Getting around Marrakech
The national coach company CTM (tel: +212 800 090 030; www.ctm.ma) is the main provider of public transport in Marrakech. Most local bus services leave from Marrakech's central bus station just outside Bab Doukkala on the northwestern edge of the old city.
CTM services are reliable and operate from early morning until late at night, with night buses running on the more popular routes. Single fares are paid to the driver on boarding. Buses 1 and 20 ply the route between Guéliz and Jemaa el Fna along Boulevard Mohammed V.
Quicker than the buses, Marrakech's petits taxis are standard metered beige taxis, which can be hailed around the city. Check to see that the meter is working when you get in, and when you arrive, round up the fare to the nearest dirham or two as a tip. Grands taxis are old Mercedes cars that carry up to six people for a fixed fare agreed upon in advance, usually to out-of-town destinations such as Essaouira. When full, grands taxis leave from the bus station, from the Jemaa el Fna and from the Post Office in Guéliz.
A calèche is a horse-drawn carriage carrying up to five people, either as a mode of transport within the medina or as a picturesque way to tour the environs of Marrakech. State-fixed hourly rates should be painted on the side of the carriage; for short trips, prices should be agreed in advance. Calèches line up in the garden square between the Koutoubia Mosque and Jemaa el Fna, el Badi Palace and the more expensive hotels in the Hivernage.
Driving in Marrakech is not recommended. Many of the roads in the medina are too narrow for cars and accident are frequent, especially around the medina, where people and cyclists are apt to pull out suddenly in front of the traffic. After dark, the dangers increase since it is legal to drive cars and ride bicycles without lights at up to 20kph (12mph).
Street parking is rare, and should you find it, a tip of a few dirhams is expected by the 'parking guardian' on the block (usually wearing a blue coat). Private parking in Guéliz can be found at any of the big hotels or off the Avenue Mohammed V. In the medina, security-patrolled spaces are available at Jemaa-el-Fna outside the Foucauld Hôtel and on Rue Riad Zitoun el Jedid beside the Préfecture (police headquarters).
Major car hire companies include Budget (tel: +212 5244 31180; www.budget.com), Europcar (tel: +212 5244 31228; www.europcar.com) and Hertz (tel: +212 5244 39984; www.hertz.com). Although smaller local companies can be much cheaper, this is often reflected in the condition of the cars.
Drivers must be over 21 to hire a car. Most European driving licences are acknowledged in Morocco, but an International Driving Permit is recommended. Third-party insurance is automatically included when renting a car, but you might want to pay extra for collision damage waiver and personal insurance to avoid exorbitant charges in case of an accident. Hire fees are subject to 20% government tax; you should make sure this has been added to the agreed price.
Popular alternatives to car travel include bicycles and scooters. Both can be rented from Marrakech Roues, 3 rue Bani Marine (tel: +212 6 6306 1892; www.marrakech-roues.com). Test the brakes and tyres before hiring. A popular bicycle route is from the medina out to the Pameraie (palm grove), though a mountain bike may be needed to handle rugged unpaved roads.
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