Exploring the Mystique: Adventure in Jordan
Nestled at the crossroads of the Middle East, Jordan stands as a land of timeless allure. Ancient history and breathtaking landscapes intertwine to create an unforgettable adventure travel destination. From the dramatic canyons of Wadi Rum to the enchanting city of Petra, Jordan offers an exhilarating journey that caters to both thrill-seekers and history enthusiasts alike. Especially for Americans traveling Jordan, there can be plenty of misconceptions about this incredible country. For safe travel, Jordan is a wonderful option. Let’s explore the myriad of experiences that await in this captivating country.
Petra: A Journey Through Time
No adventure travel in Jordan would be complete without a visit to the legendary city of Petra. Carved into rose-red cliffs over two millennia ago, this archaeological wonder showcases the architectural genius of the Nabateans. The Siq, a narrow gorge flanked by towering cliffs, serves as an enchanting entryway to the city’s most famous monument, Al-Khazneh (The Treasury). Trekking through the Siq adds an element of anticipation and awe as the Treasury’s intricate façade gradually reveals itself.
Beyond the Treasury lies an entire city carved into the rock, replete with tombs, temples, and amphitheaters. There are many people there offering to sell you camel rides through Petra, but personally I feel that its better seen on foot. Walking through Petra allows adventurers to unearth its secrets at their own pace. The Monastery, a towering structure with over 800 steps leading to it, offers a rewarding trek with breathtaking vistas as the ultimate prize.
Dana Biosphere Reserve: Where Nature and Adventure Converge
For nature enthusiasts seeking adventure off the beaten path, the Dana Biosphere Reserve is a haven of biodiversity and natural beauty. Spanning diverse ecosystems, from sand dunes to rugged mountains, the reserve is a playground for hikers and wildlife enthusiasts. Trails traverse through stunning landscapes, leading to breathtaking viewpoints and encounters with the reserve’s rich wildlife, including ibexes, foxes, and various bird species.
The Dana to Petra trek is a multi-day adventure that combines rugged hiking with immersive cultural experiences. This journey allows travelers to engage with local Bedouin communities, staying in traditional accommodations and gaining insights into their way of life.
Dead Sea: A Surreal Aquatic Adventure
Jordan’s adventure offerings extend beyond the deserts and historical sites to the shores of the Dead Sea, the lowest point on Earth. This hypersaline lake provides a unique and buoyant experience, where you can effortlessly float on its surface. The mineral-rich mud found along the shoreline is renowned for its therapeutic properties, inviting visitors to indulge in a natural spa treatment unlike any other.
Beyond floating, thrill-seekers can venture to the nearby Wadi Mujib, Jordan’s Grand Canyon. Here, canyoning through the gorge involves wading through cool water, scrambling over rocks, and rappelling down waterfalls for an adrenaline-pumping aquatic adventure. Be careful about touching your face after your hands have been in the water though- or you’ll be in for a spicy experience in your eyes!
Cultural Immersion: Jordan’s Local Life
Adventure travel in Jordan isn’t just about physical activities; it’s also about connecting with the local culture and history. Bedouin hospitality is an integral part of the Jordanian experience. Spending a night under the stars in a Bedouin camp in Wadi Rum, sharing stories and meals around a campfire, offers an intimate glimpse into their way of life.
Exploring local markets, such as Amman’s bustling downtown souks, provides an opportunity to interact with locals, taste traditional cuisine, and shop for handicrafts and souvenirs. Jordan’s rich history also comes to life through visits to historical sites like Jerash, where well-preserved Roman ruins offer a window into the past.
Wadi Rum: A Desert Playground
For those craving an authentic desert escapade, Wadi Rum beckons with its otherworldly beauty. Often referred to as the “Valley of the Moon,” this UNESCO World Heritage Site is a vast expanse of sand dunes, rugged mountains, and mesmerizing rock formations. The rugged landscape is a haven for adventure enthusiasts, offering activities such as rock climbing, trekking, off-road expeditions, and sleeping under the stars.
Climbing enthusiasts can scale the iconic Jebel Rum or Jebel Um Adaami, the highest peak in Jordan, for panoramic views that stretch as far as Saudi Arabia. Trekkers can embark on guided hikes, exploring hidden canyons and ancient petroglyphs that hint at the region’s rich history. Jeep safaris are a thrilling way to navigate the vast desert, taking you to Lawrence’s Spring, named after the famous British archaeologist T.E. Lawrence. Personally, I think the best way to travel the desert is with a camel.
You’ll need a guide to explore this vast desert, so I highly recommend tours of Jordan through a local agency. No one knows the desert than the Bedouin people. Plus, you’ll have a chance to learn about their culture along the way. I went through this Traditional Bedouin Tours, but any local guide will be able to show you the magic of this region!
Important Jordan Travel Requirements
Before you head out on your incredible journey, its important to note a few things. Most nationalities require a visa to enter Jordan, and this can often be obtained fairly easily upon arrival at the airport or other border crossings. The cost and duration of the visa can vary depending on your nationality and the type of visa you need, so its a good idea to know what you need before you arrive. It’s also a good rule of thumb to make sure that your passport will be valid for at least six months beyond your planned departure date from Jordan.
Regarding finances, the local currency is the Jordanian Dinar (JOD). While credit cards are widely accepted in larger establishments, it’s advisable to carry some cash for smaller businesses and markets. Personally, I found that in most areas outside of Amman, cash was required. As a rule of thumb, its better to be safe than sorry when traveling to more remote areas of the country.
While Jordan is a stable country, it’s always a good idea to check your government’s travel advisories and the local situation for any safety concerns before your trip. Double-checking requirements with official sources such as the official website of the Jordanian government and the Jordan Tourism Board can also ensure a smooth trip.
While travel insurance isn’t required, I do highly recommend it. Especially in a world post pandemic, its important to have the security of your finances being covered should something unexpected happen. It can provide coverage for medical emergencies, trip cancellations, lost luggage, and more.
Women Traveling Jordan
Though Jordan is a fairly safe country, its worth recognizing that it is a conservative country with strong Islamic traditions. The dress code is generally more relaxed in tourist areas, but it’s respectful to dress modestly, especially in public places and when visiting religious sites. Consider packing clothing that covers your shoulders, arms, and knees. Scarves can be useful to cover your head when entering mosques or more conservative areas.
Personally, I did notice a difference in the looks I got when I was wearing a form fitting shirt as opposed to a baggy long-sleeved shirt. The best way to protect yourself is to dress to blend in with the local customs. I would also advise against going to Wadi Rum alone with someone you’ve just met due to its remote location and rumors of some women experiencing unsafe situations, but there are plenty of tours to join!
I traveled Jordan completely solo, and the kindness and hospitality that I recieved in Jordan is still unmatched from anywhere else I’ve been. If you are truly concerned about going solo, consider exploring solo women travel groups! Its a great way to meet friends along the way. Overall though, just trust your gut and act as the locals would and you should be just fine.
Jordan’s allure as an adventure travel destination lies in its diverse landscapes, rich history, and warm hospitality. From the dramatic desert landscapes of Wadi Rum to the archaeological wonders of Petra and the cultural encounters throughout, this Middle Eastern gem promises an unforgettable journey for those who seek both excitement and enlightenment. Embark on an adventure in Jordan, and you’ll discover a world where the past and present intertwine in a tapestry of wonder and discovery.