Aqaba is Jordon's only port with access to the Red Sea. Aqaba is the gateway to visit the ancient city of Petra 60 miles to the north.
Where You're Docked
Cruise ships dock at a commercial pier south of the city. Shuttles are usually provided into town for those not on a tour to Petra or Wadi Rum. The shuttle may drop off beside the Moevenpick resort at a bus terminal north of the city center.
Money and Tipping
The best way to get to Petra is to either go on a tour or take a taxi. You will need to negotiate a rate to have the driver for the whole day - budget around 50 JD. There are buses that go to Petra from Aqaba but they are infrequent and only leave when full so you could be wasting a lot of time waiting.
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Petra - Visiting this ancient site requires a lot of walking. The walk to from the visitor center to entrance of the siq is around 15 minute and downhill. You will be offered "free" horse rides for this stretch but they will want a 10 JD tip. You can save the horse ride for the way back since it is uphill and you'll be tired but negotiate only tipping 2-3 JD beforehand. The siq is a twisty narrow canyon that extends for over 1/2 mile and buggy rides are offered at this point to the treasury. Your first peek at Petra will be this magnificent building carved into the cliff and you can explore the rest of the city from this point. You will be offered donkey or camel rides from here. You will need to prioritize what you want to see with how much time you have. Site entry fee 50 JD but 90 JD for visitors without an overnight in Jordan (Dec 2011). Cruise ship visitors may be able to get the lower fee.
Wadi Rum - If you've been to Jordan before, this scenic valley is the second most popular attraction in the area. Much of Lawrence of Arabia was filmed here. It is 45 miles away from Aqaba.
Aqaba - This seaside city has a small beach and lots of markets. The only sights in town are a museum and fort. Boats by the water offer glass bottom tours. Better beaches and resorts can be found in the South Beach area.
The Red Sea Astrarium, a 1.5 billion dollar resort and theme park is under construction just south of Aqaba city center and is projected to be complete in 2017.
Shopping & Restaurants
McDonalds and Ali Baba restaurant (near fruit and vegetable market) has free WiFi. There is a small internet cafe in the city center.
Maps (right-click to save)
Aqaba Weather Forecast