Discovering Jordan - Hiking and Culture

Destination: Jordan

| Activities: Hiking and Culture

The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, which once captivated ancient travelers, continues to amaze a whole new generation of travelers. From the haunting starkness of Wadi Rum, to the teeming center of urban Amman, the majestic ruins of ancient civilizations of Roman and Nabataean civilizations, to the timeless splendor of the Dead Sea, Jordan is a unique destination offering breathtaking and mysterious sights, delicious food, wonderful people and rich history.

Highlights

  • Experiencing the breathtaking beauty of Jordan on foot
  • Entering the ancient city of Petra on the road less traveled
  • Staying overnight in a Bedouin tent camp in Wadi Rum surrounded by the colors of the desert
  • Taking a camel ride through the Wadi Rum desert
  • Learning to prepare traditional and delicious Mediterranean and Middle Eastern foods
  • Meeting local people to understand their culture and traditions
  • Visiting the ruins of the ancient Roman city of Jerash
  • Exploring the ancient Nabataean city of Petra and understand why it has been designated as one of the 7 Wonders of the World
  • Floating and/or taking a mud bath in the Dead Sea

Departures and Prices

April 02 to April 11, 2022
$3995.00 - Limited Availability
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Inclusions

  • A local guide and an AGC guide (If there are fewer than 8 on the trip, there will not be an AGC guide)
  • 9 nights double occupancy lodging
  • All meals from dinner on the first day through breakfast on the day of departure with the exception of 2 lunches
  • Airport transfer to hotel for those arriving on the first day of trip or 1 day before the trip starts
  • All transportation within Jordan
  • All entrance fees and activities as described in the itinerary
  • Jordan Visa

Not included: Airfare to and from the Amman Queen Alia Airport (AMM), 2 lunches, alcoholic beverages, guide gratuities, $15 exit tax (this is typically included in your airline tickets), Dead Sea spa treatments.

NOTE: Travel insurance is NOT included, but it is required for this trip.

Trip Intro

The trip is rated 2. Prior to beginning the trip, participants should be walking regularly at a brisk pace 3 to 4 days a week for 35 - 45 minutes. This trip consists of walking through ruins, hiking along dirt trails, and rocky paths with occasionally uneven footing for 3 - 5 hours per day. Please note that Day 5 includes a hike that is 8 miles and is more typical for trips that are rated 3. The hike is mostly downhill. For this trip you should be working out at the upper end of these ranges. Rating: 1 [2] 3 4 5.

This trip is designed as an exploration of the natural beauty and and culture of Jordan. We will be hiking or walking 1-5 hours a day along the Jordan trail as well as through historic sites. We will be with local experts who will take us off the beaten path, to see the real highlights of the region, meet the people, experience their hospitality, and taste delicious food. We will walk through 4 biosphere climates in the Dana Nature Reserve as we walk to the Feynan Ecolodge. We will explore the night sky with our Bedouin guide who will share the names and the mythical stories behind each group of stars. We will take the road less traveled to enter the ancient city of Petra. We will spend the night in Wadi Rum tucked in the sandy plains of the desert surrounded by the beige, pink and orange sandstone rock towers. We will float in the Dead Sea the world's saltiest sea and lowest spot on earth or just relax at our resort accommodations.

The accommodations will vary as much as the landscape. On some nights you will stay in modern hotels, eco-lodges in double-occupancy rooms with an ensuite bathroom. While at the home stay, you will be sharing a room and a bathroom with up to 4-5 people per room. The Milky Way Camp Bedouin camp in Wadi Rum will be hard-sided tents with 2 people per tent (think glamping). Each tent is equipped with beds, linens, pillows and comfortable duvets. The camp has common bath house with 2 showers, 4 toilets and 3 sinks and hot water is provided by solar panels. You will be sharing the bathrooms with people from other groups and they are mixed gender. At the Dead Sea you will be staying at modern resort hotel. Single accommodations are available for an additional cost but are not available at the home-stay and at the Wadi Rum Camp. If interested and available select this option when you register.

Below is the proposed itinerary for the trip. As is true on any adventure travel trip, plans for any specific day may be modified due to weather considerations, unforeseen circumstances, new opportunities, and group interests.

DAY 1
Welcome to Jordan! Arrive at Amman Airport, where we will meet you, assist with immigration and then transfer you to your hotel. Amman is one of the oldest cities in the world, with flourishing culture dating back to the bronze age. The city is growing into a modern metropolis but retains its character and history.

The drive from the airport in Amman takes around 30 minutes to 1 hour depending on traffic. We will meet in the lobby at 5 PM and after introductions and orientation to the trip head to an early dinner. (D)

Overnight: Amman
DAY 2
In the morning we’ll drive north to Jerash. Founded as a Hellenistic city in the 2nd century BCE, Jerash is today noted for its fine Roman and Byzantine ruins.

We’ll visit the Forum, walk down a Roman colonnaded street, explore the Nymphaeum, and wander among the towering columns of Artemis Temple. After we’ve had our fill of ancient architectural wonders, we’ll head to a small town in Jerash called Souf, where we’ll spend a few hours with local women of Khayrat Beit Souf. We’ll have the chance to taste exquisite traditional food made with local products, like seasonal jams, and a secret blend of decaffeinated acorn coffee with medicinal herbs.

We’ll learn about how Khayrat Beit Souf empowers local women to provide for themselves and have a chance to watch as they prepare jam, (which we can take home with us!) We will also learn about the local ingredients and traditional dishes, and perhaps be inspired to take our new knowledge back to our own kitchens. After learning so much about local delicacies, we will be ready for some lunch! After eating, we’ll drive back to the old city of Amman to explore the Roman Theatre, one of the most popular archaeological sites in the city. We’ll have time to explore the local markets.

The day is not over yet! We wrap up with visit to one of Amman’s oldest neighborhoods, Jabal al- Weibdeh, passing by several art galleries, like Darat Al-Funun and Dar Al-Anda, museums, and local antiquities and handicraft shops. We’ll end the night with a wine tasting and dinner. (B,L,D)

Overnight: Amman
DAY 3
Today we will explore the town of Madaba and discover the amazing Byzantine mosaics excavated from throughout the town. The Madaba Map is the oldest preserved mosaic map of the Holy Lands and depicts Jerusalem prior to the year 570. It is part of a floor mosaic in the early Byzantine Church of St. George.

We will also visit the Shrine of the Beheading of Saint John the Baptist, where we can climb the narrow stairs to the highest point of the church; the bell tower overlooking the city of Madaba. The bell tower is the highest vantage point in Madaba, and we’ll be able to gaze at a wonderful panorama view the city and its surroundings.

We will have a chance to visit La Storia Tourism Complex in Mount Nebo to learn more about Jordanian culture and history.

After a busy day, we will head to Dana Nature Reserve overlooking the Wadi Dana. There will be time to tour the Dana Village.

Drive time Amman to Madaba is 1 hour, and Madba to Dana is 2.5 hours. (B,L,D)

Total Walking: 2-3 miles, including the village tour. Overnight: Dana Guest House or similar
DAY 4
Our first full day of hiking will start from Dana Guest House, almost 4,000 feet above sea level, and head west into Dana valley. 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 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! Or perhaps we’ll the footprints of a wolf in the dust.

We’ll end our day at the highly acclaimed Feynan Eco- Lodge. Every day, a guided sunset walk leads from the lodge on a short walk (around 20-30 min) up to a nearby hilltop, for freshly Bedouin tea and stunning views westwards as the sun sets over the vast Wadi Araba deserts. The sunset walk is well worth the visit! (B,L,D)

Elevation: ascent 750 feet, descent 3,740 feet. Hiking: 8.7 miles. Overnight: Feynan Ecolodge
DAY 5
After breakfast, we’ll have the freedom to enjoy one of the local community activities offered in the eco-lodge such as: hiking, biking, cooking classes, making kohl (Bedouin eye makeup), Arabic coffee, baking earthy Arbood bread, or weaving goat-haired tents. What we do will depend on what is offered that day at Feynan Ecolodge.

Then we’ll make our way to little Petra, where we’ll hike around 8-miles. Soak up the amazing views across the Araba mountains and to the Negev desert. We enter Petra via “The Back Door”, avoiding most of the tourists. This way follows a Nabataean route out of the valley and skirting round the final mountain on a natural rock terrace which has been improved for the safety of walkers. The path 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, where there is a Bedouin café for refreshments. We will take the 850 Nabataean steps down into ancient Petra, have our first introduction to this amazing place as we walk through it to our hotel.

We will finish the day with a cooking class where we will be guided through the steps of preparing a traditional Jordanian meal, from dips and appetizers to a main course and dessert. We’ll have a chance to relax and enjoy the vibrant meal together and call it a night! (B,L,D)

Drive time: 2 hours. Hiking: 8 miles. Overnight: Petra
DAY 6
After breakfast, we will spend the morning back in the Nabatean Red Rose City of Petra, one of the Seven Wonders of the World. We will enter the city through the same narrow gorge that we left yesterday, which is flanked either side by 260-foot-high cliffs! The site is massive - it contains hundreds of elaborate rock-cut tombs, a treasury, Roman-style theaters, temples, sacrificial altars, and colonnaded streets. (B,L,D)

Overnight: Petra
DAY 7
Free morning in Petra, for those who are interested in a second visit before leaving. After leaving Petra, we will drive to Wadi Rum. Wadi Rum is a desert valley cut into sandstone and granite rock. It has been occupied by the Zalabia Bedouin people and known for its red sand and shots of it are in the 1962 Lawrence of Arabia movie.

We will enjoy the wilderness adventure of a 4x4 (2 hours) jeep tour of Wadi Rum to watch the sunset, following in the footsteps of Lawrence of Arabia, climbing sand dunes, and rock bridges. After the Jeep tour, we will drive you back to the camp where you will enjoy the legendary hospitality of the Bedouins. (B,L,D)

Drive from Petra onto Wadi Rum takes around 2 hours. Hiking approximately: 4-5 miles. Overnight: Bedouin Camp
DAY 8
We'll greet the day with an hour-long camel ride to watch the brilliant desert sunrise in style. We will return to camp for breakfast. After breakfast, we will have to say goodbye to Wadi Rum and head to the Dead Sea. It is a 4-hour drive, but we will stop along the way for a short hike to explore the area and stretch our legs. We will arrive at our lovely hotel by the Dead Sea in the late afternoon. (B,D)

Drive time: 4 hours. Hiking: 1-3 miles. Overnight: Dead Sea
DAY 9
After a very busy week, we can spend the day floating and relaxing at the Dead Sea at one of the resort hotels. The day is full of luxuriating: enjoy the sunshine at the lowest point on earth, try an invigorating mud bath, check out the spa and its offerings, walk through the hotel’s gardens or grab a book and relax by the pool or the Dead Sea.

Don’t let the options overwhelm you! This day is for decompressing and savoring the beauty of Jordan. In the late afternoon, we will head out to the Panorama Dead Sea Complex/Museum to check out the exhibits, have dinner and watch the sunset. (B,D)

Overnight: Dead Sea
DAY 10
Sadly, it is time to leave this beautiful country. Transportation is provided to the Amman airport. For planning purposes, it takes approximately 1 hour to get to the airport, and you will need to be there 3 hours in advance of your flight. Check-out time is 12 PM at our Dead Sea Hotel. If your flight is in the evening a hotel for day use can be arranged in Amman.

Transportation to the airport will be arranged from that hotel. (B)

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  1. Where do we eat?

    Breakfasts will be buffets at the hotels where we're staying. Dinner are in restaurants; most of the meals will be served family style where you will get a chance to sample a number of different dishes. Sometimes you will restaurants will provide a buffett. Lunches may either be picnics or in restaurants.
  2. What dietary preferences or restrictions can you accommodate on this trip?

    If we know well in advance, we can accommodate vegetarian, lactose-free, and gluten-sensitive diets. The food is generally already vegetable based and easy to accommodate vegetarian. We cannot guarantee a completely gluten-free diet and we cannot provide a kitchen guaranteed to be free of cross-contamination. If you are vegan, we ask that you bring some additional protein bars; and if you are gluten-sensitive, please bring some gluten-free snacks. If you have severe allergies, Celiac disease and/or other significant dietary restrictions, please call the office before you register.
  3. I will be coming by myself. Do I need to pay a single supplement?

    You only need to pay a single supplement if you want to guarantee you have your own room. Otherwise we’ll pair you up with someone and then switch roommates every time we switch lodging. On this trip there are two lodgings that cannot accommodate a single.
  4. What type of luggage should I bring?

    Make sure your luggage is light and compact enough to be able to carry it up and down multiple flights of stairs (ie. in train stations, vans, hotels without elevators).
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