Day trip from Marrakesh to Essaouira

Mar 22nd, 2009, 12:41 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 1,182
Day trip from Marrakesh to Essaouira

I assume most riads are able to help arrange for a day-trip if we decided to do that once we get there? Anyone have an idea of what the approx. price would be for a driver/guide for just 2 people? I'm really not interested in taking the bus.

Or is it too far to be comfortably done in one day? We wouldn't have enough time to add a full day/night there so it would either be a day-trip from Marrakesh or not at all. In which case we'd be spending a third day in Marrakesh. Any opinions on whether it's worthwhile?

Thanks.
Leslie_S is offline  
Mar 22nd, 2009, 01:35 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 105
Leslie,

My husband and I did this trip last September and you can definitely do it in a day. I'm sorry to say that I don't remember how much the driver cost. Our hotel arranged it for us. There are some interesting places to stop on the way and the coast is beautiful, as is the medina. As I remember it's about 3 hours each way. We left early, spent about 4 hours there and were back in Marrakesh for dinner. I'd definitely recommend it. If you haven't arranged for a day up in the Atlas mountains, this is a treat too. Our hotel arranged for us to have lunch with a family and it was a wonderful day.

Hope you have a good trip. Marrakesh is fabulous.

Debbie
debwarr is offline  
Mar 22nd, 2009, 01:44 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 24,362
Hi Leslie - why not the bus? Essaouira is a great place for just wandering around on your own.
thursdaysd is offline  
Mar 22nd, 2009, 03:02 PM
  #4  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 1,182
Thanks for the encouragement. I think also along the way are the argan trees and goats - argan cooperatives - would be nice to check out.

Maybe the bus - I'll do more research. I am just looking for the path of least resistance on this with my husband, the non-traveler - anything that will make the trip feel easier for him.
One of the benefits of traveling alone thursdaysd - you have no one else's concerns to worry about!
Leslie_S is offline  
Mar 22nd, 2009, 03:17 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 1,239
We've done this in a hire car a couple of times. It is a long drive on roads that are quite narrow and a bit hairy where the lorries come the other way at 100kph on the narrower bits, but in the main it's OK with a couple of drivers.

The bus takes forever, don't do it. Local colour is one thing, but it just isn't worth it. A driver and a car is a solution if you don't want to drive. Sorry, can't help on cost.

Essaouira is worth the visit though, so try to get there if you can.
Lifeman is offline  
Mar 22nd, 2009, 03:33 PM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 24,362
LP says the bus takes 2 1/2 hours - I think that's about right - it didn't seem all that long to me, but I didn't do it twice in one day. However, stopping at the argan collectives would be a good reason for a car and driver.

"you have no one else's concerns to worry about!" - very true. Also, no question who's to blame when things go wrong!
thursdaysd is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2009, 07:31 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 1,834
The bus was not bad at all...about 2.5 hrs is my recollection as well. (It's a nice bus, not a chicken bus...)
I do think it would be a shame to go just for a day trip though...Essaouria is a nice place to stay for at least a night, and soak up the chill atmosphere, so different that frenetic, hectic Marrakech.
cruisinred is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2009, 09:34 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 1,239
I checked the distance from Marrakesh to Essaouira on Google and it says 176k. I seem to remember that the road distance was around 110/120 miles in total. I'm fairly sure that the bus doesn't do that distance in two to two and a half hours.

See http://www.magicmorocco.com/cities_and_distances.html

I'm fairly sure that it takes around 3/4 hours each way.
Lifeman is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2009, 11:27 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 24,362
I know that it takes more than an hour, as we stopped for a toilet break after the first hour. Are you seriously suggesting that it takes less than an hour to go 110 miles?
thursdaysd is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2009, 12:35 PM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 1,491
Essaouira is worth at least a couple of days on its own. The port is beautiful and bustling at dawn as the boats return with the catch; the medina is lovely and atmospheric after dark; watching the sunset from the ramparts is divine; there are small seaside villages nearby where you can sit at a table in the shade of blooming mimosas and enjoy delicious lunches of the freshest fish grilled right in front of you.

You'll miss the best parts if you visit only during a mid-day day-trip from Marrakech. Here are some images to whet your appetite, if you're interested: http://jmstudio.fotopic.net/c1475634.html
julia1 is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2009, 01:13 PM
  #11  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 1,182
Beautiful! So tell me, if you only HAD one day - would you rather that little glimpse or would you give it a pass altogether? Those may be my only 2 choices.

The driver we're using for the sahara portion will do Marrakesh-Ess. day trip for 2000DH and says it's 3 hrs drive each way. I assume that's with other stops, such as at the argan cooperative. I think that's way high but if it ends up being a 9+ hour day then maybe that's fair? So that would only give us 3-5 hours in Essaouira I'm guessing. Worth it for that amount of time? I'm thinking the riad would offer a cheaper option.
Leslie_S is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2009, 01:15 PM
  #12  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 1,182
thursdaysd - I was reading Lifeman's post to mean 3 to 4 hours. Not three-quarters.
Leslie_S is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2009, 02:25 PM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 24,362
Leslie - 3 to 4 would make more sense, but you've got to allow time for dealing with the traffic in Marrakech, and it's not exactly an Interstate or autobahn. You should definitely have more than three hours in Ess. One of the guys on my tour came with me when I moved to Ess. and went back to Marrakech the same day, and he seemed to have plenty of time. Of course. we didn't stop on the way.

Your cheapest car option is likely to be hiring a taxi off the street - haggle hard if you try that! (Although I guess you should check with your hotel that they're allowed to go out of town.) I don't remember the bus price, but LP says 60 DH one way, and I don't think that's far off. $245 for a day trip sounds very high to me, but I don't often travel that way. If you take the bus it would probably be a good idea to buy your tickets a day or two ahead.
thursdaysd is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2009, 05:14 PM
  #14  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 1,182
Thanks for all of the helpful input. I'll ponder a bit more. Maybe there's a way to squeeze one more day in and spend a night there rather than do it as a day trip.
Leslie_S is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2009, 08:58 PM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 1,491
Just smiling to myself about the argan trees and the goats. We went out to visit the women's cooperative and, on the way, passed an argan grove with goats grazing among the trees. We stopped to photograph and the young boy herding the goats, about 10-12 years old, suddenly sprang into action, running around feverishly grabbing goats and throwing them into the trees! I guessed he felt the tips were better for images of goats in trees. The goats took it all in stride, barely interrupting their chewing.

The women at the argan oil coop were lovely: http://jmstudio.fotopic.net/p49032016.html Kind and welcoming.
julia1 is offline  
Mar 24th, 2009, 05:24 AM
  #16  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 1,182
I would tip for a goat in a tree
Your pictures are fabulous.
Leslie_S is offline  
Apr 7th, 2009, 06:14 AM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 13
Julia, your photos are wonderful! I feel like I've been on a trip to Morocco! Did you go with a group or were you on your own? When did you go? My husband and I are planning to go in the fall.
kathyninmd is offline  
Apr 7th, 2009, 05:23 PM
  #18  
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 1,491
Leslie and Kathy, thanks so much. I was there for a few days with a group of photographers, and then on my own. Early March, a year ago. You will love it, I'm sure. Unlike any place I've ever been before.
julia1 is offline  
Apr 8th, 2009, 06:31 AM
  #19  
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 13
Julia, when you photographed the people, how did you approach them to ask? I've read in a number of places that many of the people of Morocco do not like to be photographed, and some actually feel that when you are photographing them you are stealing a bit of them. I am not good at approaching strangers to ask for photographs even when I can speak their language!
kathyninmd is offline  
Apr 9th, 2009, 07:29 AM
  #20  
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 1,491
The people are friendly and helpful for the most part, as in Turkey, Iran and other places I've travelled in the Arab/Middle Eastern world, but their second language, if they have one aside from Arabic, is usually French. If you speak some French, you will find you get along better.

Most Moroccans didn't want their photos taken, particularly without being asked first. If they noticed someone pointing a camera their way, they would turn away, become angry or pointedly say 'No.' Some would ask for money in exchange for a photo. It's considered especially objectionable and disrespectful to photograph Muslim women, and they will turn away or men will intercede for them if they notice what's happening. The Berber women were more open to being photographed. You can see some of my portraits of them here: http://jmstudio.fotopic.net/c1475634.html, for photos of women working in an argan oil cooperative.

In the souks of Marrakech and also the shops in Essaouira, shopkeepers reacted pretty much the same way, in that they protested if someone pointed a camera, often shouting, 'Don't take my picture - buy something!' However, I found that if I made a point to converse a little, purchase something small, and then ask if I could take a photograph, they were all smiles. Often I found myself being invited in for a cup of mint tea. Here are some of my photos from Marrakech: http://jmstudio.fotopic.net/c1475634.html Scroll down toward the bottom of the page.

Regarding dress, it's not necessary to cover your head, just dress modestly - cover your upper arms, no plunging necklines, no mini-skirts or shorts, etc. Capris, skirts below the knee, trousers all fine. You will see all sorts of dress and undress - some people have no sense - but Moroccans will react to you more graciously if you are respectful of their customs.

Now I'll add a little plug for Iran because of all the places I've been, it is without question the most interesting, amazing, astonishing place to travel. The millenia of history, culture, archeology is a wealth beyond compare. And the people are the kindest, friendliest and most welcoming of all. They love to have their photos taken, with you, without you, with their friends and families and animals. Almost everyone has a cell phone or two and they love to take your photos with their cell phones and then share them with all their friends. The hotels are excellent, the food is as good as Middle Eastern food gets, I could go on and on. If you'd like to see some of my photos, here's a link: http://jmstudio.fotopic.net/c1606257.html
julia1 is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 08:46 PM.