Things to Buy in Marrakech & How to Haggle Like a Pro
WHAT TO BUY
There was a vendor selling leather in every corner that you turned while we were exploring the souks of Marrakech. At a glance, they were all beautiful and looked to be very good quality leather. In the states, you’d pay hundreds of dollars for that amount of authentic leather. But picking one out and haggling the price down to something I could afford was a whole different story. Before picking a bag, we made sure to feel the texture and thickness of the leather, to make sure it was a good quality. I found a beautiful bag (perfect as a carry-on or a weekend getaway bag), and brought the price down from the vendor’s original offer of 900 dirhams (about $90) to 400 dirhams ($40).
Lately, Randy and I have been collecting paintings in each new place we visit. When we visited Athens, Greece earlier this year, we found an artist that had sold paintings to former first ladies Hillary Clinton and Barbara Bush, as well as several other celebrities. So of course, I wanted to get one in Morocco to add to the collection. There are many street vendors selling artwork of all different styles. But if you walk around the souks long enough, you’ll start to realize that all the paintings start to look the same! I tried my best to find something unique, different, and painted by a local artist, but after a while of fruitless searching, I realized that I should just pick something that I like. I got the price down from 1080 dH to 350 dH. This was probably my most successful bargain.
I LOVE colors and unique patterns. So after visiting several palaces in Marrakech, and seeing beautiful patterned tile all over the place, of course I wanted some of my own. If I could take a whole wall home, I would. But I was flying Ryan Air soooo…. It didn’t happen. Tile was one of those things that proved more difficult to find. But I did come across several vendors that had a great collection. I got these six for 180 dH (or 30 dH each)!
Spices & Herbs
I didn’t take any spices home, because I wasn’t sure how that would work out at airport security, but I couldn’t help admiring the vibrant colors of all the different spices, and walking past them extra slowly so that I could take a sniff.
I loved how unique the tagine pots were. Literally ALL of our meals were served in these clay pots during our week in Morocco. Some of them were plain, and some had beautiful patterns and colors decorated on it. I think the idea is that it keeps your food extra hot.
In the Jemaa el-Fnaa square (main square in the center of Marrech’s old city, there were multiple vendors selling freshly squeezed pomegranate and orange juice. I couldn’t resist getting the pomegranate juice a few times. It was cold, fresh, and delicious! For about 15dH, you could get about 5 pomegranates worth of deliciousness.
If you get tired of the souks, you can head over to Ensemble Artisanal – a beautiful marketplace, where you can find the same things that you see in the souks. When we were there, the Moroccan women were making authentic rugs right in front of us! It was pretty neat to be able to watch that. There definitely wasn’t much haggling going on here, but I felt like overall, the quality of the products were a little bit better than in the streets.
HOW TO HAGGLE LIKE A PRO:
I’m not going to lie; I played the “poor student” card over and over again. I think the number one rule to haggling is this:
Don’t buy it in the first place you see it. Because its about 99.5% guaranteed that the next vendor will be selling the same exact thing. Feel it out first before making any offers.
Decide on a price you’re willing to pay for it BEFORE you ask how much it is. You’re more likely to get it for the price you want, if you decide on a price first.
If they kept pushing me for $5 or $10 more than I asked, I pulled the cash out of my wallet and literally said “This is all I have. I’m a student. Take it or leave it.” This usually did the trick. If they have yet to sell me the item I want, I just walk away. They’ll either say okay, or you can find it at the next market!