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Avoid the famed Aziz Begdouri tour/scam!

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Brooklyn New York
posts: 26
reviews: 65
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!

Landstuhl, Germany
posts: 63
reviews: 3
31. Re: Avoid the famed Aziz Begdouri tour/scam!

Wow, what an interesting thread. Its amazing, I cant come to terms with whether I should or should not take the very to Tangiers while vacationing in Southern Spain this coming April. I find just as many comments depicting poor experiences as I do satisfied travelers.

Maybe it would be easier if hiring a tour guide was more assuring. I have visited a few websites and on the surface they look great but then when digging deeper they all have this under current of dissatisfied customers. I normally do not hire tour guides (at most walking tours) because I like to be free to do my own thing but I do feel that I will be a little out of my element in Morocco and would be more comfortable with a tour guide for a day excursion.

I wonder if someone who has been on these tours and done the day trip to Tangiers can way in on an opinion if it would be worth it for a family of 5, my wife, 2 teenagers and a 2 year old.

marrakech
Destination Expert
for Morocco
posts: 7,691
reviews: 63
32. Re: Avoid the famed Aziz Begdouri tour/scam!

Hi delvek,

tripadvisor.com/Attractions-g293737-Activiti…

Have a look at some of the guide reviews posted here for ideas and comments from previous visitors.

Edited: 10:19 am, December 30, 2012
Flower Mound TX. USA
posts: 1
reviews: 1
33. Re: Avoid the famed Aziz Begdouri tour/scam!

My bride and I were in Tangier during the latter part of 2007 at which time we employed Aziz as our guide. There's always going to be some kickback stops in 3rd world countries...that's just doin business 3rd world style. Not only did we have the most extraordinary time while there but we consider Aziz and his wife Pilar to be friends. I'm sorry you had a bad experience but aint nothing set in stone and sometimes things like that happen but...the traveler moves on...J

Edited: 11:13 pm, December 31, 2012
phila
posts: 2
reviews: 7
34. Re: Avoid the famed Aziz Begdouri tour/scam!

I had a fantastic tour with Aziz Begdouri, and I'm surprised to see that others had negative things to say about him. He was by far the best tour guide I've ever had, anywhere.

I e-mailed Aziz a few weeks before my trip, asking about his availability and what the tour would entail. I got a response quite soon, and we agreed on his Grand Tour. I also asked to see the various Jewish and Christian places of worship in Tangier, both on the inside and the outside. I was a bit skeptical that it would be possible, but hoped that it would be. I was also, quite honestly, a bit worried about getting into a car with a stranger in a foreign country. However, my skepticism and fears were completely baseless.

When I arrived, He took me on his Grand Tour. We first drove by the "California of Tangier", where we saw the luxurious villas of the Moroccan, Saudi, and Kuwaiti royalty. On the way to the Cave of Hercules, we got to ride camels. The rides were short but fun, and right on the Mediterranean Coast.

After that, we had an awesome lunch, which including tip, cost 7 euro /person. The lunch included a traditional soup and a lamb stew and coffee.

After that, we headed for all the historical places in Tangier, including the mosque and the old town. In the old town, we went to the market, where we had an opportunity to shop for very cool (but I admit, quite overpriced) souvenirs. We went to the American Legation, St. Andrew's Church, and then, as Aziz had promised, he took me to the astoundingly beautiful Nahon synagogue, which has been closed for many years. However, he knew people in the small remaining Jewish community who were able to send someone to open the synagogue, and who also took me to the old Jewish cemetery right outside the city walls. We also went to a monastery in Old City, and also saw the tomb of Ibn Batoutta.

Overall, it was a great trip, and I got to see so many things that I would have NEVER been able to see on my own, or with most other tour guides who do not have the same connections as Aziz. As someone else had mentioned, he seems to know absolutely everyone in the city, which is certainly great, because it also means that he can show you places that other guides cannot.

Brisbane, Australia
posts: 1
reviews: 19
35. Re: Avoid the famed Aziz Begdouri tour/scam!

Those were my thought exactly.

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

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