GETTING THERE: Though we went to Morocco via Portugal, getting to Marrakech directly from Washington is relatively simple. Direct flights from New York to Casablanca on Royal Air Maroc are available Tuesdays and Saturdays, with return flights the same day. The APEX fare can be purchased one week in advance (at present) from Washington via New York to Marrakech. Cost ranges from a low of $590 for travel Tuesdays off-season (from mid-June to mid-August) to a high of $690 on Saturdays during high season. The "high" and "low" travel seasons in Morocco may vary, depending on the climate in different areas.

In our case, we rented a car in Casablanca for about $30 a day, drove three hours to Fe's, where we stayed for two days, and then continued through the mountains to Marrakech. Major car rental companies in Morocco offer very reasonable rates and the roads were adequate.

MORE INFORMATION: We attempted to get information from the Moroccan National Tourist Office (20 E. 46th St., New York 10017, 212-557-2520) but never received the promised material. In any event, "Fodor's Guide to North Africa" was quite helpful, and more information was readily available at the airport in Casablanca and at our hotels. Although Arabic is the language of Morocco (along with Berber), French is widely spoken in the cities, and English is also spoken -- although less frequently than French.