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I am not a big fan of places where taxi drivers rip off tourists, and I will go out of my way to avoid such situations, because I do not want to give them and their deceptive and bullying practices any of my business or money. Recently my son and I were in Marrakech Morocco, and to avoid ripoff taxi drivers, we took Marrakech Airport Bus 19 from our hotel / riad to Marrakech Airport (RAK). I thought I would share what I learned here in the hopes that it will aid future travelers.
Marrakech Airport Bus 19 – cost
All buses in Marrakech are run by a Spanish bus company called ALSA. I believe that most buses in Marrakech cost 4 Dirhams, but Marrakech Airport Bus 19 costs 30 Dirhams.
Contrast that with the Marrakech airport taxi cost – which is SUPPOSED to be 15-20 dirhams, if you can find a taxi driver that will use the meter (AKA the local price). From what I read, you’re lucky if you can find one that will take you from Marrakech airport to the city center for SIXTY Dirhams (4 times the cost) and usually you’ll get charged 100 Dirhams, and even more if you have more bags or are traveling at night.
The bus that we rode had a marquee that advertised either 30 Dirhams or 3 Euros, so it appears that you can pay in Euros as well, though at the current exchange rates you would be (slightly) overpaying by paying in Euros. We paid in Moroccan Dirhams (MAD) as we were on the end of our journey and still had Dirhams left.
There ARE regular buses that go between the airport and the city center. As I mentioned, I believe they cost 4 MAD one way, but if you’re traveling at peak times, you will be hard pressed to fit on with any sort of large baggage. Google Maps had a pretty good understanding of the different route options depending on your route from Jemaa El Fna / Marrakech City Center to Marrakech Airport (RAK).
Marrakech Airport Bus 19 seating and bag storage
We took Marrakech Airport Bus 19 early on a Sunday morning, and it was not crowded at all. My son and I each took up a grouping of 2 seats with one for us and one for each of our bags.
Others put their bags in the aisle way
A different Marrakech Airport Bus 19 that I saw had luggage racks on the bus itself, similar to what you see in airport shuttle buses.
Marrakech Airport Bus 19 Route Map from airport or train station to city center (Jemaa El Fna, riad, hotels)
I found Google Maps to be very accurate as far as Marrakech Bus 19 schedules, timing and route locations. If you are arriving at Marrakech Menara International Airport, when you exit the Arrivals hall, the bus stops across the parking lot
There are marked “Bus” parking spots right next to the Arrivals hall, but those are for tourist and excursion buses – Airport Bus 19 stops across the parking lot, next to the Hertz sign.
Again, Google Maps was very useful in plotting out the route. Airport Bus 19 goes in a one way loop from the Marrakech Menara International Airport, to Jemaa El Fna (the main market square), to the train station and back to the airport. It runs about every 20-30 minutes. We took the airport bus from Jemaa El Fna to the airport, and it took about 30 minutes on a Sunday morning with very little traffic.
If you are taking Marrakech Airport Bus 19 from Marrakech Airport to Jemaa El Fna or from the Marrakech train station to Jemaa El-Fna, it will be your stop when you see the big KFC on your lefthand side (then Jemaa El Fna is on the right). If you tell the bus driver your hotel or riad, he/she will generally let you know when and where to get off.
If you’re taking Marrakech Airport Bus 19 from Jemaa El Fna to Marrakech Airport (RAK) or from Jemaa El Fna to the Marrakech train station, there are several bus stops outside Jemaa el-Fna – the one you want is this one (marked with Route 19)
You can take Bus 19 from Gare Marrakech (Marrakech Train station) to Marrakech Airport, and you can also take Marrakech Airport Bus 19 from Marrakech Airport to the Marrakech Train station, but due to the one way nature of the route, it will wind its way through most of the city and take about 40 to 45 minutes.
I hope that this step-by-step guide on how to take Marrakech Airport Bus 19 from Marrakech Airport to Marrakech City Center has helped you – if you have any other helpful suggestions on how to get around in Marrakech by bus, then leave them in the comments!
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Didn’t that old Graham Nash song go something like…
Diesel fumes hang in air
30 Dirhams is the fare
Luggage stacked that we will take back home
Don’t you know we’re riding on the Marrakech Express
Don’t you know we’re riding on the Marrakech Express
We’re taking the bus to Marrakech …
Hmm isn’t that song about the TRAIN to Marrakech? 😀
So you took a bus that took longer and dropped you off or picked you up somewhere other than your hotel to save $4? Because you think that $10 is a rip-off for what sounds like a 20 minute cab ride? Not sure where you live, but where I live, Uber would be about $25 for that ride and a cab substantially more. I think a little less dwelling on how much things “should” cost and more attention to what you are actually paying will lead to a lot less penny wise and pound foolish.
Maybe it would make you feel better if you looked at it like you are getting a good deal and locals are getting a fantastic deal!
Well… that is certainly one way to look at it, and you’re not wrong :-). The locations were the same (I caught the bus where I would have caught a taxi and it dropped off right at the airport), but yes it did take slightly longer. The timing wasn’t super important to me as staying an extra 10 or 15 minutes in the Marrakesh Airport Priority Pass lounge wasn’t that valuable to me.
As for the savings, it’s certainly true that I will go out of my way to save money, even to my overall detriment, but if possible, I prefer to not support people who actively engage in ripping others off. I don’t know the profit margins and/or overall corruption of the Spanish bus company ALSA or the government of Marrakesh or Morocco, but I would rather take a chance that my 60 dirhams will go to support honest labor than 100 dirhams to go to a cheat.
If you want to go straight to the coast (i.e. Essaouira, taghazout, agadir etc.) then can also catch the souk to surf shuttle. It goes direct from the airport to the coast and tickets cost around 15€ per person.
Great point – thanks!
Thanks for taking the time to detail the bus journey, it was useful.
Glad it was able to help!
Do you have to get ticket on No 19 or can you use contactless on the bus
I am not sure if you can pay with a contactless card – I don’t remember. We paid in cash with Dirhams though the bus marquee also advertised that you could pay in Euros