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Wadi Rum Nature Reserve

Also known as “The Valley of the Moon”, this extraordinary valley, with its stunning sandstone and granite rock formations, was used as a background location for much of the film “Lawrence of Arabia”. (It also stood in for the planet Mars in the movie “Red Planet” in 2000, which should give you some idea for how distinctive the landscape is here). Inhabited for centuries, it shelters a number of important Nabatean temples, along with ancient petroglyphs. Today Bedouins serve as guides to those who wish to explore the Valley’s many wonders (or climb the rocks, an increasingly popular activity here). You can obtain information about these extraordinary reserves for camping, escorted tours, and hiking by checking the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature website (www.rscn.org.jo), which contains specific information about eco-tourism to the dramatic desert landscapes of Wadi Rum, south of Petra, as well as about other nature and wildlife reserves in the Kingdom of Jordan. If you’re interested in a horseback excursion through Wadi Rum, we recommend Rum Horses (www.wadirumhorses.com), but only to experienced riders (this is not an activity for novice riders).

Admission to the park is JD2 per person, children under 12 free, per vehicle JD5.

Aqaba

Aqaba can be a relaxing stop for an overnight or a day or two between Petra and Eilat If you cross the border from Eilat into Aqaba a day before your excursion up to Petra, you can avoid the morning rush hour at the border and the crush to try to get a taxi (shared or otherwise) up to Petra. Aqaba, though much quieter than Eilat, is a growing resort, and its beautiful luxury hotels are far less expensive than Israeli counterparts. If you want to splurge on a beach break, you’ll get much more for you’re investment in Aqaba, and arrive in Petra refreshed and rested. For the moment, the beaches are less friendly than Eilat’s for women traveling alone. The town has inexpensive, interesting restaurants, and its reefs are less damaged than in Eilat.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.