No other words to describe a country with so many different landscapes to explore and activities to do. I strongly recommend you to go! Jordan tourism is suffering from the political situation in its neighbouring countries which means you will visit most places with only very few other travellers. Amazing!
First recommendation: get the Jordan Pass, you won’t regret it! It waves the visa fees and it will actually make you save money if you plan to visit Petra, the Wadi Rum and Jerash as most tourists too.
We arrived in Amman on a late Saturday afternoon to stay for 3 nights at the Amman Pasha Hotel opposite Roman Theatre
On the first morning, we walked down in front of the Roman theater to grab a cab to go to the bus station … and we ended up travelling with him (I have his details, just ask!) for 2 days:
- Tour in Jerash (beautiful Greco-Roman ruins, better than in Italy!) and Ajlun (ruined castle with a beautiful view) and a drop off at the Amman citadel for sunset [All included in Jordan Pass]
- Tour to the Desert Castles in the East towards de Iraqi border [All included in Jordan Pass]
Our driver then invited us at his place with his wife and three little girls for a mensaf, the typical meal that all families prepare when celebrating anything important. We were flattered! Quite a strong taste but very good!
Regarding restaurants, I would recommend Jafra: no alcohol but trendy and with cheap food and enormous portions.
We rented a car with Entreprise (2JOD taxi ride from downtown) to be able to drive to Southern Jordan ourselves.
- The catholic city of Madaba and its extraordinarily well-preserved mosaics [Most places included in Jordan Pass]
- The hilltop fortress of Macheronte with view on the Dead Sea- completely alone
- Wadi El Mujib from the road for its crazy view
- The castle in Karak [included in Jordan Pass] – we arrived when it was closing… but they reopened it for us!
We spent the night at the Dana Guesthouse: quite expensive (dinner buffet at 14JOD) but superb view when we woke up!
As we didn’t have much time to do the longest trrail (6h + 4WD back to Dana), we drove to the Rummana Campsite to do a short hike (no need for a guide) to the top of the Rummana mountain. 8 JOD entrance fee. Here‘s a good summary of all available hikes.
We arrived at Petra at 4pm when most tourists were leaving. We basically had the site to ourselves. What an extraordinary way to discover this incredible site! It is estimated that only 15 to 20% of the ruins have been uncovered. I cannot imagine what the remaining 80% will reserve us!
During the first afternoon, we had time to walk down the Siq, pass by the Khazneh, the theater, the Nymphaeum all the way down to Colonnated street and the Church complex.
On the second day, we entered the site around 8am, to climb the Monastery trail in the morning, followed by the High Place of Sacrifice trail and the Royal thumbs before going back to our hotel after more than 20kms walking in the sun. But don’t get me wrong, it was totally worth it!
! The entrance is 50 JOD for one day and 55 for two but is included in the Jordan Pass.
- Aswar Al Balad: a cheap Yemenite restaurant in Wadi Musa with a short list of meals but very good and .. there’s plenty to eat!
- Petra Oriental Restaurant famous for their… pizza!
Hotel: we spent 2 nights at the Candles Hotel a few hundred meters away from the entrance to the site.
I contacted several agencies when preparing the trip as I wanted a specific tour for 1 night and 2 days (most tours take you back at the village the next morning at 8am). Salem Zalabia from the Jordan Nomads agency prepared a specific programme for us: a first day doing the usual tour spots (Lawrence Spring, Red sand dune, Um Fruth and Burdah Rock bridges, El Barra canyon, Anfishiyyeh Inscriptions), a starry night in the Jordan Tracks bedouin camp and a second day exploring the white desert and going to a view point on the highest Jordan mountain.
Our bedouin guide and driverwas super nice, cooked delicious food for us and spoke very good English. He drove his 4WD super well although we were sitting in the back on the outside feeling like real adventurers. An unmissable experience!
The entrance to the desert is included in the Jordan Pass.
The road from Wadi Rum to Aqaba is about one hour. But the change is … spectacular! This big city by the Red Sea is basically a sauna with more than 30 degrees still at night. I really don’t know how human beings survive in such conditions!
We ran from the AC of our giant room (for only 30 JOD) in Al Qidra Hotel & Suites Aqaba to the climatised Irish pub Rovers Return. Not the most typical place but after the desert, we needed a bit of ‘normal’.
Aqaba is a famous spot for snorkeling so we headed to the Aqaba Marine Park on Beach 3 next morning, after renting some snorkels and fins in the Bedouin village on Beach 4 (but don’t snorkel there – dirty and not that great). A local told us to cross some ropes to explore the coral reef – so beautiful, so blue! You can also dive on a shipwreck if you’re interested!
Quick lunch at Papaya: nothing crazy but nice setting.
The Dead Sea was our last stop before returning to the capital. Beautiful views on the Wadi Araba during the 3-hour trip. Short stop at the Museum at the Lowest Place on Earth [included in Jordan Pass] as the Dead sea is nearly at 400m below sea level!
When preparing the trip, I quickly realised that I had 2 choices: 1) a mid-range hotel away from the Dead sea and pay an entrance to a beach or hotel to go float 2) book a night in a fancy 5-star hotel that owns a private beach. Well… despite my wallet being a bit angry, I opted for the second option and spent the night at the Holiday Inn Resort Dead Sea. It’s a big resort with 3 swimming pools, a big beach with a small area where you can experience the floating power of the Dead Sea, and several restaurants and bars. Not the kind of things I’m used to but not too bad (except the cocktail prices) and the bed was the most comfortable in my life I believe!
Beware experts say that the Dead Sea will disappear by 2050 if countries and factories continue to pump the water from the sea’s tributaries. Go there before it’s too late…
Last night in Amman
For our last night in Jordan, we rented a super big Airbnb on the trendy Rainbow Street with the most beautiful view on Amman.
Last morning staring at Amman’s citadel from our flat and time to take a Uber (only 15JOD) to the airport.
Bye bye Jordan! It was a pleasure meeting you and your lovely people!