5 DAYS FROM $1,599
Once lost in time, the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Petra is a not-to-be missed icon whose beauty is as spellbinding as the history that surrounds it. Here, intricate temples, palaces, and administrative buildings dating to the ancient Nabataea people are hewn into the red rock of the jebels, or rocky desert hills. To see the soft evening light illuminate it with a rosy glow will have a striking effect on you. Your Jordan stay includes a visit to the Dead Sea; two nights in the capital, Amman; an excursion to Biblical Mount Nebo (where Moses took his last breath upon seeing the Promised Land); and more. Make the most of your time in the Middle East by adding these travel milestones, at a great value.
Fly to Amman and transfer to Petra
We'll fly from Cairo to Amman and transfer by road to the ancient city of Petra, a 2,300-year-old UNESCO World Heritage Site and symbol of Jordan. Its strategic location at an important trade crossroads prompted the nomadic Arab Nabataeans to establish a settlement here around 312 BC. Carving beautiful buildings directly into the rose-red rock, they also applied ingenious methods to control the water supply, creating a prosperous oasis. The city declined under Roman rule and eventually was abandoned, falling into obscurity until its rediscovery by the Swiss explorer Johann Burckhardt in 1812. Our hotel is set directly across from the entrance to this spectacular archaeological site, where you will enjoy a day of discovery tomorrow. Tonight, join your fellow travelers for dinner at the hotel.
Exploring ancient Petra
Today will be a highlight as we set out to explore Petra. Our entrance is appropriately grand as we make our way along the narrow alley wedged between two sandstone cliffs known as the Siq (keyhole), which opens up before the majestic El Kazneh (Treasury) building. Its intricate, galleried facade, carved into a rock wall, may be familiar to you as it was the setting for a crucial scene in the movie Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (among other films). You will also see the Roman Theatre, Great Temple, Monastery, and many rock tombs and monuments as your Adventure Leader recounts the history and legends of this amazing place. After lunch at a local restaurant, we'll return to the hotel either on camelback or by horse-drawn carriage. Then, with the afternoon at leisure, discover the area on your own or relax at the resort. Enjoy dinner at your hotel.
Swim in the Dead Sea before journeying to Amman
We'll begin our overland journey to the Jordanian capital of Amman today, stopping first to explore and swim in the legendary Dead Sea. Set at the Earth's lowest point, its salinity is so high you can float on your back and read a newspaper. We'll enjoy lunch at a local resort here and then proceed to our hotel in the heart of Amman's business and diplomatic area. The balance of the day is free, with dinner included at the hotel.
Amman’s historical and architectural highlights
This morning we'll discover the highlights of Amman, whose origin dates to the Bronze Age and includes a stint as the Roman city called Philadelphia. All this history comes alive at the old Citadel, set atop the city's highest hill, and scattered with antiquities like the Temple of Hercules, Roman Theatre, and Umayyad Palace. Time permitting we'll also peek into the small archaeological museum, with its treasure trove of ancient coins, glassware, and statuary.
From here we set out towards Madaba on the 5,000-year-old King's Highway, a scenic route that was mentioned in the Bible. Our first stop is Mount Nebo, from which Moses was said to have finally gazed upon the Promised Land before he died. It is believed that his tomb lies here. Take in the spectacular views of the Jordan Valley and Dead Sea before we continue to Madaba, the famed "City of Mosaics." Here, we'll visit the Greek Orthodox Church before breaking for lunch in a local restaurant. We'll have time to stroll around Madaba for a while before we return to Amman for a Farewell Dinner at our hotel
After breakfast, you’ll transfer to the airport for your return flight to the U.S.