The nation of Jordan is only about the size of Indiana—however boy, does it pack a punch. Dwelling to a few of the best-preserved ruins on the planet and one of many Seven Wonders of the Modern World, it brims with bucket list items and sudden experiences alike: you possibly can magically float within the lowest place on Earth, embark on thrilling desert Jeep safaris, and snorkel above a sunken airplane.

For anybody who hasn’t but made it to the Center East—a critically underrated a part of the world—Jordan is a superb place to start out. Not solely will you discover the meals, music, tradition, and customs the area is known for, however bank cards are extensively accepted, apps like Airbnb and Uber work nicely, and good infrastructure and transportation make it straightforward to discover.

My first journey to Jordan was in 2016 once I spent two weeks solo adventuring across the nation. I frolicked with individuals I met on Couchsurfing, hitched rides in shared taxis with locals, gorged on a few of the greatest road falafel I’ve ever had in my life, and realized lots of the ideas and tips that the majority first-time guests not often expertise.

I beloved the nation a lot that I started main small group tours to Jordan in 2019 so I may assist different vacationers transcend the guidebook and have distinctive experiences with the terribly welcoming residents of what rapidly grew to become certainly one of my favourite international locations. As of April 2022, I’m thrilled to report that the borders are open, all the things is up and operating, and now could be THE time to go to for the reason that crowds are nonetheless small. Right here’s how one can plan your first journey.

Facades of old rock houses against a blue sky with white clouds in ancient Petra in Jordan
Petra dates again to 300 B.C. | silky/Shutterstock

What to know earlier than arriving in Jordan

As Jordan is extremely safe and is constantly ranked as one of many most secure international locations on the earth, ladies, LGBTQ+, and solo vacationers may really feel secure exploring on their very own. It’s value noting, nevertheless, that although Jordan is likely to be probably the most progressive nation within the Center East, public shows of affection (notably amongst same-sex {couples}) is frowned upon and ladies ought to keep away from sporting excessively brief, tight, or revealing clothes.

On the word of COVID-19, Jordan has been having fun with very low an infection and hospitalization charges, and vacationers don’t want to indicate proof of vaccination or a adverse COVID take a look at upon arrival and the nation just lately lifted indoor masking necessities.

That stated, all guests to Jordan should fill out the Travel Declaration Form, which takes about three minutes to finish, earlier than their flight. After filling it out, you’ll obtain a QR code by e mail, which you’ll want to indicate airline employees earlier than boarding your flight and once more once you arrive in Jordan.

Vacationers visiting for quite a lot of days (which is extremely beneficial since there’s a lot to do) ought to think about shopping for a Jordan Pass. Jordan requires a visa, which is included within the Jordan Cross, so shopping for the go simplifies the airport arrival course of.

It additionally contains admission to all of the nation’s widespread sights, so shopping for the go is often less expensive, simpler, and sooner than paying separate admission charges at every website. Included sights vary from small museums and archeological websites to very large castles and the nation’s prime attraction, Petra (there are a number of variations of the go relying on what number of days you need to spend in Petra alone).

View of Temple of Hercules roman temple remains in Amman citadel
Start your historic historical past lesson at Jebel Al Qala’a. | Cristi Croitoru/Shutterstock

Find time for the capital metropolis of Amman

The overwhelming majority of flights into Jordan arrive at Queen Alia Worldwide Airport in Amman, so that is the place most individuals start their journey. As an alternative of instantly leaving city to start out checking objects off your bucket record, think about spending a pair days exploring the capital metropolis when you recover from your jetlag.

Sitting excessive above Jebel Al Qala’a, Amman’s highest hill, is the beautiful Amman Citadel architectural website, which has been occupied by people for the reason that Bronze Age. Take within the historic temple, palace, and on-site archeological museum, then stroll across the surrounding downtown space, which is the perfect place to search out meals markets and tea and spice outlets.

Within the night, head to the female-run cooking faculty Beit Sitti, the place you possibly can study to make conventional Jordanian dishes like baba ganouj and maqluba, an upside-down rooster and rice dish (Beit Setti additionally prepares a vegetarian model).

woman floating in the idyllic waters of the Dead Sea
How we want that have been us proper now. | MstudioG/Shutterstock

Float like a feather and pamper your self with a mud remedy within the Useless Sea

The bottom place on Earth isn’t some huge, barren gap—it’s the cool, clear waters of the Dead Sea. Because the excessive saltiness of the water prevents any fish or vegetation from surviving within the sea, this isn’t a very good place for snorkeling or scuba diving, so go away your gear at dwelling.

Nevertheless, the excessive salinity does the water dense, making your physique lighter and inflicting you to drift together with ease. Have you ever ever seen an image of somebody studying a newspaper whereas floating within the water, as if there have been an invisible recliner below them? Properly, the Useless Sea is the place you are able to do simply that.

Simply an hour west of Amman, you possibly can simply go to the Useless Sea on a day journey. However should you’re within the temper to be pampered with a Useless Sea mud remedy or invigorating salt therapeutic massage, think about overnighting at one of the waterfront resorts and spas.

General view of the historical Roman site Gerasa in Jerash, Jordan, with pillars and Oval Plaza. Mountains and city in the far distance
All roads result in Rome…besides this one, which results in Jerash. | Kristof Bellens/Shutterstock

Go to a few of the best-preserved Roman ruins on the earth

About 90 minutes north of Amman is Jerash, the best-preserved example of a Greco-Roman provincial city in the entire Middle East. Typically known as the “Pompeii of the Center East,” it is a large assortment of hilltop temples, hovering pillars, historic baths, plazas, outlets, and amphitheaters that require at the least a couple of hours to discover. The positioning can be dwelling to one of many oldest unbroken chains of human occupation, courting again over 6,500 years.

Whilst you’re within the north, head half-hour west of Jerash to Ajloun Castle, which was initially constructed to chase away Crusader armies after which served as a key commerce and pilgrimage intersection between Mecca, Jerusalem, Cairo, and Damascus. For a fast chunk to eat in Ajloun, swing by Summaga Café, a female-run farm-to-table restaurant that creates employment alternatives for ladies within the area and sources natural produce from 25 native farms.

Camels in Desert Wadi Rum, The Valley of The Moon, Jordan
As if issues could not get extra romantic, this a part of the desert is named The Valley of The Moon. | kamnacestach/Shutterstock

Go on a wild experience within the Wadi Rum Desert

It’s very doable that you simply’ve seen Jordan’s well-known Wadi Rum Desert on the large display screen with out even realizing it. The out-of-this-world, Martian-like panorama has appeared in numerous blockbuster motion pictures together with Dune, Star Wars, Aladdin, and The Martian, and the proper technique to discover the desert is thru a Jeep tour led by native Bedouin guides.

On 4×4 Jeeps, you’ll energy via the infinite sands previous awe-inspiring cliffsides, following within the footsteps of Lawrence of Arabia. Inside this UNESCO World Heritage Web site, Jeeps cease often so you possibly can climb the dunes, scramble throughout rock bridges, uncover rock inscriptions and slim gorges, and pose for selfies with impossibly photogenic camels.

small buildings by the ocean with mountains in the distance
Ping pong between sea and sand. | Boris-B/Shutterstock

Snorkel above sunken airplanes within the Crimson Sea

The Useless Sea is likely to be probably the most well-known sea in Jordan, however it undoubtedly isn’t the one one value visiting. Jordan’s part of the tremendous salty Crimson Sea is situated in Aqaba, about an hour southwest of Wadi Rum. As one of many hottest areas within the nation, it’s the proper place to calm down on the seaside and swim, snorkel, or scuba dive to flee the intense warmth that usually tops 90 levels by April.

Scuba divers will likely be handled to numerous eel-occupied ship wrecks and coral reefs, however even snorkelers can view the sunken airplane on the Hercules dive site. Nevertheless you get out within the water, you’re positive to come across an enormous number of brightly-colored fish darting previous.

The stunning view of Ad Deir, the Monastery of Petra, Jordan on a clean blue sky winter day
Advert Deir is only one of Petra’s many historic websites. | tenkl/Shutterstock

Discover one of many Seven Wonders of the World

By far, Petra is the preferred attraction in Jordan. It’s so magnificent that some vacationers even go to throughout a (very lengthy!) day journey from neighboring Israel and Egypt. Given how a lot there may be to see and do in Jordan, a day journey merely doesn’t do the nation—or Petra—justice however the truth that so many vacationers are prepared to spend 10 hours on a bus simply to have a couple of hours within the historic crimson rose metropolis speaks to how really breathtaking it’s.

Enter via the Siq (Petra’s principal entrance), which guides you thru a slim, ¾-mile gorge to the majestic Treasury, made world-famous by Indian Jones motion pictures. Extra adventurous vacationers could need to hike in via Petra’s “again door”, which gives spectacular views of hovering canyons, tree-topped mountains, and deep valleys earlier than arriving on the Monastery.

The Treasury and Monastery are the 2 most spectacular buildings in Petra (put together to stroll at the least seven or eight miles to go to each) however one may simply spend a number of days exploring the lesser-known remnants of this Nabatean masterpiece.

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Cassandra Brooklyn is a contract author, guidebook creator, and the founding father of the boutique journey firm, EscapingNY. She makes a speciality of all issues open air and her work may be present in Nationwide GeographicThe Day by day Beast, and Lonely Planet. Comply with her on IG at @escapingny.


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