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Avoid the famed Aziz Begdouri tour/scam!

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Brooklyn New York
posts: 26
reviews: 55
Avoid the famed Aziz Begdouri tour/scam!

During our 9 days in beautiful Tarifa we decided to take an overnight trip to Tangier. Given the Rick Steve´s recommendation and the endorsment on tripadvisor, and from Bjorn- the hotel propetier of the lovely Koala aparthotel in Tarifa, I made arrangements beforehand with Aziz for the ¨grand tour¨. I was quoted 93 euros per person for round trip ferry tickets and the tour, which would be orchestrated by Aziz´s cohort Mohammed.The price seemed fair for what I assumed would be an authentic exposure to the lifestyle and culture of Tangier. When I traveled through Morocco two years back my guide from experience it tours afforded me and my friend an incredible adventure through Marrakesh, the High Atlas Mourntains, an overnight camping trip in the Sahara desert, and a fantastic stay in the coastal town of Essaouira. I was very excited about exploring Tangier given my previous travels through Morocco. Instead, we encountered tourist trap hell, with the clincher being that we were charged 101 euros per person, as opposed to the original quote of 93 euros. Basically the grand tour largely consisted of a trip to a restaurant and shops which it was obvious a commission cut was pre-determined based on what we were coerced to purchase. I was so disgusted by the scam that I deliberately bought nothing. The food in the restaurant we were brought to was very sub-par, although the atmosphere was lovely. Furthermore, driving through opulent neighborhoods to see the facades of homes owned by political heads and sultans did not interest us. Nor did the offer to ride a camel in the parking lot of Hercules grotto, which was also a 5 minute thrill for tourists. While it was nice, it didn´t inspire awe or offer a sense of life in Tangier. What was truly bothersome was that not once were our interests addressed. If they were, we would have requested to have lunch with locals, and visit a Berber village where we could possibly purchase fabric or jewelry without being harrangued ad nausea in the souk and in the shops Mohammed took us to so that he could recieve a commision. Our saving grace was our retreating to the beautiful and gracious La Tangerina hotel in the kasbah, where we had a delicious Moroccan dinner and were treated with respect. In fact, the website in which I booked the room for La Tangerina, iescape, falsely promised a free bottle of wine at the hotel for the booking. Nevertheless the hotel compensated us with thier own bottle of wine with dinner, in spite of iescape´s false offer. That is customer service and an indication of integrity.Should we return to Tangier we will certainly stay at La Tangerina and avail ourselves of thier tour guides, so that we can experience a true sense of Tangier and its people!

Vancouver, Canada
posts: 47
reviews: 8
1. Re: Avoid the famed Aziz Begdouri tour/scam!

Thanks for your input. We are booked to stay at La Tangerina but have dealt directly with the hotel and all seems great so far. When we enquired about car rental prices and gide recommendations Farida offered to arrange both. The prices she is quoting seem a lot less than what we have been able to dig up on the net.

Has anyone used "Chrif" as a guide in Tangiers? This is who Farida is recommending and I haven't heard of him. He's not an "official" guide but she highly recommends him and says he could give her names for official guides if we would prefer. Official or not, as long as he's great I don't think it matters.

Brooklyn New York
posts: 26
reviews: 55
2. Re: Avoid the famed Aziz Begdouri tour/scam!

Have a wonderful time on your trip! I didn't arrange a guide with La Tangerina, but I can vouch for their integrity and commitment to quality. You're in good hands. The dinner we had was stellar- in fact we gave the chef a $20 tip. She was amazing! You will have a wonderful meal should you choose to dine there.

3. Re: Avoid the famed Aziz Begdouri tour/scam!

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Marrakech
Destination Expert
for Marrakech
posts: 3,223
4. Re: Avoid the famed Aziz Begdouri tour/scam!

It is my understanding that unofficial guides can be arrested by the police for taking tourists on tours without the official licence. It is my understanding that to get an official licence the Moroccan must have completed certain studies.

5. Re: Avoid the famed Aziz Begdouri tour/scam!

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Removed on: 7:28 am, July 02, 2012
Edited: 7:28 am, July 02, 2012
East Gwillimbury...
posts: 2,232
reviews: 74
6. Re: Avoid the famed Aziz Begdouri tour/scam!

I agree that someone's *opinion* of a "scam" is just that: An opinion.

It could be that the OP legitimately had a bad experience or possible has alterior motives...? We will never know for certain. Personally, I would have dealt directly with the guide in question in order to hopefully rectify the situation and not bad-mouth them openly as the OP did, but we are all different and handle adversity differently.

As it stands right now, the TA Forums are a place where (hopefully) real travellers can share their *opinions* (not necessarily facts), and as long as they are within the posting guidelines, the submission remains. It is up to the individual reader to take anything they read with a "grain of salt", seek out other sources of information as well, and then draw their own conclusions before making plans.

Of course, if anyone feels that a particular post violates the posting guidelines, then they are within their rights to "Report inappropriate content" and let the forum moderators decide.

Brooklyn New York
posts: 26
reviews: 55
7. Re: Avoid the famed Aziz Begdouri tour/scam!

I feel the need to clarify that my intention is to express an opinion not' bad-mouth' someone. I've been on tripadvisor since 2005 as I travel extensively. It is a wonderful place to share honest information that can make or break a trip. Suffice it to say, of course, I addressed my concerns with Mohammed- the appointed guide who works for Aziz. Albeit, being quoted a lower price and then charged a higher price is not opinion. It is fact. I'm not inspired by riding a camel in a parking lot or driving past the mansions of wealthy sultans. I'm sure many are. It's not what I expected. My understanding, when I discussed my disappointment with the owner of the hotel in Tarifa who recommended Aziz, was that the previous year vacationers reported a different sort of experience. Perhaps quality has declined? Perhaps travelers would benefit from knowing that possibility. I'm sure some people would love the Grotto du Herculis. I was not all that impressed. The coastline is beautiful and it was nice to view the coast from a vantage point. The shopping tips had nothing to do with what I expressed interest in; buying silver Berber jewelry. I had no interest in being sold a carpet or being brought to a pharmacy to hear a spiel. Yet that's how time was spent- and yes, I did express my disappointment with that. While Mamounia Palace restaurant was very pretty and the live music nice it was very clearly a tourist trap, and the food was awful (again my opinion). I will say the mint tea was delicious :-) Note in my La Tangerina review that I rave about the meal cooked for us by the chef at their hotel. Let's give credit where credit is due and hold those accountable who don't measure up. Yet it is very true that standards are subjective.... and in my subjective view the Aziz tour did not measure up at all.

8. Re: Avoid the famed Aziz Begdouri tour/scam!

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Removed on: 8:35 pm, October 05, 2011
9. Re: Avoid the famed Aziz Begdouri tour/scam!

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Removed on: 2:35 pm, October 06, 2011
10. Re: Avoid the famed Aziz Begdouri tour/scam!

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Removed on: 11:05 am, October 07, 2011