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1. Visas & Passports

2. Getting there
Casablanca | Agadir
Marrakech | Tangier
Ceuta | Figuig
La Gouera | Laayoune
Melilla | Oujda

3. Getting around

4. Distance finder

5. Eating & sleeping

6. About Hotels

7. Costs

8. Health

9. Safety

10. Climate

11. Communications

12. Shopping

13. Playing golf

14. Skiing

15. Travel costs

16. Which holiday?

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Morocco has a wide variety of handicrafts, easily available in every town and village. While some of the products are locally produced, most items for sale are made in the larger cities, or even in factories, and exported across the entire country.
Although tourism is important to the Moroccan economy, most tourist handicrafts are actually bought by the Moroccans themselves. This almost guarantees that its all genuine, although producers have learned a thing or two about Western tastes to bend styles and shapes to increase sales.
Buying in Morocco can be difficult and frustrating; very few places operate with Prix fixe, fixed and indicated prices. And some of the shops that do, have an inflated price level, while others have not.
Once you have found a product you like in a Moroccan shop, it is customary to ask the price. This price is almost always extremely inflated, and open for haggling. There is, unfortunately, no formula to how much it is inflated. It could be 50% up, 150%, and in the case of certain light products (like perfumes) several hundred percent.
Should you bring a local to aid in the haggling, make sure that he doesn't get a cut of the deal. That is, unless you think it is fine. Some of the guys specializing in "helping" tourists, make their living of a cut of everything you buy (after saying goodbye, they walk back the track, claiming the money). But quite a few of these will actually take pride in assuring that you get a good price, and some have learned that the best way of avoiding the attention of the tourist police (yes, there is such a department) is to keep their "clients" happy.
My best method of making sure I get the right price, is to find an area of several shops selling the same stuff. I haggle to the extreme, and test out to what degree the shop keeper calls me back when I finally walk out, saying the customary "that is my last price!" Eventually, I get a feeling of the right price level, and end up buying in another shop where I am not infamous that very day.
This is time consuming, but if you keep your cool, it is very entertaining.
Two basic rules: Never begin haggling unless you seriously consider buying! And, you are the master of your wallet, no shopkeeper has the right to make you feel obliged to buy anything!
Some tourists will claim that rich Westerners simply should be happy to pay inflated prices, that they thereby help poor locals. This is pure rubbish! First, money this way ends up in the hands of the shop keeper, who usually is well off, and not in the hands of the craftsmen. Second, by creating the expectation of all Westerners paying more, they make it difficult for all those who may look Western, but who are not from a rich country.
As for what to buy, there is only one rule: Buy the things you really like, and look carefully that it is a fine product without flaws. A few Moroccan products loose value once you get home, other items increase in value. Persian-style carpets are valueless outside Morocco, while Berber-carpets or rugs are smart buys. Jars, mugs and lamps are so popular that they are sold in fashionable shops across the world.
The very smartest thing to buy are toiletteries. Mud shampoo and cleaning stones are simply not to be missed.

By Tore Kjeilen