Taghazout, the tiny fishing village north of Agadir, is a multi-cultural enclave for travelers seeking mosaic-tiled passageways, winsome Atlantic waves, and unexpected bo-ho vibes.
Deep in the south of an Islamic country, one doesn’t expect to find marijuana. But it’s offered up under different names by young men in djellabas: full-length, woolen, hooded robes that wouldn’t be out of place on the Venice Beach boardwalk. Here in Taghazout, 175 miles southwest of Marrakech on a tiny cape jutting into the warm Atlantic, you’ll find all sorts of contradictions to Western perceptions of life in this Northern African country. Girls in bathing suits wander barefoot while others pass wrapped in hijabs, turbans, or abayas. An endless ocean backs up to craggy mountains that buttress the sprawling Sahara desert. Languages and accents meld into a shared dialect: French, Arabic, English, and Spanish are tinged with Aussie slang and Eastern yogi jargon, mixing into one very gnarly shared tongue. A static-y Bob Marley melody complements the daily call to prayer.
How to Be
What is this town of contrast? Up and coming in Morocco’s arsenal of under-visited wanderlusty destinations, Taghazout offers the simple pleasures of a Mediterranean vacation: lush, colorful landscape; a sun-soaked seaside; languid, restful days. You won’t find weeks worth of activities to do here–so is the point. Taghazout offers not just retreat but sanctuary for the vacationer’s to-do list.
What to Sea
Wander the winding passageways and down to the beach to find surfers in wetsuits who just won’t quit. The waves here (all along the southern coast of Morocco, really), are famous amongst surfers for trade winds and beach breaks, and uncomplicated, unpretentious beginner’s lessons are immediately booked by travelers who hadn’t planned a trip to Taghazout for the surf. It is the sleepy town charm that draws laid-back folk and sun-seeking beach baskers from around the world.
What to See
But the thrill of the waves and serenity of the tide is just the beginning of the ultimate relaxation vacation. After fishing, sea kayaking, lounging, or simply delighting in a golden vista, there is opportunity to stretch out in yoga classes facing the water. Contemplate the vastness as you inhale fresh sea spray and exhale the bustle of Morocco’s distant urban hubbub. Or bag the exertion and get a massage–either way, your muscles slip further into sinewy repose.
What to Do
There are stones to uncover here in Taghazout, too: Follow the stray cats past through colorful alleys, photographing stray puppies and unique doorways at every twisting turn. Sip mint tea in cafes and buy fruit from the vendors. It won’t take much for you to be noticed in town, and locals are friendly and seemingly waiting for conversation. The promenade comes alive in the evening, so watch the sunset in a cafe and catch up on the day’s gossip with whoever happens to be around. Look out at the view—its unmissable—but check your feet too; beneath you are ceramic tile works of art arranged as walkways, steps, and paths.
Who to Meet
The area is primed for a tourism boom; the chain resorts–Fairmont and Hilton are under construction–due to open just miles from the town center will see to its success. But with its few blocks of bustling, multifarious commerce, a quiet neighborhood of crooked passageways to get lost in, and a strict commune with the ocean, the town seems primed to secure its originality as a funky out-of-the-way locale. Prepare yourself to seriously chill: Taghazout is a beach locale made popular by surfers, but the best part of your visit will be with the many locals who are up for chatting. Hanging around in the square, sipping tea in cafes, working produce stalls, and chasing children into chores, men and women in this town are warm, friendly, and accommodating. Idle chatter is a draw, so plan to settle into conversation with the new friends you meet at every turn.
INSIDER TIPAlways be respectful when approaching women and children to talk, and always ask before taking pictures.
Where to Stay
Sol House offers modern bungalows on the beach primed for surf and sun. These stand-alone cabins allow for privacy and space, and offer wi-fi, wrap around porches, hammocks, TVs, and mini-fridges, plus traditional hotel amenities like a restaurant, gym, and spa. There’s also Surfer Berbere, apartment-style rentals give travelers the luxury of a home base. Each space varies, but amenities offered include kitchen, terrace, full bathtub, and pool. Also, delicious meals at the cafe next door and serious good vibes.
What to Eat
The town’s hippie vibe extends to its food: smoothies, salads, coffee, lentils, and juice. Enjoy the fresh fruits sold on every corner, sip mint tea for hours as you chat in cafes. Dar Josephine, easily the best meal in town, offers fresh meals from a home kitchen on a gorgeous patio. L’Auberge is casual with traditional Moroccan fare including hot tagines and rich couscous. Ironically-named The Favela Restaurant is as fancy as it gets in Taghazout–come here with your new friends and order a million tapas. Need some carbs and a laugh? Grab a slice at the Pizza Hot.
What to Drink
Taghazout is a dry town, but alcohol can be purchased in nearby Agadir. It is legal to drink alcohol in Taghazout, but out of respect for locals, it’s best done in your lodgings. There are a plethora of healthy juice choices, and Morocco’s famous mint tea in every cafe. Try Cafe Kr for the views, World of Waves for the Wi-Fi, and Cafe La Paix for the smoothies.
What to Wear
If you plan to swim, you can’t go wrong in a wetsuit. The waters of the Atlantic are mild during the summer months but a wetsuit will keep you warm and modest. Women who want to wear a bathing suit, please keep it a one piece. Need a beachy cover-up? Try the unisex djellaba, in cotton for hot days and wool for the cold ones. This piece is a real conversation starter.