The first question most travelers ask about going to Jordan is whether or not it is safe to visit. Lucky for you, the answer is now a resounding yes. Jordan is not only a safe destination for your next vacation, it's also a genuinely welcoming country to Americans visiting the ancient architecture of the famous Al-Khazneh, archeological museums, and the famous Dead Sea.
Petra, an Ancient Roman City
A major tourism destination for ancient history and archaeological enthusiasts, Petra (also known as the Ancient City) is a must-see city in Jordan. Formed by civilizations for 9,000 years, a major attraction is the Al-Khazneh, the rock-carved Treasury building in the lost Nabatean city of Petra. Learn about the Nabataeans who lived in Petra for over 4,000 years and see relics of their civilization. Entering Petra via the Siq, a narrow passage over 300 feet high, you will be transported back to a time of the Romans. In fact, the Roman Emperor Hadrian Petra named the city after himself and the columns of the Hadrian Gate are still intact.
As you explore the cobbled streets of UNESCO-certified Petra, many are the original foundations the Romans used to expand the city. Walking through the maze of streets surrounded by sandstone walls, entranced in the archeological remains of amphitheaters, archways and buildings inscribed with carvings, Petra’s fascinating past comes alive. Once the sun has set, a local tradition is the candle show, showing visitors just how magical the area truly is.
Fun Fact: Watch "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade" and see which parts of the ancient city of Petra you can spot.
Petra Museums, Jordan
Two must-see museums in Jordan are the Petra Archaeological Museum and the Petra Nabataean Museum. Browse Edomite pottery, Nabataean sculpture and Iron Age engineering through to the Roman stone sculpture and building architecture constructed during the Byzantine period. While the museums are not large when compared to the Louvre in Paris or the Guggenheim in Bilbao, both are very informative on the Nabataean civilization and with statues, carvings, jewelry and information of the ancient Bedouin lifestyles. You'll leave with a great appreciation of the foundations of Jordan.
Float in the Dead Sea and Soak in Ma’in Hot Springs
Floating in a desert sounds like something straight out of an oasis or a cartoon, but thanks to the intense salt levels in the Dead Sea, it’s entirely possibly in real life! The landlocked and crystal blue water is just a three-hour day trip from Amman and Aqaba in Jordan. After a hectic immersion into the culture of Jordan, it is time to relax. As an alternative to a spa treatment, the Dead Sea encourages you to slather yourself with the rich mineral mud creating a totally natural pampering package while having a once-in-a-life time experience. After your skin is glowing and renewed from exfoliation, it’s worth visiting the Ma’in Hot Springs. Gently flowing waterfalls and palm trees surrounded by cliffs will be your view as you bathe and reset in the 100 degree Celsius jacuzzi unlike any other.
Desert Camel Adventures
If there’s one time we’re up for trying something completely new, it’s when we are traveling on vacation. It’s where the term “when in Rome” comes from and it really applies to “when in Jordan” because if there is ever a place to indulge in a camel ride through the desert, this is it.
While there are no wild camels left in Jordan, you will find Petra has experienced camel handlers who offer both short walks and longer desert excursions. Trotting through the sand dunes on the back of one of these friendly, furry and funny animals will give you a different perspective of the Jordanian landscape. The trick to staying on the camel is ensuring you hold onto the pommel between your legs - just like you would hold the reigns of a saddle while on a horse. It’s a wonderful experience and despite their size, camels are gentle creatures that have roamed Jordan for tens of thousands of years.
Dress Codes for Traveling in Jordan
While very modern, Jordan does remain a conservative country. As a traveler to Jordan, you are not obligated to cover yourself in traditional or religious dress, yet keeping to the tradition of Jordan is important. Men can wear t-shirts, collared shirts paired with shorts or pants while women are advised to avoid tight or revealing clothing. It is not necessary for women to cover all of their body or their head with a scarf, but dressing like you’re going to visit your in-laws is probably the best guide. If it feels too tight, it probably is. Pair it all with some comfortable walking shoes as every turn of Jordan will invite you to keep walking.