How to get to Chefchaouen
I flew on Vueling Airlines from Barcelona, Spain to Morocco and arrived at Tangier Airport. When I walked outside the airport, I find several cab drivers lined up on the street. I took a cab for 15 Euros to the CTM Gare Voyageur bus station located 20-minutes from the airport. When I arrived at 8:35 am I discovered that I had missed the first bus that left at 8:15 am. Unfortunately, the next bus didn’t leave until 12:30 pm. The price of the ticket was 40 dirhams.
**It is to be noted that you can take a taxi to “Gare Routiere” at Place al Jamia al Arabia where they offer more busses to Chefchaouen aka the Blue city.
The bus ride from Tangier to Chefchaouen was approximately 2.5 hours. When I arrived at Chefchouen, I took a shared taxi into town.
When I arrived in Chefchaouen, I went to the ATM machine to pay for the taxi. Unfortunately, the ATM would not give me money due to insufficient funds. I knew that I had money in my account but the screen was telling me otherwise. At this point, the taxi driver became inpatient and others began shouting saying, “I didn’t have money”. It was overwhelming and embarrassing. I pleaded and asked him,” if he could take me to the Airbnb and I would pay him later”. Thank God he agreed.
If you are entering a new country by air, I would retrieve money from the airport ATM. The money you receive will be in the currency of the country you are located. While traveling, I also advise travelers to keep $50-100 in your possession in case you can not get to an ATM or money exchange location. It allows you to pay for things such as transportation, food, etc.
Where to Stay
Last year, I won a $100 Airbnb gift card. I used the gift card to book my stay at Dar Aldea. The Moroccan house had several floors and had a nice rooftop overlooking the city. Each room comes with a private bathroom and also includes breakfast.
Things to Do
Female Tour Guide
As I was searching on the internet, I came across a recommendation for a female tour guide named Amina who is located in Chefchaouen. As a child, Amina dreamed of working with tourists who were visiting Morocco. Despite having dreams of being in the tour industry, she faced obstacles from older Moroccan men as tourism is a male-dominated field. Even with opposition from some men, she received support from her younger male friends. She has taken her exam and now has been an official tour guide for two years. Amina advises people to have ambition and continue to fight for there goals despite barriers they may face in the times of adversity.
During my first night in the city, I met Amina and went to Riad Hicham for dinner. For supper, I ordered rice salad, beef meatballs, and tagine. Dinner was great because we talked like we were old friends. Afterward, we went on a tour around the medina.
During the tour, she explained why the city is painted blue. a) It keeps the mosquitos away. b)Due to there religion and spirituality, the Moors and the Jews decided they liked the color of the sky because it represents God and Heaven.
Photo Shoot in Chefchaouen
Did you know that Airbnb now offers other services in addition to renting homes? When searching for things to do, I came across a photo shoot on Airbnb experiences. I had never taken professional photos while traveling. Chefchaouen is the best place to take photos because of the beautiful blue city. I highly recommend photographer Mahmoud Murcia. He was professional, knew great spots for the best photos and he went above and beyond to help me after the photos were taken.
Later in the day, I booked a cooking class with Ali AF. We would be preparing Tangine, a popular Moroccan dish. It is prepared in a ceramic or clay bowl. The bottom is circular and the top is dome shaped. Tangine is usually comprised of meat, fish or poultry with fruit or vegetables.
We went to the market and shopped for veggies, fruit, and meat. Unlike most stores in the USA, this is an open air market. I witnessed the butcher cutting animal meat in front of me. Afterward, we walked about 20 minutes to his home. When we arrived I met his mother and sisters.
His mother helped us to prepare by washing and cutting up the vegetables and potatoes. We used onions, pepper, meat, carrots, peas, and different spices. I learned a new technique for seasoning Tangine. Mix spices with water and pour on top in order to flavor and saturate the layered meal.
I also learned how to make tea which is served everywhere in Morocco. Boil sugar, tea, and mint leaves on the stove top. After finished boiling, serve immediately and drink.
For dessert his mom made pastries and Ali made yogurt parfait with fruit.
I always enjoy cooking classes because it gives you a glimpse into the culture and the possibility to hang out with local people in there home.
I didn’t make it to the Spanish Mosque during sunset
Or take a day trip to the Akchour waterfalls, but if you have time make sure you visit these places. Photo credit to Mahmoud Murcia.
I loved this city because of its color, charm and wonderful hosts. I hope I have convinced you to visit Chefchaouen Aka the Blue Pearl.