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10 Best “off the beaten path” activities in Jordan during Covid-19

There are so many fantastic and safe outdoor activities in Jordan during covid that you can take part in whilst still practicing social distancing! 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. 

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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.

 
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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.

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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.

 

After the adventurous hike, relax and 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.

 
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4. Stay in one of the wooden Cabins at Ajloun Nature Reserve.

 
10 Best “off the beaten path” activities in Jordan during Covid-19 (Ajloun)

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.

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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.

 
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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.

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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.

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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

 
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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

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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.

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Coronavirus Updates Jordan – Tourism

This post is being updated with new information regarding Jordan’s reopening to tourism after closing due to coronavirus. What you need to know regarding Coronavirus updates Jordan and tourism to the country in this time.

 

Jordan has Reopened to Tourism!

     

Current Tourism Situation in Jordan:

 

January 18, 2020 – Big Update

  • Tourists are no longer required to self-quarantine after arrival.
  • Travelers must still test negative on a COVID-19 72 hours before arrival and complete a second COVID-19 test after arrival at the airport in Jordan.
  • The website https://www.visitjordan.gov.jo / https://www.gateway2jordan.gov.jo (Ministry & Tourism Board’s COVID Website) will no longer need to be used for tourist arrivals.
  • Flights to Jordan are now scheduled to increase
 

November 20, 2020  

  • Now there is a mandatory home qurantine of one week for all travelers. The green, yellow, red country system has now been scrapped.
  • Travelers no longer have to stay at the aiport to await the results of their Covid (PCR) test. Now the result will be texted to you. (As noted in Aiprot section below on Oct. 12, 2020)
 

To clairfy traveling to Jordan now requires the below steps:

  1. All arriving passengers are required to visit https://www.visitjordan.gov.jo to complete the required form and to obtain the QR Code which is mandatory for boarding all flights to Jordan.
  2. COVID (PCR) test with a negative result within 5 days (120 hours) prior to departure. (Not required for children under 5 years old)
  3. Another COVID test at airport upon arrival
  4. Install (AMAN Application) on your cell phone
  5. Submit Passenger Health Declaration and Locator Form
  6. Have a valid Health Insurance that covers COVID19 treatment for the whole period of the intended visit
  7. One week home qurantine
  8. At the end of the mandatory home quarantine, another PCR test is required

*Any passenger who gives falsified or incorrect information is subject to a fine of 10,000 JD

 
 

October 5, 2020  

If coming from a Green Country:

  • COVID test within 5 days prior to departure
  • COVID test at airport upon arrival (stay at airport until test received.)
 

Upon passing the two COVID tests:

Update: You are subject to one week home qurantine.

 

If coming from a Yellow Country:

  • COVID test within 5 days prior to departure
  • COVID test at airport upon arrival (stay at airport until test received.)
 

Upon passing the two COVID tests:

Update: You are subject to one week home qurantine.

 

If coming from a Red Country:

  • COVID test within 5 days prior to departure
  • COVID test at airport upon arrival (stay at airport until test received.)
 

Upon passing the two COVID tests:

Update: You are subject to two weeks home qurantine.

 

September 14, 2020  

Jordan announced their system for allowing in travelers from aborad. Countries are classified into three distinctions: Green, Yellow, Red.

 

If coming from a Green Country:

  • COVID test within 5 days prior to departure
  • COVID test at airport upon arrival (stay at airport until test received.)
 

Upon passing the two COVID tests, you are free to go.

 

If coming from a Yellow Country:

  • COVID test within 5 days prior to departure
  • COVID test at airport upon arrival (stay at airport until test received.)
 

Upon passing the two COVID tests, you must do one week of institutional qurantine (at a hotel), and then one week home qurantine.

 

If coming from a Red Country:

  • COVID test within 5 days prior to departure
  • COVID test at airport upon arrival (stay at airport until test received.)
 

Upon passing the two COVID tests, you must do one week of institutional qurantine (at a hotel), and then one week home qurantine with a tracking bracelet.

June 15, 2020

Jordan is currently in a stable situation with a very low Coronavirus count. From a health perspective, Jordan has performed as one of the best countries in the world in dealing with Coronavirus. Now we are looking forward to taking advantage of the hard work early on to enjoy opening up the country again gradually, safely, and responsibly.

All sectors of the economy except for the highest risk are now open with some health-related restrictions/regulations. People must wear masks when entering public buildings, businesses, taxi’s/Ubers/other car-sharing, or other places where services are available to the public.

For the latest numbers, you can check a website created by the Jordan’s Ministry of Health here: https://corona.moh.gov.jo/en

Airport

 

Status: Open (moderate capacity).

 

October 12, 2020
You no longer have to stay at the airport until you receive the results of your Covid test upon arrival. Now, you can leave the airport and they will send you the results by text message. (Roya News)

 

October 5, 2020
Update on airport procedures: Upon arriving at the airport and taking the test you will need to wait between 2-5 hours to receive your test result.

From what we have heard, there is only a small kiosk where you can purchase water, so we suggest packing water, snacks, and things to occupy the time accordingly.

 

September 1, 2020
Speculation: Jordan is starting with a limited number of flights from just a few locations, while they iron out the details of how to best implement proper safety plans. Then they will likely increase the number of locations and flights that are able to fly to Jordan accordingly.

 

Aiport to open up to some international tourist by the end of July – July 5th, 2020

 

At the moment are expecting international tourism to reopen likely sometime in July or August 2020. (Health Minister: QAIA won’t reopen before July 1) – May 28, 2020

Land Border between Jordan and Israel / Palestine Reopening to Tourism

 

Opening Date: TBD

Many tourist like to combine their trip to Jordan with a visit to Jerusalem and other sites in the “holyland” and vice versa. Currently, the coronavirus situation in Israel / Palestine is not very good, so we do not expect the land borders to open up in the short term. At this point it is too early for us to speculate on when they may be open.

However, we would advise people thinking of traveling to Jordan not to worry too much, Jordan has plenty of amazing sites and things to do. For travel ideas in Jordan check out 10 Best “Off The Beaten Track” Activities In Jordan During COVID-19

Experience Jordan’s Current Situation

 

Weekly Walks are back!

After a couple-year break, we have brought back our day trips for locals and expats on the weekend! Our first trip was on July 10th to Wadi Ghuweir and was sold out! Upcoming adventures can be found on our Day Trips page where you can browse through all of the hikes along the Jordan Trail, through wadis, and more!

If you are looking to socialize, meet new people, get out of Amman, and experience new adventures in Jordan, try out one of these trips! Stay up to date on new trip openings and other related announcements by following our Facebook page.We’ll be posting every couple of days as we add more trips. We hope to keep this going post coronavirus and into the future!

We have downsized our team and our staff are currently working at a reduced capacity. However, we have positioned to ramp back again quickly once tourism picks up.

Jordan’s Plan to Reopen Domestically

 

Jordan announced a 5-phase plan to reopening the economy titled “Working Together to Reopen.” The five phases are bases on the number of new coronavirus cases or the percentage of positive test results each day for a given week.

Each Phase has a “Health Risk Trigger” explained above, and then a description of what that phase level entails. The highest level, Phase 5, is called “Critical Risk, while the lowest level, Phase 1, is titled “Low Risk – New Normal.” Jordan is currently in Phase 2: Moderate Risk. In order for Jordan to get to Phase 1: “Low Risk” the protocol calls for no new local cases for 14 consecutive days. Phase 1 seems to indicate a full reopening of all sectors with ongoing social distancing measures and testing.

The reason you are seeing “local cases” is because Jordan is repatriating its citizens from abroad and testing truck drivers at the border. Cases from each of those situations add to Jordan’s official total coronavirus count but are in reality external cases that do not indicate the coronavirus spread level within the country. Further, these cases account for a large portion of Jordan’s new coronavirus cases.

For more details on the plan, you can check it out here: https://corona.moh.gov.jo/en/Together-to-Reopen

New Protocols & Regulations

 

Other Helpful Links
(regarding Coronavirus updates Jordan)

   
Blog Safety
Is Jordan Safe to Visit?

…is the question everybody seems to be asking once you plan to visit the kingdom. Especially after all the events in the last decades including wars, terrorism and political turmoil. There are always going to be people who’d never even think of visiting the Middle East in fear of what may happen. However, you can rest assured Jordan takes its national security very, very seriously.

I was born in Jordan, but I’ve lived in Canada since I was two. I’ve only recently come back to live here in Jordan. And regardless of the fact that I’m Jordanian, even I had a little doubt about coming back to what I call my home. Its natural for anyone planning to visit Jordan to harbor doubts, but again, Jordan’s national security is unparalleled in the Middle East. In fact, Jordan ranks higher than The United States of America on the global peace index¹.

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That being said, my expectations about travelling in Jordan have been met with the utmost satisfaction. 

Jordan is steadily moving towards becoming a progressive place. At the same time, we’ve managed to establish a state of homeostasis in the Kingdom, balancing progress with our traditions. Jordan has become the ideal place to experience Arab traditions and culture. You’ll be met with what we like to call in Jordan: Jordanian hospitality. It’s similar to southern hospitality in the States except its unilateral across the entire country. Northern, eastern, western, and southern hospitality. So, the question remains: Is Jordan safe? I for one can sleep easy at night.

Experience Jordan Adventures offers amazing tours of the country along both the Jordan Trail and The Jordan Bike Trail. They stretch from Um-Qais to Aqaba, and are the perfect way to experience Jordan in all it’s facets. You’ll travel in time and walk in the footsteps of emperors and prophets alike. Feel the history seeping from the cracks and crevices of the ruins of ancient Jerash, and the seemingly timeless Rose-Red City of Petra. Live the Indiana Jones movies as if you were Indian Jones, archaeologist and adventurer, himself. And you’ll experience Jordanian culture as if you were Jordanian yourself.

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 ¹Global Peace Index 2017

By Akram Habaybeh (edited by Andy Nurse & Juliane Zimmermann).

Blog Winter
Experience Jordan in Winter

You may be wondering, is winter a good time to visit Jordan? Does Jordan get cold? Or, how can I make the most of my trip while staying warm? And of course, what should I pack?

– Don’t worry! We have the answers to those questions and more below. There are plenty of great options for sightseeing, hiking, and having an amazing experience!

How is the weather? And what to Pack?

Practically, if you are visiting Jordan between December and February: Do pack warm cloths! Although it may seem that the temperature is higher in Jordan than your home country, the feel of the temperature can be quite different. There can even be snow. Wearing layers is advisable, as it means you can react flexibly to changing temperatures (day/night, inside/outside), plus a decent coat, sturdy shoes, and warm socks.

Indoor heating may be different than what you are used to from your home country as well. In Jordan the buildings generally have room heaters (hot water carrying wall units), AC units (that are also able to blow hot air), or space heaters (electric or gas) as primary heat sources. That is instead of central heating like more modern buildings and areas. Hotels should always be comfortably heated in the winter. However, houses and older buildings are very often poorly insulated. So even inside buildings, you may want to wear a light jacket. 

Preparation is key, so be sure to check the weather forecast before you come for any signs of rain/snow!

Winter is a great season to hike in Jordan.

In summer most places are crowded with tourists, and the blazing sun can make being outdoors uncomfortable. But you can avoid both of these inconveniences by planning your trip during the winter months between November and March.

This time of the year is especially perfect for activities such as hiking, since the temperatures are comfortable for even long hikes on desert trails. For example the route from Little Petra to Petra is a fantastic hike to consider: Rated among the top hikes in the world by National Geographic, it has you enter Petra via the lesser travelled ‘back door’ route. That route enables you to explore the beautiful and wild landscape, as well as many other attractions on the way, without the heavy traffic of thousands of fellow tourists. It also incorporates the phenomenal site (and sight!) of Petra with a better grasp of cultural and historical places and traditions. 

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While in Petra, you perhaps also want to take the time for a visit to Petra kitchen. It’s a great option for the shorter days of winter! There you can learn to cook traditional meals with local women. Additionally, it is a fantastic opportunity to engage with locals, sample delicious dishes, and learn more about the fundamental importance of food and hospitality in Jordanian culture.

Other Options for visiting Jordan in Winter:

A trip to Madaba, could include visits to several (heated) museums and churches, as well as a stroll on nearby Mount Nebo. The view over the Holy Land is best at this time of the year, when the dust in the air has been washed away by the winter rains. There is a renovated church on top of the mountain, boasting an array of beautiful mosaics, and on the road up to/down from the site itself you can visit the best folklore museum in Jordan: La Storia. In Madaba there are different churches that are also worth stopping by – above all the Church of St George accommodating the oldest existing map of the region. …and since Madaba is a predominantly Christian town, a December trip can incorporate the sighting of sparkling Christmas trees too!

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Another great option is to travel to the Dead Sea. Due to it’s low altitude, the climate in this region is much warmer than in the rest of Jordan, and the opportunities for relaxation are unrivaled. Even if you find it too chilly to swim in the sea, many of the hotels have heated pools, plus the spas are heavenly – treat yourself!

And last but not least, there are also many options in the capital city of Amman. In Amman there are art galleries, restaurants, cafes, cultural centers, concerts, historical sites, or local markets. As travel experts, we would be happy to recommend some options specific to your trip.

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Olive Harvest in Jordan

If you happen to be in Jordan in autumn, you are definitely lucky! …because that means that you can participate in the olive harvest, and experience this memorable event up close as you work alongside local families.

 

An essential part of Jordanian culture

 

The olive harvest is an established event in Jordan’s calendar. Since thousands of years it holds significance both in terms of tradition and in terms of being a vital source of income. This makes the farming of olives an essential part of Jordanian culture and economy. The products that emerge are diverse, and besides the olives also the wood is very valuable. It is fashioned into a variety of products from jewelry to household items and furniture, and then sold. Important note: Only wood from non-producing trees is used for that.

 

But the real deal are the olives! Or perhaps rather what’s made out of them is. Jordan is one of the world’s top-10 producers of olive oil. And this is a good thing, for it is also consumed by the gallon here. Practically every meal uses this precious ingredient – a local favorite is simply bread dipped in olive oil and Za’atar, a traditional Arab spice mixture consisting of thyme, roasted sesame seeds, salt, and additional other spices.

 

Olive Picking

 

Wondering if you would be up to that task?

 

So, as stated above, if you are in Jordan during autumn, you have the great chance to visit a farm and participate in the olive picking process.

 

Here is a simple how-to:

 

1. Stretch plastic tarpaulins below the tree.

 

2. Pull your hand down every single branch, stripping the trees of the ripe olives, which then fall onto the tarpaulins.

 

3. Once the tree is stripped of all the olives, shake them into the middle of the tarpaulin. Sift through them, and also remove the twigs that have fallen into the mix.

 

4. Also collect any olives lying on the ground. Don’t even think about throwing dried and shriveled olives which are seemingly past their best! They are actually the best kind to take to the press. This is because the water has evaporated from them, leaving only concentrated oil behind.

 

5. Pile the olives, now twig free, in buckets, which are poured into sacks. These sacks get transported to the warehouse and factory where the press lives. There, they are churned and juiced, pulped and purified, until only the gorgeous yellow oil remains.

 

 

This experience, which is part of our weekly walks program, offers excellent insight into a process that is at the heart of Jordanian culture, in terms of economy, cuisine and tradition. Of course, not all olives are turned into olive oil. There is another process that begins to create olives for eating. Yum! But that is for another post.

 

If you’re in Jordan now, sign up for the harvest – for a day in the fresh air of the green northern countryside with many new interesting insights and a lot of fun for young and old. You won’t regret it!

 

Get more information about this and other cultural experiences, events and trips here.

Blog AmmanCitadel
Experience Jordan’s History: Amman Citadel

Jordan has more amazing historical sites than most people realize. This historic fortress, the Amman Citadel, is located on top of Jabal al-Qal’a, the highest of seven hills on which the city was built (jabal means ‘mountain’, qal’a ‘castle’).

Travel through time…

The citadel boasts a diverse range of previous inhabitants: Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, and Romans, as well as Umayyad and Ayyubid dynasties. Of course, this is a paradise for everyone else who loves history. The first signs of human occupation that archaeologists found date back to the Middle Bronze Age (1650-1550 BC). At that time, most likely either a fortress, or an agora (a public space for arts, sports and politics) occupied the hill. Today’s visitors can trace the great ancient civilizations through the remnants of a Roman Hercules Temple, a Byzantine church, a spectacular Umayyad palace, and many other ruins and fragments. They can also visit the Jordan Archaeological Museum. In the museum many excavated artifacts are preserved, including both every day items, and the finer things of life such as jewels and statues.

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“I’m not interested in History…” – Here is why you should still visit:

You may say, “Thanks for all the information, but historical sights are not really my cup of tea. Why should I visit?” – We have a few more reasons to convince you…

1. The Location

The citadel is the perfect place to take a moment of rest. This is in particular from the busy and sometimes even stressful atmosphere in downtown. Since the site is located only a few minutes walking distance from Roman theater and Husseini Mosque (to be honest though, that’s downhill), you can fit a visit easily into your schedule. The way from downtown to the citadel is mostly a steep uphill. We therefore recommend to take a taxi (should cost less than 1 JD), or plan a few extra minutes of walking.

2. The View

From the citadel’s vantage point, situated atop the highest hill in Amman, you can see far out in every direction across the beautiful city. As you look west, the tallest freestanding flag in the world flies proudly in the wind. At the foot of the hill the amphitheater and downtown Amman buzz with life. And all throughout the year you can see flocks of domesticated doves circle over the city, that are joined by numerous kites during winter and spring time. It is a strange and fascinating feeling to stand in the ancient site that has been occupied by so many cultures, all while observing the modern city of today.

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3. The Atmosphere

Like the many locals coming to the Citadel, you can take time to relax, have a chat with friends and let you gaze wander over the sea of houses. Due to the variety of people present, you oftentimes find yourself enveloped by an atmosphere that is as diverse and multicultural as the traces of history covering the place.

Practically speaking, there are WC facilities on the mountain and a nice little market where you can get ice cream, waters, snacks, and coffee. The site closes around sunset – so make sure to be there early enough, so you can lean back to enjoy Amman in the glow of the golden hour (or any other hour of the day).

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Hiking Wadi Mukheires

​There is a strip of road by the Dead Sea where you will find a dozen or so hotels on the water’s edge. Their entrances with the glittering golden letters sit proudly at the roadside. You couldn’t be blamed, therefore, to be looking at them when driving past. Nor for looking even further out, beyond the buildings, to the reason they’re all there – the Dead Sea. If you finally look the other way, however, to the rocks and the dust, you will see the entrances to several wadis. They are tucked away from the road, and outwardly inconspicuous, but ready for exploration!

 

Wadi Mukheires wasn’t my first wadi hike, but definitely the best!

 

​We set off from Amman bright and early, after a short briefing. It was here that I met Ayman, who was our guide for the hike, and – like me – a new Experience Jordan employee. Wadi Mukheires is located perhaps forty minutes from Amman, but soon after entering I had the impression I was in another country. The wadi was shady and cool, varying in width, with a small stream winding its way through the valley, easy to follow by the lush greenery lining its route. Reeds and rocks and ferns were sprayed across the wadi floor and they seemed to get bigger and greener the further into the wadi we hiked. The water too, became deeper and wider at points. To continue into the wadi we had to climb up several waterfalls of varying size. A couple of us definitely got an extra shower or two at various points along the way.

 

 

​Once or twice I was pretty convinced we had reached an impasse on the route. I looked around despairingly, expecting the apologies to the group, the trek back to the cars slightly sooner than expected. The next thing I knew, two of my fellow walkers had sprung up what seemed like an impossibly smooth and high boulder, and were already giving hand-ups to others. We continued like that for a couple or so hours, splashing through the blissfully cool waters, climbing over rocks, brushing through green curtains of vegetation, chatting to each other.

 

​We reached the end of the wadi when we reached the huge waterfall at the end. The splashing water echoed around the high rock walls and we had our group photograph in front of the spray, in a patch of beaming sunlight, before heading back the way we came and stopping for lunch a short way back along the stream.

 

​Ayman, who had been heroically carrying a huge tin kettle and all the food for the trip, started up a small fire and we cooked sausages and burgers on a small grill, and then boiled the kettle and drank Ayman’s special tea blend in the shade. It was a delicious stop in the early afternoon, and time to take in the beauty of our surroundings in the quiet valley.

 

​We were soon back at the entrance of the wadi by the cars, and drove back to Amman as the sun was getting lower in the sky. I arrived home tired, but wonderfully invigorated. The day had been a my much-needed break from the hustle and bustle of life in Jordan’s capital.

 

Edited by Juliane Zimmermann.

Blog PetraBackDoor
Experience Petra: Enter via the ‘Back Door’

If you come to 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.

We highly recommend entering Petra via the back route, which takes you on unbeaten paths past the Monastery (ad-Deir). This way, you will escape the majority of other tourists and end up with an enriched encounter of this magical site.

Options:

The ‘back door route’ can basically be done in one day. Starting at Little Petra, the path will take you all the way to the monastery and down into Petra. Along the way, enjoy taking in spectacular landscapes and the awe-inspiring monastery, arriving at the site with time for exploration.

For the more passionate hikers among us, there is the option to do the full Dana to Petra trek. That trek, which is also part of the Jordan Trail, is not without it difficulties – you especially should make sure to bring a certain fitness level. But don’t let this statement dishearten you. The experience is totally worth every bit of struggle! Rated as one of the best in the world by National Geographic, the hike leads through a wild and stunningly beautiful scenery, diverse landscapes and untouched nature.

The full hike, which can be completed in around 5 days, should generally be done with a tour company as it leads through some very remote areas.

Banner Advertisement for Trekking Tours on the Jordan Trail, from Dana Bisophere Reserve to Petra

Re-Entering via the ‘front door’

If you’re staying the night in Petra you can attend ‘Petra by Night’, where the sight is illuminated by hundreds of candles. The next morning we recommend re-entering Petra the common way: via the Siq. You will walk through the canyon, walls of rose-colored stone towering above you on each side. While walking the anticipation builds as you feel yourself nearing the heart of the ancient site. Suddenly, there it is, right in front of you!

The appearance of the Treasury at the end of the gorge is a breathtaking moment. And while it is a moment usually shared with many fellow travellers, you will be the lucky one. By first entering via the ‘back door’ and then – assuming you made it out of bed in time – early the next morning via the Siq, you will have gotten the best of both worlds. Petra is so immaculate it is best taken in from multiple angles and lighting. From afternoon, evening, and morning sunlight to candlelight – Petra’s majesty can be witnessed in many different ways. 

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Our Recommendations:

If experiencing Petra via the backdoor seems exciting to you, check out this tour which offers the best sights of Jordan and the Little Petra to Petra hike via the back entrance: Jordan Hikes & Sights

If you’re up for more something more physically challenging, you should have a look at our Dana to Petra Treks – possible to do privately or as part of a bigger group.

…or you can of course request to add any version of the hike on to any of our private tours. We are looking forward to hear from you!

Amber Week 2 1
Exploring Wadi Himara

Amber Stowell’s 4 Week Journal (Week 2)

 

If you have been following Amber’s journal, check out her second week in Jordan below:

 

Settling in…

 

The second week in Jordan was a bit less hectic than the first. I was settling into my new place, getting to know my roommates better, and navigating the grocery store in search of familiar meal items.

 

I’ve also been getting more comfortable at the Experience Jordan office and have loved walking to different local places for lunch. I never know what to expect but it’s always delicious and inexpensive (not necessarily healthy, though. I’ve indulged in more than my fair share of fried bread, cheese and meat). I’ve also discovered that I am terrible at remembering and pronouncing Arabic phrases, and have given up on ever learning more than a few basic words. I am amazed and have so much respect for the expats who have become fluent because it takes so much studying and dedication in my opinion.

 

Weekend Trip to Wadi Himara

 

The highlight of this week would have to be hiking in Wadi Himara with an Experience Jordan group. After being in the city all week it was refreshing to take a bus out into the less populated desert. We got off the bus and I was immediately greeted with a beautiful panoramic view of the dead sea right from the road. We followed a stream peppered with small waterfalls on the hike up. Apparently, during the spring the hike turns into a lot of stream wading, but summer is a lot dryer. I was thankful for the occasional shade on the way up. Hiking at home in Seattle, I’m used to constant cover from the sun whether it be from trees or clouds.

 

To get to the final waterfall, there was a ladder and ropes you had to climb up about 15 vertical feet. Only 3 people decided to take on the challenge, including the guide and myself. The rest of the group waited below while the three of us got to enjoy the massive waterfall hidden at the end of the trail. After enjoying the cooling mist, we climbed our way back down and had a campfire cooked lunch.




You can join a group to hike Wadi Himara and more on our Weekly Walks: https://www.experiencejordan.com/daytrips/.

Amber Week One
One Week in Jordan

Amber Stowell’s 4 Week Journal (Week 1)

One of our summer interns has shared with us her four week journal, and now we are sharing it with you! Check out week 1 below:

Upon arrival to Queen Alia Airport in Amman, I could feel my curiosity peaking. After a few months of planning, I was ready to experience a culture on the other side of the world — with little expectations. It was midnight when I arrived and as I went to leave the airport, I was surprised to hear the sound of drums and chanting. People were doing the Dabke and gathered outside the front of the airport. Whatever was going on, I knew that it was something I would never see at home.

Stepping outside, I could even tell a difference in the air and the way it felt on my skin and in my lungs. The late-night drive to my temporary home was dark and the buildings were softly lit. I immediately noticed the difference in architecture. The traditional Arab style buildings were primarily beige stone but with their own unique details.

Life in Amman

Over the course of the week I would learn the little quirks of the house and neighborhood. For example, the musical jingle I would hear outside in the morning was not an ice cream truck, but the gas truck letting people know when he was around to exchange containers. Or being warned of a possible water shortage because the water is not directly pumped to your taps and faucets, but rather pumped to tanks on the top of the building that are refilled every week. Luckily the Experience Jordan office is only a 10 minute walk from the apartment and goes through a lovely neighborhood and shopping area.

Visiting Jerash

To my surprise, a day after arriving in Jordan I was able to go on a Jerash/Petra tour with Experience Jordan. I think the excitement of getting to see these sites gave me the motivation to overcome jetlag. I met up with a tour group who came in from Israel and we headed to the ruins of Jerash. When we arrived, I was surprised I had never heard of the ruins before. They parallel or may even surpass the impressive ruins in Greece or Rome. Amphitheatres, columns, and stone streets where merchants would sell goods gave you a perspective of what life was like for these ancient communities. That night we took a bus ride to Seven Wonders Bedouin Camp and experienced the well-known Jordanian hospitality.

In the footsteps of Indiana Jones

The following day we went to Petra. What came to mind when I thought about Petra was watching Indiana Jones find the fountain of youth. I didn’t know everything that Petra entailed, but I found that the whole area was much more elaborate than I had previously thought. I didn’t expect to see so much history in the canyon as we walked towards the treasury, the iconic structure everyone knows. Burial tombs and other carvings could be found left and right in the yellow and red streaked rocks. After walking the winding trail through the canyon, the space suddenly opens up and you’re looking up at the face of a cliff made into one of the world’s greatest wonders. Pictures don’t fully prepare you for the feeling you get when you take in the entire landscape and how much work went into this lost city. Our guide set us free to explore the different sites and walk into the ancient carved out caves.

(Edits by Juliane)