Everything you need to know will lead up to the enchanting moment where you stand before the first of many great monuments carved into the ancient red stones of Petra. Exploring this ancient city and spending time in the Serene Wadi Rum Desert has been a personal highlight of my time spent in the region. For travelers visiting Petra from Israel, these essential tips will help you have an unforgettable experience.
As Petra is not far from the border between Jordan and Israel, it is possible to travel independently, join an organized group tour or book a private tour guide. When it comes to expenses, it costs about the same to travel independently to Petra as it does to join a low budget group tour. In Israel, a private tour guide will always cost at least 3 times as much. A jeep tour through the fiery Wadi Rum desert will add to your expenses as it also means spending an extra night in the area, both however will be valuable additions to your trip.
Borders between Israel and Jordan can get a bit confusing but here's what you need to know to cross quickly and safely.
There are 2 borders from Israel to Jordan where most travelers can receive a visa on arrival (check for your nationality here) - the Arava border in the southern part of Israel near Eilat (closer to Petra) and the Jordan River border crossing in Bet She'an (closer to Amman). Even with the Jordan Pass, crossing from Israel to Jordan via the Allenby Bridge border will require a pre-arranged visa document. There is regular public transportation between main cities in Israel to the borders and its always best to plan using online bus and train schedules. Border opening times are pretty standard but can change depending on religious holidays.
Travelers spending less than 2 nights in Jordan will pay a visa fee of 40 JOD - equivalent to about 58 USD. With proof of stay for longer than 2 days, the visa fee can be waived. Also, take into account the exit fee from Israel (30 USD) and the exit fee from Jordan (15 USD).
Pay the border fee's in cash and exchange to Jordanian Dinar on the Jordan side of the border where they have the best exchange rate. Jordanian border fee's are to be paid in local currency.
Take enough cash with you as sometimes it can be a challenge to find a working ATM and not all places accept credit cards. Some places do accept USD.
Tipping is part of the culture in Jordan, especially for drivers and tour guides. For those traveling alone, expect to take a taxi from the Jordan side of the border to Amman or to Petra.
Return to Israel can also be via the Allenby bridge border. Be sure that you are eligible to receive a multiple entry visa to Israel.
Drones and religious items may be confiscated at border control
Most of the year the weather in Jordan is hot and very sunny so bring plenty of sun protection. Nights in the region can get quite cold especially in the winter.
Although Jordan is a conservative country, there is no dress code for Petra due to the amount of tourists coming in.
*For assistance with planning your trip to Petra, contact us here: The Israeli Holiday
About the writer, Taila Eskin: