How safe is travel in Jordan? The Middle East can be a bit scary, after all
How do I get to Jordan?
Do I need a visa for travel to Jordan?
I’ve heard if traveling to Israel, you may be denied entry to other countries. Is this a problem with Jordan?
What is the currency in Jordan? Are US bills accepted?
Will I need certain vaccinations or medication for this trip?
When is the best time to travel to Jordan?
Is it difficult to communicate with the locals? Is English spoken?
What is the food like? I’m kind of a picky eater.
What sorts of wildlife might I see?
How strenuous are your Jordan trips?
What kind of pre-departure services do you offer?
Will I have jet lag?
Is Jordan a good destination for families?
Can I extend my trip? Suggestions?
I have lots of questions about booking a trip to Jordan and other parts of the Middle East. Who can I call?
Our favorite guide in Jordan, Yamaan Safady, is fond of saying “Jordan is like the quiet house surrounded by noisy neighbors.” While it is true that Jordan shares borders with rather rambunctious neighbors, you would never know it while traveling there. Unless you are purposely visiting refugee camps on the northern border with Syria, you may not even be aware of the number of different nationalities who have immigrated from war-torn countries to Jordan and made their place. The Bedouin culture is deeply embedded in this society, meaning their inherent tradition of welcome is alive and well. Also, a surprising percentage of the population speaks English, as it is taught in public schools from an early age, and many Jordanians study abroad. It’s relatively easy to ask questions and feel comfortable getting around. Of course, Wildland Adventures’ guides and drivers are always close at hand or a phone call away, should you need assistance.
Most Wildland Adventurers will arrive via air to Queen Alia International Airport, less than an hour from the capital city of Amman. However, if you are combining Jordan with a visit to neighboring countries, you may find yourself arriving via schooner from Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, or overland via the King Hussein Bridge or Sheikh Hussein Bridge from Israel. Please see pertinent visa requirements below.
Yes. It’s a simple matter to purchase the visa upon arrival at Queen Alia International Airport, and in fact our representative at the airport will be ready to assist you in that. The cost is JD20 or approximately $25-26 per person. If arriving by boat from the Sinai to Aqaba on the Gulf of Aqaba, the visa is obtainable at the port for no fee. However, if you are arriving to Jordan overland from Israel, you may need to have the visa before departing the US, because you cannot get it at certain busy border crossings. You may apply for the visa at the Jordan consulate in San Francisco, or the embassy in Washington, DC. Please be aware you must obtain the visa within 1 month of arrival to Jordan, so this will necessitate sending your passport via insured overnight mail along with a self-addressed overnight return envelope within 1 month of your departure date. Visa processing is generally 5 business days and the cost is $37.50 (subject to change). Your passport must be valid for more than 6 months beyond the visa issuing date.
No. Israel and Jordan have a relatively stable peace between them and an Israel stamp in your passport will not prevent entry to Jordan. This is NOT true of other countries in the region, however, so you will want to weigh all your travel plans when establishing the sequence of entry, or ask the Israeli customs and immigration official to stamp a separate piece of paper.
The Jordan Dinar (JD) is equivalent to approximately US$1.40 (2013). US currency is not widely accepted, but most large hotels or restaurants will accept credit cards. Service fees will apply.
In general, you will not require any special vaccinations or medication for Jordan. However, the Center for Disease Control recommends being up-to-date on all routine vaccine-preventable diseases, such as measles, mumps, etc. Hepatitis A & B is recommended, as well as typhoid. If you are contemplating the Bedouin Trek to Petra, be aware you will be trekking over very rough terrain with jagged boulders. A fall can lead to a nasty scrape, so being up to date on your tetanus immunization is a must. In addition, you may want to consider vaccinating for rabies, as you will pass through many rural encampments during the hike. As always, we recommend visiting a travel clinic 4-6 weeks before your travels and explain exactly where you will be traveling and what you will be doing.
Spring and Fall are the optimum times to travel, with the months of April, May, September and October being the most popular. Temperatures will be in the low 70’s to high 80’s, and almost no precipitation. For those who can withstand higher temperatures, you may want to consider June as well, and early November can also be mild and pleasant, particularly for trekking. The high summer months can see temperatures over 100* in the areas around the Dead Sea and Aqaba, and nearly as hot in Petra and Wadi Rum, while it’s not unheard of to see snow in Amman during the winter months.
While Arabic is the national language, English is surprisingly often heard, even in rural areas. Many Jordanian children learn rudimentary English as early as 6th grade, and many families of even modest means may send their children abroad to study a year or two. Having said that, learning a few words in Arabic will help pave the way to smiles and open hearts as you travel the country. Your Jordanian guide can help you with phrases and gestures to get started!
The food is what we think of as typical Mediterranean fare, which means a broad variety of tastes, textures and color! Breakfast may start with yogurt, dates, bread and preserves, chased by strong coffee or tea. Lunch may consist of hummus, tabouleh, yogurt, vegetables such as cucumber, tomatoes, pita. Dinner can be a beautiful and flavorful grain salad with colorful vegetables and chicken, pita with z’atar, a rich blend of spices in delicious olive oil, a variety of tangy cheeses. We include opportunities to attend cooking classes so you can duplicate many of these delicious dishes once you’re back home.
Depending on where you travel, animal life will vary. But of course almost everything is adapted to the rigors of desert habitat. The predominance of goat herding has left much arable land overgrazed, so native ungulate species such as Nubian ibex or Dorcas gazelle will be a challenge to spot. More likely you will see the red fox trotting across the desert, a mongoose darting through riverine vegetation, or hear the high whistle alarm call of the rock hyrax, a housecat-sized distant relative of elephants. Other mammals which inhabit Jordan but remain well away from humans are caracals, wolves, jackals, and striped hyenas. Camels are ubiquitous, particularly in Wadi Rum, but they are all domesticated descendants from the one-humped dromedary of Arabia. A shocking turquoise streak of movement in the brilliant red sandstone of Petra alerts you to the presence of the Sinai agama lizard, a gorgeous creature. Birders will have much to keep them occupied in Jordan, as there are well over 400 species when you take into account migratory visitors in spring and fall. The Old World answer to hummingbirds, the iridescent Sunbird, may be spotted in the Dana Nature Reserve, among other locales.
The Bedouin Trek to Petra is considered a Level III trek, meaning you can expect full days of hiking (4-6 hours, sometimes more) over rugged terrain and wilderness camping. You will not have any concerns about altitude, as we are seldom over 2300’. But it is imperative that you are in good hiking condition in order to optimize your enjoyment of the trip. Hiking poles are highly recommended to take pressure off your knees when descending steep, rocky trails. The Jordan Explorer is a Level I-II, much easier physically, but still some great hiking opportunities in the Ajloun and Dana Nature Reserves and a night spent under the stars at a desert camp in Wadi Rum. Both itineraries will have opportunities to spend a great deal of time walking throughout Petra, which can mean steep ascents and descents up stairs or rocky paths. You will enjoy either of these trips if you approach them in sound health and good conditioning, with an open spirit of discovery and adventure!
Our knowledgeable and experienced Jordan Program Director will walk you through the process of finding the best itinerary and level of activity to fit your preferred travel style. Once you have settled on the itinerary you are envisioning, you will receive a comprehensive pre-departure package including travel tips for this part of the world, with appropriate packing lists, suggested reading, dining recommendations, maps and more! We are available by email or telephone to answer any questions, large or small, about your trip.
You may experience some jet lag, as Jordan is 7 hours ahead of the eastern US and 10 hours ahead of the west coast. Generally you will mostly be over any effects by the second or third day. If joining our Bedouin Trek to Petra, we strongly suggest arriving one day early to Amman in order to get “caught up” and be at your best when we begin the actual itinerary with the full day in Jerash and Ajloun. Amman is an interesting, vibrant, cosmopolitan city and can easily fill a day.
Yes! Jordanians are very family-oriented and welcoming of children. Local youngsters are curious about other nationalities and will likely want to talk to your children. English is surprisingly common and even in rural areas you will encounter kids who want to practice their English with someone their age. Very young children may not find much in Jordan to keep their attention, but older kids will be dazzled by Petra (especially if they have seen “Indiana Jones!”) and other amazing places such as Crusader fortresses and collanaded boulevards of ancient Roman cities. The towering red dunes of Wadi Rum are great fun to run and roll or glissade down the soft sand. And what kid doesn’t want to ride a camel with Bedouins across the desert??
Absolutely! You’ve traveled all this way, take full advantage of the vast history and rich cultural heritage that surround you! Israel is a short drive across one of two bridges, the King Hussein/Allenby Bridge to Jerusalem or the Sheikh Hussein Bridge to the evocative Roman ruins of Beit She’an, once a member of the Decapolis (along with Amman, Jerash, and Damascus). Hop a schooner in Aqaba and cross the Gulf of Aqaba to Nuweiba on Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula. From there you can reach St Catherine’s Monastery and legendary Mt Sinai. Climb the mountain in pre-dawn darkness to greet the sunrise…you’ll never forget it! Cairo is a short flight from Amman and even Istanbul, Turkey can be easily reached from Amman. Ask us for more information.
Our experienced staff can help you pull together the details of your trip, from coordinating your air and land arrangements, to fulfilling any of your special needs. Wildland Adventures will send you a comprehensive pre-departure package upon receipt of a deposit of $700 per person. Feel free to call us at (800) 345-4453 to get started on creating the adventure you are envisioning.
Contact our Middle East Program Director with any additional questions about our Jordan adventure tours.