As conveniently close as it is to Europe, Morocco has grown into an expat hub in recent years. Cities like Casablanca, Marrakech, Rabat, and Tangier are especially popular for this crowd. This country offers an old-world lifestyle combined with safety and political stability that would be difficult to find anywhere else. If you’re thinking of retiring abroad to Morocco, there are plenty of good reasons to do so.
Cost of Living
When searching for a place to retire, one thing that will always be at the top of your criteria list will be a decent cost of living. You want your pension to stretch far so that you can live the life you want without feeling like you’re sacrificing too much. That’s a big reason why Morocco is home to so many expats.
The Moroccan currency is the dirham, and one Moroccan dirham (MAD) is equivalent to $0.11 in USD. That puts a meal for two at a mid-range restaurant (three courses) at only $16.05, and a meal at an inexpensive restaurant at only $3.21. Most grocery items are less than $1 USD. Some items, however, such as brand name clothing and fitness club fees, are closer to the prices you’d be likely to expect in the United States. This is simply due to the growing expat population. When you consider the fact that it only costs $371.98 per month to rent an apartment in the city center, though, that doesn’t seem like a bad deal.
Morocco’s visa system is set up a bit differently than many popular retirement locations in that there is one residency permit that you’ll need no matter your reason for staying in the country. You simply specify when applying for your permit that the type of residency you wish to gain is for retirement abroad.
Visit the country as you would any other time. If you’re from one of the many countries for which Morocco doesn’t require a visa, then you will simply need a valid passport. Your initial visit is allowed to last up to 90 days before you’ll have to leave again. Apply at your local consulate within your first 30 days of entering the country to allow yourself time for the process to take place. What is required will depend on the city of your retirement, but most of the requirements are pretty standard. You’ll, of course, need a valid passport with enough blank pages to ensure a return trip. You’ll need a couple of passport-style photos taken within the last six months, and you’ll have to meet income requirements that prove that you can afford to live there.
Whereas many countries in places like Central and South America offer generous pension programs to expat retirees, Morocco offers no such program. This is because it simply isn’t needed. With the cost of living being as low as it is, and the country’s proximity to frequently visited European countries, Morocco already has plenty to offer anyone who’d consider living abroad there.
Landscape/Things to do
Morocco is made up of beaches, desert, and mountains – so whichever you prefer, you can find it there. The Atlas Mountains are home to rivers and waterfalls as well as biking and hiking trails for those outdoorsmen out there. The other common method of transportation is via horse and mule rides to nearby villages.
If you’re more interested in visiting the desert, you can head to the Moroccan portion of the Sahara. Adventures in the desert include camel rides, ATV trips, and dune boarding. You can also visit small towns that are located around the oasis. Berber villages of the past have been preserved in this portion of the Sahara as well, and you could make a point to check those out while you’re at it.
Head out to the Mediterranean coastline if you’re looking for the beach life. The villages that line the coast offer a tranquil, calming lifestyle perfect for a quiet retirement. This is where you’ll find hotels and more touristy areas as well. The beaches of Morocco are clean and the water is clear, which means swimming is a must. Fishing, windsurfing, and other beachside activities are popular along the coast, so don’t take calm and tranquil to mean boring!
Morocco’s temperatures vary depending on which landscape best suits your needs. Some areas have hot temperatures and lots of sunshine mixed with rain, while others are drier and hotter, but you may not ever see snow. The more mountainous areas host more pleasant temperatures, so that certainly would add to the appeal of these areas.