#PortuGoals: Moroccan the night away

Trip Region: Western Europe
Country(ies): Portugal, Morroco
Partners Trek? No
Cost: $2650
Airfare Estimate: $1300
Structure:   •   Lodging:   •   Nightlife: 8   •   Activity: 7

Join us and immerse yourself fully in the culture of two unique countries on two continents: Portugal and Morocco. You should sign on with us if you enjoy: exquisite and authentic food, wine, colorful towns, and riding camels. You’ll be set with a squad of fun-loving and goofy leaders who bonded over their trip last year and are determined to lead the best Mtrek yet!

We kick off in northern Portugal in the colorful city of Porto, a great introduction to Portuguese culture and the wine scene. We’ll then swing down south to the Algarve’s coastal gem of a city, Lagos. Here we’ll soak up some sun when we explore the stunning Lagos coastline, and we’ll learn more about the history of the region, from the Visigoths to the Moors. After bidding “Tchau” to Portugal, we depart for Morocco in Northern Africa where we’ll set up base in Marrakech. We’ve heard that Morocco offers a wealth of colorful cityscapes and delightful entertainment as we wander through the markets. We’ll take a day trip to coastal town of Essaouira to sample Morocco’s take on seafood, and (because we’re extra) a trip to the Agafay desert where we’ll ride camels and stay overnight in a traditional Berber camp! We’re packing a lot in (food, activities, and wine), so if you’re looking for a low-key beach trip, steer clear! But if you want a truly authentic, life-changing start to your business school experience, we’ll see you in Porto.

Day 1 — Friday, Aug 16

Ready, set, go! You are free to depart from Ann Arbor after orientation activities are over at 5pm.

Day 2 — Saturday, Aug 17

Welcome to Porto! Our adventure begins with a welcome meeting around 6pm. Afterwards we’ll head out for some dinner and drinks, and wander through the historic, cobbled streets of Porto. Then we’ll all grab some shut-eye to stave off the jetlag and energize us for our first full day together!

Day 3 — Sunday, Aug 18

We’ll start the day off with a guided walking tour of the main sights and the hidden gems. It wouldn’t make sense to come to Porto without sampling its most famous export: Port wine. We’ll learn about port production and enjoy a tasting. After a little time to yourself to stroll along the riverside, we’ll head to a very special mystery restaurant for a phenomenal dining experience organized by your leaders followed by a night out on the town!

Day 4 — Monday, Aug 19

Today we will have our first flight together as we head to the the Algarve, Portugal's stunning southern coast, where our destination is the seaside town of Lagos. Think: Mediterranean climate, beaches, and a rich heritage. After a short tour to get oriented, we’ll seek out a place where we can feast on freshly caught fish at a restaurant overlooking the water. Afterwards we’ll explore Lagos' pumping nightlife.

Day 5 — Tuesday, Aug 20

Our second day in Lagos will bring two terrific experiences: a wine tour & tasting with tapas at a local vineyard, and a boat tour to explore the jagged rock face of Pinta da Piedade. After our organized activities for the day, we’ll kick back for some well deserved R&R as we hit the beach. After dinner, we’ll find a scenic beach bar to celebrate our last night in Portugal!

Day 6 — Wednesday, Aug 21

Today we’ll bid farewell to Portugal behind and fly to Marrakech. Welcome to Morocco! After settling in, we’ll head to the famous Jamaa el fna square for a delicious street food tasting followed by the opportunity to further explore the square! We’ll seek out tourist-friendly nightlife after dinner.

Day 7 — Thursday, Aug 22

We’re getting big time some steps in today! We’ll set off on a morning tour of the old medina, with several historical highlights: Bahia Palace, Jardin Secret, and Koutoubia Mosque. We’re just over halfway through the trip so a little down time in the afternoon to to explore further or shop in the bazaar will be much welcomed -- you may even find yourself opting for a nap!

Day 8 — Friday, Aug 23

Today is our day trip to the coastal town of Essaouira! We’ll enjoy an exquisite seafood market lunch from today’s catch, followed by a walking tour of the medina. In the afternoon, we will head back to Marrakech and take it easy after working so hard today.

Day 9 — Saturday, Aug 24

Did ever imagine you’d be spending the night in a Moroccan desert? We’re heading to Agafay today, a rocky desert not far from Marrakech and where you will stay in a tent and ride a camel - this is going to be a big day for your instagram so have your phone primed. We’ll enjoy an authentic dinner around a campfire and spend the night in a traditional tent!

Day 10 — Sunday, Aug 25

A bittersweet day as it’s our last one together. We’ll travel back to Marrakech from Agafay, and for our final meal together we will enjoy a cooking class conducted by a dada (traditional Moroccan cook) which will result in yummy dishes on which to gorge ourselves one. last. time. After dinner, we’ll find our way back to Jamaa el fna square for our send-off celebration!

Day 11 — Monday, Aug 26

Say your goodbyes, it’s time to fly! We’d say something corny like “don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened”, but honestly you’ll be exhausted and ready to sleep in your own bed after making your way back across the Atlantic. Don’t worry, you’ll see all your new best friends back in Ann Arbor :)