Difference between revisions of "Chefchaouen"
Revision as of 01:49, 2 February 2011
Chefchaouen (شفشاون, also Chaouen, Chawen or Xaouen) is a gorgeous mountain city in northeastern Morocco. It's no wonder that tourists flock here — this humble town is the embodiment of almost every Moroccan cliché. The picturesque medina, set against the dramatic backdrop of the Rif Mountains, is filled with white-washed homes with distinctive, powder-blue accents, and the call to prayer rings out of several mosques around the town in chorus. If you've got a few days to relax from the rigors of travel, this is a good place to do it.
Tourism in Chaouen is also driven by its reputation as centre of the marijuana plantations region in North Morocco. Drugs are widespread and somehow tolerated, but touts trying to sell to tourists are also very annoying.
Spanish is the foreign language mostly spoken by the population, while French is the language of higher education.
The main bus station is a fifteen minute walk from the medina (which is uphill), trough Av. Mohamed V. There are usually a couple of petit taxis waiting for a customer at the entry. Don't pay more than Dh 10 to get to the medina. If it is hot, or, as is very likely, you have just endured a long coach drive to the town, you should seriously consider climbing into one of these taxis. Likewise, coming to Chefchaouen in the middle of the cold season can only make the ascending walkways as punishing as in the summer. With a heavy backpack, the walk up to the hotels of the town can be fairly strenuous!
On arriving in Chefchaouen, you may be met by touts at the bus station. These will probably try to take you to some cheap and low-quality hostel in the medina - but it is advisable to find the place by yourself, because if you arrive with touts, you'll be charged extra so they can get their commission. Touts will then insist that you follow them to their house in the medina, and there try to sell you a stash of dope for 300-500 Dh. Refusing to buy is not contemplated, nor safe, if you end up in such a situation, so just say no from the beginning and don't sympathise nor accept help.
ECOTOURISME AND RURAL TOURISM RURAL IN THE RIF MOUNTAINS
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