Petra and Wadi Rum in Jordan

Walking in to Petra with Blue Sky

I took a tour to Jordan while in Israel and I wanted to take some time to “give back” to the wonderful Jordanians by telling others about it.

First, I’ll give the short version for those who want just the details, and then I’ll give the long version.

  • I toured with Desert Eco Tours, and they were AMAZING.
    • If you don’t leave from Eilat, you can also talk directly to Jordan Experience which is their Jordanian counterpart.
  • I drove to Eilat from Ashkelon, which took about 3 hours.
  • I stayed in the Blue Hotel for about $60. It was a nice hotel with an OK breakfast, and OK WiFi.
  • Desert Eco Tours picked me up at 7:05 AM the next day and drove me to the border.
  • At the border, we were the first in line. There was an Eco Tours person there to help us through the process
  • We walked through the border and got on a tour bus.
  • The tour bus drove us by Aqaba and the guide gave us some interesting information about Aqaba, and Jordan overall.
  • It took about 2.5 – 3 hours to get to Petra – we arrived a bit before 1 PM.
    • This is partially because they are great about making stops for pictures and bathroom breaks
    • This is also partially because one of the other members of the tour had passport issues at the border and we had to wait for them
  • If you are on the 1 day tour, you need to leave Petra at 3:30 PM and you don’t get lunch until then.
  • If you are on the 2 day tour, you need to leave Petra around 4:30 PM and you get lunch in Petra at about 2:30 PM.
  • We did the 2 day tour, so we walked to the Jordan Experience office from Petra at about 4:30 PM. It was about 500 meters away.
  • They arranged a Taxi to our hotel and checked us in.
  • We walked around the town at night and enjoyed the food and WiFi at the hotel. Dinner was quite good, and the service was excellent.
  • The driver for Wadi Rum arrived at the hotel at 8:30 AM
  • We left for Wadi Rum and arrived at about 11 AM.
  • We took a break at the Visitor’s Center and then continued
  • We arrived at a Bedouin camp at 12 PM and enjoyed some of their tea
  • We drove around stopping at various sites, took many pictures, and enjoyed the stories from our Bedouin guide.
  • At 1 PM we arrived at another camp where our Bedouin guides prepared lunch. We ate at 2 PM. The food was awesome.
  • We drove around more, took more pictures, and enjoyed more of our guide’s humor.
  • We left Wadi Rum and drove for about 90 minutes to the Israel border, arriving at 4:40 PM.
  • We crossed the border, and were greeted by Eco Tours staff and a Taxi.
  • We were back at our hotel by 5:30 PM
    • This was despite the hard time Israeli customs gave us
  • We left for Ashkelon and arrived at 9:00 PM.
  • I would highly recommend this to anyone!

Jordan – The long version

No, not a person – the country.

What comes to mind? Something like this perhaps?
desert plant

Yes, Jordan is mostly desert – but it’s not all spiky and ugly.

I was a bit nervous about traveling to Jordan while I was visiting Israel. I think we have The Media to thank for that. My advice regarding to travel to any country is that you must talk to locals, or people who have traveled there for true information.

My advice? You should absolutely go to Jordan. If you are in Israel, going via Eilat is a great way. If you hook up with Desert Eco Tours (Eco for short), they have the entire thing planned out for you. All you need to do is get to Eilat and enjoy the wonderful nightlife for an evening.

eilat at night 1  eilat at night 2eilat at night 3 eilat at night 4 eilat at night 5

You have to buy your hotel the night before, but this gives you the ability to save some money, or enjoy a very nice room.

In the morning, Eco picks you up and takes you to the border. They have someone there waiting to help you through the process. On the other side, they have another ride waiting for you.

You get to enjoy a little scenic drive through Aqaba and then on to Petra. They provide water, and plenty of rest stops. I was quite surprised at how accommodating they were by making stops for pictures, bathrooms and snacks. You’ll drive by some pretty striped mountains, and stop at a rest stop with a great panoramic view:

striped mountains

pre petra panoramic

The drive to Petra is a few hours, and then a brief stop at the Jordan Experience (Eco’s partner in Jordan). If you are staying overnight, they give you the opportunity to leave your stuff in their office. Petra is just a few hundred meters from their office.

When you enter Petra, you will be greeted by a few shops. Shortly after, you will be greeted by a plethora of children offering to sell you post cards, and other trinkets. The rules here are the same as traveling in any other country, so be wary.

Our tour guide did a great job pointing out things in Petra and explaining the archaeological significance of many of the carvings.

After a while, you arrive at the image that everyone knows: The Treasury.

derek at petra treasury

After this, you will continue walking and realize that Petra is GIGANTIC. There is NO WAY you can see it all in one day, or even a week. This panorama gives a slight idea of the size of it.

petra panoramic

There’s not much point in me posting the pictures I have, because it doesn’t scratch the surface of what is there.

When you reach the end of the tourist area there are some buildings. One of which is the place with the lunch included in the tour. It is served buffet style, and it is quite good. I had meatballs, falafel, spicy couscous, and many more things. Don’t forget to try the dessert!

petra lunch

After this, we walked back to the Jordan Experience office, taking pictures as we went through Petra. They got us a Taxi to our hotel and checked us in. We decided to walk back down to the tourist area for some of the shops and a pub we passed. Unfortunately, the pub only served one kind of Jordanian beer. I decided to go a few shops down and try a local dish: Makloubeh.

Makloubeh

Next, we went back to the hotel and I tried the food there too. The food was very impressive for a hotel in a foreign country. It far exceeded my expectations, especially considering it was included in the price of the tour. The hospitality of the staff at the hotel rivals the best of any country I’ve been to.

The next morning, our Bedouin driver arrived at 8:30 AM to take us to Wadi Rum. Words and pictures cannot describe the beauty of this place or what an experience it was to hear about life from a Bedouin man.

There are endless beautiful rock formations and mountains. Every turn produces another unique and awe-inspiring monolith.

derek at wadi rum 1

wadi rum visitor center panorama

We saw countless sites, enjoyed some off-road 4×4 in the desert, met Bedouins in their camps, and enjoyed a lunch hand-prepared by our Bedouin guides. The food was delicious and fresh.

bedouin lunch

After lunch, we saw a few more sites and then went back to Aqaba.

We said goodbye to our guide and went through customs. From here, a taxi took us back to our hotel and we drove back to Ashkelon.

derek and muhammad

It was an amazing trip that I find myself struggling to write more about because there is just so much to say.

In short, you have to go experience it.

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