Have you ever taken a jeep ride through the red sands of the desert? Or visited one of the Seven Wonders of the World? How about taking a swim at the lowest point on earth?
If you are looking to study abroad in Jordan, you're in luck! All of these amazing adventures are available all within one country. Whether you are looking to take a quick day trip to see some new sights, or a weekend overnight stay, there is a destination in this guide for you.
#1. Wadi Rum
The top spot on my list is, of course, the infamous Wadi Rum. In Arabic, Wadi Rum (وادي رم) literally means the Valley of the Moon. It may look familiar to you if you are a Star Wars or Dune fan, as it has been used several times by Hollywood to depict a mars-like, otherwordly landscape. During my abroad semester, CIEE organized our entire program to travel to Wadi Rum and stay at an amazing camp where we tried some amazing home-cooked food, took a jeep ride through the sands, rode camels at sunset, and danced around a campfire. It was an experience that I will never forget and is an absolute must-have on your Jordan bucket list.
Also a part of CIEE's program-wide trip, after a night in Wadi Rum we continued our journey down to Petra. Famous for its stunning city structures carved into the stone, Petra was once the capital of the Nabataean kingdom from as early as the 4th century BC. Once you reach the tourist-heavy Treasury, continue on to climb up many (many) steps to see the real sights. The beautiful Monastery at the top of Petra's winding trail will reward you with even better-preserved architecture and sweeping views of the mountains below. Pack your hiking shoes because this one is not for the faint of heart!
Madaba (مادبا) is best known for its Byzantine and Umayyad mosaics, especially a famous Byzantine-era map of the Holy Land. The "Map of Madaba" is a beautiful mosaic depicting historical Palestine and the Nile Delta, and is estimated to be the oldest surviving depiction of the Holy Land. Discovered in 1896, this discovery contributed to Madaba's popular reference as the "City of Mosaics" within Jordan.
#4. The Dead Sea
If you're in the mood for a bit of a spa weekend, head down to the Dead Sea to experience a real mud treatment. Bordered by Jordan to the east and Israel and the West Bank to the West, the Dead Sea is a salt lake 430.5 meters below sea level, making it the lowest land-based elevation on Earth. Its extremely high salinity also makes it 9.6 times as salty as the ocean, and makes anything other than floating nearly impossible. Historically, the site was one of the world's first health retreats (for Herod the Great), and it has even been cited as a popular salt scrub used by Cleopatra to achieve radiant, soft skin.
Did you know you can go snorkeling in Jordan? I definitely didn't. Drive down to the most southern city in Jordan to experience all of the wonders of the Red Sea! As the only coastal city in Jordan, Aqaba is a popular vacation destination for local Jordanians and tourists alike. Aqaba is a prominent port and economic driver for Jordan, hosting vibrant trade and tourism sectors. We went on a snorkeling trip with Shark Bay Divers and enjoyed a lovely (albeit, a bit cold in February) day of swimming, snorkeling, and great food!
These are just five of my favorite spots in Jordan, though there is so much more this country has to offer! Honorable mentions to also explore include: Jerash, Ajloun, and As-Salt. Enjoy!