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 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.
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.Check the prices for The Best Petra Tours – Updated 2019 Pricing
*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 an 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.
JD is the Jordan Currency, which is called the Jordanian Dinar. As of early 2019, 1 Jordanian Dinar = $1.40 and €1.12
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.
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 or 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 Kordan 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.
|Petra By Night||4 Hours||Private tour, with driver from Amman, entrance ticket to Petra by Night||From $62.50|
|Petra One Day Tour - Amman||Approximately 10 Hours||Private tour, with driver from Amman, entrance fee to Petra, horse ride, and two hour tour guide. Lunch not included||From $218|
|Petra One Day Tour||"Flexible"||Private tour, with driver from Amman, entrance fee to Petra, and full day tour guide. Lunch not included||From $248|
|Petra Two Day Tour||2 Days from Sharm el Sheikh||Includes transport from Sharm el Sheikh, including a sailing through Aqaba. One day with guide in Petra, one day to explore on your own. Hotel in Petra and some meals.||From $500|
|Private Transfer From Amman||Approximately 12 Hours||Private air con transfer from Amman with 4 hours to explore Petra and 2 hours to explore Little Petra. Does not include entrance fee to Petra.||From $68|
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 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.
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!
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.
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.