When the opportunity presented itself for us to spend 7 days in Jordan with Globus Journeys to experience their off-season escape tour, we jumped at it.
Even though we’ve been to Jordan before, way back in 2015 after we spent 17 weeks overlanding through Africa, we always knew we would return someday to dive a little deeper.
The itinerary offers 7 adventure-filled days of exploring the most popular and even some lesser-known places in Jordan.
The itinerary included places like Downtown Amman, Amman Citadel, Jerash, Wadi Rum, Petra, Little Petra, Kerak Castle, Wadi Mujib, Beyond Bethany on the Jordan, Madaba, Mount Nebo, and the Dead Sea.
Turns out, this Jordan trip was the perfect way to re-experience this magical country and we’re excited to share it with you.
Our 7 Days in Jordan on a Globus Escape
We took the 7-day Jordan Globus Escape in partnership with Globus Journeys to experience the benefits of traveling to this part of the world during the off-season.
This type of tour has been designed by Globus to offer all the best of a destination but at significantly reduced prices. This opens up destinations to a wide variety of budgets, leaving an opportunity for someone to explore a place that may be out of their budget during high season.
For example, the 7-day Jordan itinerary that we took in February, just outside of the high season, is offered for a 40% or more discount. You cannot beat a deal like this, especially for a place like Jordan which is already a pricey destination.
The best part is that this was our second visit to Jordan and the last time we visited during one of the peak times. So, we can say, without any hesitation and total transparency, that visiting in the off-season is just as good as peak season. You don’t miss out on anything.
After experiencing the wonders of Northern California on a Choice Touring trip with Globus, we knew this trip was going to be epic.
Read on for a full overview of our experience of one week in Jordan during the off-season with Globus Journeys.
Day 1 – Arrival & Amman
The first day of our tour was arrival day in Amman and checking in to the included tour hotel, the luxurious Kempinski Amman for a 2-night stay. There aren’t any planned activities on arrival day. If you arrive early in the day or the night before, you’ll have some time to tour around Amman.
As we had arrived in Jordan 10 days prior to the tour so we could hike the Jordan Trail and spend some time at a Bedouin camp in the Wadi Rum desert, we found ourselves with a whole day in Amman prior to the welcome dinner.
So, we set off to dig a little deeper into the capital city and wanted to share our experiences in case you’re looking for recommendations.
Additionally, be sure to check out this article too: 15 Interesting Things to do in Amman for First-Timers
Jordan Gallery of Fine Arts
The Jordan National Gallery in Amman is the region’s leading art museum. It features over 3,000 works of art that include paintings, sculptures, ceramics, video art, installations, graphics, and photography.
All by artists from the Islamic and developing worlds.
Our private tour was led by Sujeil Baqaeen, a leading force in Jordan’s art scene and one of those people who is truly doing good in the world. One of his many projects includes driving a delivery truck full of art supplies to rural communities. He also teaches and inspires artists who don’t have the means to create
Following our visit, we stopped in at the Rumi Café in Jabal al Lweibdeh for a cup of tea on their outdoor patio before moving on to our next stop.
Iraq Al-Amir Women’s Cooperative
In Jordan, unemployment for women sits around 33% in urban areas and often far exceeds that in rural areas.
The Iraq Al-Amir Women’s Cooperative was founded in 1993 to help women in the area become financially independent. By providing jobs through the coop, their quality of life is improved by providing reliable income and preserving their local heritage.
As a result, the coop is leading the way in Jordan with its production of hand-made paper, hand-woven fabric, ceramics/clay, and cooking services. They also host tour groups for interactive demonstrations and meals.
Our visit included a locally made meal from 100% locally grown items and the opportunity to buy their handmade items.
We love supporting locals and spending our money where it truly stays with them. It’s a positive way to impact the communities that we interact with when we travel.
Royal Automobile Museum
The Royal Automobile Museum wasn’t something that was initially on our radar, but it turned out to be one of the highlights of our trip.
The museum features the King of Jordan’s private collection of over 70 classic cars and 30 motorcycles from all around the world.
It also features famous movie set cars including the Mars Rover from The Martian movie that was filmed in Wadi Rum and one of the gliders from Star Wars.
Day -2 Amman and Jerash
Our first official day on tour started with an included buffet breakfast and a reasonable departure time. After leaving the hotel, we were off to be immersed in the sparkling capital hub of Amman, a city of 4 million people, and to discover two of the most famous Roman ruin sites in Jordan.
Jordan has more than 100,000 archaeological sites and one of the best is located right in Amman.
The Amman Citadel is an archeological site at the heart of downtown Amman that dates back to the Bronze Age, around 8,000 years ago, and is the oldest occupied part of the city. It stands guard on the highest hill overlooking the sprawl of today’s modern city.
The stunning, elegant Roman ruins of the Temple of Hercules are what draw most visitors’ attention along with the Byzantine church and the domed 8th century Umayyad Place but there’s more to be found throughout the site.
This includes the interesting Jordan Archaeological Museum which was built in 1951 and houses artifacts from all around the country dating from prehistoric times to the 15th century.
Our visit to the site started out guided by Osama, our local Globus tour guide, who showed the main highlights before we reached the museum. At this point, we were set free to explore the site on our own.
Downtown Old Citadel: A Walk Though Wasat Al-Balad
Sitting directly below the ruined Amman Citadel is Wasat Al-Balad, the oldest area of the city. It was here that Osama informed us that he wanted us to get a real feel for life in the city. With that, we set off for a walk down the street.
Along the way, we poked our heads into the various stalls and shops that line the streets. We learned about produce, spices, fruit, cheese, gold, and more. We mingled with the locals and visited with the shop owners.
Ultimately, we ended up at one of the most famous dessert shops in Jordan, the beloved Habibah Sweets. This show is famous for its take on the Jordanian sweet called Kunafa.
This delicious treat is made of goat cheese that is topped with fried bread dough, and pistachios then drizzled with honey. It is both delightful and addictive.
Bait Khairat Souf Women’s Cooperative
Leaving the busy streets of Amman, we made our way north to Bait Khairat Souf, a women-owned and managed eco-restaurant/cafe located just a short drive from the impressive ruins of Jerash.
The coop is located in the historical and cultural heritage home of the Batarseh family. The property is stunning, dating back to 1881, and provides an excellent backdrop for lunch or just having tea. In 2016 it was renovated into a place where visitors can experience the taste and traditions of the Jordanian culture.
Much to our delight, we enjoyed an excellent locally made lunch of classic Jordanian dishes including mutabal, faba beans, chicken sawani, and lamb kebab, to name a few of the amazing dishes that were set on our table.
After lunch, we had a chance to enjoy a tea while being seated beneath towering trees on their outside patio.
We also had a chance to buy natural handmade products that included jams, pickles, olive oil, vinegar, molasses, healing herbs, and a special secret blend of coffee that has been in their family for generations. Along with a variety of hand-knit scarves, hats, and headbands.
Beit Khairat Souf employs 25 women but is also a great launching pad for local youth interested in volunteering and learning about other cultures. Tourism projects like this are extremely important and we are honored to have spent an afternoon experiencing them.
Ancient Roman City of Jerash
With our bellies full of delicious Jordanian food, we boarded the bus for a short drive to the ancient city of Jerash.
Excavations that date back to 7500 BC suggest that Jerash was inhabited from the Neolithic period to the Bronze Age, but the city began to thrive when the Roman civilization arrived.
In 64 BC, the Romans conquered Jerash ultimately becoming a part of Syria, a Roman province. It flourished from the start, thanks to its fertile soil and trade with the Nabateans from Petra.
The city peaked from the 1st to 7th century, when most of its gorgeous buildings were built. During the 3rd century, over 19,000 people lived in this ancient city.
Our guided tour started at the impressive Hadrian’s Gate before leading us to the Hippodrome. It was here that crowds once cheered for their favorite chariots as they raced around.
The site also features the impressive Jerash Amphitheater where we took some time to listen to the acoustics and a short performance by local men playing bagpipes.
Our guided tour ended in the impressive Oval Plaza where we used our free time to wander the equally impressive colonnaded street that still stands without any restoration.
The best part? Other than a handful of independent travelers, our group was the only one there. While some people might shy away from an off-season tour, you cannot beat having places like Jerash all to yourself.
After an amazing day of exploring ancient sites in Jordan, we headed back to the Kempinski Amman for dinner and some much-needed rest.
Day 3 – Wadi Rum
Leaving Amman, we prepared for a long drive time that would take us from the higher landscapes of Amman down to the low point of the desert.
Wadi Rum is in the southern part of the country, and it takes a solid 4 hours to reach it after leaving the city. Our tour offered one comfort stop that offered clean toilets, snacks, coffee, and an opportunity to shop for souvenirs.
While this seems like a long time to be in transit, the buses that Globus uses for their tours are big, roomy, and offer large panoramic windows. The bus also offers free wi-fi and surprisingly, it worked pretty well.
The best part of the journey was the 30-minute scarf demonstration led by our fearless leader, Osama. We learned the history of scarf-wearing in Jordan, the different types, how they denote status, and most importantly, how to tie them on our own heads!
The traditional scarf of Jordan is made of a soft red a white fabric and is referred to as a keffiyeh. To prepare everyone for the heat and dust of the desert, we were each given a high-quality scarf to wear for the day and keep as a memento.
4×4 Tour of the Desert
After enjoying a lunch of local foods at a luxury camp, we were swept away into the back of 4×4 trucks for an adventure that would take us into the desert.
Of course, in the desert, there are no roads, so a 4-wheel drive is needed to explore the sand dunes, petroglyphs, and rock structures within the desert.
In true Globus fashion, our drivers showed us the best that the desert has to offer (on a day visit at least) and kept us away from the other people that were touring the desert, which offered a very private experience.
Our tour took us first to Lawrence Canyon, aptly named for Lawrence of Arabia, where we admired the rock carvings of him and King Abdullah I in the desert rock.
From here we made our way to a façade of ancient petroglyphs, something that can be found throughout the desert if you know where to look.
Next up was the opportunity to take a camel ride in the desert. Our 4×4’s made a stop to introduce us to a group of Bedouin camel herders, giving our group the option of a ride in the desert.
We opted out, choosing to instead hike behind them, for the 20-minute ride that ended at a massive Bedouin tent for a tea break.
Enjoying a Bedouin Tea Break
It’s all about the tea in Jordan, and no matter where you end up, you’ll find a smiling Jordanian offering you a cup. The middle of the Wadi Rum desert is no exception to this!
We entered a large desert tent constructed of hand-woven fabrics that provides an amazing respite from the hot sun. Inside we were each given a glass of hot tea to sip while learning about its importance to the Bedouin culture.
Bedouin Bread Demonstration
Following our tea break, we were surprised with an opportunity to meet a highly conservative desert family that had invited our group to their camp. Upon arriving, we were given the most beautiful demonstration of how shrak – a thin bread – is made over an open fire.
Shrak, a one-layered flatbread made of wheat flour, is a staple in Jordanian culture. To make it, the dough is prepared and then kneaded into a flat round shape. It is then put atop a round upside-down pan that is placed directly on an open fire.
We enjoyed a thorough demonstration of the entire process and were then able to sample the bread. Let me tell you, fresh flatbread dipped in a delightful blend of olive oil and spices, called Zaatar, is simply delicious.
From the Desert to a World Wonder
After a full day in the Wadi Rum desert, we boarded the comfy Globus coach for a sunset drive to the town of Wadi Musa. Upon arriving, we checked into the stunning, and brilliantly located Movenpick Petra Resort for a 2-night stay.
This is a 5-star hotel that sits, literally, across the street from the famed site of Petra, and it’s stunning. The interior gives strong Middle Eastern vibes with tasteful art and furniture. This would be the third time we’ve visited Petra, and this hotel was by far the best.
Day 4 – Petra
As we had arrived the night before, we were able to wake up and get an early start on exploring the massive site that is Petra. Many people think of Petra as one thing, the Treasury, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t tell you that the site is actually massive.
It features many Nabataean wonders, including a theatre, a colonnaded street, and several impressive structures carved into the red rock cliffs. To come and visit only the Treasury is to miss the real magic of what earned this site a spot on the list as a New World Wonder.
Exploring the World Wonder of Petra
Globus includes a guided tour of the Petra archaeological site that starts at the visitor’s center and takes you through the long narrow entrance of the Siq to the Treasury.
It then continues through the site pointing out the highlights as you walk to the end of the colonnaded street. The tour ends with the option of free time or an optional tour to the nearby Little Petra archaeological site.
Another option is to book private transport and hike through Petra’s back door. The entire hike from the trailhead to the entrance of the Movenpick Petra Resort is 13 miles with a lot of stairs. There are no shortcuts, so you must be committed to this effort, and it will take you all day.
Opting to Hike Petra’s Back Door
As we were traveling with a small group of media, this is what our group opted to do. What makes this route special is that instead of starting at its most famous site, the Treasury, you’re starting from the exact route that would have brought weary travelers to its gate.
With a knowledgeable guide, we learned about Petra in an intimate way that goes beyond the stone structures we came to admire. We learned about the commerce, trade, and people that built this glorious city. We also saw the remains of housing, wineries, and aqueducts.
Then we reached the Monastery. Only 15% of the people that visit Petra will see the Monastery. This is due to it being located high above the city. If you come through the Siq, you have to first walk the 3 miles through the entire site before starting an 800 stair climb up to it.
We continued along the hike, getting to descend those 800 stairs rather than climb them until we reached the colonnaded street.
It is here that Roman and Nabataean architecture collides and the site starts to come alive with camel trains, Bedouin markets, horse carriages, and donkey riders. It’s a sight to behold.
It’s almost 2 miles of walking, with plenty to admire, before we reach the Treasury. This arrival would mark our 4th visit and no matter how many times we see this site, it always takes our breath away.
Petra By Night
Despite having tired feet after walking 12 miles through the site, we dusted ourselves off and opted to reenter the site for Petra by Night. You’ll be tired after a day of exploring Petra, but it shouldn’t be missed.
This spectacular event has you follow the candle-lit Siq until you reach the opening for the Treasury. Here there are hundreds of candles placed to illuminate the rock-carved wonder. On a clear night, you can even see the stars while you sit and listen to a local Bedouin telling stories and playing music.
Day 5 – Petra to the Dead Sea
Leaving the beauty of Petra behind us, we loaded into the coach for a day of transit with well-planned sightseeing along the way. It also meant we’d be taking the King’s Highway and continuing to explore more of Jordan’s historical and natural wonders.
Perched above the bustling city of Al-Karak is a ruinous castle that has witnessed nearly a millennia of rich Levantine history. It is known as one of the most impressive Crusader Castles in the Middle East, Kerak Castle.
It was designed in the mid-12th century to provide a watchful eye and a tight iron fist for collecting taxes on traders and travelers crossing the lands between the Dead Sea, Damascus, Egypt, and Mecca.
Just imagine what this Castle has seen through the ages. It has stood to see both Christian and Muslim rule, numerous battles, and the ever-changing city that is built around it.
It’s an impressive sight and we loved roaming through the dark tunnels while imagining what it would have been like back in its heyday.
Osama, our Globus tour director, did a great job of bringing this ancient site to life with both intriguing stories and historical facts surrounding the area that this castle overlooks.
Leaving Karak we made our way along the King’s Highway to experience one of the most beautiful natural treasures in Jordan. The stunning Wadi Mujib Canyon.
Often referred to as the Grand Canyon of Jordan, Wadi Mujib is an outdoor lover’s playground. During the right season, it offers some spectacular hiking, like what you’d find in Zion National Park in the USA.
As we were visiting in the rainy season, our visit was limited to taking in the views as our bus traversed the twisting road that led us through the beautiful landscape.
Our last stop would be at a panoramic viewpoint to take some photos however there were locals selling goods and offering up a tea to anyone needing a pick me up before reaching the Dead Sea.
After a long day of transit and exploration, we arrived at the stunning Movenpick Dead Sea Resort for a 2-night stay.
Day 6 – Jordan Holy Lands & the Dead Sea
While most people think only of Petra when it comes to Jordan, the religious history of Jordan is undeniable and worth visiting – no matter your beliefs. The last day of our Jordan Escape with Globus would take us to some of the best the country has to offer.
Bethany Beyond the Jordan
Bethany Beyond the Jordan is located along the Jordan River between Jordan and Israel. It is a place where some of the most famous Christian sites in the world can be found.
Our visit was comprehensive, visiting multiple sites with the respected Rustom Mkhjiah, our guide and the director of this site who has guided many world leaders here including Pope Benedict and Pope John Paul.
The first stop was the Elijah’s Hill ruins which are said to be the place where Elijah ascended to Heaven in the 9th B.C. On the Western side of Elijah’s Hill is a spot (cave) where John lived and where Jesus was known to visit him.
After walking the banks where the Jordan River once was, we reached the authentic baptism site of Jesus Christ.
Here Rustom allowed anyone in our group to go down and touch the water where Jesus Christ was said to be baptized. This was a special moment for many people since only world VIPs get to do so.
Anyone else wishing to be baptized here must reserve a time to be baptized in the current location of the Jordan River. This location is just down from the historical site near an impressive Baptist Orthodox Church that has stunning mosaics and frescoes throughout.
City of Madaba
Leaving the Jordan River behind us, we made our way to Madaba to visit the famous St. George’s Church, home to the oldest map of Palestine in existence.
It was crafted in 560 A.D., and it is said that this church was built around it. The map has 157 captions in Greek depicting all the major biblical sites of the Middle East.
Leaving St. George’s Church we made our way to the Madaba Archaeological Museum. This interesting historical place offers a chance to see massive monuments of mosaics up close. They depict various periods in history that date back more than 2,000 years ago.
Mount Nebo & the Promised Land
Mount Nebo is mentioned in the bible as the place where Moses led a group of Israelites from persecution in Egypt to freedom. While these people were allowed to enter, Moses was not.
Instead, he spent the rest of his days waiting to be granted permission to enter the promised land and eventually passed.
Today it is an active memorial, Franciscan monastery, and archaeological site that attracts visitors from all around the world. While nobody knows the true location of Moses’ burial, a memorial sits atop Mount Nebo to be visited by all.
People from all around the world, religious and not, because of its historical and religious significance. This site also features some outstanding architectural ruins and Byzantine mosaics that are preserved and on display.
Floating in the Dead Sea
After a long morning of touring religious sites, we arrived back at the hotel to grab a late lunch and spend our last evening floating in the Dead Sea.
A trip to Jordan wouldn’t be complete without this experience and there was no better way to end our trip than with a sunset float at the luxurious Movenpick Dead Sea resort.
The resort features a private beach and access to the Dead Sea, meaning you don’t have to worry about crowds. They also employ a team of lifeguards that double as spa techs, helping you to enter and exit the sea, as well as apply the mineral-rich mud to your skin.
If you’ve never been to the Dead Sea, let me tell you that you really do not sink! This body of land-locked water is almost 10 times saltier than the ocean, so when you enter it, all you have to do is sit back and float.
The sensation is weird, yet one of the most unique experiences you can have in the world. Paired with the most beautiful soft sunset, it was the perfect moment to reflect on how memorable our Jordan Escape with Globus had been.
Day 7 – Departure from Jordan
The tour officially ends at the Dead Sea, with a short 40-minute drive to the Amman International airport from the airport.
I won’t lie, we were tempted to extend our flight, and stay a few extra days at the Movenpick Dead Sea Resort. But alas, we took a middle-of-the-night transfer to the airport and boarded a long-haul redeye back to the states.
Our second trip to Jordan was full of so much adventure, culture, friendship, and joy. It will not soon be forgotten.
Our Jordan Escape was part of a paid partnership with Globus Journeys. However, all opinions, stories, advice, and insane love for the country of Jordan are 100% ours, as always.
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