Frommer's lists exact prices in the local currency. The currency conversions quoted above were correct at press time. However, rates fluctuate, so before departing consult a currency exchange website such as www.oanda.com/convert/classic to check up-to-the-minute rates.
On the whole, Morocco is inexpensive by Western standards. Moroccans tend to haggle over prices and accept that others will do the same, especially in the country's markets, or souks. The cost of certain services -- such as guides, car rental, and mechanical services -- can also be negotiated. However, in businesses such as restaurants and grocery, hardware, electrical, and fashion stores, prices are generally fixed. In the bigger cities, prices for virtually everything are higher, especially in the main tourist centers of Marrakech, Agadir, Fes, and Casablanca. In addition to this, prices can rise for public transport and in hotels and restaurants over the post-Ramadan feasts of Eid al Fitr and Eid al Adha, and again in the main tourist centers over the Easter and Christmas/New Year holiday periods.
Morocco's official currency is the dirham (MAD; abbreviated to dh within Morocco), divided into 100 centimes. Coins are issued in denominations of 1dh, 2dh, 5dh, and 10dh, as well as 10, 20, and 50 centimes. Banknotes are issued in denominations of 20, 50, 100, and 200. The dirham is a restricted currency and can't be taken out of the country, is not traded, and theoretically isn't available abroad (I have heard of travelers finding the odd bureau de change in London and at Gatwick airport that has a supply). The currency is stable and hasn't fluctuated too much in recent times, even during the global financial crisis.
Exchanging Money -- Morocco is still very much a cash society. Throughout the country, it's very difficult to cash traveler's checks or use credit cards. Euros are by far the easiest foreign currency to exchange, and are often accepted as payment if you don't have any dirham on hand. U.S. dollars and British pounds can be exchanged at banks and bureaux de change, but will rarely be accepted as payment. Frustratingly, most banks, as well as bureaux de change, do not exchange pre-2000 U.S. notes or the new F-series British pound notes that began circulation in early 2007. Throughout the country you'll also come up against a blanket refusal by any Moroccan to accept any dirham note that is damaged (that includes the slightest tear). The national reserve bank, Bank al Maghrib, will accept all of these, and can be found in each large city. Note: Scottish pounds and Australian, Canadian, and New Zealand dollars are not exchangeable in Morocco.
As the dirham isn't traded internationally, there's no money-changing black market, and exchange rates vary marginally between banks, bureaux de change, and even most hotels. Changing money at a bureau de change is quicker than at banks, although some banks do have dedicated booths just for money exchange.
There is always a problem making change in Morocco, and it's often difficult to pay with large banknotes. Always be on the lookout for smaller denomination (10 and 20) bank notes and dirham coins, as this will make your life easier during the daily trials of tipping for services and paying for inexpensive everyday goods such as bottled water. Good places to break down a large note are the Acima and Marjane supermarkets (noted throughout the "Shopping" sections of each destination) or at the tollbooths on the nation's auto routes (if you are self-driving).
You can usually exchange dirham back into hard currency -- usually only euros -- at major airports around the country. They may ask for an exchange receipt, so keep a few handy along your travels. Duty-free shops past the immigration counters do not accept dirham. If traveling by ferry from Tangier, you can try to re-exchange dirham at the bureaux de change at the port entrance or with money changers in Algeciras. Money changers at the Ceuta/Morocco border will do this as well.
The easiest and best way to get cash away from home is from an ATM (automated teller machine), sometimes referred to as a "cash machine" or a "cashpoint." The Cirrus (tel. 800/424-7787; www.mastercard.com) and PLUS (tel. 800/843-7587; www.visa.com) networks span the globe. Go to your bank card's website to find ATM locations at your destination. Be sure you know your daily withdrawal limit before you depart.
Some ATMs in Morocco only accept a four-digit personal identification number (PIN); change your five- and six-digit PIN before you're in Morocco. Without the PIN, you can't use the card at an ATM or within a branch, unless it is a credit card, where you can make a cash advance within some banks and bureaux de change. Note: Many banks impose a fee every time you use a card at another bank's ATM, and that fee can be higher for international transactions than for domestic ones. In addition, the bank from which you withdraw cash may charge its own fee. For international withdrawal fees, ask your bank.
Credit cards are another safe way to carry money. They also provide a convenient record of all your expenses, and they generally offer relatively good exchange rates. You can withdraw cash advances from your credit cards at banks or ATMs, but high fees make credit card cash advances a pricey way to get cash. Keep in mind that you'll pay interest from the moment of your withdrawal, even if you pay your monthly bills on time. Also, note that many banks now assess a 1% to 3% "transaction fee" on all charges you incur abroad (whether you're using the local currency or your native currency).
It's best not to completely rely on being able to use your credit card when shopping in Morocco. Some large, tourist-friendly shops, especially the carpet emporiums, will have the necessary equipment, but when paying for smaller purchases, cash will be the only form of payment accepted. If you are using your credit card, be aware of the full amount being charged to your card prior to signing off the transaction. The transaction should be in dirham, so be aware of the current exchange rates. Make sure the amount on the transaction slip is clear and concise, and on no occasion agree to signing multiple slips for monthly payments, as there's every chance the slips will be banked all at once, and the door is also left open for those slips to be doctored.
When it's possible to pay for goods and services by credit card, MasterCard and Visa are accepted, but rarely American Express. Diners Club and Discover cards are not accepted in Morocco.
Exchanging traveler's checks can be difficult in Morocco. Most banks and bureaux de change exchange cash only -- or will make it plainly obvious that they would prefer not to exchange traveler's checks by asking for all manner of identification and proof of purchase. Personal experience recommends wherever you find an establishment accepting traveler's checks, plan ahead and exchange a bit more than you budgeted. I've found most success with the banks along Tangier's avenue Mohammed V and at branches of the national reserve bank, Bank al Maghrib, throughout the country.
The most common traveler's checks accepted in Morocco -- in either euros, U.S. dollars, or British pounds -- are those offered by American Express (tel. 800/807-6233, or 800/221-7282 for cardholders -- this number accepts collect calls, offers service in several foreign languages, and exempts Amex gold and platinum cardholders from the 1% fee); Visa (tel. 800/732-1322 -- AAA members can obtain Visa checks for a $9.95 fee for checks up to $1,500 at most AAA offices or by calling tel. 866/339-3378); and MasterCard (tel. 800/223-9920).
Be sure to keep a record of the traveler's checks serial numbers separate from your checks in the event that they are stolen or lost. You'll get a refund faster if you know the numbers.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.