Morocco is a fascinating and exotic destination with many different reasons to visit. With a rich and ancient artisan tradition, the temptation of unbridled shopping is everywhere. While you wander through the Medina of any city in the country, no matter how large or small, whether you are going up north to Tangier, central to Casablanca or south to Marrakesh, you will have the opportunity to take in the stunning views, and learn more about the lives of the locals and their traditional goodies. Most of the products are either hand-made locally or made with bio products. There are a lot of things you can take back home, but here are the things you can only find in Morocco!
Marrakech is one of the best cities in Morocco for shopping. In order to make the best of your Marrakech holiday, you may want to consider joining a shopping tour. Armed with a Marrakech map, it will also help you get your bearings around the city.
How to shop in Morocco
It’s impossible not to be distracted by the countless shops as far as the eye can see. Colorful plush rugs, hand woven blankets, leather bags of every shape and size, fragrant spices – you’ll need an extra suitcase just to get everything home! And while you can get most of these treasures at amazing prices, those prices don’t come easily. You’ll need to do a lot of negotiating and endure a fair bit of hassle. There are no prices listed on any items and when you ask they’ll offer a starting price that is at least twice as much as it should be. Read on to learn how to figure out what things should cost and how to get them for the price you want.
You’ll first find that very few things that you can purchase in Morocco are truly one of a kind. The same bags, rugs, and blankets are sold in pretty much every store, in every souk, in every town in Morocco. There are variations of course, in color and in quality, but due to the sheer number of similar items being sold it’s pretty easy to figure out what items should cost.
Before you actually buy anything, spend a day price checking. You’ll find that the shops near busy main squares are generally more expensive while shops down little side alleyways are generally cheaper. They pay more in rent and pass the costs on to the consumer. Don’t start negotiating yet, just get a lay of the land.
Negotiating in Morocco is expected and welcomed so be prepared to bargain with shopkeepers. You’ll notice that prices are not listed on any items (even in the small food markets in the souks) so you’ll have to ask the store owner how much any item that you’re interested in purchasing will cost. You may notice that it takes them a moment to give a price – they are probably sizing you up.
You’ll also notice that the price comes down quite a bit as soon as you say no and start to walk away. They’ll call after you “how much you pay?” “I give you special price!”
Let’s say the price starts at 400 Dhs ($40 USD) and you counter at 200 Dhs. You’ll be able to tell almost immediately how far on or off you are. If they pretend to be offended but continue with negotiations, you can probably end up somewhere in the middle, say around 300 Dhs. If they just shake their head “no” and pay you no more mind, they probably aren’t very interested in budging.