A complete budget travel guide to Imlil, Morocco, the gateway to the Atlas Mountains.
The charming little town of Imlil is the perfect gateway to the Atlas Mountains.
It’s easy to access from Marrakech, is a convenient starting point for many treks, and it can be super affordable.
For someone like me, who loves nature and budget travel, and who has been living in the crazy city of Marrakech for a few weeks, Imlil felt like heaven.
Is Imlil Morocco worth visiting?
Due to its breathtaking mountain landscapes and quaint charm, Imlil is definitely worth a visit. I spent a whole month in Morocco and my visit to Imlil was the best part!
With this Imlil Morocco budget travel guide, I’ll highlight the best things to do around Imlil. I’ll also explain how I was able to do it all on a very tight budget.
You can also find info about budget accommodation, places to eat, hikes, and Imlil waterfalls.
Despite our lack of funds, we still had an incredible time and didn’t feel like we missed out on anything. We stayed in lovely accommodation and got to enjoy the Atlas Mountain scenery through hiking and exploring.
So enjoy this Imlil, Morocco budget travel guide! I hope it helps with future travelers to the Atlas Mountains of Morocco!
Imlil Morocco Budget Travel Guide
Some of the topics I’ll cover in this Imlil Morocco budget travel guide are:
- How to get to Imlil from Marrakech
- Tours and hikes in the Atlas Mountains
- Accommodation and food in Imlil
Let’s get started!
How To Get To Imlil from Marrakech
The best way to get from Marrakech to Imlil, Morocco is by collective taxi. You can also travel by public bus, private taxi, or guided tour. Here is a quick breakdown of these different methods of travel.
We traveled from Marrakech to Imlil by collective taxi, which costs 50 Dirhams per person ($5).
The ride takes just over an hour and drops you off at the bottom of the town center in Imlil. This is the easiest, most direct transportation option from Marrakech to Imlil, and it’s super affordable.
Wondering where to get a taxi from Marrakech to Imlil? You catch a collective taxi from the Grand Taxi Stand, near the south side of Jema El Fnaa.
Just walk up to any driver and say “Imlil” and they’ll direct you to the taxi traveling there. I recommend arriving in the morning around 8 or 9, as sometimes you have to wait for the taxi to fill up with 6 people.
An even cheaper option for traveling from Marrakech to Imlil is to take a public bus from Marrakech to a town called Asni.
We didn’t do this but spoke to others who did. I heard it is 20-40 Dirhams for a bus ticket depending on how lenient the driver is. But you then have to get a transfer from Asni to Imlil, as there is no direct bus from Marrakech to Imlil.
How to get from Imlil to Marrakech?
To get back to Marrakech, we also took a collective taxi.
Luckily we met 5 other people in our hostel to travel with us. So when all 7 of us approached a collective taxi we were able to bargain for a bit cheaper. We paid 40 Dirhams ($4) each for the journey back.
Total Transport Cost To and From Imlil Morocco: 90 Dirhams (9 USD)
Tours to Imlil from Marrakech
The cheapest way to visit Imlil is to go on your own as we did.
But if you are traveling alone and want to meet other people, or you’d rather book a tour just to save yourself the hassle of planning, tours in Imlil are actually super cheap.
You can do an Atlas Mountains day trip from Marrakech for 50 USD, which is cheap for a full day tour.
You can also do a 2-day Atlas Mountain tour from Marrakech that includes staying in a local village for only 110 USD.
Ambitious hikers can book a Toubkal 2 day hike for 158 USD.I recommend booking tours if you’re short on time and want everything organized for you.
Tours are also great if you’re a solo traveler who wants to meet some friends!
Where to stay in Imlil, Morocco: Budget Accommodation
Arriving was a bit confusing because there are two hostels with the same name in Imlil. But we eventually learned they are both run by the same family.
Abdul, the owner, was super nice and helpful.
He welcomed us with mint tea, directed us to some nice walks and hikes, and gave us hats/scarves to block the sun. The included breakfast was also delicious!
The hostel was also cozy and charming. Matt and I had our own private room and bathroom and could see the stunning mountains and neighboring villages outside our window.
Total Accommodation Costs in Imlil for 2 nights: 160 Dirhams each (16 USD).
Food and Drinks in Imlil Morocco
We tried to keep our food budget super low, and found this surprisingly easy.
Our meals were usually fresh bread with cheese and olives, with some fruit and nuts on the side for snacks.
There are lots of nice cafes and restaurants in Imlil that looked tempting. But we were determined to stick to our budget because we still had lots of traveling in South Africa ahead of us.
The cheap food from the street in Imlil was actually super filling and delicious. We also had to buy 4 1.5L water bottles, on top of the 2 we brought from Marrakech.
We spent about 30 Dirhams on all these, and luckily had the chance to refill our waters in a freshwater stream while hiking.
Also while hiking, there was a man selling fresh orange juice at the top of a super steep hill. After spending over 2 hours hiking uphill in the heat, it was the best orange juice I’ve ever tasted.
I’ll list the prices of the food we bought, mainly just because it’s shocking how cheap this stuff is.
- 7 Bread rolls: 7 Dirhams ($0.70)
- Bag of olives: 4 Dirhams ($0.40)
- Peaches, plums, and oranges: 12 Dirhams ($1.20)
- Small bag of mixed nuts: 5 Dirhams ($0.50)
- Packaged cheese from a convenience store: 24 Dirhams ($2.40)
- Sandwich in town for Matt 10 Dirhams ($1.00)
- Water: 30 Dirhams ($3.00)
- Orange juice: 30 Dirhams ($3.00)
Total Spent on Food And Drinks In Imlil: 62 Dirhams (6.20 USD) FOR TWO PEOPLE!!
It’s crazy how cheap Morocco is if you eat this way, and the bread and produce is always fresh and delicious.
If you have the money to splurge on a real meal, definitely do it. But if you’re on a tight budget like us, just know that eating cheaply can be done.
The Best Hikes in Imlil Morocco
The most famous trek from Imlil is hiking Mount Toubkal, the highest peak in Northern Africa.
This trek takes 3 days and requires camping overnight, and it’s usually recommended to have a local guide with you.
We opted to try a few smaller day hikes around the area. We did two half-day walks and one full-day hike. All of these were completely free (except for a tip for our 10-year-old guide at the end of the full-day hike).
Best Day Hikes In Imlil Morocco
Small Imlil Waterfall:
From our hostel to the waterfall took about 30 minutes, and it was a super easy, peaceful walk. A dirt path shot out from the main road, right across the street from our hostel.
After walking through the woods for a bit, we passed through a little village on a hill and followed the tourists to the waterfall.
It was small but beautiful. The water was cold and refreshing, and there was an orange juice stand with tables and chairs.
If you’re coming from another part of town, the route might be different. But the Imlil waterfall is well known and I’m sure the path is straightforward. There are also usually lots of tourists coming here, so just follow everyone else.
If you have Maps.me, the most convenient app for traveling that lets you download maps and use them offline, you can find the waterfall on the map easily.
The whole walk took about 1.5 hours, including chill time at the waterfall.
Walking Circuit to Aroumd:
There are other small towns nestled in the valley next to Imlil, and you can walk to all of them.
There is only one main road that snakes through the valley and up around the mountains. So you can follow this road to pass through other towns. We walked from our hostel to Aroumd and followed the circuit back down to the other side of Imlil town center.
The whole circuit took about 3 hours, with lots of stops for photos and taking in the views.
This walk was pretty easy and absolutely gorgeous.
The little clusters of homes look like lego towns, and the massive peaks behind them make the scene look like the cover of a fairytale storybook.
We did this hike in the late afternoon on our first day, after the short waterfall hike.
Full-Day Hike To The Big Imlil Waterfall
Abdul from the hostel recommended this hike to us, and we went with 5 other people from the hostel.
All the locals know about this hike, so it’s best to ask them for directions. Abdul told me the name of the waterfall and village on the trek, but I forgot to write them down and I can’t remember them now!
We left at 9 am for the hike, and spent the first 2.5 hours trekking up steep, dusty trail that eventually led us to the top of the mountains surrounding the valley.
I took the following photo near the start of the hike. The “V” shape between the two mountains is where we hiked to.
Already tired, the man at the orange juice stand atop the hill said we still had 2 hours to go to reach the falls.
So we began hiking on the other side of the mountains, looking down onto another valley. The views were breathtaking, as if we weren’t already breathless from hiking.
The Village In The Atlas Mountains
After hiking for another 2 hours through the mountains, we reached an adorable village lined with layers and layers of thick green crops.
There were little kids running around and small dwellings made of stones.
One of the little boys volunteered to take us to the waterfall, saying it was only 20 minutes away.
As we had already hiked over 4 hours, we were exhausted and it took us more like 40 minutes to hike up and over the village, and up into the mountains again.
But the thundering sound of the waterfall, and the shade and the ice-cold water that came with it felt like paradise.
We sat and ate snacks and enjoyed the company of all the local boys playing in this serene spot.
As a tip for our 10-year-old guide, we all pitched in 10 Dirhams so he made 70 Dirhams. He must have been the richest boy in the village that day.
Total Time for Big Waterfall Hike: 10-ish hours
The hike back took a bit less time, but we arrived around 7 pm, making the entire adventure take about 10 hours.
Our limbs were shaking, our skin was sunburnt, and we had dirt and dust-caked onto our bodies but it was so worth it.
There were barely any other people on the trail all day. The only sounds we heard were animals, rushing streams, and our own conversation.
It was an amazing day for fitness, and the exercise and fresh air cleansed my body and soul after living in Marrakech for a few weeks.
It was also so rewarding to see this remote area of Morocco, where the villages are untouched by commercialism and modern life. The people are happy and genuine, and the landscape is pure.
☼ ☼ ☼
I hope you enjoyed this budget travel guide to Imlil!
You can enjoy the charm of Imlil and the beauty of the Atlas Mountains without spending a fortune.
There are also plenty of hiking options besides Mount Toubkal, for those short on time and money.
For some of my other travel tips for Morocco, check out:
This post may contain affiliate links. Read more about this in my About Me page!