Travel Guide Middle East Jordan Aqaba

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Introduction

Aqaba Empty Beach

Aqaba Empty Beach

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Aqaba is a city in the south of Jordan, located along the Gulf of Aqaba, the northern portion of the Red Sea. It's Jordan's premier resort area and the main draw of this location are definitely its beaches and the fantastic diving and snorkeling opportunities. It's also a good base for exploring the desert at Wadi Rum or Petra, although these actually deserve more than just a day.

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Sights and Activities

  • Enjoying sunny weather and beaches
  • Diving and snorkelling
  • Windsurfing
  • Aqaba Castle - dates to the 14th century, although the present structure was built by the Mamluke sultan Qansawh el-Ghawri (1501-1516) and has been revised many times since then. The nearby Aqaba Archäologisches Museum is also worth a visit. 3 JD.
  • Daytrips to Petra or Wadi Rum.

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Events and Festivals

Aqaba Traditional Arts Festival

The northern town of Aqaba hosts a relatively large festival in February which celebrates the unique culture of the Bedouin people. Taking the form mainly of a crafts fair, the Bedouins and other minority groups bring their handicrafts to the seaside town for sale, showcasing their unique talents and keeping these traditions alive.

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Weather

Aqaba has a dry semi-arid climate with generally warm/hot weather and sunny conditions. It's very hot from May to early October with temperatures during high-summer mostly between 35 and 40 °C and nights well above 20 °C. Winters are perfect, with temperatures mostly between 18 and 22 °C, sometimes warmer. Nights are generally ok, though bring a sweather for chilly conditions sometimes. Summers are dry as a bone, though winter periods see the occasional rainshower or so.

JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Avg Max20.5 °C22.2 °C25.7 °C30.7 °C35.1 °C38.4 °C39.4 °C39.1 °C36.4 °C32.7 °C27 °C21.8 °C
Avg Min8.9 °C10.1 °C12.9 °C17 °C20.7 °C23.6 °C25.1 °C25.3 °C23.3 °C19.9 °C14.9 °C10.3 °C
Rainfall4.9 mm5.2 mm4.6 mm3.4 mm1 mm0 mm0 mm0 mm0 mm1.8 mm3 mm7.7 mm
Rain Days21.41.50.80.500000.60.91.9

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Getting There

By Plane

King Hussein International Airport (AQJ) is located in the north of Aqaba. Royal Jordanian Airlines flies to/from Amman and, as does Jordan Aviation. EasyJet flies seasonally (during the northern winter) direct to London and Berlin. Ryanair flies seasonally to Cologne and Athens. Long-haul connections for travellers coming from outside Europe are best made with Turkish Airlines via their flight to Istanbul, or with Royal Jordanian or a partner into Amman, then on the RJ flight down to Aqaba. Note that there is no public bus service to or from the airport. Most of the larger hotels in Aqaba can organise pick-ups and drop off, and care hire is available, as well as taxis.

By Car

Aqaba is easily reached by a few good paved roads from other parts of Jordan as well as from Israel. The road to Amman is a multi-lane highway for almost the entire route. The crossing to Eilat in Israel is just outside of town, and can be reached by taxi. Hire cars cannot be taken accross the border. The saudi border is also connected by the main south beach highway but you cannot cross the border unless already in possession of a (notoriously hard to get) Saudi Arabian visa.

By Bus

Companies like Alphadt, JETT and Rum Tourist Transport have buses to places north of Aqaba, including Amman. JETT services can be booked online and you can even select you seat at the time of booking.

By Boat

There are ferries between Aqaba and Nuweiba on the Sinai peninsula in Egypt. There is a daily fast ferry (90USD for First Class and 70 USD for Economy Seat) leaving at 11am from Jordan and 3pm from Egypt. It takes 1 to 2 hours travelling depending on sea conditions, but much longer in reality as a result of the time needed for everyone to clear customs and immigrations - up to 7 hours of mostly waiting. The slow ferry leaves daily as well but costs almost the same and is much less comfortable and much slower indeed. These ferries are operated by AB Maritime, do check their website for more details. A passenger only fast-ferry runs daily from Tala Bay on South Beach to to Taba Heights in Egypt. Due to timings it is possible to do a day trip to Taba, as the ferry leaves in the morning and returns in the afternoon. This ferry is also operated by AB Maritime.

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Getting Around

Taxis are easily available in the city. A ride within town should cost no more than 2 JD. A ride outside town (to a beach near by or to any border crossings) costs around 5 JD. However, if your hotel calls you a taxi, you may end up paying double for it as they receive a kickback (this is especially true if you are staying on the South Beach).

While taxis are yellow all around Jordan, early 2008 Aqaba taxis have been painted green and blue: the logo colours of Aqaba Special Economic Zone (ASEZ).

When negotiating the price of a taxi, make sure to determine whether the final cost is the total or "per-person" price, as you may otherwise receive a surprise at the end of the ride.

Local minibuses connect residential areas with downtown. The fare is 17 piasters (0.17 JD) regardless of the length of the journey. Passengers can get on and off at any point of the route.

The central bus station is located in front of the Police station in King Talal street, less than 10 minute walk from city centre (Ayla Square, Al-Hussein Bin Ali Mosque).

Most points of interest can be reach on foot, and it is really the best way to see the place and experience Aqaba.

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Eat

In the centre of the city you can find very good hummus, falafel and shawarma (lamb meat in pita bread) places in many local restaurants. Prices start from 1.5 JD for a shawarma dish.

  • Arabic Moon Restaurant (in the northern corner of Raghadan street). Delicious falafel and hummus. 1-2 JD per dish.
  • Syrian Palace Rest(aurant), Raghadan St, Hayl al madina, Al Awsat (at the right side of Al Shuala Hotel when you are looking to the hotel), fax: +962 3 331-4788.
  • The Royal Yacht Club, ☎ +962 3 2012900, e-mail: info@royalyachtclub-jordan.com. One of the finest places to eat is situated next to the water in an upmarket neighbourhood. They serve exquisite fare (mostly seafood fresh from the sea) for prices that are reasonable by Western standards. Service is fast and courteous. They are closed all afternoon and reopen for dinner, thus unavailable for a mid-afternoon snack after coming from the beach.

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Drink

You can ask for fresh fruit juices in most restaurants, and they are a treat! Many also serve the lemon juice with fresh mint in it, which is very delicious.

Not many restaurants outside of the resorts serve alcohol (Ali Baba does and they charge a lot for it) but there are many wine shops, e.g. along An-Nahdah Street, selling alcohol much cheaper than elsewhere in Jordan.

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Sleep

  • Arab Divers Village (11 kilometres from Aqaba city centre along South Beach), ☎ +962 797085623, fax: +962 3 2030566. TVs in rooms, free Wi-Fi, pools for paddling, full diving equipment available including PADI courses. Extremely relaxed, loads of chill out spaces including roof of Village, Bedouin tent type cushioned areas, loungers by pool, seconds from the beach and chilled atmosphere. Extremely good value for money, but expect basic room provisions. Shisha pipes available but no alcohol, although they are happy for you to drink on site. Really quiet, great escape from bustle of Aqaba city itself. Shipwreck to dive at and corals. Ideal for single travellers, as there is good communal space to meet others. It is a drive out of town, but with really decent food and the beach a stone's throw away, it's a haven. 30 JD triples and full range of other prices also, includes breakfast. Camping available.
  • Mövenpick Resort & Spa Tala Bay Aqaba, South Beach Road - Tala Bay Area, ☎ +962 3 209 0300, fax: +962 3 209 0301, e-mail: resort.aqaba.talabay@moevenpick.com. Check-in: 15:00, check-out: 12:00. On the southern shores of the Red Sea. 302 rooms, including 145 family rooms, various suites and two Grand Suites all share a modern design and light-coloured furnishings. All rooms have air-conditioning, TV, coffee and tea making facilities, direct dial phone/voice-mail, wireless LAN throughout the resort as well as hairdryer, 24-hour room service, in-room safe box. Superior rooms and suites allow for added comfort. Non-smoking rooms and rooms for the physically challenged are also available upon request. A special benefit is the free minibar, available in all rooms. In addition, Casalingo, an Italian restaurant, is on premises and open 18:30-23:30 every day. It has a contemporary Mediterranean decoration, with a live cooking counter and wood-fired pizza oven. Casalingo serves authentic Italian dishes, seasonal specialities and pizza, plus a selection of fine wines. Guests can dine on the terrace or in the air- conditioned restaurant. From 99 JD.
  • Mövenpick Resort & Residence Aqaba, King Hussein Street, P. Box 678 (Centre of Aqaba, overlooking the Red Sea), ☎ +962 3 203-4020, e-mail: resort.aqaba@moevenpick.com. Check-in: 15:00, check-out: 12:00. High-quality resort hotel, featuring a mix of European and Arabesque designs. All 296 rooms, suites and apartments include self-controlled air conditioning and heating, satellite TV, direct-dial phone with voice mail, public Wi-Fi throughout the resort, coffee and tea-making facilities, hairdryer, complimentary minibar, and a safe. Suites include additional amenities and a balcony or terrace from which you can enjoy remarkable views of the country's world-renowned archaeological sites, the Gulf of Aqaba and neighbouring countries. Guests staying at the residence also enjoy access to all facilities of the resort without limitations. Connecting rooms, non-smoking rooms, and rooms for the physically challenged are also available on request. In addition, the Red Sea Grill is on premises, open 19:00-23:59 during the summer months. It specialises in seafood, including grilled fresh fish and shellfish dishes combined with an Afro-Arab cooking twist, with a magnificent panoramic view of the Gulf of Aqaba from the terrace on the hotel's private beach. From 88 JD.
  • Radisson Blu Tala Bay, South Beach (Head South from Aqaba), ☎ +962 3 209-0777. Luxury hotel south of Aqaba. Has very nice swimming pools, restaurants and beach. All the services to be expected at a 4/5-star hotel.

View our map of accommodation in Aqaba or use the form below to search for availability (Travellerspoint receives a commission for bookings made through the form)

Booking.com

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Keep Connected

Internet

Jordan is relatively well connected to the internet compared to many other countries in the Middle East. Internet cafes are all around Jordan and range from 1- 2 JD for half an hour. Wifi is getting more and more popular in Jordan, but is not very common everywhere. In larger places, you find free wifi and some coffee places and restaurants. Hotels tend to charge for wifi, but not always, so check beforehand.

Phone

See also International Telephone Calls

Jordan's international country code is 962. The emergency numbers include 112 and 911, you can use them both.

Most of Jordan has mobile coverage. There are three mobile operators: Zain - the first and largest mobile provider, Orange and Umniah. You can buy SIM cards at any of these providers and if you are planning to make international calls, use Umniah as they are the cheapeast. Otherwise Zain is the better choice of mostly domestic calls. Using your own SIM in Jordan can be expensive, especially for internet.

Card-based temporary numbers can be purchased at the airport or any mobile shop for JOD5. These numbers can be subsequently recharged with a prepaid card starting at only JOD1. Temporary "throw away" phones can be bought at many mobile phone shops across the country for around JOD20-30, but a Jordanian must buy the phone before possession can be transferred to you.

Post

Jordan Post runs the postal services in the country. It has fairly reliable and cheap services and international post usually takes several days up to a week or more for countries further away. Opening hours of post offices are mostly between 7:00am and 5:00pm Saturday to Thursday and 7:00am to 1:00pm on Friday, although this depends whether it's a main city or smaller villages. In summer, there might be slighty longer opening hours. For larger packages, it might work out cheaper and certainly faster to use international courier services, including DHL, FedEx, TNT or UPS for example.

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Quick Facts

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Coordinates
  • Latitude: 29.4971
  • Longitude: 34.9968

Accommodation in Aqaba

We have a comprehensive list of accommodation in Aqaba searchable right here on Travellerspoint. You can use our map to quickly compare budget, mid-range or top of the range accommodation in Aqaba and areas nearby.

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This is version 21. Last edited at 10:22 on May 10, 19 by Utrecht. 10 articles link to this page.

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