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|Jordan, Asia||May 16 – 25, 2024||$4,895|
Images of the ancient Nabataean city of Petra, carved from the rock over a thousand years ago, have long been most people’s first impression of Jordan. While Petra is indeed one of the most stunning attractions in the Near East, Jordan offers so much more for the modern traveler. A well-traveled bridge between sea and desert, east and west, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is a land of mesmerizing beauty and contrasts, from the Jordan Valley, fertile, ever changing, to the remote desert canyons, immense and still. We’ll explore splendid desert castles, gaze in awe at the haunting wilderness of Wadi Rum, and bathe in the restful waters of the Red Sea and Dead Sea. Jordan has grown into a modern nation that has enjoyed a remarkable measure of peace, stability and economic growth in recent decades. Jordan has been repeatedly referred to as an “oasis of stability” in a turbulent region, and is classified as a country of “high human development” with an “upper middle income” economy. Come along with us as we experience Jordan together. We provide opportunities to truly engage with a different culture and see some of the world’s most amazing natural wonders. This trip is a transformative travel opportunity that allows us to meet people, hear their stories, and experience diverse cultures as well as recognize how truly one we all are.
Arrive at Amman Airport, where we will meet you, assist with immigration and then transfer to our hotel. Amman is one of the oldest cities in the world, inhabited since the bronze age. The city is growing into a modern city, but retains its character and history. Overnight hotel in Amman.
After breakfast, we begin our tour of the old city of Amman exploring the Citadel and the Roman Theatre, two of the most popular archaeological sites in the city. We’ll head north to walk through history in Jerash, regarded as one of the most important and best-preserved Roman cities in the Middle East. The site includes the 2nd-century Hadrian’s Arch, the Corinthian columns of the Temple of Artemis and the huge Forum’s oval colonnade, to name a few. The Jerash Archaeological Museum displays artifacts excavated from the site. We’ll proceed to Souf, a small town in Jerash, where Beit Khayrat Souf, a women’s cooperative is located, to enjoy a locally produced meal in the company of our hosts. It is a historical and cultural heritage of the Batarseh family. The goal of Bait Khayrat Souf is to create a platform for local women to financially support themselves through opportunities for economic development in the heart of Souf. We’ll return to Amman with free time to walk around the market and explore downtown. As you walk in the market, our guide will make multiple stops so you can sample different traditional Jordanian foods such as Hummus, Falafel, and sweets. Overnight Amman. (B, L)
After breakfast we will be transferred to Dana to start our hike. Today’s hike will pass through one of the most dramatic and diverse
landscapes in the whole region on the Shaq Al Reesh trail. This circular trail traverses from Al-Barrah, through a breathtaking siq (gorge), and to Shaq Al Reesh. Shaq Al Reesh is a stunning gorge in the center of the Dana Nature Reserve. We’ll hike through extraordinary landscapes and explore small archaeological sites, see juniper and wild pistachio trees, lavender and sage, and natural wells. This is an area of unique limestone rock formations, which you can see from Dana, on the south side of the valley. Shaq Al Reesh means ‘crevice of feathers’, which refers to a large geological fissure of the limestone rocks, in which you will find many bird feathers – as it’s a natural habitat for many species in the Nature Reserve. This hike is rated moderate. After our hike, we’ll stop for lunch then continue towards Dana Village to enjoy one of the most dramatic and diverse landscapes in the whole region. We’ll visit local craft workshops and meet the local residents, see original Ottoman architecture, and learn more about Dana’s rich history. Overnight Dana Eco Lodge. (B, L, D)
After breakfast, we’ll have a day hike from the Dana Guest House, 4000 feet above sea level, and head west into Dana Valley with our trekking guides. This is approximately a five mile hike. The trail drops steeply at first and then levels into a more gradual descent through the Dana Biosphere Reserve towards the eco-lodge at Feynan. The reserve, Jordan’s largest, includes four distinct bio-geographical zones, which means that Dana supports an astonishing diversity of birds, plants, and animals. On our way down the valley, we’ll stop for a picnic lunch. We may see griffin vultures overhead as well as hyrax and copper-blue lizards on the rocks. If we’re lucky we might even catch a glimpse of an ibex or a desert fox. We arrive at the highly acclaimed Feynan Eco-Lodge. We’ll check into our lodge and enjoy dinner. Every day, a guided sunset walk (20 – 30 minutes) leads from the lodge up to a nearby hilltop, for freshly made Bedouin tea and stunning views westward as the sun sets over the vast Wadi Araba deserts. The sunset walk is well worth the visit! Overnight Feynan Ecolodge. (B, L, D)
After breakfast we’ll enjoy a leisurely day with opportunities to engage with the locals. Enjoy one of the activities offered in the eco-lodge, such as biking, cooking classes, making kohl (Bedouin eye makeup), making Arabic coffee, baking earthy “Arbood” bread or weaving goat-haired tents. You can even choose to help with shepherding the sheep. What a lovely cultural experience this morning, and this evening too! We’ll have lunch here before being transferred to the magical Little Petra, known as Beidha, where the Nabateans used to host their guests. We’ll overnight in a Bedouin camp, spend the night under the stars, enjoy the glow of lanterns on the rocks and the desert moonlight. Oh, what a unique experience with these lovely people, as they prepare our meal and our tent cabins, where we’ll comfortably glamp in the desert. Overnight camp in Little Petra. (B, L, D)
Breakfast, then we’ll hike down Wadi Ghurab amidst sandstone mountains guarding the approaches to Petra. You’ll see alot of ‘wadi’ which simply translates to ‘valley’. This approximately 8 mile way follows the Nabataean route out of the valley and skirts round the final mountain on a natural rock terrace which has been improved for the safety of hikers. Even so, it still narrows slightly before reaching a hidden plateau high above the impressive chasm of Wadi Siyyagh. Just beyond, carved into the cliff face, ‘The Monastery’ suddenly comes into view, impressive and awe inspiring! We’ll have a refreshment stop and lunch in a Bedouin café and to further enjoy the views and the people. Nabataean steps then lead down into ancient Petra, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the New 7 Wonders of the World. The site is massive, and contains hundreds of elaborated rock-cut tombs, a treasury, Roman-style theatres, temples, sacrificial altars and colonnaded streets. The route takes us through Wadi Muthlim (weather dependent) to Wadi Musa and our comfortable hotel accommodation in Petra. After this bucket list day, we’ll get cleaned up and have dinner. Overnight Hotel in Petra. (B, L, D)
After breakfast, we will have 2 short hikes (Um Ishreen and Barrah Canyon). We start with Um Ishreen, one of the most beautiful spots in the north section of Wadi Rum. This sandy canyon is on the side of Jebel Umm Ishrin, about an hour hike, then we are transferred to the Barrah canyon. another gorgeous canyon in Wadi Rum. Hiking the canyon takes about 1.5 hours. We’ll be mesmerized by the impressive vast multi-colored cliffs and towers that flank these flat sandy sections, greener plant-rich areas, and dunes. After our hikes, we will have a desert cooked lunch. Then we’re off to another part of Wadi Rum, to enjoy the wilderness adventure of a jeep tour of Wadi Rum. Following in the footsteps of Lawrence of Arabia, climbing sand dunes and rock bridges, this 2-hour jeep tour allows us to travel around Wadi Rum’s valleys, canyons, and dunes to discover rock inscriptions, majestic views of mountains and landscapes. We’ll head to our camp to enjoy the hospitality of the Bedouins, including their famously delicious and lovingly prepared dinner. Perhaps some song and dance will ensue – it usually does! Overnight camp/glamp in Wadi Rum. (B, L, D)
After waking up to the sunrise and a delicious breakfast in the desert, we will ride camels from the camp to Rum Village where our van will be waiting for us. A camel ride is one of the best ways to experience Wadi Rum, like a Bedouin. For Bedouin, the camel is Ata Allah, the gift of God. These ‘ships of the desert’ allowed their ancestors to cover long distances in the dry desert environment. Photos will be taken! Next, we’ll head to Aqaba, Jordan’s only port with access to the Red Sea. We’ll enjoy a boat ride on a large, beautiful vessel with views across Jordan, Israel, Egypt and Saudi Arabia. We’ll have a marvelous lunch on board with beverages. There will be stops and time to swim and snorkel from the boat. Enjoy the clear water, the coral, and the fantastic range of tropical fish. We’ll check into our beachfront hotel to relax and clean up. We’ll enjoy our private white sand beach or maybe grab a cocktail on the patio overlooking the sea. Dinner tonight is on our own and/or we can meet up as a group and find a local gem or choose to dine right at the hotel if you wish. Overnight Aqaba. (B, L)
After breakfast we’ll check out of our hotel, and drive approximately 3.5 hours to the Dead Sea. The Dead Sea is a salt lake, bordered by Jordan to the east and Israel and the West Bank to the west. It lies in the Jordan Rift Valley, and its main tributary is the Jordan River. Its surface and shores are well below sea level, Earth’s lowest elevation on land. There are no plants, fish, or any other visible life in the sea with a salt concentration of a staggering 33.7% – so it’s great to float in! Also, we must try the invigorating mud bath to cleanse the skin, or maybe get a spa treatment (at guest’s expense). Watch the sunset over the hills of the West Bank with Jerusalem in the distance. We’ll check into our hotel, relax and enjoy our Farewell Dinner. Overnight Dead Sea. (B, D)
After breakfast we’ll transfer via our coach approximately 1 hour from the Dead Sea to the Amman airport for your departure, or stay and enjoy this wonderful city and/or points beyond on your own! (B) Recommend flight departures of early afternoon or later.