Petra in Jordan is on many traveler’s bucket lists. It was certainly on ours, even though I wasn’t exactly sure why. Sure, it is one of the most famous archaeological sites in the world. But we did not do our research ahead of time. We saw the sights but were left with a lot of surprises, not only about Petra but about traveling in Jordan in general. I wanted to write this post, and I update it regularly, to provide some Petra travel tips. I wanted to answer two main questions: 1) How much does it cost to visit Petra; and 2) is Jordan expensive to visit?
Petra Travel Guide
We had three days in Jordan, as a stopover between an 8-week tour of Europe, and heading back to our home in Bali. Our original goal was to spend almost two weeks traveling in Jordan and Israel. But we were tired and wanted to head home. I wished, though, that I had known about the cost of Petra before we decided to do a layover trip. I wished I had asked: is Jordan expensive? And, like many of our blog posts, this Petra blog focuses on the cost of Petra tours, so you make a more educated decision than we did.
In this Petra travel blog post, we will talk about the Petra entrance fee and what you get for the fee. We will also share options on how to travel from Amman to Petra. Last, we will share some Petra tourism tips, including answering how expensive is Jordan beyond Petra. Use the Table of Contents above if you have a specific question. If I don’t answer it in this post, feel free to ask a question below in the comments and I will try to respond as quickly as possible. We will do everything we can to help you better prepare your budget for Jordan.
Where Is Petra?
Petra is located about 140 kilometers south of Amman, the capital of Jordan. It is also located about 120 kilometers north of Aqaba, on the Red Sea. Parts of Petra date to the 1st Century BC. It was trading site until the 4th Century AD when much of the city was destroyed by an earthquake. Eventually, the city was abandoned until it was rediscovered in the early 1800s. This makes it an interesting destination to explore if you know how to do it. There’s also a smaller site just north of Petra called Little Petra as well.Get The Best Price For Petra Tours Here
*This post contains compensated links. Find more info in my DISCLAIMER.
The Petra Entrance Fee
If I researched the entrance fee to Petra, and the cost of travel from Amman to Petra, ahead of time, I may not have gone at all. That might be a harsh thing to say as I actually enjoyed my time in Jordan. But, if I had known the cost of Petra plus the cost to float in the Dead Sea combined would be $100 per person, we probably would have flown straight through and made our way back to Bali a few days earlier. I lacked information about Petra – and it was my own fault.
I did not do my research ahead of time. We did not buy a guidebook, and I did very little reading. I had read a few blogs awhile back when trying to figure out a Jordan itinerary and how long we needed. I don’t remember any of them asking “is Jordan expensive.?” Perhaps that was because several of them were hosted by Visit Jordan on a blogger trip, and they did not pay the Petra entry fee themselves. Regardless, I had no idea until the day we arrived how expensive things would be. I know I know. I should have researched the Petra ticket price, but what’s done is done.
Tourist attractions in Jordan are, in fact, expensive. The Petra ticket price is 50 JD, or $70 USD per person for a single day visit. We toured Petra for about 2 hours. Do the math. But, let’s look at the Petra fees in more detail.
Jordan Travel Pro Tip
JD is the Jordan Currency, which is called the Jordanian Dinar. As of mid 2019, 1 Jordanian Dinar = $1.41 and €1.27. Over the last six months the Dinar has fluctuated more against the Euro than the Dollar.
What You Get For The Petra Jordan Entrance Fee
I read that Jordanian authorities explained that the cost of Petra includes a Petra map and a horse ride. We did not receive a map (I learned after we needed to ask for a map). In fact, there were so few signs that we could not even find the start of the walkway to the Siq, the cavern that leads to the Treasury and other sites.
As for the horse ride, yes it is “free” but then you have to negotiate a “tip” with the driver. I read about this the night before our visit to Petra. Even if you negotiate a rate of 5 or 10 JD, often times they will hold you hostage on the top of the animal until you agree to pay more. I don’t even want to get into the rumors and stories of animal treatment either.
So, no map, no signs, no “free” horse ride. What do you get for $70? The park was relatively clean, which is a good start. We visited Petra offseason, and in the middle of the day, and before the tour buses from Amman arrived. We got lucky and there were not many people in the park when we were there. In fact, the site in front of the Treasury had more donkeys, horses, camels, and touts than tourists. The experience was less than peaceful, however, because every few seconds I was offered a camel ride, a silver bracelet (another scam), an offer to take our picture (for a fee). I found myself very defensive. I read up on the scams, and our driver properly warned us, so we were prepared, but it was off-putting.
Making The Most Of The Fee To Enter Petra
As for the rest, we are not big hikers or explorers, so we saw some of the other “lower” attractions. But we did not take the hike up the 900 stairs to see the Monastery. For hikers, I think exploring the city of Petra can be amazing, and make the Petra price worth it.
As it was, it was difficult to understand where we were allowed to explore and where we were not. We stuck our head into one of the caves not knowing if that was allowed. Other areas were blocked off and obvious. We spent a total of 2 hours in the park and made our way out. Admittedly, we do not have a high tolerance for historical attractions as we prefer to travel for food.
2019 Costs To Visit Petra
These are the fees for visitors who stay at least one night in Jordan, meaning no day trips from Israel:
One Day: 50JD
Two Day: 55JD
Three Day: 60JD
Jordan Visa for US Citizens: The Jordan visa currently costs 40 JD ($56.50 USD) for a single entry, 60 JD ($85.00 USD) for two entries, and 120 JD ($170.00 USD) for a multiple entry visa. Visas on arrival are only available when arriving at the Amman airport.
Why Is The Petra Price So Expensive?
Okay, I cannot make this blanket statement as I have not been everywhere. I researched afterward to check some prices and learned things that made me increasingly more annoyed at my experience. In 2010, Jordanian authorities raised the cost of admission to Petra three times, in one year. I believe the original price was a much more manageable 21 JD, or about $30. I could entirely stomach that cost. And, I can understand claiming that the increased price is due to the maintenance of the archaeological zone. But frankly, Angkor Wat, which needs a lot more help to maintain, is not nearly this pricey.
In addition to the 50 JD day fee, the park also charges a border price. If you attempt Petra in a day trip from Israel, or from a cruise ship that docks in Aqaba, the cost for entry is 90 JD or about $125. Wow. The government is trying to penalize tourists who don’t stay longer in Jordan. That includes tourists who don’t spend the night, thereby adding additional money to the country’s tourism industry.
Apparently, in the past, tour operators in Israel offered Petra as a free addition to their itinerary, almost making it seem as though Petra was a site within Israel instead of Jordan. There is no visa fee to enter Jordan through Aqaba, on the Red Sea, from Israel, so that saves tourists the $20 there. We paid $20 to enter the country (the current fee is about $55). We heard that the reason the Petra cost was increased for everyone in the first place was to discourage this type of free add-on travel from Israel. Once the price reached 50 JD, they realized the discouragement had failed, so they added this new 90 JD fee, but never decreased the 50 JD amount. Sounds confusing right?
How Much Are Other Tourist Sites?
It made me wonder how much other similar sites charge. I tried to rack my brain on how much we paid to see the Great Wall or Christ the Redeemer. I don’t remember paying $75 a person for the Great Wall, including the bus ride to and from Beijing. From my research, of the 7 Wonders, the Petra fee is by far the most expensive. Machu Picchu seems to be the next most expensive, with websites claiming about $45 USD.
Even tourist sites in some of the most expensive cities in the world are considerably cheaper. Top of the Eiffel Tower €14 Euro, the Louvre is €12, the London Eye ranges from £17-35. The question then is how can you visit Petra to make the most of your time, the Petra price, and the Jordanian visa fee. Here are our practical Jordanian and Petra travel tips.
How To Make The Most Of The Petra Entrance Fee
I’ve already admitted that we are not hikers or nature explorers. After all, we travel for food. But even food travelers occasionally like to visit some of the top tourist attractions in the world. From other travelers who we’ve spoken with (and who have commented below on this post) many of them simply adored their experience. Most of these positive experiences are because they didn’t just pop into Petra to visit the Treasury (aka the Indian Jones building) but planned to hike, climb mountains, and explore.
The way to make the most of the Petra cost is to plan to spend a full day, or even two, exploring the entire natural park. The price difference between the one day and two day Petra entrance fee is negligible. In my opinion, treat Petra like any national park. Plan to spend the night nearby. Hike and explore. It’s just unfortunate for us that we are not those types of travelers, and I wish that Petra offered something for travelers like us.
Check out this video from fellow travel bloggers Sam and Audrey about how to explore Petra:
How to Get to Petra – Amman to Petra
There are a few ways to travel from Amman to Petra. There is a public bus, a shuttle bus, or pre-arranged private transport. This depends on how long you have to visit and what your budget is.
We chose private transport, which was not cheap. We managed to spend not a dinar more inside Petra, once we paid for the ticket fee. I felt that I had paid enough. We also paid 100 JD, or $150 for a driver for the day. Originally we were quoted 150JD at the Marriott Amman. But the day before our trip to Petra, I negotiated the price to 100 JD. The going rate seems to be about 80 JD. Our driver charged more for booking through a travel company rather than finding a guy out on the street. The hotel told us there was a bus that made the trip for much cheaper, but left at 6 am. I was too tired for that option. Our hotel did not, however, tell us there were shuttle buses that left Amman almost every hour, which makes the trip much cheaper. I know. I should have researched.
In the end, I was pleased with our decision or lack thereof to hire a private driver. The car was clean. Our driver, Amer, was fantastic and gave us a history lesson of the entire region on the three-hour ride there and back. I did not feel taken advantage of on the transport. But it is worth noting the cost because the total bill for Eric and me to visit Petra came to $290.
Travel and Tour Options for Petra
Learn from our mistakes! In the chart below we provide information on Petra tours from Amman, and from Egypt. There are options that involve only travel to Petra, Petra night tours, a Petra day tour, and multi-day tours to Petra.[table id=2 /]
Where To Stay In Amman Jordan
There are a handful of hotels in Petra if travelers choose to spend a night or two to explore Petra in more depth, by hiking. I would recommend if you plan on visiting Petra for only one day to stay in Amman. We really enjoyed our experience in Amman, ate wonderful food, and met amazing people. We stayed at the Marriott Amman, using points. It was centrally located and a good value.
Check the best prices for the Marriott Amman here. Rooms start around $150 a night.
Another Expensive Jordan Destination – The Dead Sea
On our last full day in Amman, we asked Amer to drive us to the Dead Sea, less than an hour’s drive from Amman. We paid him 40 JD, or about $56. We were quoted the same price from a random taxi driver as well, so this is about the going rate. Plus, it was Amer, so it was worth it. We liked him.
Amer informed us, and I read online, that the entrance for the public beach would be a pricy 16 JD. It ended up being 20 JD, or $28 USD. I don’t think this would be so expensive in nicer weather, if you spend the day, or at least a few hours on the beach, in the water, or in the two swimming pools. The price also included access to the locker rooms and showers, all needed. And, the price is cheaper than a day fee to use one of the pricier nearby hotels.
I won’t even mention the obnoxious number of flies that covered the area and attacked us while we stood poolside. Okay, maybe I will mention the flies.
But, the fee only included the entrance, and nothing more. We paid 5 JD more for two towels and locker rental. Okay, fine, we needed both, but I was frustrated things like that were not already included in the $28 fee.
Then, when we made our way down to the beach, we saw the bucket of mud, a Dead Sea ritual – rub it all over until you look totally messy, and then wash it off in the Dead Sea. They wanted to charge us 3 JD per person, for mud. I refused. I went all the way there and refused the fee for mud. At that point, I had just lost my patience. Amer said they are not supposed to charge for the mud, but it is customary to give a tip, like 1JD.
Is Jordan Expensive?
Now, it is unfortunate that as a tourist I felt fleeced by these two destinations. Otherwise, I enjoyed Jordan and met some of the nicest people in Amman. Luckily the Jordanian food was both good and cheap. If it had been as expensive as Dubai or Doha I would have been raising bloody hell.
Transportation within Amman is cheap as well, with taxis running just a few dinars and the local shared taxi costing about $.75 for two of us to go clear across the city. These fees, Petra and the Dead Sea, and in particular the mud fee, just bothered me and kind of left a bad taste in my mouth after an otherwise enjoyable stopover in Amman.
When it comes to asking if Jordan is expensive? Overall the answer is no. But, the two main attractions can be expensive if you don’t know how to do it right.
Cost of Petra Tours: Is Petra Worth It?
I wrote this Petra blog post because I think more needs to be written about the topic so that other tourists are not caught off guard, as I was. I will say, if I would have done my research ahead of time, and knew that it would cost an additional $100 per person to see these sites, I may not have stopped over in Jordan.
With how I was feeling two weeks before our arrival in Jordan, when we adjusted our travel plans and decided to go home early, if I had known it would cost $200, just to see these two sites (plus $200 for transport), we probably would have connected straight through and skipped it all together.
I don’t know though. I have always wanted to see Petra, but I also want to see a lot of other places that are cheaper, so I may have pushed Petra down on the list and opted to instead stop somewhere else. It’s hard to say for sure what I would have done. It just left me unsettling and opining that Jordan, in the end, is an expensive place to travel. It’s important to know the cost of Petra before arriving. Learn from my mistakes!
How To Visit Petra Top Tip
Do your research! Do as I say, not as I do. And, to make things a lot easier, to enjoy your experience, book transport to Petra ahead of time, or book a full Petra tour, with a guide, to get the most out of the experience.
FAQs on Visiting Petra – Petra Jordan Facts
It takes about three hours to travel from Petra to Amman when traveling directly with private transport.
There are hotels in Petra if you want to take advantage of the two day Petra entrance fee. Get more recommendations for Petra Hotels.
Do your research! Do as I say, not as I do. And, to make things a lot easier, to enjoy your experience, book transport to Petra ahead of time, or book a full Petra tour, with a guide, to get the most out of the experience.
Pin It To Save For Later! Is Jordan Expensive To Visit? The Cost To Visit Petra in 2019
*This post contains compensated links. Find more info in my DISCLAIMER.
Amber Hoffman, food and travel writer behind With Husband In Tow, is a recovering attorney and professional eater, with a passion for finding new Food and Drink Destinations. She lives with her husband, Eric, in Girona, Catalonia, Spain. Together over the last 20 years, they have traveled to over 70 countries. Amber is the author of the Food Traveler’s Guide to Emilia Romagna.
52 thoughts on “Is Jordan Expensive To Visit? The Cost To Visit Petra in 2019”
We took an overnight trip to Petra from Israel and to me it was worth every penny. It was so amazing. Yes it was expensive, but no more then Disneyland or over-rated tourist attractions. We felt our guide was a real winner and when I got the horse ride back they did try to ask for money, but I refused. He also tried to stop further from the entrance and I refused to get off until he took us the whole way. Definitely research could of helped and I guess expectation levels.
The overnight Petra tour from Abraham Tours is 910 Israeli Shekels (US$255) per adult, with a discounted rate for children, which includes Aqaba hotel, transport, Petra entrance fees and buffet lunch. The entry visa (border crossing) fee was US$62 per person (even children). So while it certainly isn’t a cheap tour (still cheaper then 2 tickets to see the Knicks in MSG NY) if you’re on a tight budget, by far it is worth every dollar spent and something we will never forget.
Oh and in Israel the Dead Sea is free if you go to the right spot, Jordan definitely ripped you off on that part. Although Israel do charge for most of the private beaches it did include the water, mud and showers.
Sorry to hear you did not enjoy Petra. I loved it and for me it is up there with Ankor as one of the most impressive places I have visited. I agree with you that the single day pass is way over priced and the day tripper prices from Israel is outrageous. I bought the 3 day pass for 60 JD and with this you can enter the park for a 4th day for free. At 15 JD per day it is not as bad. To spend 4 days there you have to want to do a lot of walking but for me time and money well spent.
Also it sounds like you did not eat around Petra. The food is not cheap there. I paid at least double the price that I paid in Amman.
I did not do Petra at night but if someone only wanted to visit the Treasury and the Siq this may be a less expensive option. I think it is 10 JD.
I totally agree with you on the dead sea and wish I would have given it a pass.
Thank you for sharing your experience in Jordan.
While we're happy you made the choice to spend a few days in Jordan, it's unfortunate you did not enjoy all your experiences. It is always encouraged, when travelling to any destination, to do the proper research on the destination; this is not only to have logistical information, but to also learn about local culture, perhaps a little history, and to understand the norms of a certain place in order to properly, easily, and comfortably navigate the country.
As you mentioned, we have hosted a number of travel bloggers on trips to Jordan; however, prices were never hid from them. In fact, prices of admission to all historic sites in Jordan are clearly listed on our website. To address your points on the admission prices, we do acknowledge the price has gone up a few years ago from what it was, but as you can imagine there are many reasons for this – far more than can properly be explained and detailed in a blog comment. The gist of it is that the economy plays a role. The tourism industry is a major source of income for Jordan – not to mention a revenue generating industry worldwide, accounting for 10% of GDP – so it is natural for any country to want to harness its resources. This is especially true in a country with no other natural resources or industry. Not only that, the cost of maintaining Petra as a site, for it to maintain its status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is quite costly. You mention Angkor Wat, and while that is a fantastic and worthy site, the comparison needs to go deeper. Not only are costs of labour in Southeast Asia drastically different than that in Jordan, but the type of maintenance that Angkor requires is different than Petra's. Petra also requires excavation, as only about 15% of the entire site has been excavated. The London Eye and Eiffel Tower are both amazing structures, as are many others in the world, but I do not believe that to be a fair comparison to Petra. Petra is an entire city onto its own. I understand you spent only two hours there and therefore felt the entrance fee to be high, but it would be rather difficult for the Petra authority to price tickets based on hours spent in the site. You can spend an entire week at Petra and see something new every day.
Unfortunately, we can't do anything about the flies at the Dead Sea, but I'm sure an experienced traveller like yourself, having been in Southeast Asia, can understand that each area has its share of little critters.
As to the scams you faced, unfortunately, these are parts of the travel experience no matter where you go. They are prevalent in SEA, in Europe, in the USA, and anywhere else you can think of. The Jordanian people are kind and hospitable, as are people of the world, but there are always some that want to take advantage. That does not represent the collective or the whole. This is also why it is essential to do the research, so that when faced with these incidents, you can easily wave them away with no trouble.
While many assume that Jordan's prices will be similar to Southeast Asia because it is a developing country, Jordan's economy is quite different to that region, and it is not a mass tourism destination like many countries in that region, so the prices are understandably different. I hope you can agree that there is value to the experiences you can have in Jordan, and we invite you to give it another chance and try to experience more of what Jordan has to offer. It is a small country, but it packs a punch. We are happy to provide you with any information you might need.
Keith, Thanks for the validation that I am not crazy! Can I ask what did you do for four days in Petra? Was it essentially hiking around and then seeing some ruins in some places? We are not hikers or outdoors types, so perhaps that is the problem. But, I never thought of Petra as a national park you hike through, I have always thought about it as the Treasury. I loved Angkor and have been twice, I could not even compare the two, perhaps that is because I love Southeast Asia so much.
I have not been to Jordan but I did just return from Machu Picchu. It costs around $70 including the shuttle bus to get up there. This does not include the $200+ train ride to get there because that is the only way besides a 2-4 day hike. The hike will cost you to because it has to be arranged through approved outfitter.
It was expensive but I felt it was worth it.
Thanks for the post- it was super informative! And interesting to read through the comments you received on it. I'm heading for Jordan this summer, and will definitely keep all of this in mind!
I've never understood why bloggers who visit somewhere on a press trip don't seem to bother to research the actual costs so that their readers know this. Occasionally we get admission into somewhere as press, and I always make to include the fees, travel tips, etc. I was quite stunned when someone recently went to Petra and informed me of the $70 entrance fee. That's incredibly ridiculous! And I had no idea you had to pay to swim in the Dead Sea. Israel was already off my list. I think Petra just fell off as well.
Yes, Jordan is expensive destination, but it is strange to hear so much complains from such experience travelers as you are. You wouldn't write these complains if you would do your homework. Is it Jordan's fault you came there not prepared?
Yes, Petra is most expensive site I have been so far, but again…
ONLY 2 hours??? It is clearly not your site to visit. I spent there full day from early morning until sunset and would come another day, but I didn't have time in my schedule for that. Btw I asked for a map at ticket office and got it.
I really think it is not Jordan's issue you didn't enjoy it.
Silvia and Jeff, thanks for your comments. Interesting about the price for Machu Picchu. I have not been there either, but it is on my list.
We were going to take a day off a 5 day trip to Israel..to see Petra the week before Easter. but we are tight and may skip it after reading some of the comments.BUT went to Machu Pichu two years ago and we booked several, tours there from a lady in the airport and they were all good. MP is a walking tour and we went on our selves but had read up on it and it was worth it all. cheap good food and accommodations.clen town too Enjoy it more by reading upon on it and its history. many good books. . Enjoy
Thanks so much for responding. It means a lot that Visit Jordan pays attention to these sorts of posts. I hope you read the one before this, which talks about how welcomed we were in the country – such nice people our first day in the country.
As for researching, I believe we actually met at TBEX in Dublin and I took all of the materials you gave to me on Amman and Jordan, and I do not remember seeing the price for Petra (I cannot confirm as I no longer have them). Moreover, the marketing materials I have seen, including your website, highlight the Treasury building and a few other buildings, and only briefly mention the size of the park (264,000 acres I believe) and saying it could take 4 or 5 days to fully explore, without mentioning what specifically there is to explore. Many of the comments I have received on this piece tell me I did not spend enough time in Petra and that they spent a full day or multiple days, but when I ask what there was to see or experience, no one seems to respond.
Also, with respect to using the entrance fee to both support the excavation of the site as well as to support the local economy and harness the resources the country has, i.e. Petra and the Dead Sea, that comes across to me as a way to fleece tourists to provide money for the federal fisc. Perhaps you should sell it as excavation and maintenance costs, and nothing more. My humble suggestion would be to offer a half day ticket, and then a full entrance fee (scanning in and out to track). I am sure I am not the only person who arrives and does not want to spend the day hiking the park, or hiring a horse and risk being scammed. It is also unfortunate that the tourism board and the park administration cannot do anything to prevent the rampant scams that are attempted on the park grounds. Are the touts licensed? Monitored? It would probably improve experiences and make for a more welcoming feel to the attraction. I felt on guard the entire time I was there and knew going in I would be left to explore only on my own two feet.
Overall, I did enjoy Amman, but I wanted more from Petra. I am not sure what. A lot of factors went into my opinion and writing this piece. As to VI's comments above, I do not think I am complaining, as I made the proper disclosures as to why I felt the way that I did, and I know others have differing opinions. I wrote this because I wanted more to be out there on the costs and the experience. Perhaps people who want to visit Petra only to see the Treasury will know what to expect. Perhaps people who want to explore more will be encouraged to strap on the hiking boots, carry a snack and plenty of water, and not visit Jordan as a stop over on the way to or from some place, or as a quick trip from Israel.
Again, thank you Lina for your response. I truly appreciate it.
Talon, I just think you have to want to visit Jordan not just for Petra and the Dead Sea but to visit Wadi Ruma, Aqaba, spend a few days in Amman, etc. It has to be to visit the country, not just a stopover. But, I am glad that you agree that the cost is high!
Hey not all bloggers get into Petra on a press trip! I paid the entry fee. Sure, it was expensive…considerably more than the Pyramids, but the pricing structure is built to encourage you to stay longer. The sheer beauty of Petra is that it is an ENORMOUS site and there really isn't anywhere that you can't explore (unlike the comment you mentioned in the post). I spent two days there (a 2 day ticket is only $77, which is a comparative bargain). You have to take the initiative to explore at Petra. It's not just one tiny little compact site. MANY things to see are not listed on the map and the Bedouin who live there are happy to help if you're in need of something to do.
I arrived the night before, saw Petra by Night, which was cool and then spent two VERY full days at Petra. Literally, both days I got there at 6am and stayed until sunset. This way, I was the first one in the park and didn't see anyone else for close to 3 hours (and let me tell you, having solitary time at the Treasury is quite special). And compared to the cost of going to, say, Disneyworld, that two day ticket is a pretty good deal. Petra actually ranks as the top ancient site I've seen (and I say that having been to the Pyramids, Machu Picchu, Angkor & Borobodur) so that price is absolutely worth it to me. It's an experience that will stay with me for the rest of my life.
Sounds like next time you should do some more research ahead of time about what to expect at the site, because, sure, everyone sees the Treasury and the Monastery, but there's really so much more! You can find some other suggestions here: http://www.aaronswwadventures.com/2012/08/hiking-petra-experience-best-rose-red-city/
It's also quite the generalization to flat out say that Jordan is expensive. Traveling by bus isn't and I found Amman to be rather affordable. As for the Dead Sea, even locals pay to access the public beach, and, as others have said, if you go to the right places in Israel (or Jordan) you can dip in the Dead Sea for free.
Sorry Amber for my first immpression about your post. I was on hiking trip in Jordan and Petra was only short brake between our hikes. So of course I had hiking boots during my Petra visit and it makes difference as you can explorer side trail and not just main street.
Another thing – we hired guide for couple hours there and we got good guide, so that's probably made much better impression of all site.
Well, I'm shocked by this post. I see nothing but positive coverage about Jordan and Petra in particular from travel bloggers and do believe that that is because people are being paid to go the/get it for free.
I recently visited and was horrified by Petra. It was a fantastic place to visit, but my visit was soured by my wife and I having to pay that $150 between us. I just felt the whole place was set up to milk money from tourists especially when you consider the prices of any other famous attraction in the world f similar stature.
I actually recommend people avoid Jordan and head to a country which is more tourist friendly. Georgia is a good start! But even Turkey bests it.
Our pleasure, Amber. We love reading all the posts written about Jordan, and of course enjoyed reading your previous one about your welcome to the country.
Just to address some of the things you mentioned, I can confirm that the entry fees are not in the promotional brochures, because these materials are just supposed to give a general overview of what sites are in Jordan. However, a quick Google search of "entry fees to Petra" will result in our Visit Jordan page as the top result with the entry fees clearly stated. This is not something we are trying to hide. We do not claim Petra's entry fees are low or high or anything of the sort, but rather focus on the quality tourists enjoy. It's true you mentioned that marketing materials do not illustrate the many sites you can visit within the city of Petra, but as I've mentioned, marketing materials (mostly all of them, not just ours) will only give a brief overview of a site. To include everything would mean producing a full length book. Apologies that no one had responded to your questions about what else there is to see in Petra, but to give you a short answer, beyond the Treasury and the Monastery, there are the Royal Tombs (and if you go just a little further past them, there is a path for you to climb over the Siq and look over the Treasury from atop it), there is also the Byzantine church, the Roman Amphitheatre, Aaron's Tomb and the high place of sacrifice, along with several other sites and two museums. And if you climb the steps to the Monastery, you can go a little further and see the amazing lookout beyond the mountains, as well as an alternative hiking route back down. There's also Little Petra, with more caves and carved creations to explore. As correctly mentioned in another comment, some places aren't even on the map, because Petra is still mostly unexcavated, and it requires a desire to explore the site. For instance, wondering around, there are many caves that you can enter and see the many striations of colour in the rock, which is unique to Petra.
As for touts, I don't believe (but happy to be corrected) that any "touts" are licensed at any tourist sites, and there is no way to adequately "control" this kind of behaviour, as people will strive to make a living where they can. I am not condoning this behaviour; merely suggesting that while we do try to cut down on this kind of activity, it is generally an unavoidable part of travel and also the reason why a traveller must research and be aware of particulars to wherever they are travelling. For instance, I'm sure you've read other travel bloggers' posts on scams in other parts of the world, and I've personally experienced plenty of them, but felt confident having been previously researched and warned.
The ticket scheme is unfortunately not up to us, but up to the Petra Park Authority which manages the site. They are constantly reviewing the fees and adjusting it to the Park's needs. To my understanding, there is no infrastructure at the moment to be able to properly call back people who have bought a half-day ticket. What is to stop people from entering for a full day on a half-day ticket? As you must have seen, the Park is enormous in size, and there is no way to keep track of the hundreds or thousands of people entering the park on a daily basis.
I hope I did not imply that you were complaining. That was not my intention. It's very important to note that travel is an experiential and subjective experience. No person will like everything about everything in the world. Many have loved their experience in Petra, and many have not; to each their own. You also mentioned that you are not interested in hiking, so perhaps Petra just isn't your kind of site. I only wanted to address your concerns and hope that I have explained anything you may have been wondering about.
Adam, Thanks for your comment. I think all of the justifications of the price really boils down to the fact that it IS one of the most expensive tourist destinations in the world, and I just don't think the way it is marketed justifies the cost. Petra should really be marketed as an archaeological park made for hikers who want to spend 2-3 days exploring a unique desert landscape, with some cool ancient buildings to see along the way. I do disagree, though, about Jordan not being tourist friendly. Although their infrastructure could be improved, and the prices for Petra and the Dead Sea were high, I think Amman is a great place for tourists to explore, as it is not as sanitized and tourist-focused as other cities, including areas of Istanbul. The restaurants we ate at and the people we met made for a good experience, and was what kept me from absolutely hating the country as a destination. That would have been a different blog post!
Lina, thanks again for your comment. I think it comes down to the fact that I am not a hiker or outdoor explorer, like VI is, and many other travelers are.
I do think, though, it would not be difficult to implement a half day ticket, and I know you don't control it. But, if you have a bar code on each ticket and scan the ticket in and out, if someone overstays their half day, you charge them an additional fee. I am sure that is over simplifying things, but I am sure it can be done.
As for the "touts" I think the guys who have the horses, camels, and donkeys should be licensed. They are not touts in the traditional sense, but people who are getting the benefit of working within the Petra Park. If there was some sort of complaint process, where they knew that if they received too many complaints about fleecing tourists they would lose their chance to make money in the park, they might straighten up. Similarly, tour guides at Angkor Wat are licensed and are required to have and show identification. That way tourists know they are getting someone with knowledge about the park, who is licensed to be there. Sure, others will try to act as tour guides, take money from tourists, and tell them who knows what, but then it is buyer beware. At Petra, it seems like it is set up in a way that makes fleecing tourists acceptable, particularly when people hear that the ticket includes a "free" horse ride. There is just something there that is unsettling.
In the end, though, Petra is just not my type of site, as you suggest.
First of all thank you for paying us a visit here in Jordan, even us as Jordanians paying a fraction of those prices feel that going to those world known attractions in our country is too expensive, and end up going abroad for a little more to pay, and this pains me.
There is however so many treasures of places, sites, cities, and experiences that will last you a life time in Jordan that are so cheap, often free, and I've had some of the best times of my life in them, here are a few:
1- The city of Fuhies: this town/city nearby amman, offers at low coast the amazing combination of what's ancient, what's traditional, what's very unique, what's very multicultural, and to top it all, what's very delicious, with an arts and cultural festival in the summer, amazing mountain climbing in al kawleen, an art galleria and a museum, traditional and international style Cafe's and Restaurants, and ancient churches, and traditional buildings, the country side town is so beautiful that the king's palace is in it, a day full of fun in Fuhies would coast nothing more than 30$ -50$ including transportation, food, and local wine made in the exact same way for more than a thousand years!
2- A trip north, The end of forests chains all the way from Europe where they meet the desert , Ajloan and Irbid are truly amazing, with an ancient castle, a natural preserve, and a one of a kind camp to lose your self in the mountains , a breakfast of traditional food, wild thine, and Jordan's famous olive oil, and tea made on the camp fire is the perfect morning in Ajloan, visit the ancient castle, the City or Jerash too, outstanding ruins there, if you catch it in the summer time you can go to the festival held on ancient stages as it was hundreds of years ago.
3- A trip to the south, Starting of with the capital of mosaics Madaba, and ending with a party on the beach at the dead sea, passing through al Karak or some of the wonderful water filled stone valley's along the way, this type of trip would coast with food and drinks and transportation less than 100$ per person,
Ok so visiting Jordan without planning will be costly, I bit you paid alot for the hotel too, but if you know the way of us the locals, you can cut the coast and have a far better and richer experience, Jordanians are well known to be a gracious people, so my best advice would be, simply go to facebook, twitter, and find someone in Jordan that is welling to help, I personally as most of us , would happily do it, to my best ability, with pleasure, and for free,
Thanks Nadim, I had heard so much about Jordan and planning to visit in end November, and reading some of this almost changed my mind!! Appreciate your input!!
I still think you should visit Petra, and definitely Jordan. The people there are so nice. But, it’s important to know the cost ahead of time. And, if you love hiking and the outdoors, perhaps plan to spend 2 days in Petra to get your moneys worth.
Nadim, Thank you for providing these helpful tips for my readers. I do wish I had the time, and more importantly, the energy to explore more of Jordan as you recommend, but I did enjoy our time in and around Amman, and would certainly recommend it to travelers.
Keep Yourself Away From Wadi Rum!
It is a very sad story that took place with me in Wadi Rum. It is unbelievable that such a thing can still happen in the 21st century.
On January 1, 2014 I crossed the Israeli border with the only wish to spend a couple of days in a magnificent desert of Wadi Rum. At 1 pm Mosa Saleah Al-Zalabeih, – the owner of Wadi Rum Galaxy Camp, – to whom I came to work as a volunteer, came to pick me up. He was not just cute on that day. He was incredibly handsome. I fell in love with him from the very first moment. He seemed to feel the same. He was smiling and looked happy.
On the way to Wadi Rum, I was feeling how this beautiful desert was putting magic on me. Everything was so familiar, as though I had been living there before. I was more than sure that it would be the right place to create a family and to stay for life.
After 4 months (on May 13, 2014) I came back to Wadi Rum and we got married.
The first weeks that I spent with his mother were not really happy. The family was very poor and lived in terrible conditions. No kitchen, no shower, no bed linen, – nothing. Children slept on the sand and very often there was no food at all. When the school year got over and all the crowd left to the desert, I was left alone. Mosa locked me in a small dirty room which I shared with mice. He didn't allow me to speak with anyone and controlled all my steps. I was kept like a slave in a jail. Very often he forgot about me and I had to stay hungry, without food and any means of communication. Through lie, sweet words and sometimes pressure my husband managed to take all my money. He scammed absolutely everything I had. When there was nothing else to take, he decided to throw me away like a trash. He never treated me like a wife. He didn't spend a JD on me. No house, no food, nothing.
All the family knew that there was something wrong, but did noting. No one came to visit me or to ask whether I need anything. It seemed that Mosa waited for my death from starving. Then he would bury the body and sign with relief.
When Mosa decided to get rid of me, I managed to survive only thanks to the family, who found me. They brought me to their home, gave food and clothing. During 2 weeks the family took care of me. Thanks to them I went to the Tourist Police, wrote a complain on my husband and returned all the money. I had to put him into the jail, but under the pressure of the family I agreed not to do it. I was very sick and tired. The only wish I had was to return the money and to go back to my home.
Wadi Rum is the worst place you can choose to come. People lie here and treat foreigners very badly. The last time scamming is growing so rapidly in this region. In the police I was told that my case unfortunately was not the first one in Wadi Rum.
My husband treated me so badly. He lied to me from the very first day I know him. He made me leave my job and country. He made me take Islam. He organized a fake wedding in the village to make me believe that I will stay for life with him. After he scammed me for 4100 JD, I was needed no more. He threw me away like a trash. Only thanks to my complain that I wrote in the Tourist Police, I managed to return all the money and finally to come back to my country.
Sorry to say, but Wadi Rum, like Petra, has become a platform for scamming. People forgot their real values. Traditions and religion are dying here. Money has taken their place.
It's too bad this was your experience. I very much want to visit and glad I am now prepared!
Very interesting. I like posts like this that paint the whole picture, and thank you for letting me know how much I have to budget beforehand. 🙂
I agree that advance research probably would have been good. But I've not researched places myself; we're all guilty of it. I'd still like to see Petra and I'll keep this in mind if/when I do get there.
I had no idea it's that expensive (also because I usually only see the blogger reviews). I guess I won't be visiting Jordan in the near future.
Yeah, Nick, I just think more information needs to be out there for budget-minded travelers. If people are going there just to see the Treasury, they should know the cost ahead of time. It's a lot for a bucket list item. If you are going to explore the entire park and hike around, it probably is worth it, but it is still good to know ahead of time.
Amber, thanks for sharing your experience with us. It annoys me when people are always reviewing travel destinations as AMAZING and MUST SEE. I believe that most places, regardless of how cheap, beautiful, friendly, or historic, have a downside. Although I'm not going to write off Jordan as a place I want to travel to, I just appreciate the honest insight.
Well I am glad I found your site. I went to Israel and Jerusalem in January and it was my goal to get to the dead sea and Petra but time didn’t allow it. And a co-worker just returned raving about the beauty of it and all that surrounds it and that got me thinking about a trip to Jordan and a return to Israel. I am also thinking about South America and now after reading this, without question I am going to Colombia and Panama. I heard Jordan is expensive but not to this degree, and if there is one place the US dollar goes further or at least breaks even it is South America – thanks for the post, you helped me make my decision. I wonder if Indiana Jones has something to do with this??
Aaron, enjoy South America! I hope that I do not discourage people from writing off Jordan, it is just the cost of the activities needs to be taken into consideration when choosing some place to travel. Your dollar will probably go farther in Colombia, although I thought Panama was more expensive than I anticipated because they use US dollars, and things are priced that way. But, I was only in Panama City, not out on the islands or traveling. Safe travels!
Scamming In Wadi Rum. Wadi Rum Desert Camps Fool Tourists
Most of the “camps” in Wadi Rum listed on the Internet (TripAdvisor, Routard, etc.) don’t actually exist. Their “owners” together with the help of their girlfriends, who write and speak good English, create a fake website and post a lot of self-promoting reviews in order to attract naive tourists. As a result, travellers find themselves in trouble and get scammed.
That is why, before going to Wadi Rum, insist the desert camps on sending you a scanned copy of their license, as 99.9% of them don’t have one.
Have this in mind before booking any tour, and don’t let Bedouins fool you with fake reviews and nemorous self-compliments.
Jordan Is Dangerous For Solo Female Tourists
Keep Yourself Away From Wadi Rum (Jordan)
Wadi Rum itself is a beautiful place, but PEOPLE who live there are very disgusting. They will be smiling to you, they will invite you to their home to show how good and nice they are to you, but…it is ALL a facade and a fake show. They do it with the only purpose – to impress and charm you. They will blind you with very sweet words and hospitality, they will make you believe that you are needed and they want you to come back, but behind your back the situation is quite opposite – they hate you and spread very bad things about you. All they need is just to take ALL the money you have, till the very last cent. The whole village is taking part in the scamming process, getting money and sharing the roles.
Of course, the Bedouins (along with a few uneducated western women that live in Wadi Rum and married a Bedouin) will say the female tourists go freely with them and the female tourists give them money freely. True, they didn’t hold a gun against these women’s heads. But they were not told: “hey, I am charming your socks off and falling in love with you, and I want you to meet my family who are part of my scamming game. When you return to your country I am going to tell you how much I miss you and love you every thing we speak on the phone. You will return to Jordan soon again and we lovers will have such a romantic time together. You will be paying for everything. Then back in your country, I will phone you to tell you a very sad fairy tale lie, about my horse that is very ill, and that I can’t pay for a vet and I can’t work now. That I need about 500 JD. I will make the story worse until you offer to help me and send me money through Western Union. I will talk about our future together, make plans with you, and you will return to Jordan again. Of course I will work my way to persuade you to bring me: a new mobile, and a video camera. When you leave, I will have another woman coming to see me in Jordan. Then one day you will find out and start asking critical questions. That is the time to ditch you. I am fine with that, cause I have 2 other women that I love and they love me and send me money too.”
It is a hidden secret and a very well kept secret, that everybody knows and nobody talks about. Only to be disguised through sharp observation or the hard way. Even the police and local authorities are aware, but do nothing when female tourists report to them.
So it is very necessary to spread the word, to create awareness and to warn (naive) female travellers not to fall for their crap. Besides the fact that they are screwing up the reputation of Wadi Rum and Petra, they are damaging the females emotionally and financially, who were convinced they were in a serious, committed relationship until they found out that they’ve had really bad time.
That is why, no matter what they say or how nice they are to you, never NEVER believe any word they say, otherwise you will get stuck in their net and will become the next victim. My story is one of these examples.
More interestingly, this makes a good resource to bring revenue to the tourism industry of Petra by attracting thousands of tourist tourists to this popular destination. When you are going through the entire city, you feel the unique experience with high soaring cliffs on either side and the rocks and the liveliness of the sunlight creates an absolute magical view to you which you have never viewed elsewhere. Plan your trip to the Ancient city of Petra, Jordan and make it more enjoyable and adventurous of all times.
Very interesting. I’m tourist and like to go in different places around the world. I want to discover place this. So would you like any suggestion about this tour and share some images of this place?
Thank so much!
Hi according to me Petra is not a very expensive place to travel. Last week I visited there with my friends. We took the service of mantis-tours.com a local travel agency of fire. By the help of those we visited all the beautiful places at an affordable price. For me that trip was really very memorable because of this.
I’ve just had a short visit to Jordan – Petra and the Dead Sea. They’ve both been on my list for a long time and really enjoyed them both, BUT I have to agree about the prices.
1). Petra – I met a couple – she was western (paid 50 JD for Petra), he’s Palestinian, so only pays 1 JD. Yes, that’s right, ONE. I don’t mind paying tourist prices within reason, but this seems unreasonable. I paid 55 JD for two days to try and get my money’s worth. However, as a result I kept my spending everywhere else to a minimum. I think local businesses would do better if they lowered the price.
2). Dead Sea – managed to get a deal with the taxi driver where I paid 15 and not 20. I never pay to go to beaches. I wouldn’t have minded paying 5 for a shower after. However, this was a little strip of beach (Amman Beach) with a fair amount of litter and even used nappies at the water’s edge. Like the person above I didn’t pay 3JD for mud and I didn’t eat in the restaurant. It’s a shame, because all the staff there were really friendly.
I liked Jordan, but will be unlikely to return because of these charge which I consider excessive.
Thanks for making me feel like I’m not crazy! The people we met were very friendly and the food amazing, but I just had a bad feeling in my mouth when I left because of the costs.
Here’s my 7 days tight budget itinerary for anybody interested:
Get your rental car for about $185 USD per week
Get your visa package for 70 JD/person (jordanpass.jo) includes 1 day Petra pass.
Day 1: Mount Nebo, Bethany beyond Jordan (can be included in the jordanpass for extra 8JD instead of 12JD from the gate), dead sea (free swimming in Herodus spring area if you don’t mind about privacy, need to bring your own towel from hotel), and spend the rest of the day exploring Madaba and have a night there
Day 2: Drive in the morning thru highway 35 (king’s highway I suppose?) to Wadi Musa, you will pass bunch of towns and stop by for some of the castles if you want. Take Petra night show 17JD, sleep in Wadi Musa
Day 3: Start Petra early morning to get it done by afternoon, then drive to Aqaba for the night
Day 4: Morning drive to Wadi Rum and take 1 day 1 night camel or jeep tour for about 70JD
Day 5-7: Drive back to Amman, spend half day in Jerash, explore tourist sites in Amman
90% the tourist sites are covered in the jordanpass.jo
The ones that not covered usually not that much money so you’re good there.
Expect to pay between $50-$100/night for hotel (medium grade).
The best bang for your buck IMO
I love this plan and it’s vey practical. I have been to most of the places you have talked about and one of my favorites is Madaba. Did you go to the Orthodox church there to see the mosaic map? It is fantastic. I was also able to see and photograph Mt. Nebo before they began the renovations. Of course you mention the great castles and the there is nothing like Aqaba! I heard the scuba diving there is great. We could see right through the water when we were there. There is also a great place for a turkish bath right outside of Petra. It was a great day to relax after hiking around Petra all day. Again, you gave very good information. Most people don’t realize how reasonable it is to stay in Petra, even in good hotels, and to travel there and see such rich history.
Hi karolus, Great suggestion. I am thinking of getting the Jordan Pass too. Is it easy to drive there? Any problem with navigation? And also, may I know which camp did you stay in wadi rum? Thanks
I guess Jordanians should write about the scrutiny and prices they pay, weeks in advance, to just get a visa to the States or Europe. Yeah and after all of that they don’t get free rides either, they still have to pay for attractions. I wish I had the time to write about a Jordanian’s experience abroad. I’m not saying I’m happy you’ve been through this, I’m just hoping you showed other sides of the story. Have a great day
I understand how expensive the US is, it’s one of the (many) reasons we don’t live there! Of course some countries are more expensive than others. In this case, I thought Jordan in general was not very expensive at all, it was just the cost of these two attractions. Instead of comparing the cost of Jordan to other countries, I tried to compare the single tourist site with the cost of others around the world. Hope you understand. Thank you for your words!
I’ve been to Jordan three times in a dozen years and to Petra twice. Each time I wish I had much longer than a day to spend there. The first time I went was in 2003 and the second in 2014. Things had changed considerably in 2014, including the price of admission. They had built a visitor center and plaza to accommodate much larger crowds (and many were waiting to get in the day we visited) and inside the park, beyond the Treasury there were new bathrooms, in addition to other “tourist friendly” improvements. For those of us who love to hike and explore, there is nothing like the charm of an ancient waterway carved into the rocks and the lure of an ancient civilization who dwelled there. This place is alive with history. Yes, I could go to Disney for twice the price and be entertained, but nothing near the thrill of riding a camel, a cart, and a horse in a day — bartering with bedouins (there are some left in the park) for silver bracelets, and sitting in an ancient amphitheater. I just don’t know in two hours if you made it that far into the park. Yes, the signs are not loud and intrusive and so you must depend on someone who is familiar or with a map, but it’s probably one of my favorite places to visit. For sure, I don’t pay anything to visit the Grand Canyon when I make the drive through Arizona, but I live in the U.S. and pay taxes. I know in Jordan tourism is what helps them survive, especially now with all of the unrest, they are a country that is just surviving.
Too bad you ended up spending so much at the dead sea. There is a public access point for free where there is a hot spring which comes in handy when you want to wash all that Dead Sea water off of you. I do agree that it is frustrating having to pay such high prices for what you get in return in Jordan. The amazing sights help you forget about how much you are spending though! =P
I have a 2 Day Jordan Pass and have entered into Petra twice. Tomorrow I’m go into the Monastery through the secret pass by 4×4 Jeep. Can I still enter the monastery even though I’ve used up my 2 day Pass. Thank you
Thanks for reaching out, that I am unsure about. I am assuming that once you use your pass, you are done. But if you can get in a “back way” then it might just be if someone sees you and asks for your pass. I would assume your 4×4 driver would know best. Enjoy!
omg there’s more whining than some actual information in this article. Waste of time.
I am in Petra as I write this. In just one year, some of the things in your post are very outdated. I purchased a Jordan Pass for 75 JD. This gives 2 days access to Petra and many other sites in Jordan. So immediately you’re saving money. One day Petra JD pass is 65JD. I also went o the 20JD public Dead Sea resort. Yes expensive but once in a lifetime experience. Cheaper than staying at a resort on the sea. I also rented a car, 85JD for 4 days. Half the cost of your taxi to the Dead Sea. So if you plan ahead well and do your research, Jordan is a very easy country to navigate on a tight budget.
Jordan pass also waives Jordanian visa fees if you stay more than 3 nights
I will add some information about the Jordan Pass, thanks.
I think the whole point of my post is that yes, if you do your research, you will pay less. I didn’t do my research and hope people learn from my mistake. I am not sure where you see the one day Petra pass for 65. On the Petra website is only 50JD. I checked and updated the pricing just a few weeks ago. I will add some information about the Jordan Pass and how it works, Thanks!