A superb trip! My husband and I wanted to tour Morocco in spring (good weather, pretty flowers) with our two adult daughters (who are in their 20s). Our travel planner worked closely with me to listen to what we wanted and carefully adjust the trip to suit our interests. He initially came up with an overall plan in response to a form that I completed on the internet. It matched the goals I requested; this sounds obvious but most people responding gave me a cookie-cutter style response that didn't hit what we wanted. My travel planner and I then had a phone call and he took extensive notes to hone the proposal. I then read guidebooks, internet descriptions, etc and came up with other ideas and adjustments. We used some of my ideas and when we didn't my travel planner explained why he recommended against. He was engaged and patient in the process. The company knows the area well enough to take advantage of cool opportunities that are not necessarily obvious in the guidebooks. Our final plan was nearly perfect. This travel agency coordinates with other companies in the country and the coordination between them was excellent. The guide and driver were extraordinary (and we saw lots of other guides with other tourists--ours were top notch). Before the trip we received materials about what to expect so that we could planning how much cash to bring for gratuities, information for packing, etc. As a side note, I had tried to use a different, much more prominent travel company, to plan a trip 2 years ago and the private plan that proposed just didn't seem right. The difference is that this travel company has a deep understanding of the area and excellent connections on the ground. The company is not extravagantly expensive and is worth every penny.
We had so many extraordinary experiences it's difficult to single out one. We loved the three days in the mountain lodge in a gorgeous room with a balcony overlooking Mt Toubkal. I will always remember watching the sunset over the Sahara (as part of a camel ride) and the change in colors as the sun went down, the stars at night, and the sunrise the next morning. The classic sights in Marrakesh and Fez, Chefchaouen were breathtaking. The cooking class at an organic farm outside of Marrakesh was great. Being invited for a fantastic homemade couscous lunch at the home of our guide's mother was a very special treat. But perhaps the best was doing all of these things and more with our family. We could just have fun and be carefree--our guides took care of everything. The van we traveled in was very comfortable and even had wifi!
The only thing that I would probably change is I would look for an alternative to the Hotel Xaluca Dades. It is a big tour bus hotel. The food is bad and the ambience is reminiscent of a high end cattle call. If you like tour buses, this is your place. But if you prefer to be comfortable and closer to the culture there may be other options. The hotel's main advantage, from what I can tell, is its strategic location in accessing the Sahara, the gorges, and the roads to other parts of Morocco. I might prefer a bit more driving to avoid it.
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