Archive for the ‘Morocco’ Category

Tangier, Morocco – The Worst And Most Expensive Day Tour Ever

Saturday, October 22nd, 2011

At least the camel's smile in Tangier

Rick Steve’s was wrong!!  In one of his guidebooks he recommends taking a day tour to Tangier with one of his best guides, Aziz.  He goes on to say how much Tangier has changed over the years and how its no longer the “Tijuana of Africa”.  Tangier may no longer be the “Tijuana of Africa” but you wouldn’t know it by using the horrible guides provided by Aziz Tours.  Here is the story on how a good idea turned into a the worst and most expensive day tour ever.

I contacted Aziz by e-mail and he was very responsive and gave a quote of 101 euros person (202 for the two of us).  This included the ferry tickets (66 euros round trip), a minibus tour of the outskirts of Tangier, visit to Cape Spartel, Cave of Hercules, a stop for a camel ride then finishes up with a walking tour of the old city.  During the tour he said he would give “lots of information about Tangier´s history, Moroccan culture and Berber traditions, etc”.  This sounded good and since Rick Steve’s recommended this guy I said ok.  Then things started to fall apart.

At the last minute, Aziz notified us he wasn’t available and said one of his trusted colleagues would take us around.  I should have cancelled immediately as this is a big red flag.

So what went wrong??

  • The “30 minute” ferry ride actually takes about 90 minutes.  They slow the ship down so they can process everyone’s visa onboard before the ferry gets to Morocco.
  • Aziz nor his colleague was there to pick us up at the ferry terminal.  We had to wait around for another 30 minutes even though the ferry was over an hour late.
  • The “trusted colleague” who picked us up wasn’t actually a tour guide.  He was Aziz’s driver.  He spoke extremely broken english which was virtually impossible to understand.  So much for getting “lots of information about Tangier´s history, Moroccan culture and Berber traditions, etc”.
  • When we got to the Cave of Hercules our guide/driver couldn’t take us in.  Instead we had to pay 5 Euros to some other guy to show us around.  He spent 2 minutes explaining the sight and 10 minutes showing us all the crappy souvenirs to buy.  The worst part is you could tell he hated his job.  No enthusiasm, no passion for his job, no smiling, just no personality.

Cave of Hercules

Souvenirs in Cave of Hercules

  • When we got to the camel ride I wasn’t expecting much and I was right.  It was a 5 minute ride around a dirt parking lot that cost another 10 euros.

Camel ride around a dirt parking lot

  • We wanted to eat lunch at one of the local restaurants that served what looked like a very good local fish dish.  Our guide/driver said you can’t eat that because you will get sick.  I said I want to get some good, cheap, local food for lunch and he said no problem.  He took us to what looked like a local restaurant except when we entered it was full of tourists.  I told him I wanted local and cheap and he said.  Yes.  Local food.  Cheap.  We found out at the end of the meal that it cost 50 euros.  The lunch wasn’t bad but 50 euros was ridiculous.
What we wanted to eat that cost only a couple Euros…

Local Moroccan dish

Instead.  We got a mediocre meal at this overpriced restaurant.

Overpriced tourist restaurant in Tangier

  • Now for the walking tour.  What a disappointment.  We actually got handed off to another guy who had even less personality (I didn’t think that was possible but it was).  He rushed us through the old town just pointing out the old buildings by saying their name.  No history.  No stories.  No explanation. He just said their names.

Our no history. No explanation. Super fast walking tour of Tangier

  • When Miki found this craftsman making leather handbags in a small corner shop she stopped.  Our guide said no and tried to keep us moving.  Miki wanted to buy a bag directly from the craftsman.  Our guide said that wasn’t possible.  We must buy it at a shop.  The lightbulb went off.  He was rushing us through the tour to get him to his friend’s shop so he could get commission off what we would buy.  At this point I called him out on it and told him we are not going to buy anything at the shop and your not going to get any commission so please take us somewhere else.  He got pissed.  He said there is nothing else to see in Tangier so he took us back to the ferry terminal.

Local craftsman making leather handbags

So what’s the best thing to do in Tangier, Morocco?

Sleeping in Tangier

We spent almost 300 euros on what was the the worst and most expensive day tour ever.  (Ok.  it wasn’t the most expensive day tour we’ve ever taken but it definitely was the biggest waste of money.) It’s too bad that a very pour tour guide ruined Tangier for us.  I wouldn’t recommend anyone to visit Tangier but if you do definitely don’t use Aziz Tours.  I’ll also think twice about trusting Rick Steve’s again :)
We did see one cool thing during our tour.  The cafe from the Bourne Ultimatum.  When we asked to stop to take a picture the guide said no place to park (surprised?).  So we had to make due with a drive by pic.

Cafe from the Bourne Ultimatum