A gem of culture and history in the center of the tumultuous Middle East, Jordan is a great destination for travelers from around the world. Safer and more stable than its neighbors due to stringent political and economic policies, a large part of the Jordanian economy is supported by tourism and Jordan tours are generally quite safe and enjoyable.
If you're an adventure traveler looking for an off-the-beaten-path destination, consider Jordan for its vast expanses of beautiful natural scenery, challenging physical environments, and rich cultural heritage and hospitality. Tour operators in Jordan know how to find the perfect blend of both.
Set aside your concerns about safety when considering a trip to Jordan, and your research will be well-rewarded. Jordan is a unique opportunity to visit the Middle East with a low risk and plenty of sights and adventure activities for any traveler.
You might be surprised to learn Jordan has something for every kind of traveler. Here are the most popular types of tours you can find:
Culture & History Tours
By far the most popular types of tours in Jordan are culture and history tours. These tours allow you to see the rich heritage of Jordan as a country: from Roman ruins in Jerash to a Crusader castle in Ajloun or the breath-taking Nabatean city of Petra... if you want to dive into history, Jordan is an ideal destination!
Food & Drink Tours
If you crave Middle Eastern food and want to explore the region's unique blend of culinary influences, Jordan is a great destination for foodie travelers. You can enjoy fresh kabob from street vendors or book a cooking tour with a local Jordanian family, depending on your preference.
Additionally, Jordan has a small but strong wine culture. The country is 99% Muslim and therefore few Jordanians will imbibe, but some non-Muslim Jordanians have small vineyards or breweries, and local wines and craft beer are increasingly distributed to restaurants in popular cities and sights.
Active & Adventure Tours
Jordan is an adventure traveler's dream: there is a plethora of hiking, trekking, camping, canyoning, and cycling opportunities in Jordan. Tour operators are beginning to establish common routes where you can spend several days to a week out in the Jordanian wilderness with gear and supplies.
Planning Your Trip
Best Time to Visit
Jordan has several good windows where the weather is pleasant but not too hot (or too cold at night in the deserts). Consider planning your trip in September through November, or March through May. Daytime temperatures may cross the 90°F (32°C) mark in summer, but you can avoid the unpleasant heat by booking in the 'shoulder' season. Also consider that Ramadan is a major holiday celebrated in June and July each year, and most Jordanians honor the strict fasting schedule.
What to Look for in a Tour
To get around Jordan, you will need a driver or guided tour; the country is surprisingly large and there are no forms of alternate transport to get you between the top tourist sights. As such, look for tours which include transportation and accommodation included, as this will make your trip much easier and smoother. Also check whether your hotels/accommodation offer a "half-board" or "full-board" option, indicating the number of meals that are included with your night's stay.
Additionally, look for local tour operators and guides themselves. Jordan has a strong tourism industry and you should be able to choose from providers who employ local Jordanians to help show you their country. This will add an additional layer of the renowned hospitality Jordanians are known for.
Typical Tour Cost
Tours in Jordan can be on the middle to higher end. Most tours average $100-150 per person, per day. This will include hotels, accommodation, and a driver/guide, but may not include all meals, water, entrance fees to tourist sights, or tip (which is expected for your guide). This puts the average range for a 10-day tour in the $1000-1500 per person range.
Packing Tips & Gear Rental
Pack for versatile climates, with special attention to breathable clothing appropriate for heat. Men can wear a wider variety of clothing options than women, where conservative dress is still common. As a tourist, women can usually wear everyday, street clothes, but are expected to have long pants and long sleeves in several sights (especially those related to mosques or religious activities).
Most gear is provided as part of the tours and activities you book, so there is not usually a need to bring your own. For example, while canyoning in Wadi Mujib, you will be provided with necessary ropes, harness, and life preserver.
Other Tips for Travel in Jordan
The Jordanian dollar (JOD) is very similar in value to the Great British pound, meaning your U.S. dollars may not go as far as you hope. As such, Jordan is not as affordable as other countries in the region, but the cost is made up for with safety, security, and luxury – most places offer good amenities at an affordable price, and there are splurge-worthy spots near every major tourist destination.
On a daily basis, the biggest expense will likely be food, bottled water, and tips. Always carry JOD so that you can buy water as needed, as this is an unexpected necessity in a country where not even the locals drink the tap water.
Health & Safety
The medical sector in Jordan is very developed compared with many of its neighbors; Jordan is a top destination for medical tourism in the Middle East, and the hospital system is easily navigable. There are pharmacies in all medium-sized or larger towns, and most offer many over-the-counter treatments similar to pharmacies in Europe.
There are no typical vaccinations required in Jordan, though this may depend on your country of origin. Be sure to consult your doctor to ensure you meet any requirements.
Jordan is an extremely welcoming country that takes pride in their tourist sector and making sure tourists feel comfortable and safe. Expect to pass through police check-points during your trip, so keep your passport handy. These are usually customary stops, and having a guide to help you through these is very helpful. Crime is low in Jordan, but as always be aware and safe when walking in unfamiliar areas or at night.
While traveling in Jordan, you will likely have a lot of supervision and support in any activities; this is important as there are many species and situations that may be dangerous for those unfamiliar with Jordan. Trust your guide and follow their advice, and you'll be safe during any activities you enjoy.