Adventure Through Jordan’s Unforgettable Sights and Lesser-Known Wonders

A camp in the mountains.

Think of Jordan and likely what will come to mind is seeing the Treasury at Petra and perhaps some of the country’s other iconic sites. G Adventures’ Jordan Multisport itinerary is designed to engage not just the sight of these landmarks but all of the senses, with eight active and adventure-filled days. You will go beyond simply admiring the monuments and also hike trails through nature reserves, bob in the Dead Sea (with perhaps a mud bath too) and share meals with nomadic Bedouins and local farmers.

G Adventures’ trip includes the country’s most famous sites: Amman, with its ancient theater and temples; the haunting landscapes of Wadi Rum; and the Dead Sea. It also includes some less-visited spots, from the Aljoun Nature Reserve in the north to Little Petra, a Nabatean site that many visitors to Jordan don’t get to see. You’ll also participate in a “G for Good Moment,” the company’s program for giving back: Your visit will help support a local program that encourages sustainable farming practices and small-scale ecotourism ventures.

If you want to see Jordan’s most famous sites and also venture off the beaten path, all while testing yourself on some serious treks, G Adventures’ itinerary is a perfect fit.



A G for Good Moment

Learn about a program that is encouraging sustainable farming practices on a tour of farms in South Ghour and then sit down to a meal with farmers and their families.
G Adventures: Our World Deserves More You


G Adventures

G Adventures are the small-group adventure experts and have been for nearly 30 years. Adventure travel is about more than a vacation; instead, it offers opportunities to connect with the people and places you visit, as well as discover new aspects of yourself. With G Adventures you’ll be in the company of like-minded travelers, with every logistical detail handled by your CEO—Chief Experience Officer—and other members of the G Adventures team. All you need to concentrate on is connecting to the people and places you visit.
The sun sets over a dense city

DAY 1Arrive in Amman

You’ll land this morning in Jordan’s capital and make your way to your hotel. You may stay at the 80-room Signature Hotel, located in the trendy Jabal Al Weibdeh neighborhood, known for its many small shops and boutiques. It’s also close to the Amman Citadel, one of the city’s most important sites. (Note that while you may not stay at the Signature Hotel, if your final itinerary includes a different hotel it will be of a similar quality.)

You’ll have the rest of the day free to explore Amman on your own. You may want to make your way to the citadel, a walled fortress atop the city’s tallest hill. The area has been occupied since as early as the Bronze Age, and every empire that has ruled Jordan over the millennia has left traces here. The most famous sites of the citadel date from the Roman period (the columns of the Temple of Hercules) and the Umayyad period (portions of a palace).

In the evening, you’ll meet up with your CEO—Chief Experience Officer, or tour leader—for an overview of all that’s planned for the week ahead. Afterwards you can join your CEO and fellow travelers for dinner or head out on your own.
A castle on a hill

DAY 2Ajloun Nature Reserve

Most travelers to Jordan head south from Amman, to Petra, Wadi Rum, and the Dead Sea. You’ll visit these iconic sites, too, but today you’ll head north, to a less-visited corner of Jordan, the Ajloun Nature Reserve. If you think Jordan is entirely arid deserts, the reserve will come as a surprise, with more than five square miles of lush, dense stands of oak, pine, carob, and other trees. This part of Jordan has been the site of human settlements for millennia and is home to a number of unusual animal species, including striped hyenas, crested porcupines, and stone martens.

While you most likely won’t see any stone martens (the elusive animals are nocturnal), you can see one of the roe deer that are here as part of a breeding program. After the animal became extinct locally, a number of them were imported from Turkey and are being reintroduced to this part of Jordan. Depending on the time of year you visit, you can also see black irises, Jordan’s national flower (which typically blooms in late spring/early summer).

After a half day of hiking the trails, you’ll spend the night at one of the cabins overlooking the reserve (or a similar hotel option).
A man floats in the dead sea.

DAY 3Wadi Mujib and the Dead Sea

Your first stop today will be one of Jordan’s wadis, valleys that are generally dry except following occasional rainfalls. Wadi Mujib has been called the Grand Canyon of Jordan, formed by a stream which historians believe is the Arnon, mentioned in the Old Testament books of Deuteronomy and Judges. The wadi’s canyon walls rise dramatically to heights of more than 3,300 feet above the stream, which makes its way through the valley to the northern end of the Dead Sea. The marshlands and small lakes formed by the stream have made the wadi a crucially important area in terms of biodiversity. Various finches, sparrows, owls, vultures, and other bird species either live in the wadi year-round or use it as a stop on their annual migrations. At the same time, more isolated parts of the wadi are homes to wolves, goats, wild cats, and other rare mammal species.

Depending on the time of year you visit Wadi Mujib, you can either walk the Ibex Trail or the Wadi Mujib Canyon Trail. Both routes take around four hours and include spectacular scenery along their routes.

After your hike, you’ll continue on to the Dead Sea, where you can float atop its water, famous for its high salinity and therapeutic properties. If you’d like to return from your trip to Jordan with an especially healthy glow, try the optional activity of a mud bath. G Adventures can also arrange a visit to the site on the Jordan River where John the Baptist is said to have baptized Jesus Christ.

At the end of the day you’ll arrive—likely exhausted, but in a good way—to the Dead Sea Spa Hotel.
A man hikes through a heavily vegetated canyon

DAY 4Dana Biosphere Reserve

After you check out this morning, you’ll travel to the Dana Biosphere Reserve—at 120 square miles, it’s the country’s largest reserve. It’s also notable for the variety of bio-geographical zones, thanks in part to its range of altitudes, from peaks around 4,900 feet to lower areas closer to sea level.

This part of Jordan includes traces of a number of different civilizations, but today it’s best known for its varied flora and fauna: More than 700 plant species and more than 200 bird species have been identified here. Birders will want to bring their binoculars to spot species like the Syrian serin—the reserve is home to the world’s largest breeding colony of these birds.

Your visit to the reserve includes a three- to four-hour hike along the Feather Canyons Trail that ends in a mountain retreat used by the ancient Nabatean people whose capital was at Petra, your next stop. Here you can sign up for a magical candlelit visit to an archaeological site and to see a live performance of Bedouin music.
A massive building carved into a canyon wall.

View of camels resting in front of the Treasury, known locally as Al Khazneh, as seen from the main entrance to the ancient city, known locally as Al-Siq, located in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Petra, or Rose-Red city, which was the 6th century capital city of the Nabataeans.

Kimberley Coole

DAY 5Petra and Little Petra

The G Adventures itinerary includes two days to explore Petra, providing time to see sites that are off the beaten path. You’ll start today at Siq al-Barid, also known as Little Petra. This site sits five miles east of Petra, but it’s a similar complex of temples and tombs carved into the sides of rose-red sandstone cliffs. Though little is known about the Nabatean people, archaeologists think Siq al-Barid may have been a suburb of sorts of the larger settlement at Petra—the buildings here (which include some remarkable wall paintings) also date from the first century C.E. Perhaps the most appealing aspect of Little Petra, however, is simply the opportunity to wander through Nabatean ruins with fewer people than are typically found at the more famous ruins of Petra.

Afterwards you’ll hike to Petra itself, enjoying a breathtaking view of the so-called Monastery on your route there. This building is similar in design to the famous Treasury, though much larger and older—it was probably carved into the cliffs in the third century B.C.E. Although it’s called the Monastery, the name was inspired by the many crosses carved into its interior during the later Byzantine period. It was originally constructed as a tomb.

After an orientation and overview of Petra led by your CEO, who will provide some historical context of the sites, you’ll be free to wander on your own. You’ll have plenty of time to see the famous Treasury and the theater, as well as the many elaborate tombs.

At the end of your day, you may want to sign up for the optional Turkish bath experience, where you’ll scrub off any desert dust and emerge ready for a good night’s sleep at the Seven Wonders Hotel (or a similar accommodations option).
An array of spherical buildings in a valley

DAY 6Petra and Wadi Rum

In the morning, you’ll have more time to explore Petra on your own before rejoining your group for the drive to Wadi Rum.

The largest wadi in Jordan is also the most famous, thanks to its many appearances on the big screen, beginning with the 1962 film Lawrence of Arabia—a movie credited with jump-starting travelers’ interest in this part of Jordan. Wadi Rum’s history, however, begins much earlier than 1962. Petroglyphs can be found on canyon walls, and there are also some Nabatean ruins here. For many visitors, the desert here is associated with T.E. Lawrence (that is, Lawrence of Arabia) who passed through several times from 1917 to 1918. Wadi Rum is also the home of many Bedouins, who continue to follow the same semi-nomadic existence that they have for centuries. You may find yourself invited to join them for a coffee or tea, though ask for permission before taking any photos of your hosts.

A four-wheel-drive excursion through Wadi Rum, which will be offered if time allows, will let you see some of the more remote areas of this almost lunar landscape. (It has also played the part of Mars in a number of films, thanks to the red hue of the sandstone).

You’ll sleep tonight at a Bedouin camp, after enjoying a traditional meal around a campfire and hearing tales of the desert as well as some Bedouin drumming. Given the location’s distance from cities or even towns of any size, the sky is filled with stars, creating an unforgettable setting.
Camels walking through the desert

DAY 7Wadi Rum and South Ghour

You can start this morning with an optional camel tour of Wadi Rum, or simply explore some more of the area on foot.

Later, you’ll head to the farms of the South Ghour region, where you’ll participate in a G for Good Moment. Central to G Adventures’ mission is not merely leaving the places they visit unchanged, but also making the world a better place by supporting eco-tourism operations and other ventures that benefit local communities. On a bike ride through the farms here, you’ll learn about the work of the Al Numeira Environmental Association. The organization has assisted local farmers with adopting sustainable practices like replacing artificial fertilizers with compost and using graywater to irrigate orchards. At the same time, farmers have been cultivating a diversity of plants and trees suited to the desert climate, building a more sustainable and productive ecosystem.

After learning about the organization’s work, you’ll enjoy a meal with local farmers and their families. At the end of the day you’ll return to Amman for a final night in Jordan’s capital.
People in bandanas talk around a table of food

DAY 8Return Home

After checking out, you can return to the Amman airport for your flight home. If you think that eight days are simply not enough to experience all the Jordan has to offer, you’re right. G Adventures and your CEO are ready to assist with arrangements if you want to extend your stay and see more of the country.
More From This Author
Journeys: Africa + Middle East
Journeys: Africa + Middle East
Journeys: Africa + Middle East