10 Best “off the beaten path” activities in Jordan
There are so many fun outdoor activities that are acceptable to take part in whilst practicing social distancing that are both safe and fantastic! Therefore, our team decided to share with you 10 of our favorite “off the beaten path” activities you can enjoy in the face of this pandemic.
We’re all in this together and everyone must make smart, informed decisions about what type of activities are safe. So, please remember, before you engage in new activities, ensure you are following proper hygiene, safety protocols and social distancing, and if you’re not feeling well, please stay at home.
1. Hike to Petra through the back door.
When in Jordan, you absolutely have to take the opportunity to discover the Nabataean city of Petra. Carved in beautiful red rock more than 2000 years ago, the impressive buildings and long staircases take present-day visitors back in time and hold many secrets to discover.
Once at the site, there are several trails to explore. But why not start already entering it through the back door? We highly recommend entering Petra following the Jordan Trail via the back route, which takes you on unbeaten paths past the Monastery (ad-Deir).
2. Hike part of The Jordan Trail from Ajloun Castle to Mar Elias Church and have lunch at Summaga Cafe.
This hike goes through the fertile wadi with its lush vegetation and gardens to Mar Elias (Elijah) Church. At the end of the hike, you can treat yourself to a delicious lunch made by the local community at Summaga Cafe while enjoying the beautiful view of Ajloun Castle.
Local contacts are available on the Jordan Trail website.
3. Hike through Wadi Ghuweir and spend the night at Feynan Ecolodge.
This hike is probably one of the most spectacular hikes in Jordan, starting from the Shoubak Plateau and descending through a colorful sandstone gorge, passing through hanging gardens. Its water flow changes throughout the year, so expect to get your feet wet or even fully wet when trying to cross one of the rainwater pools along the way. At the end of the wadi you will find yourself walking through the ruins of Feynan, one of the most ancient copper mining centers in the world. Enjoy a peaceful candlelit dinner at Feynan Ecolodge followed by stargazing on the roof. On the next day, you can join one of the local activities offered at the Lodge, such as Arabic coffee making, Kuhol Making, and others.
4. Stay in one of the wooden Cabins at Ajloun Nature Reserve.
The Ajloun Forest Reserve is an inviting and interesting location for visitors as it offers an exciting look into the wildlife and the landscape. Created by the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature, it offers several hiking trails that are easily accessible as well as an informative visitor center and other attractions including a soap house and calligraphy house.
5. Spend the night at one of the Bedouin camps in Wadi Rum and hike/scramble the highest peak in Jordan (Jabal Umm Al-Dami) early in the morning.
The peak offers striking views to Wadi Rum’s rugged landscape, the Red Sea, and even Saudi Arabia’s vast desert. In fact, the mountain is located only a few hundred meters from the border with this country. Starting this hike early morning has its advantages: Less heat, avoid running into other tourists, and good light for your pictures!
6. Spend the night at Beit Al-Baraka in Umm Qais.
Visiting the famous ancient ruins of Umm Qais with an amazing view to the Golan Heights and Sea of Galilee is already an unforgettable experience. That can only be enhanced by a little taste of local culture with Baraka Destinations. There you can try seasonal local experiences like basket weaving, beekeeping, and many others.
Baraka Destinations was created to partner with local communities in secondary tourism sites and together design and build tourism experiences that showcase their hometown to curious travelers.
7. Hike through Zubia Forest and have lunch at a local family house in Orjan or Rasoun.
Start your hike from Bergesh forest and head east down the forested Wadi Zubia, hike passing by dense and great forests, spotting caves and ruins along the way. It’s a walk through history while you can enjoy the natural and greenish scenery until you reach the Roman Ruins of Qabla.
Local contacts are available on the Jordan Trail website.
8. Go on a boat ride and enjoy snorkeling or diving followed by a BBQ lunch on board.
Lie by the beach in Aqaba is already worth the trip. But the Red Sea is known for its beauty and diversity of coral reefs and marine life, so why not experience all it can offer us? All onboard for a fascinating boat ride through the Gulf of Aqaba where you will stop at the best snorkeling and diving spots and enjoy a BBQ in the middle of the sea.
9. Join some of Aqabawi’s local experiences
Aqabawi is a newer startup, from a young entrepreneur. The name refers to someone from Aqaba, Jordan and the company links customers with local experiences “off the beaten path” in the southern region of Aqaba. Aqabawi is pretty unique in its region juxtaposed with the surrounding large commercial hotels and 5-star resorts that dominate tourism in Aqaba.
Additionally, the company provides really the first local experience network provider in Aqaba, while previously almost all of Jordan’s tailored “local experiences” for tourists were based in Amman and northern Jordan.
10. Visit Beit Al-Beiruty and experience the traditional life in Madaba
Once in Madaba, you will see ancient beautiful mosaics. But you can also learn how to make them. At Beit Al Beiruty they accommodate local community businesses with interactive experiences.
One of the special experiences you can try is Mosaic making, which starts with an introduction to the Byzantine mosaic technique and history. Afterward, you will practice the principles of texture, composition, and marble tile cutting to create your own mosaic to take home.
For this experience and other authentic local experiences, check out Sawwah Travel.