George Kourounis

Treasures of Jordan with George Kourounis

12 days
from
$3,149 USD
incl. taxes
Loading...
Culture
Activity level:
Leisurely / Moderate
Activity Rating - Leisurely/Moderate
Trip code: 
AXEG
Ways to Travel:
Guided Group, Private Group Adventures
Activity:
Culture
Group size:
4–16
Ages:
16+

Explore archaeological highlights with George Kourounis

This special departure of our popular Hidden Treasures of Jordan is accompanied by George Kourounis a renowned Nat Geo explorer, filmmaker, photographer, TV personality, daredevil and Chapter Chair of the Explorers Club. Whether it’s swapping travel and expedition stories from across the globe, learning about Kourounis’ thrilling adventures and expeditions or gaining tips and training on photography techniques this epic adventurer will be there every step of the journey to share his expertise.

This trip is an ideal way to truly appreciate all that Jordan has to offer. It takes in world famous monuments, such as Petra and Jerash, and explores the less well-known historic and archaeological treasures of the north.  This itinerary includes visits to several of these sites as well as offering the opportunity to see the beautiful desert landscape of Wadi Rum and snorkel in the Red Sea, ensuring enough time to relax and unwind as well as sightseeing. 

Highlights

  • Visit Jordan's desert castles, steeped in centuries of history
  • Explore the ancient city of Jerash and Bethany beyond the Jordan
  • Float in the Dead Sea
  • Visit Mt Nebo, claimed to be Moses' burial site
  • Two days in Petra, the rose-red city
  • Special departure accompanied by George Kourounis

Key information

  • 6 nights 4 - 5 star, 3 nights comfortable & 1 night basic hotel,1night private desert camp
  • Travel by air-conditioned minibus and 4WD in Wadi Rum
  • Group normally 4 to 16, plus leader. Min age 16 yrs

 

  • Countries visited: Jordan

What's included

  • All breakfasts, 3 dinners
  • All accommodation (see accommodation section)
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Tour leader throughout
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)
  • Arrival & departure transfers

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (available on request)
  • Visas or vaccinations
Call for general departures:
1 844 227 9087
Call for private group trips:
1 844 227 9087
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Sustainable Travel

People, Places & Planet

We work hard to create trips which improve life for the people and places we visit, and look after the planet we explore. Find out more about our sustainable travel ethos and practice here, and find out about the work of the Exodus Travels Foundation here.

In Jordan we are very proud to work with a local partner who received the Travelife Partner award in July 2021. Travelife is a certification system dedicated to achieving sustainable practices in the global tourism industry. In order to receive the award our Jordanian partner had to comply with over 100 criteria related to Corporate Social Responsibility. The Travelife standard is formally recognised for full compliance with the UN Sustainable Tourism Criteria.

Some sustainable travel highlights of this trip include:

People

How this trip helps improve life for local communities.

  • The use of a local guide means our customers will be well informed about local traditions, and cultural and social sensitivities.
  • This trip brings income and opportunity to the destination community through the inclusion of locally-owned hotels and restaurants, the emphasis on eating locally produced food and support of other local enterprise.
  • The hotels we stay in are dedicated to hiring local staff, this helps to benefit the surrounding community by providing employment opportunities and income alternatives where they may be otherwise hard to come by.
  • This trip stays one night in Wadi Rum desert at the Exodus Private camp which is owned and managed by a local Bedouin family. This not only provides a source of income for the family but is a wonderful opportunity for our guests to interact with local people and share aspects of their traditions.
  • In Wadi Rum we also do a jeep safari which provides another source of income for local people.
  • This tour encourages guests to visit local cafes and restaurants and use markets to purchase traditional crafts.

Places

How this trip helps protect and conserve local landscapes and nature.

  • Read about our commitment to nature protection and restoration here including our rewilding commitment for every customer who travels.
  • By travelling in a small group, led by a local guide, we ‘tread lightly’ to minimise our impact on local resources and the environment.
  • On this trip we visit 8 national heritage sites and the entrance fees included generates income which is used for the upkeep and development of these important monuments and nature parks.  
  • Our trips adhere to ABTA’s industry-leading animal welfare guidelines to ensure the best possible practices with regard to working animals and wildlife viewing. Our animal welfare policy can be found here.
  • In Petra we do not recommend that guests ride horses or mules as we are not convinced their treatment is in line with industry-leading animal welfare guidelines.
  • We work with our partners on the ground to proactively eliminate or reduce waste, for example eliminating all single-use plastic water bottles and instead providing refills for re-usable bottles.
  • It is standard practise in Jordan to distribute left-over restaurant food to people in need.
  • Where possible on this trip paper bags are used as an alternative to single-use plastics.

Planet

How we seek to keep the carbon footprint of this trip low.

  • Read about our climate action here, including our carbon reduction and compensation commitments.
  • Accommodation and restaurants in the itinerary use locally-sourced food which has not been transported long distances.
  • The Exodus Private camp in Wadi Rum uses solar power.
  • This trip favours locally-owned and run accommodation.

 Tips for sustainable travel on this trip

  • Leave no trace: We do all we can to ensure we leave no rubbish behind in the wild and beautiful places we visit; we ask that you do the same. If there are no recycling facilities in-country, we’d ask you to consider bringing recyclable materials home with you.
  • Plastic waste reduction: Please bring your own re-usable water bottle on this trip; filtered water will be provided where tap water is not drinkable.
  • Cultural respect:
    • Some Jordanians especially women and the elderly object to being photographed so please ask first.
    • Jordanians are very proud of their country and can be offended if you take pictures of anything ‘negative’ or suggestive of poverty. Photography in military zones and strategic areas like public buildings is prohibited.
    • Handshaking is only between members of the same sex.
    • It's polite to use only your right hand when eating something without cutlery and when handing money and small objects to someone else.
    • It is common practice to remove one’s shoes before entering a mosque or someone’s home and you should tuck them under if sitting on the floor. It is respectful for women to cover their heads with a scarf when entering a mosque. Please note many mosques are not open for tourist visits.
    • Generally men’s and women’s clothing should cover shoulders and be on or below the knee.
    • During the holy month of Ramadan Muslins refrain from eating, drinking, and smoking during daylight hours. Even chewing gum is considered haram. (forbidden). Although foreigners are not expected to follow these practises it is respectful to be discrete and not eat, drink, or smoke in general public.
    • Making the effort to fit in is invariably appreciated so being aware of these aspects of cultural respect will assist you during your travels in Jordan.

 

Itinerary

Amman
to
Amman
  • Day 1

    Start Amman.

    We start at our hotel in Amman on day 1 of the itinerary.  Those on the group flights from London will arrive in the evening.  Land only clients need to provide their flight details if they would like to receive a FREE arrival transfer. Your leader will leave instructions for you at the hotel. 

    Amman West or similar

  • Day 2

    Visit the castles of the 'Desert Loop' East of Amman.

    After breakfast we depart for a visit to Iraq El Amir. Set in the desert to the east of Amman is the much-famed Desert Loop, consisting of numerous palaces and minor forts dating back to the Omayyad period 661 AD to 750 AD. Our first stop is Qasr al- Hallabat. Originally Roman, this castle was rebuilt during the Umayyad period when it was elaborately decorated in mosaics, carved stucco and fresco paintings, thus transforming the castle into a palatial residence. There are about 150 inscriptions within the castle, mostly in Greek. The vast majority of these inscribed stones, which were reused as building material, belong to an edict issued by the Byzantine Emperor Anastasius (491-518 AD). A few kilometres away is the Hammam as-Sarakh, a bathhouse and hunting lodge. The buildings have been almost completely restored, and here we can see the channels that were used for hot water and steam. One hundred kms east of Amman, the oasis town of Azraq has a large castle built from black basalt, which was Lawrence of Arabia's headquarters during the Arab Revolt. Heading back towards Amman, the Qasr El Kharraneh and Qusayr 'Amra are the best preserved of the desert castles, Qusair Amra is noted for its extensive fresco paintings which cover virtually all the interior walls. The paintings include themes such as hunting, dancing, musicians, bathing scenes, cupids, and personifications of history, philosophy and poetry. We drive back to the hotel in Amman.
    Amman West or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 3

    Head North to Irbid's archaeological museum, Umm Qais and Pella.

    Today we begin early as we have a long day heading north. We visit Irbid, which hosts an interesting museum. The most remarkable artefacts are the Ain Ghazal statues dated to the Pre-Pottery Neolithic period; between 7500-5500 BC. In addition the museum contains a number of artefacts from the later periods. Umm Qais, in the north of the country has fantastic views of The Sea of Galilee and was once a centre of culture and arts. As one of the cities of the Decapolis, it was a centre for arts and culture and with its amazing setting it is an enchanting place. Later we proceed to Pella, once an important city in Roman times; most of the remains actually date back to the Byzantine period. Overnight in Jerash. 
    Olive Branch or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 4

    Visit the ancient city of Jerash and Ajlun Castle.

    After breakfast we visit the ancient 'Gerasa'. In Roman times this was one of the ten wealthy, self-governing cities of the Decapolis, and was famous throughout the Roman empire for the luxury of its lifestyle. Buried for centuries under blown sand, Jerash is the only city of the Decapolis to have survived to any extent, with an outstanding forum, colonnaded main streets with the drains still intact, two theatres and a most impressive temple of Zeus. Our journey continues on to the only Arabic castle in Jordan, Ajloun. It is perched on a hilltop and has fantastic views of the surrounding countryside. Originally constructed in 1184 AD, it was destroyed and rebuilt over the centuries following numerous wars and earthquakes. Drive for overnight stay at the Dead Sea.
    Holiday Inn Dead Sea or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 5

    Bethany, Madaba and Mount Nebo

    We start the day by visiting Bethany beyond the Jordan, the site where Jesus Christ was baptised by John the Baptist marking the beginning of the new era of Christianity. We then head to Madaba, 'The City of Mosaics '. Best known for its spectacular Byzantine and Umayyad mosaics, it is home to the famous 6th century mosaic map of Jerusalem and the Holy Land.  We see this historical map in the small Church of St George.   Made up of small pieces of coloured stone, the map depicts hills and valleys, villages and towns as far as the Nile Delta during the 6th century.  From here we head to the biblical Mount Nebo where Moses was shown The Promised Land before his death.  There is a purpose built church which houses some wonderfully preserved mosaics. After a good look round we head south back to the Dead Sea in time for a 'float' in the thick saline waters.
    Holiday Inn Dead Sea or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 6

    To Petra via Wadi al Mujib, Al Karak and Al Shawbak castles.

    Leaving the Dead Sea behind us we drive through the deep gorge of Wadi al Mujib. This massive canyon is impressive and is now a huge nature reserve, covering 212sq km. We arrive at Al Karak and Al Shawbak, two castles that played an important role in the Crusades. Built in mediaeval times Al Karak is the larger of the two castles, its well-preserved fortifications towering over the town offer incredible views. Al Shawbak, though not as well preserved is equally as notable. Late afternoon we drive on to Petra. Overnight Petra.
    Amra Palace or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Days 7-8

    Two days exploring Petra.

    Two days to explore Petra, the so called rose-red city, 'half as old as time'. Petra was hidden for centuries until the Swiss explorer Burckhardt made his great discovery in 1812. It was founded by the Nabateans, an Arab tribe that arrived here in the 6th century BC. Building at Petra began in the third century BC and continued through the Roman period, financed by taxes levied on the desert caravans. Two features of Petra are unique: firstly, it is a city made defensible by being built down a series of chasms, rather than on a hilltop. Secondly, it is built directly into the rock - beautiful red and yellow sandstone carved into the most impressive facades which glow in the brilliant sunlight. 

    To enter Petra we must begin by walking down a narrow chasm, known as the Siq, surrounded by high cliffs on either side. Unveiled at the end of the Siq is El Khazneh, the Treasury. This is just the first breathtaking sight of a remarkable day. Continuing to the centre of the city, we pass the houses and tombs of the rich citizens and the remarkable scale of the site begins to unveil itself.  A optional walk can then be done up 750 steps to El Deir, the monastery, with its superb facade topped by a huge urn. 

    On the second day your guide will take you into the site for either a hike up to the High Place of sacrifice or for free time to explore the city further.  Only a few people attempt to visit the High Place as it can be quite arduous and is not recommended for those who are unsure of their fitness or are uncomfortable with heights. However, those who do make it to the top are rewarded with wonderful views over parts of the site visited on the previous day.
    Amra Palace or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 9

    Discover Little Petra en route to the Wadi Rum desert; 4WD excursion and overnight in a Bedouin camp.

    Explore Little Petra with its well preserved ruins which are hidden away in the mountains, before continuing to the Wadi Rum desert, a stretch of beautiful sand and rock desert. This is where Lawrence of Arabia and Prince Faisal assembled the Arab tribes for the attack on Aqaba in the First World War, and also where sections of the film of 'Lawrence of Arabia' were shot. We take a four-wheel drive vehicle far into the area for an exciting desert adventure before arriving to our permanent camp and destination for the night.
    Permanent Bedouin Camp

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 10

    Transfer to Aqaba for optional snorkelling over the coral reefs of the Red Sea.

    We wake amidst the dramatic desert scenery and then make our way on to Aqaba, Jordan's port and holiday resort, famous for beautiful coral reefs. There is time to relax on a local beach with transport and entrance included. You can add to the experience with optional snorkelling and lunch packages which your leader will explain. Please note there is a cost for these extras. There are several good restaurants in Aqaba for our evening meal together.

    La Costa Hotel or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 11

    Morning drive to Amman; city tour including Citadel Hill, Archaeological Museum and the Roman Theatre.

    After breakfast, drive from Aqaba to Amman to explore the ancient city. Amman has served as the modern and ancient capital of Jordan. It is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, with a 1994 excavation uncovering homes and towers believed to have been built during the Stone Age, circa 7000 BC. The earliest written records refer to the city as Rabbath Ammon, the capital of the Ammonites in the 12th century BC. Later the city was named Philadelphia under the reign of Ptolemy Philadelphus 283-246BC. As one of the cities of the Decapolis under King Herod in 30BC major building works were conducted. The 6000 seated Roman Theatre on the citadel is testimony of Roman architecture, although extensively restored it remains a classic example. Also on Citadel Hill, just northwest of the Temple of Hercules, is the Jordan Archaeological Museum. This small museum houses an excellent collection of antiquities ranging from prehistoric times to the 15th century.  From here we head to the Roman Theatre in the old town.
    Amman West or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 12

    End Amman.

    Trip ends after breakfast in Amman.

    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Essential Info

Visas

Jordan

Visas are required by most nationalities, including British, and can be obtained at the border or Amman airport. At time of print, visa fees (usually 40JOD) have been waived for all nationalities travelling to Jordan with a tour operator and spending a minimum of 2 nights in country. Our airport representative will meet and assist you with obtaining the free visa on arrival in Jordan at Customs & Immigration. He will be carrying an Exodus sign.

For more information on the free Jordan Visa, please see the link below:
http://international.visitjordan.com/MediaCenter/News/JordanianGovernmen...

Vaccinations

Jordan

There are no mandatory vaccination requirements. Recommended vaccinations are: Polio, Tetanus, Typhoid.

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts and 3 evening meals are included on this trip.

No other meals are included. Whilst staying in hotels we usually eat in local restaurants and on some occasions the leader will take those who wish, to a restaurant for a 'mezze' style meal. These allow fast service and a good quality of food for the group and usually cost 10-15 JOD pp. Allow about £250-300 (approx. US$320-480) to cover these meals. If you are vegetarian, please note that main meals are limited in choice; however mezze is almost always available in restaurants and is a good, filling choice for vegetarians. There is also a good choice of seafood available when at the Red Sea.

Weather

Spring and autumn are very popular in Jordan as it is cooler, around 24ºC in the day and down to 8ºC at night. Rain is more likely, however, protracted bad weather is unlikely. It is hot and dry, but not unpleasant, throughout Jordan in the summer. Daytime maximum temperatures are around 32ºC in Amman. Jerash temperatures are the same.

Wadi Rum on average in summer is around 30ºC though it can get as high as 40ºC. At night it is usually around 10ºC cooler. In winter it is much cooler and can get as low as 10ºC during the day. In the evening it is around OºC . There are occasions when there is rain or even snow in the desert. If weather conditions require it we may need to modify the itinerary or the camp location for your comfort and safety. Aqaba is very hot when the air is still, but there is usually a breeze. Rain is unusual but possible. The Dead Sea air temperatures vary from around 14ºC in winter up to high 30s in summer months. The water temperature however doesn’t drop below 20ºC.

As with many countries in the world seasons can go on longer than usual so it is advisable to always check the weather of the country you are travelling to a week or two before your trip so you can pack appropriately.  

Is this trip for you?

Although this is a cultural trip, some days (such as those in Petra) can be long and tiring. To do the optional 850 steps up to the monastery or the climb up to the High Place of Sacrifice you should have a reasonable level of fitness. Your leader will be able to provide you with further advice about these hikes.  It is not advisable to do the High Place of Sacrifice if you suffer from vertigo as there are some very steep narrow steps and cliffs.  The leader always accompanies any one doing this option. 

Whilst camping in Wadi Rum please be aware that although the campsite does have plumbed toilets and showers it is basic and hot water may be limited. Our private Exodus camp is however often mentioned as a highlight of the trip for many of our guests. 

In very rare instances we may need to amend the order of the itinerary but we will ensure that all the elements of the itinerary are still included and site visits are of the same duration.

Please note Ramadan runs from 2 April to 1 May 2022. Ramadan is a special time to visit Jordan as it is one of the most important times on the Muslim calendar.  Each evening the streets empty while people return home to break the fast and then there is an air of festivity every evening.  Our leaders and drivers choose to work at this time so we continue to run trips however please be aware their energy levels may be slightly lower.   Tourist sites are still open although closing times may be earlier than usual.  Your leader will know how the timings for each day need to be adapted in order to still experience all the inclusions on this trip.  Restaurants may close during the day and this is also accounted for in planning meal arrangements for your group. Shops are usually open though their hours may vary and they will definitely be closed during the breaking of the fast.  To fully enjoy your holiday experience at this unique time of year we suggest patience and flexibility.   (In fact these are useful at any time of year on any overseas holiday.)

Following a review of all our trips we have categorised this trip as generally not suitable for persons of reduced mobility. However if you are a regular traveller on such trips, please contact customer services to discuss the trip and your personal condition.

Call for general departures:
1 844 227 9087
Call for private group trips:
1 844 227 9087
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Accommodation

Hotels & Camp

We spend 3 nights in a 4-star hotel in Amman, 1 night in a basic hotel in Jerash, 2 nights in a 5-star hotel at the Dead sea, 3 nights in a comfortable hotel in Petra and 1 night in a 4-star hotel in Aqaba. Throughout the tour the hotels have en suite facilities and air conditioning.  The hotel in Jerash does not have air conditioning. Even though this is a basic hotel it is set on a hillside with stunning views of the surrounding countryside. It is wonderful to watch the sunset from the pool terrace. 

Some hotels have more facilities than others however it is always good to keep in mind that the star rating in Jordan is quite different to what you may expect at home. Sometimes we use less centrally located hotels in the interests of comfort.  Accommodation in Petra is limited and demands on the infrastructure are high; this creates occasional problems with hot water and general plumbing for all hotels. In general, the hotels in Petra are of an older style and much more basic in comparison with the rest of Jordan. 

One night is also spent in our Exodus Private camp in Wadi Rum staying in traditional style tents equipped with basic beds, sheets and blankets. There are plumbed toilets and basins, and simple shower facilities with (limited) hot water.

Single supplements are available for this trip however cannot be guaranteed at Wadi Rum. Please enquire at the time of booking for details and up-to-date prices.



Call for general departures:
1 844 227 9087
Call for private group trips:
1 844 227 9087
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Call for general departures:
1 844 227 9087
Call for private group trips:
1 844 227 9087
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Expert Blog Entries

Travel literature, whether it’s the fascinating memoirs of a life-changing trip into the mysterious Himalayan mountai

Have you been on this adventure? Tell others what it’s like by writing a review.

Dates & Prices

Please call one of our experts to discuss your private group requirements on 1 844 227 9087, or fill out the form below and we will give you a call back.

Please provide as much information as possible below so we can best help with your holiday requirements.

Fields with * are mandatory.

 

 

Trips you might also like

A Week in Jordan

274 reviews

Visit the highlights of Jordan including magnificent Petra

Culture
Activity level:
Leisurely / Moderate
Ages: 16+
9 Days from $1,949 USD
Guided (Incl. Taxes)
View More Details

Hidden Treasures of Jordan

54 reviews

Explore Jordan's stunning archaeological highlights and crusader castles

Culture
Activity level:
Leisurely / Moderate
Ages: 16+
12 Days
from $2,649 USD $2,399 USD
Guided (Incl. Taxes)
View More Details

Mountains & Imperial Cities

7 reviews

A new adventure across the Atlas Mountains and through the Imperial Cities of Morocco 

Culture
Activity level:
Leisurely / Moderate
Ages: 16+
10 Days
from $1,549 USD $1,449 USD
Guided (Incl. Taxes)
View More Details

Egypt: Alexandria to Aswan

14 reviews

Travel the length of Egypt and explore its history, food and landscapes.

Culture
Activity level:
Leisurely
Ages: 16+
13 Days
from $3,049 USD $2,799 USD
Guided (Incl. Taxes)
View More Details