Day - 1
Location: Amman - Ahlan Wa Sahlan! Welcome to Amman, a cosmopolitan city steeped in biblical history. On arrival at Queen Alia International Airport, you will be met by an Intrepid representative and transferred to your hotel, ready for your adventure to begin at 6pm with an important welcome meeting. If you arrive early, feel free to head out and explore – highlights include the citadel with its amazing sweeping views of Amman, the Jordan Museum, which is home to the Dead Sea Scrolls, or the Roman Theatre, right in the middle of downtown Amman. After the meeting, you may like to get to know your group over an optional dinner, or explore on your own and pick up a coffee from one of the cafes, partnering it with an ara’yes – a toasted sandwich filled with spicy mincemeat.
Day - 2
Location: Wadi Rum - After breakfast today, journey down the Desert Highway to the spellbinding Wadi Rum, a landscape of rugged sandstone mountains standing tall among an ochre desert floor. Meet your Bedouin hosts on arrival followed by free time for lunch, before heading into this desolate, romantic area. Transport into the Rum is by way of jeeps operated by the local Bedouin community, part of an initiative by the Jordanian Government to bring much-needed income into this region. Visit several of Wadi Rum's distinctive rock formations and soak in the vast silence and spectacular desert landscapes. The Bedouins live in scattered camps throughout the area and you'll enjoy an evening under the stars at one of these sites.
Day - 3
Location: Aqaba - Enjoy a spectacular sunrise at your desert camp, perhaps checking out a few more of the local Wadi Rum sites or taking a scenic walk before you leave. Depart Wadi Rum mid-morning for the city of Aqaba on the Red Sea. Check into your hotel on arrival and head out for a brief orientation of the town with your leader – the small Ottoman Mamluk Fort, dating from the 14th century and from where Lawrence of Arabia rode to Cairo, is worth a look – otherwise, most of the fun is to be found in the water. With great visibility and abundant marine life, this is an incredible spot for snorkelling, and the warm waters play host to clownfish, angelfish, sea turtles and coral formations. Speak to your leader if you’d like to arrange snorkelling, or you may prefer to acquaint yourself with the hotel's pool or head to the beach.
Day - 4
Location: Petra - This morning, enjoy some relaxation time in Aqaba before travelling to the fabled city of Petra. Dating back to the sixth century BC, Petra is considered the crown jewel of Jordan, featuring an impressive series of tombs and dwellings carved directly into the rock. The site remained unknown to the wider world until 1812 when it was visited by Swiss explorer Johann Ludwig Burckhardt. In 1985, Petra was designated a UNESCO World Heritage-listed site, and simply put, is one of the world’s most incredible ancient sites. On arrival, settle into your hotel and check out the village before enjoying an included dinner at your hotel.
Day - 5
Location: Petra - Petra is justifiably on most people’s list of ‘must-visit’ places. The iconic Petra view – the Treasury's glorious facade, glimpsed from the narrow cleft known as the Siq – is arguably the single most striking sight of the entire region. The Siq leads through the rock and is sometimes only a few metres wide, with walls soaring up to 180 metres on either side. Join your guide and explore the old Roman road, amphitheatre and several old tombs, before enjoying free time to experience Petra at your own pace. Maybe climb up to the Monastery, carved from a mountain summit, where you’ll find magnificent views of the entire site. To cap off a truly memorable day, be welcomed into a local home for dinner. On the menu will often be maqluba – a casserole with rice, vegetables and chicken which is cooked, flipped, then served with either yoghurt or an Arab salad with tahina sauce. Chat to your friendly family hosts about the delicious meal and what life is like in such a popular spot.
Day - 6
Location: Amman - After breakfast, drive to the ancient Crusader castle at Shobak, where your leader will show you the grounds, a small chapel and the original gatehouse. This ancient castle was originally built to protect the eastern flank of the Latin Kingdom and its trade routes to the sea before it fell to Saladin in 1189. Depart the castle and stop off at the viewpoint overlooking the Dana Nature Reserve before arriving in Madaba where you’ll visit the Greek Orthodox Church of St. George and see an impressive ancient mosaic map of the Holy Land. Arrive in Amman in the late afternoon, where your leader will recommend some great restaurants to sample the best of the city’s food scene.
Day - 7
Location: Amman - Take a short drive north to Jerash, once one of the grandest ancient Roman cities in the world and now home to some of the best Greco-Roman ruins around. Jerash has a striking collection of archways, theatres, baths, public buildings and colonnaded streets, and is a beautiful place to spend a morning exploring. Then, drive to the shores of the Dead Sea, the lowest point on Earth (420 metres below sea level). This isn’t actually a sea, but rather a super-salty lake (dead because of the lack of life in it) where the density of the water means you’ll go for a float, not a swim. The mud here is supposed to have healing properties, so why not cover yourself from head to toe for a nutrient-rich natural mineral mud bath. Spend some time relaxing here before returning to Amman for the evening. Maybe spend tonight at one of the many bars and restaurants in West Amman or ask your leader about the traditional cafes dotted around the city where locals spend their evenings.
Day - 8
Location: Amman - Your trip comes to an end today after breakfast. Check-out time is usually around noon and you are free to leave at any time.