Jordan is a neutral country in the middle of several other countries that are at war in the Middle East. Surprisingly, there is no evidence of the neighboring turmoil once you enter the country’s border. I regret not having much time to spend in Jordan; however, here is a helpful tip I can share if you’re attempting to visit a ton of stuff in a short amount of time: With only two days to explore, I found the best taxi driver and gave him a list of tour sites along with $125 USD and said, “Go!” It was really that simple. The normal rate to rent a taxi for a full day is typically $100-$125 USD. This will buy you roughly 9-10 hours, and when you need to stop for food or drinks, they will purchase food for you or take you somewhere that won’t hurt your pocketbook. They may even take you to a restaurant owned by one of their personal friends. If you need supplies, let them make the purchases for you because tourists can be charged higher rates than locals in some Middle Eastern countries.
I landed in Amman and left for Petra. Judging from the pictures of this wonder world, you’d think that the entrance was a tomb from an Indiana Jones movie; however, you’d be mistaken. This is an entire community of villages spread out over several miles of trails that would take roughly two days to hike. There are also several restaurants and tents where you can grab a cup of amazing tea.
I had the experience of a lifetime in Petra, learning about how it made the Seven New Wonders of the World list. It was selected in 2007 by a vote of one hundred million people, and while I know the people of Jordan voted in its favor, I was surprised to see that Americans were actually the majority demographic to support this site. After witnessing it for myself, I definitely support that decision.
I bought some handcrafted garments and jewelry after meeting a few ladies who were selling these items. I love supporting local tribes and indigenous people who work to keep their native culture alive and thriving. The individuals now living in Petra are not the descendants of the natives who originally built these communities and tombs. While most of the native descendants have now died out, they keep the cultural practices alive and support the visiting tourists.
Petra is rich with history. Unlike most places that would typically keep you away from the tombs, Petra provides an up-close and personal view. I would advise paying extra for the tour guide to take you on a private trip to the north and south rims without the crowds while also hitting up the best eateries along the way. Be sure to take some time to sit with the local workers and pick their brains about the history of the area. Listen carefully to their responses because they’ll share some pretty cool and fun facts and great stories that they’ve picked up over the years.
After leaving Petra, I visited the Dead Sea and experienced the Ma’in Hot Springs, which was a treat after a long day of hiking.
Jonathan Dryer: The Unofficial Traveler.