Embark on an unforgettable exploration of Jordan, a land that seamlessly weaves ancient wonders with breathtaking landscapes. In this comprehensive Jordan travel guide, we invite you to uncover the diverse treasures this enchanting country holds. From practical tips on accommodations and budget-friendly hacks to the tantalizing tastes of Jordanian cuisine and cultural experiences, we’re here to equip you with essential insights for an enriching journey.
Fast Facts About Jordan
- Climate: Experience Jordan’s diverse climate, with desert areas like Wadi Rum having hot days and cool nights, while cities like Amman enjoy milder temperatures.
- Local Currency: The official currency is the Jordanian Dinar (JOD). ATMs are widely available, and credit cards are accepted in most urban areas.
- Power Voltage: Jordan uses 230V electricity at 50Hz. Bring a suitable power adapter for your electronic devices.
- Language: Arabic is the official language, but English is widely spoken in tourist areas, making communication easier for travelers.
- Religion: The majority of Jordanians practice Islam, and it’s important to respect local customs and dress modestly when visiting religious sites.
- Safety: Jordan is generally considered safe for travelers. The local population is known for their hospitality and warmth towards visitors.
- Cultural Etiquette: It’s customary to greet with a handshake and say “As-salamu alaykum.” When entering homes, removing your shoes is a sign of respect.
- Tipping: Tipping is customary in Jordan, especially in restaurants and for services. A 10% service charge is often added to bills, but additional tips are appreciated.
Best Time to Visit Jordan: Seasons and Festivals
- Spring (March to May): Spring is ideal for exploring Jordan, with pleasant temperatures ranging from 55°F to 75°F (13°C to 24°C). It’s the perfect time to visit Petra and other historical sites.
- Summer (June to August): Summers can be scorching, especially in desert areas like Wadi Rum, with temperatures soaring above 100°F (37°C).
- Fall (September to November): Fall offers cooler weather, making it suitable for exploring cities like Amman and Ajloun, as well as the Dead Sea.
- Winter (December to February): Winter sees cooler temperatures, ranging from 45°F to 65°F (7°C to 18°C), and is a great time for exploring outdoor sites like Wadi Mujib.
- Jerash Festival (July): Celebrate culture and arts in Jerash, featuring music, dance, and theatrical performances against the backdrop of ancient ruins.
- Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha: Join locals in celebrating these important Islamic holidays, marked by feasting, prayers, and community gatherings.
- Amman International Film Festival (August): Immerse yourself in the world of cinema at this annual event, showcasing international and regional films.
- Jordan Rally (October): Motorsport enthusiasts can enjoy the excitement of the Jordan Rally, part of the FIA Middle East Rally Championship.
- Christmas in Madaba (December): Experience Christmas festivities in the Christian town of Madaba, known for its impressive Byzantine mosaics.
Top Attractions and Things to See and Do in Jordan
- Petra: Marvel at the iconic rose-red city carved into the rock, Petra. Walk through the Siq to unveil the stunning Treasury, one of the world’s most famous archaeological sites.
- Wadi Rum Desert: Immerse yourself in the otherworldly landscapes of Wadi Rum, known as the Valley of the Moon. Take a jeep tour or camp under the starlit sky.
- Dead Sea: Experience the buoyancy of the Dead Sea’s salty waters, renowned for their therapeutic properties. Cover yourself in mineral-rich mud for a natural spa treatment.
- Jerash: Explore the well-preserved ancient city of Jerash, where Roman ruins showcase a glimpse into the past. Don’t miss the well-preserved Oval Plaza and Hadrian’s Arch.
- Amman Citadel: Discover the historical heart of Amman at the Citadel, home to ancient ruins, a museum, and panoramic views of the city.
- Aqaba: Dive into the Red Sea’s turquoise waters in Aqaba, a paradise for snorkelers and divers. Explore vibrant coral reefs and underwater marine life.
The Best Ways To Get Around Jordan
- Public Transportation: Utilize affordable public buses and shared taxis (service taxis) to navigate cities and regions. Be sure to ask locals for help with routes.
- Private Drivers: Hire a private driver or guide for convenience and personalized experiences, especially if you’re exploring multiple destinations in a short time.
- Rental Cars: Renting a car offers flexibility, particularly when exploring off-the-beaten-path destinations like Dana Biosphere Reserve or the Jordanian desert.
- Domestic Flights: For longer distances, consider taking a domestic flight to save time. Airports in Amman and Aqaba offer domestic connections.
- Camel and Horse Tours: Experience a unique journey by opting for camel or horse tours, especially in places like Wadi Rum, where Bedouin guides offer insights into local culture.
Accommodation Tips: Jordan
- Diverse Options: Choose from a range of accommodations, from luxury resorts to budget-friendly guesthouses and boutique hotels.
- Booking in Advance: During peak travel seasons, it’s advisable to book your accommodation in advance to secure your preferred choice.
- Authentic Experiences: Consider staying in a traditional Bedouin camp in Wadi Rum for an immersive desert experience.
- Hotels with Views: Opt for accommodations with stunning views, such as those overlooking Petra or the Dead Sea, for a memorable stay.
- Local Homestays: Immerse yourself in Jordanian hospitality by staying with local families in traditional homestays for an authentic cultural experience.
Jordan Travel Guide: Money-Saving Tips
- Free Museums: Take advantage of free admission days to museums like the Jordan Museum in Amman. Check websites for details.
- Jordan Pass: Invest in a Jordan Pass, which includes entry to major attractions like Petra and covers visa fees for a cost-effective way to explore.
- Local Eateries: Enjoy affordable and authentic meals at local restaurants and street stalls. Try dishes like falafel, shawarma, and hummus.
- Haggling at Souks: When shopping at markets and souks, don’t hesitate to haggle for the best prices on handicrafts, textiles, and spices.
- Guided Tours: Joining group tours can often be more budget-friendly than hiring a private guide, and they provide valuable insights into the country’s history and culture.
Culinary Delights and Traditional Cuisine in Jordan
- Mansaf: Delight in Jordan’s national dish, mansaf, a succulent lamb dish served with rice and yogurt sauce, often enjoyed on special occasions.
- Falafel and Hummus: Savor the quintessential Middle Eastern flavors of falafel (fried chickpea patties) and creamy hummus, perfect for a quick and tasty meal.
- Maqluba: Indulge in maqluba, a layered dish of rice, meat, and vegetables, often flipped over to present an impressive presentation.
- Street Food: Explore local street food stalls for shawarma (meat wraps), knafeh (sweet dessert), and ka’ak (savory sesame bread rings) for a flavorful experience.
Souvenir Ideas: Bringing a Piece of Jordan Home
- Dead Sea Products: Purchase mineral-rich Dead Sea skincare products like mud masks and salts, known for their rejuvenating properties.
- Handcrafted Pottery: Take home intricately designed ceramics and pottery, often reflecting Jordan’s rich history and craftsmanship.
- Woven Textiles: Explore markets for traditional handwoven textiles, including rugs, blankets, and tapestries, showcasing vibrant patterns and colors.
- Spices and Herbs: Bring the flavors of Jordan home by purchasing aromatic spices like za’atar and sumac, integral to Jordanian cuisine.
- Local Handicrafts: Support local artisans by buying handicrafts such as mosaics, wood carvings, and silver jewelry, each capturing the essence of Jordan’s heritage.