Chefchaouen: The Blue Pearl

Chefchaouen is located in the Rif Mountains of northwest Morocco. This city is one I fell in love with immediately. It absolutely stole my heart, and I say this about most places that I visit because I love traveling in general, but this place is just different. The people are so warm, the city is so beautiful with all of the different hues of blue and the tranquility of the small town just puts you at ease. Chefchaoen is one of the most beautiful cities I have ever visited.

Getting to Chefchaouen: The easiest way to get to the Blue Pearl is to take the bus or take a shared taxi from Tanger. The bus ride is about two hours and fifteen minutes but of course takes closer to three hours due to traffic and stops. You have two options for the bus, you can take the local bus which is cheaper and less comfortable seat wise or you can take the “luxury” bus, and I use the term luxury extremely loosely. Basically the only difference is that the seats are more comfortable, but in any case it’s a short trip and very doable. The cost is between 50-100 Dirham (5-10 euros) .

Accommodation: Every time I go to Chefchaouen I stay at the Riad Baraka and recommend it to everyone that asks me for recommendations on where to stay in Chefchaouen. It is a hostel but you can get a private room with your own bathroom for extremely cheap. There is free wifi and you can get breakfast for extremely cheap as well. I’m actually not even sure what other options there are for staying in Chefchaouen because I always just stay at the Riad Baraka. It has a home feel to it that I love and keeps me coming back.  The hostel also has a rooftop terrace with an amazing view and is also a great place to watch the sunset.

Where to eat: There are many restaurants to choose from in Chefchaouen but my personal favorite is Bab Ssour. The food is AMAZING, the service is great and did I mention the food is amazing. My favorite is getting tajine and avocado milk. But honestly anything you get on the menu will be good, from the cous cous to the tajine, to the avocado milk to the tea. Everything is great! Also, if you want to learn how to prepare and cook Moroccan dishes you can take a cooking class here. It’s an ALL day affair thing. You help prepare and cook the dishes as well as serve the customers and then at the end of the day you get to sit and enjoy a huge meal. I highly recommend this if you want to have a real Moroccan experience.

 

Excursions: You have a few options for excursions. You can hike the Rif mountains up to the old Mosque and get a great view of Chefchaouen or you can go to Akchour and climb the waterfalls and see God’s bridge. Both are great options. If you want something quick that won’t take up the entire day then I recommend hiking up the Rif Mountains to the old mosque to get a great view. If you want a full day excursion then I recommend going to Akchour and climbing the waterfalls and going to see God’s bridge.

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Going to Akchour and seeing one of the small waterfalls was a very different experience. For starters, I was with locals that I met while shopping in the Medina. Elmo, Ali and Zaki. To this day I still talk to them regularly. I also enjoyed bringing in the end of Ramadan with them but I’ll save that for another post.

Anyways we drove for what seemed like an hour an half to me and along the way stopped to take some pictures of the views. They were unreal. I actually wanted to have an improve photo shoot that’s how perfect and amazing the scenery was.

After we were done taking photos and finally arrived in Akchour, I was amazed with the beauty surrounding me. I was also a bit speechless because I wouldn’t imagine that I would be in the country I love and experiencing it with my family. Here we all were making our way to a waterfall in Morocco on the continent of Africa.img_3926 In this moment I felt truly blessed and knew that the universe was at work here. I felt inspired and full of life. It was a different feeling. It was as if my inner most being, or my soul was finally waking up. This day outing was everything I could have hoped for. We went into the water and just relaxed on the rocks engaging in meaningful conversation with our new Moroccan friends and learning about their culture and their religion. For lunch, we had some organic, free range chicken and potatoes and bread. We got to see the chicken that we would be having for  lunch.

And this is where things get interesting. I had never seen any animal besides a mosquito or an ant get killed in front of me. I always heard stories from my parents and aunts and uncles about how they saw chicken, goats, cow, etc be killed to have for dinner but I never once witnessed it. Well there’s a first time for everything! Due mostly to my curiosity because I wasn’t sure how chickens are killed and always heard that chickens run around crazily when their heads are cut off, and I wanted to see if it was true. So I watched one of our new friends kill the chicken and it was not as dramatic as I had pictured in my mind. This was mostly due to the fact that we were in a Muslim country so all the food is prepared with Halal practices. What this means is the way Muslims prepare their meat. First a prayer is said to give thanks for the meat that will be slaughtered. Then a sharp knife is used to make an incision in the throat detaching the head from the neck but the head is not taken off completely. All of the blood from the animal has to be drained from the veins before the meat is able to be cooked and later eaten.

We enjoyed a nice lunch with a view of the waterfall and just enjoyed good conversation and spending time with our new friends. This was probably the best part about my trip to Chefchaouen. The people are so warm and friendly and it was nice going on an excursion. We didn’t make it to God’s bridge and the bigger waterfalls because of time constraints but I definitely plan on going back and making it to God’s bridge.

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If interested in going to Akchour with a guide PLEASE reach out to me and I’ll put you into contact with people in Chefchaouen.

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