9 Reasons You Should Absolutely Travel to Jordan
If you follow any type of travel account on Instagram, chances are you've seen wanderlust-inducing photos of Jordan. The country is full of history, friendly people, fantastic food, and beautiful sites. I recently went to Jordan with the tour group Contiki, and I can confidently say that it absolutely deserves a spot on your travel list. Petra and Wadi Rum Desert were two of the most breathtaking places I have ever seen in real life, but there's so much more than that to experience. Like anywhere in the world, as long as you're aware of your surroundings and properly prepare, you can have the trip of a lifetime that's both adventurous and safe. Keep reading for nine tips to make your journey to Jordan one to remember.
Visit the Ruins of Jerash
There's more to Jordan than Petra! The Roman Ruins of Jerash is a must-see when visiting the country. This is a great taste of the history that thrives throughout Jordan and shouldn't be skipped if you have time in your itinerary to go.
Eat Delicious Jordanian Cuisine
If you aren't already a fan of Middle Eastern food, Jordan will help you get there. Rich with spices, there's a variety of dishes to try. Eat your fill of hummus, falafel, shawarma, or my favorite, Maqluba, which is made with rice, meat, pine nuts, and lemon.
Learn How to Haggle
Haggling can be a very difficult thing for a Westerner to learn how to do. But if you find something at a market that you want, it's expected by the vendor that you'll play a little game that throws the idea of fixed prices out the window. Remember that you can always walk away (in which case, they'll likely run after you and give you the price you wanted), but practice makes perfect, so keep trying until you get the hang of it.
Consider Ethics Before Riding a Camel
Animal tourism is a hot topic these days, but many people dream of riding a camel when they visit the Middle East. At many locations, the animals are overworked every day, carrying hundreds of tourists and barely getting a break. Ask your tour guide if there's any humane operators at the location you're visiting and they can usually point you in the right direction.
Support Local Women's Organizations
One my favorite parts of my Jordan tour with Contiki was visiting the Iraq Al-Amir Women's Co-op. With employment for women in Jordan at a low, this community gives a place for women to live, work, and thrive. They create pottery and other goods to sell, as well as host guests from all over the world, whom they cook amazing local delicacies for. In a male-dominated society, it felt good to go somewhere to support local women.
Get Your Indiana Jones On at Petra
The main event in Jordan is obviously Petra. Many people are familiar with the Treasury facade made famous by Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, but the archeological site is actually much bigger. It's miles and miles of caves, tombs, temples, and amphitheaters. Make sure to spend the entire day there to see as much of it as possible.
Explore the Otherworldly Wadi Rum Desert
There's a reason Wadi Rum was used in the film The Martian as a backdrop to Matt Damon's space journey. This desert looks like you've landed on another planet! Hop on a jeep tour to get the full experience of the red sand landscape. If you have an extra day, stay overnight at one of the campsites and sleep under the stars.
Float in the Dead Sea
For a surreal experience, go for a float in the Dead Sea. It's the oddest sensation when you start to float, but there's nothing like it. The mud and salt is great for your skin, so it's basically an outdoor spa experience. Just make sure you don't get the salt in your mouth or eyes!
Hop Over to Israel
Jordan is nestled right next to Israel, so it would only make sense to cross the border and visit a second country if you have the time. If you want to continue with the historical theme, make your way to Jerusalem, the Holy City. For more vacation vibes, go to Eilat to relax on a Red Sea cruise. For a more modern twist, head to Tel Aviv and enjoy the refreshingly progressive atmosphere.