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“Don't get suckered!”
Review of Tangier

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Punta Gorda, Florida
Level Contributor
6 reviews
13 helpful votes
“Don't get suckered!”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 July 2011

For my family, Tangier was intriguing, but annoying. We were getting hussled the entire time and could not let our guard down. It probably didn't help that we were the only blonde people wherever we went. The hotel rooms were clean, spacious, well-stocked, well-decorated and inexpensive in comparison to our European hotels. We couldn't help but want to explore the Kasbah, admire the palaces, and shop. I found the coolest silver jewelry pieces and the best leather purse I've ever owned in Tangier. We had an awesome time being doted on and served mint tea while getting a moroccan rug sales presentation. Moroccan food is different, but good. Everywhere we ate served a different version of a fabulous soup. Moroccan bread, chicken kabobs and couscous were a hit with the kids. Not one of the restaurants we ate at served alcohol. Apparently Moroccan culture doesn't support beer and wine, but most men have no problem smoking hash, including our tour guide and crazy cab driver, which turned out to be high as a kite and hussling us the entire time once we were committed to his private tour. After a few hours, it became apparent that he had a business relationship with different street vendors, restaurants and store owners and was getting a cut from everything we bought. On the surface, he was a great guy and entertaining for the kids, so they had a really good time, but my husband and I wanted to castrate the guy by the end of the day. Only go to Tangier if you want an adventure. It is not a place to relax.

Helpful?
8 Thank PhoebeMenzer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Rotherham, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
2 reviews
9 helpful votes
“Tangier, a deceiving gateway to Africa”
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 16 April 2011

I'd just hitch-hiked with my friend from the UK to Algecieras Spain, where we met up with 2 of our friends who'd also hitch-hiked down. We boarded the ferry to Tangier with a mix of jubilation that we'd finally made it and excitement about the sights and experiences that this North African country had in store for us. After having our passports stamped on the boat, we went to the deck to see the busy port of Tangier approaching in the distance.

We disembarked and as soon as we set foot on the dock were greeted by a man who I could see was called Mohammad from his old, but official looking tourist guide badge, he showed us through the bustling port to the customs & information desk. We spoke to the clerk at the desk, who mentioned nothing about the man who was with us. As soon as we walked away from the desk he ushered past the armed port authorities and then offered to take us on a tour of Tangier and offered to take us to his home afterwards where his wife would cook for us. We'd been warned about this type of scam before where people have been robbed back at the house, sometimes after they'd spent the night there, given an extortionate bill for the services or just ushered around the 'guide's' relatives' shops, restaurants and hotels and charged extra to pay the guide. We went with our gut instinct and decided to leave him behind.

We went on the enjoy some mint tea and some average quality Tagine which seemed to be very expensive. We spent some time around the beach; walking along the promenade which looking at the shops, fast-food restaurants, tower blocks and day-tourists from Spain could have easily been a cheap resort on the Costa Del Sol. We were starting to worry that all Morocco would be like this. We went to the city as evening was approaching and explored to find Tangier is clearly struggling with the balance between tourism and it's effect on the life and culture of the Moroccan people.

We decided that we didn't want to spend any more time in Tangier and had a few weeks to kill before our flight back to the UK so we went off to find a Taxi to the train station. A very helpful, yet pushy Moroccan came up to us as we approached. He looked fairly official and was ushering other people into Taxis. We asked him how much to the station and he gave us a price which seemed very expensive, so we haggled a little, which seemed to anger the man; the taxi driver staying very quiet. We payed the man - he gave some money to the driver and then asked for a further tip. When we refused he slammed the door shut after cramming the 4 of us and 2 other people we'd met into his rather small 4 seat taxi he took us to the station. When we arrived at the station speaking to some other travelers we found out that we had indeed been ripped off. The man was nothing to do with the taxis. just someone trying to earn some fast cash. TIP - when getting in a taxi, deal direct with the driver - there is usually no need for a 3rd party to be involved! You can haggle to reach a price you are happy with - but don't be ridiculous. Haggle for pounds, don't fight to save pennies. Remember these people are from a much poorer background than many Europeans.

We made it to the station with an hour to spare before the night-train to Marrakech. At the counter the attendant asked us if we would like 2nd class, 1st class or sleeper car tickets. We opted for 2nd class as it was cheapest, but the price difference was negligible. After this experience I would strongly recommend that you go for the sleeper car. We found on the train many people of 'unsavory character'. Talking to other travelers we learned there was a real problem with people having luggage or money stolen whilst sleeping in 2nd class. We saw the same faces walking up and down the carriages for at least several hours so took it in turns to sleep and look after the bags. The result was a pretty much sleepless night and very tired arrival in Marrakech. People do sell drinks and snacks on the train, often children. They are not linked to the train operators. Just people trying to earn a living.

I don't doubt that Tangier does have some amazing places and things to do but it is very much the Moroccan equivalent to Dover in the UK. It is a place of transit...used by but rarely embraced by tourists. The fast money available due to people having just arrived in the country has brought some unscrupulous people to the surface and I can imagine why a person just visiting Tangier would have no desire to go back and see the rest of Morocco.

We got off the train in Marrakech and immediately realised that this was a different breed of city. You can see the effects of tourism and it is still full of shops or hotels that really stick out as 'western' but everything seemed much more laidback. We went on to see what an incredible country Morocco is and had some fabulous experiences.

TIP - get out of Tangier and see the rest of this amazing country!!

Helpful?
8 Thank LeatherTramp
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Los Angeles, CA
Level Contributor
3 reviews
6 helpful votes
“Ferry from Morocco to Spain”
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 April 2011

I recently went to Morocco and through Spain (mid-March, 2011). I was able to find info about travel in both countries but none about how to get from Tangier, Morocco through the Straight of Gibraltar to Tarifa, Spain. Here is the information to help navigate how to take the ferry across the straight.

From the Tangier port, buy tickets at either FRS (cheaper/better, www.frs.es) or Comcart (spelling?). I believe FRS ferry runs every 2 hours. For sure there was a 2 pm and 4 pm ferry. The ferry itself was very nice. There may be locals or taxi drivers who try to direct you to a small stand next to the ferry parking lot across from all the legitimate ferry companies lined in a building on the other side. This little stand did not look reputable. I bought my tickets directly from the company.

After getting your tickets, make sure to go upstairs through security, then across the bridge and down to the ferry itself. I made the mistake of lining behind a group of travelers in the security building lobby thinking that was the entrance. By the time the group finally moved through the bridge and down to the ferries, my ferry was already lifting its entrance gates and it was too late to board. Don't make the same mistake!

The ferry ride itself was short (35 min), smooth, and very enjoyable. It cost about 38 euros per ticket. My only complaint about the whole experience was the difficulty in finding out what the ferry times were, how to get legitimate ferry tickets, and when to actually board the ferry.

Helpful?
6 Thank AdventureSeeker000
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
11 reviews
14 helpful votes
“Tangier, not my favorite place to visit”
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 21 September 2010

The biggest problem we had with Tangier were the street "vendors" who followed us a wouldn't leave us alone. The tour was good because our guides brought us on a direct route to specific shops which basically had everything we might want to buy and got us off the streets as fast as possible. We decided to buy a few things, a silver teapot for example :), and we had to haggle the price for so long that our tour group left without us. So then we had to follow the tour guide's "cousin" through the old winding streets, where everyone is dressed the same. As soon as we walked out we were surrounded by local people on the street trying to sell jewelry, clothing and spices. I got so disoriented that I started walking down the wrong street and my boyfriend had to grab me to follow him. It was a pretty overwhelming feeling.

Long story short, we made it back to the group, which was being hustled back to the tour bus quickly. And yes, the stories of the poverty stricken children and disabled people begging for money and trying to sell you things are true. When we got back onto the bus, we could see young boys still trying to bargain their goods through the windows of the bus, and there was a small boy crying because he didn't get any money apparently. It was a pretty intense situation.

Would we go back to Tangier? Probably not. Would we go back to Morocco? Of course! There are so many places we would love to explore in Morocco, so we are definitely not writing it off. We want to see Chefchaouen, Fez, Marrakesh and Casablanca. I think we just need to give the country the proper amount of time.

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4 Thank iwander711
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
14 reviews
25 helpful votes
“Travel from Algeciras to Morocco”
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 6 August 2010

I recently returned from a trip that included a segment involving travel between Algeciras in Spain and Tangier, Morocco. I am providing this fairly crucial information, which I would've loved to have had before I took this trip. I booked a 9:00 a.m.ferry with a company called Balearia, the website of which indicated that the ferry trip would take one hour, so I expected that I would have no difficulty getting to a train to Fes leaving from Tangier at 11:00 AM. I was unaware of the fact that there is a one hour time difference between Spain and Morocco so that, actually, if things went as scheduled, the ferry would actually have arrived in Tangier at 9:00 AM. However, the ferry left Algeciras 45 minutes late, and we learned en route that the ferry now goes to a new port that is a 45 minute bus ride from Tangier. Balearia provides a free bus to the old port in Tangier, but the bus did not leave the port that we arrived in until 11:30 AM, so of course we missed our train by a wide margin. We had to wait five hours in the train station in Tangier for the next train out, and, because the train was also far behind schedule, we ended up arriving in Fes at around 11 PM, not at 3:40 PM as we anticipated. Please note that it is not possible to buy train tickets for travel within Morocco until you arrive in the country. Also, it is extremely difficult to get information by phone from Balearia, which did not indicate on its website or in our ticket confirmation the information about the port that the ferry operates out of, nor about the bus schedule. The free bus that takes you from the old port back to the ferry leaves every hour on the hour, but you have to go through immigration once you arrive at the new port, so leave yourself a good deal of time (45 minutes or so) for that. Another recommendation would be to spend the night in Tangier on the day you arrive there and also on the night before your departure on the ferry. Also, always book first class on the trains within Morocco. The extra cost is minimal by US standards, and the difference is huge in terms of comfort (no air conditioning in second class).

Helpful?
9 Thank nyccheapskate
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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