Stay Online when travelling in Morocco: SIM and Internet
Probably one of the first questions you ask while travelling and choosing a place is “Is there free Wi-Fi here?”. As a digital nomad, I found it a huge hassle to depended on free Wi-Fi at cafés and hotels in order get online. I am happy to share my practical tips that help you stay connected while travelling in Morocco.
SIM cards in Morocco: where to buy
In Morocco, there are 3 mobile network operators: “Maroc Telecom”, “Orange” and “Inwi”. All operators offer similar deals and prices, so get the one that has office closest to your hotel or on the way. Or, save your time and buy the local SIM card in the Moroccan airport. Also, you can buy the SIM card from roving vendors wearing branded T-shirts of the mobile network. At least in Marrakech, I often see these vendors in Gueliz, next to the “Zara” store. The price of the SIM card is 30 DH.
To buy the Moroccan SIM card, you will have to show your passport. I don’t like this rule, because the SIM card seller also copies or take a picture of your passport. After buying the prepaid SIM card, ask the seller to activate it and top up with some credit.
SIM cards in Morocco: plans
Almost all local operators offer similar plans. For 10 DH (around 1 eur) you can get 1 GB of data, for 50 DH – 5 GB etc. If you only need to use the Internet, ask the seller to recharge only for the Internet. If you top up without a special code, in the end, you will only be able to call. And opposite, if you recharge for the Internet, you can’t call. All mobile network operators have special packages for both, the Internet and calls. Ask them to explain what kind of top-up is the best for your travel plans.
Where to buy credit?
You can buy the SIM card credit at any small shop, supermarket. You will receive the top up card with a code. Scratch the card to top up your credit, or, like I mentioned above, ask the seller to top up for you. In smaller shops, often the seller asks for your phone number and sends the top up instantly to your phone. Wait till you get the confirmation code in your phone and it’s done!
Even though free Wi-Fi exists in many Moroccan places, the connection is not reliable. For work, I turned my phone into Wi-Fi hotspot and can work anywhere I want. Even in the main Jame El Fna square like my friend in the main picture.
Some useful tips:
- To call to Morocco from overseas dial the international access code + 212.
- Many cafés and restaurants in Morocco have free Wi-Fi.
- In Morocco, it is not very common to bring your laptop to popular cafés. As well, there are few cafés suitable to work (not like abroad). In Marrakech, I often go to work in “Starbucks” but the Internet is so weak; I always use my phone’s hotspot. Another nice place for work is Cafe du Livre or head to the co-working space “The Spot”.
- In Morocco, almost everyone is using “WhatsApp”. It’s a very handy app to communicate with your riad or tour operator.
- Download offline Google maps for Morocco before leaving home. I found it very convenient when the connection is weak and you still need directions 😉
- Many hotels and riads don’t have a good Internet connection, especially in the rooms. Don’t rely on their Internet for work, get the local SIM card and 4G deal.