September 18-19, 2019
If I have one tip for Casablanca, it is don’t go. I loved everywhere else in Morocco and ended my 10 day trip to Morocco with a night in Casablanca. It was dirty, loud, and seemed a little dangerous. A woman was robbed right in front of our hotel and we heard other screams throughout the night (we stayed near Casa Port)
If you do decide to go to Casablanca, below are some tips:
– Visit the mosque at night. It is beautiful when the lights are on. But don’t go too late, they turned the mosque lights off around 9 pm. There is a nice little seawall walk you can stroll to get there. This was probably the only nice part of Casablanca. We didn’t go in the mosque as it is quite expensive and was closed at night but definitely check it out as the sole nice thing to do in Casablanca.
– Stay in the newer/modern area. At the time of writing, the Casa Port area was under construction but that couldn’t hide the gritty, dirty vibe of the area. The modern area isn’t too far of a walk from the old medina, mosque and train station and you’ll have a more pleasant stay.
– Accommodations in Casablanca are significantly more expensive than anywhere else in Morocco. Do not expect to get the same quality place to stay for a good price as what you experienced elsewhere.
– Take the train to the airport. Don’t chance it with the traffic in a cab! At the time of writing (Sept. 2019) the train left Casa Port at :50 every hour, took 50 minutes to the airport and was 50 MAD. The train station is quote modern with many food outlets to choose from but like most of Casablanca, had no A/C.
– Casablanca airport was rated the #1 worst airport in the world. Give yourself at least 2.5-3 hours to find out why. I don’t usually like to arrive excessively early for flights but was grateful we headed to the airport early because we hated Casablanca so much. It gave us enough time to get through the five different security checkpoints, long line to get our boarding passes (no kiosks here!) and the shuttle bus to board the plane. I almost missed the flight arguing with a particularly nasty woman at Venezia Ice (food stand in the airport) who served me beef (I’m vegan) and then argued about it insisting I had ordered it. She finally fixed my order but punished me by taking away condiments.
– If the movie Casablanca inspired you to want to visit, note that it wasn’t even filmed in Casablanca. The city can best be summarized in this quote by playwrite Murray Burnett – “I’ve been told they have a place there named Rick’s, and it’s a dump. Maybe I don’t want to destroy the image of Casablanca which I created.”