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carcassone Aug 24th, 2016 12:31 PM

Planning my last day in Morocco
I am trying to figure out what is the best way to spend my last day in Morocco. I leave on a Sat at 2:55p from CMN-JFK on RAM. I will be in Marrakesh prior as the last part of my trip.

The options I'm considering:
1) RAM connecting flight RAK-CMN (11:25a-12:35p) This is most time efficient with a 2+ hrs layover. But no alternative if this connecting flight is late/cancel and I will likely miss the flight back home.

2) RAM connecting flight RAK-CMN (9:00a-9:50a) This has a long 5 hrs layover. But if this flight is late/cancel, there is the next flight 11:25a (or enough time for train, I guess?)

3) Arrive Casablanca the night before, Fri. This is the safest in terms of not missing the Sat flight home. It cuts a day out of Marrakesh but adds an opportunity to see the Hassan II Mosque. Would I have enough time Sat morning to take the 9a tour of the mosque before heading to CMN for the 2:55p flight?

Trying to weight these options so I can book the correct round-trip tickets.

Thanks in advance for your insight.

MmePerdu Aug 24th, 2016 01:56 PM

You could also take the train to Casa Voyageur station the evening before, the main station which has direct trains to the airport.

We've heard from our esteemed contributor, Darren Hunphrys, that sadly, the Ibis hotel at the station has closed but information about another one here in his post:

Spend the night at the train station hotel, see the mosque in the morning (before you make plans check for times they'll admit infidels, not all the time is my understanding) then take the short train ride to the airport. This would be my choice.

MinnBeef Aug 25th, 2016 05:19 AM

I vote for option C. While Casa is an ugly city from everything I saw, the Hassan II mosque is stunning! It was the first (and my very favorite single thing) I saw in Morocco.

MinnBeef Aug 26th, 2016 06:08 AM

I should add you'll have plenty of time for the 9:00 mosque tour. I arrived to the mosque around 8:00 a.m. and spent a good 45 minutes wandering the plaza and down by the Atlantic taking all sorts of photos. It was wonderful to have the mosque grounds more or less to myself. At 8:50. they opened up the ticket window. I would estimate the tour itself was around 45 minutes or so, afterwhich I spent another 30 minutes or so on the grounds and along the start of the Corniche. (the grounds were quite crowded by then.) I then took a taxi back to my hotel and collected my bags to catch the 1:00 bus to Chefchaouen.

Plan accordingly and you should have plenty of time to visit this incredible structure. Like I said above, it was my favorite single thing I saw in Morocco. I have a big photo of it right above my computer here in my office. It's stunning!

carcassone Aug 26th, 2016 09:04 AM

MinnBeef, thanks for the helpful info. So it's not necessary to buy tickets in advance, right?

I'm considering staying by the mosque the night before so I can visit the ground at sunset. The night shots of the mosque also look incredible.

BTW, I replied to your old post:
You mind sharing info on the travel times?

Thanks much!

MinnBeef Aug 26th, 2016 04:48 PM

I don't believe you can buy tix in advance. You won't have any problems buying day of. I'm afraid I no longer have any of my transportation info. You should just be able to Google to find schedules. ONCF is the bus company I used. RENFI (sp?) is the train company. I only used trains to go from Fes to Marrakech and from Marrakech to Casablanca. If you speak a little French, it helps with navigating both websites. Just go ahead and research. It's 1/2 the fun of the trip.

MinnBeef Aug 26th, 2016 04:51 PM

PS, Mme. Perdu raises an interesting point about admittance of non-Muslims. I took the same 9:00 am tour you are targeting and no one asked about my religion. However since you will be arranging your schedule to see the mosque, it might not hurt to ask about this with your Casa hotel. (As in, ask when you make the reservation).

MmePerdu Aug 26th, 2016 05:03 PM

As I understand it, non-Muslims are welcome for the tours but not at other times. That was my point.

As far as I know ONCF is the train site. Maybe buses too but I haven't used it for that. Train schedules here:

The only bus I've used was Supratours, Marrakech to Essaouira. I see on the homepage that they're affiliated with ONCF).

CTM is another, though I have no personal experience. I'm sure they're fine.

MinnBeef Aug 27th, 2016 06:26 PM

Mme Perudu--you are correct on ONCF. I mixed that up with RENFI, which is the Spanish train system. CTM is who I was trying to think of for the bus. I used them and had no problems.

traveller1959 Sep 1st, 2016 07:01 AM

>> Casa is an ugly city from everything I saw <<

Obviously, you have not seen much.

Casablanca has no medina, that's right. But the city center with all these white buildings with intricate facades in a mixture of art déco and oriental styles is really beautiful. The pedestrian zone is lined by beautiful buildings, elegantly styled with trees and flowers, and you see something of real Morocco there - well-dressed people in western fashion, while in den medina's of Fès and Marrakech you see mostly poverty and people harassing tourists.

There is also Rick's Café, which is really recommendable for a meal.

And, of course, the great mosque, which is the only mosque in Morocco which can be visited by non-Muslims.

MmePerdu Sep 1st, 2016 07:40 AM

traveler1959: "Casablanca has no medina..."

That's incorrect. There is a medina, located just to the west of the port. Zoom in on google maps and you'll see it.

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