and conservation projects. Many of our travellers want to contribute something too. Whilst it is often tempting to give hand-outs to those less fortunate, this has the potential to promote a culture of begging and dependency. Handouts are not a sustainable way for individuals or communities to live. That’s why we established The Intrepid Foundation – to make it easier for travellers wishing to give back to communities in an effective and meaningful way.
The Intrepid Foundation is a not-for-profit fund offering a selection of excellent grassroots organisations which you can contribute to. All donations to The Intrepid Foundation will be matched by Intrepid Travel dollar for dollar (up to AU$1,000 per donor and a total of AU$400,000 for all donors in each financial year, excluding emergency appeals). And every cent gets there as Intrepid Travel pays for all the administration costs. Donating is simple and secure. Please ask your leader for information on the projects we support through The Intrepid Foundation or go to our website:
Carbon offset
Carbon Offset C02-e 342.00 kgs per pax.
Feedback
After your travels, we want to hear from you! We rely on your feedback. We read it carefully. Feedback helps us understand what we are doing well and what we could be doing better. It allows us to make improvements for future travellers.