Current as of: December 5, 2023 - 06:05
2 out of 7 - Leisurely / Moderate
Revamped in 2023 with changes to accommodation and improved cultural activities, this Middle East adventure will guide you through lands of ancient history and religious intrigue. The highlights are plentiful: summit Mount Nebo, where Moses is said to have looked down over the Promised Land; explore rose-red Petra, a New Wonder of the World; stargaze in Wadi Rum; and visit the cave where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered. We float in that same sea, and explore holy sites in Jerusalem and Bethlehem, ending the trip in the ever-evolving seaside city of Tel Aviv.
This trip is rated Activity Level 2 (Leisurely/Moderate).
Although this is a cultural trip, some days (such as those in Petra) can be long and tiring. There is a lot of ground to cover on this day; however, climbing up stairs to view the royal tombs and the hike up to the Monastery (850 steps) are optional. Your leader can provide further advice on how to get the most of your trip to this magnificent site. There is extensive walking during our days in Israel to see as many of the sites as possible during our guided tours. You also have a free day in Jerusalem to plan your own exploration of this incredible city.
Although the Wadi Rum campsite has 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.
This trip crosses from Jordan into the West Bank at the Allenby Bridge and there is a change of leader at this point. This crossing is often busy (it is the only point through which West Bank Palestinians can travel abroad). The leader and driver for the Israel and Palestine portion of the trip have to wait for the whole group to clear Israeli security checks before they are allowed to drive to the exit hall, this can mean there is a wait at the exit hall before the leader and driver arrive.
Our leaders for the Israel and Palestine portion of this trip usually live in Jerusalem. This means they will not be with us in the evenings but can give advice on places for dinner.
From just before sunset on Friday until sunset on Saturday, Shabbat is observed by religious Jews. Restaurants and shops are closed in many Israeli cities; however, this is to a much lesser extent in Tel Aviv with many cafes and bars remaining open. Tel Aviv beaches are busiest on Saturdays. When our time in Israel coincides with Shabbat, we plan the itinerary to consider what is and is not open on this day.
In very rare instances where local conditions require, we may need to amend the order of the itinerary. However, we ensure that all the elements of the itinerary are still included and site visits are of the same duration.
Ramadan is expected to run from approximately 10 March-10 April 2024 and 28 February-29 March 2025. One of the most important periods in the Islamic calendar, it is a special time to visit a Muslim country. Each evening, the streets empty as people head home to break the fast, followed by an air of festivity upon their return. Our leaders and drivers choose to work at this time so we continue to run trips; however, their energy levels may be slightly lower than normal. Many tourist sites, restaurants and shops will have an amended schedule, but your tour leader will know how to adapt the itinerary to still experience all the inclusions on this trip and maximise your experience during this special time.
Adult min age: 16
Min group size: 5
Max group size: 16
Accommodation: Khan Khediwi Hotel (or similar)
Welcome to Amman, the capital of Jordan, where our adventure begins. There are free transfers to the hotel from Queen Alia International Airport (AMM) for all customers today. Please note, transfers should be booked with your sales representative at least two weeks before the tour starts.
Accommodation: Khan Khediwe Hotel (or similar)
After an early breakfast, we head to the Citadel for breathtaking views of Amman and a short tour of the site. There is a small but very interesting museum to visit. From this viewpoint, we can see the remains of the Roman Theatre in the old city area. Leaving Amman, we join the King’s Highway, which takes us up and down huge wadis (valleys). We stop en route at Madaba, known as the city of the mosaics, and beautiful Mount Nebo where Moses saw the Promised Land just before he died. Further south, we reach the magnificent city of Petra; the premier historic site in Jordan and one of the New Wonders of the World.
Accommodation: Standard hotel – see accommodation section for more detail
This morning, we have an early start to make the most of our day exploring the Unesco World Heritage site of Petra. To enter, we must begin by walking down a narrow chasm, known as the Siq, surrounded by high cliffs on either side. Unveiled at the end is El Khazneh, the Treasury, 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. An optional walk can then be done up 850 steps to El Deir, the Monastery, with its superb facade topped by a huge urn.
Petra was founded by the Nabateans, an Arab tribe that arrived here in the sixth century BCE. Building began in the third century BCE and continued through the Roman period, financed by taxes levied on the desert caravans. Two features 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.
Accommodation: Standard hotel – see accommodation section for more detail
Today we explore Little Petra, where well-preserved ruins hide in the mountains, before continuing to the spectacular Wadi Rum 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 many famous films have been shot including Lawrence of Arabia (1962), Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) and Rogue One (2016), and The Martian (2015). Its Mars-like landscape is truly breath-taking. We take a 4×4 safari through the area stopping at an outcrop of rocks for sunset before returning to our Exodus permanent tented camp for a star-filled night.
Accommodation: Permanent Bedouin camp
Today, we head back up north to the amazing Dead Sea for a float and relaxing evening. On the way, we stop at Al Karak (or Kerak) Castle for a guided tour of this imposing Crusader stronghold. This is a place of legend in the battles between the Crusaders and the Islamic armies of Saladin (Salah-ad-Din). A guided tour through the well-preserved ruins opens another aspect of the history of Jordan. We continue to the Dead Sea in time for a float in the incredible saline waters and to watch the sun set over Israel on the opposite bank.
Accommodation: Holiday Inn Dead Sea (or similar)
After breakfast, we take a short drive to the Allenby Bridge for the crossing to the West Bank. Your tour leader will explain in detail what happens at the border and how the crossing works (the border crossing can be busy). It is time to say farewell to the Jordanian leader and driver. The leader and driver for the Israel and Palestine portion of the trip have to wait for the whole group to clear Israeli security checks before they are allowed to drive to the exit hall, this can mean there is a wait at the exit hall before the leader and driver arrive.
Our first stop is Jericho in Palestine, claimed to be the oldest city in the world and rich in Biblical associations. We take a 1mi (2km) cable ride to the Greek Orthodox Monastery of Temptation with wonderful views of the Judaean Desert below. The monastery dates to the 12th century and is supposedly built around the grotto where the Devil appeared to tempt Jesus. From Jericho, we head to Qumran where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found by a Bedouin shepherd boy. Although the caves cannot be entered, there is a centre where a short film is shown and then a trail takes us through the cliffs where the various caves are located. After this visit, we continue to Jerusalem.
Accommodation: Holyland Hotel (or similar)
Today we step back in history with a guided walking tour of the old city of Jerusalem. This includes the Temple Mount, Dome of the Rock, the Wailing Wall and the Church of the Sepulchre. The city is perfect to explore on foot as it is compact and there are plenty of sites to see and places to sit and rest. Jerusalem’s history stretches back more than 3,000 years and a guided tour of this labyrinthine city is one to remember.
Accommodation: Holyland Hotel (or similar)
Today is free for personal exploration of Jerusalem. Our leader will provide suggestions for more places to visit and information on how to get to each one. You may want to return to the old city and take a leisurely stroll through the streets or head to the Mount of Olives, the scene of Christ’s agony and the Garden of Gethsemane. Another option is the Yad Vashem (Holocaust museum and memorial).
Accommodation: Holyland Hotel (or similar)
Today we have a local guide in Bethlehem who will reveal its Biblical traditions. As we enter Bethlehem, we visit the Walled Off Hotel, a boutique hotel designed by street artist Banksy. Bethlehem is perched on a hill at the edge of the Judaean Desert, it was the childhood home of David and the birthplace of Jesus. It has been a major site of pilgrimage since the construction of the Church of the Nativity in the fourth century CE and is located on the spot generally believed to be the likeliest site of the nativity. The tour will include Manger Square, St Catherine’s Church and the Milk Grotto.
We leave Bethlehem and drive to Herodion Castle. Herod the Great built this monumental fortress and palace on the highest hill in the Judean desert, 9mi (15km) south of Jerusalem. Herod was buried in the site that bore his name. The site was later a rebel stronghold and hiding place during the great revolts against the Romans. It is one of the most fascinating sites in the Holy Land. We return to Jerusalem after.
Accommodation: Holyland Hotel (or similar)
This morning, we leave Jerusalem and head west. Our first stop is The Lady of the Ark of the Covenant church. This hilltop church lays on the edge of Abu Gosh and has a fifth-century mosaic. From here, we continue to Old Jaffa on the Mediterranean. According to the Bible, a settlement was founded here by Noah’s son Japheth following the great flood. Remains date to 2,000 BCE, making Jaffa one of the oldest ports in the world.
Leaving Jaffa, we head to Tel Aviv, the modern face of the Jewish state. This Mediterranean resort has a long sandy beach and palm-filled avenues lined with elegant buildings in the Bauhaus style. We visit Sarona market, the largest enclosed culinary market in Israel. Tonight, there are plenty of great restaurants where the group can head for dinner to share the wonderful memories this trip has created.
Accommodation: Cinema Hotel (or similar)
The trip ends after breakfast in Tel Aviv. If you have onward flights, speak to your sales representative to arrange a private transfer to Ben Gurion Airport (extra cost) or you can arrange a taxi through the hotel reception. Please see the Joining Instructions for more details.
In Jordan, we spend one night in a three-star hotel in Amman, two nights in a comfortable hotel in Petra and one night in a five-star hotel at the Dead Sea. In Wadi Rum, we stay at the Exodus permanent tented camp. This private camp is for the sole use of the Exodus group and offers an unforgettable experience.
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.
Hotels in Petra: Accommodation in Wadi Musa (the town adjacent to Petra archaeological site) is limited and demands on infrastructure are high; this can create problems with hot water and plumbing. In general, the hotels are of an older style and more basic in comparison to the rest of Jordan. Hotels we use include Petra Plaza, Petra Palace, Edom Hotel, Amra Palace, La Maison and Petra Icon Hotel among others. Some hotels are closer to the entrance to Petra than others, some have a pool; however, most do not. When not within walking distance of the entrance to Petra, a transfer to/from the entrance is provided (typically a 10-minute drive). Hotel pools are often open during the daytime only (when we’re likely to be exploring Petra), so there may not be free time during pool opening hours, some are only open in summer.
At the Wadi Rum camp, there are traditional-style tents equipped with basic beds, sheets and blankets. There are plumbed toilets and basins, and simple shower facilities with (limited) hot water.
During our stay in Israel, we spend four nights in a three-star hotel in Jerusalem and one night in a three-star hotel in the coastal city of Tel Aviv. Throughout the tour, we use hotels with private bathrooms and air conditioning.
Single supplements are available for this trip; however, they cannot be guaranteed at Wadi Rum. Please enquire at the time of booking for details and up-to-date prices.
Single supplement from £ 625
All breakfasts are included and two dinners at the Wadi Rum camp and the Dead Sea resort in Jordan.
While staying in hotels, we usually eat in local restaurants and the leader can arrange group bookings if people want to dine together. Meze (Arabic) or salatim (Hebrew) meals are very popular as they provide a range of small shared dishes to try along with a main of barbecued chicken/meats or a vegetarian dish. These allow fast service with a variety of tasty food for the group. In Jordan, meals usually cost around 10-15 Jordanian dinars (US$14-US$21). Palestine and Israel can be more expensive so it is advisable to allow around 60-80 shekels per person (US$17-US$23).
If you are vegetarian, main meals are limited in choice; however, meze is almost always available in restaurants and is a good, filling choice. While camping in Wadi Rum, we enjoy a wonderful traditional meal called zarb, which is cooked underground. This consists of rice with a selection including chicken, lamb and vegetables. Vegetables will be cooked separate to the meat for vegetarians.
Alcohol is available in Jordan, but not widely. Many hotels do not sell alcohol but will often allow it to be brought in from elsewhere. It is best to plan ahead if you’ll want a drink, your tour leader can tell you what’s possible and may be able to arrange a stop at a supermarket or liquor store (depending on location). In Petra, the unique Cave Bar in Petra Guesthouse is open to the public. A less expensive option is the bar in the Petra Palace Hotel, which is also open to all.
For most of this trip we use an air-conditioned bus, with local drivers. To reach the Wadi Rum camp and to explore the surrounding desert, we use basic 4×4 vehicles, owned by the Bedouin family that hosts us. The vehicles are appropriate for local desert travel but may fall below normal vehicle safety standards expected on our trips. As there are no other vehicles available and as we are not travelling by road, we feel they are an adequate means of transport.
Spring and autumn are very popular times of year to visit Jordan, Palestine and Israel. Summer is very hot, especially July and August, so we don’t have departures in these months. In spring and autumn, average temperatures can be around 25C-30C (77F-86F). In winter, it is generally crisp and warm in the day, approximately 10C-15C (50F-59F).
On average, Wadi Rum in summer is around 30C (86F) though it can get as high as 40C (104F). In winter, it is much cooler and can get as low as 10C (50F) during the day. In the evening, it is around freezing point. There are occasions when there is rain or even snow in the desert. If weather conditions require, we may need to modify the itinerary or the camp location for your comfort and safety. The Dead Sea air temperatures vary from around 14C (57F) in winter up to high 30s (around 100F) in summer. The water temperature, however, doesn’t drop below 20C (68F).
Rainfall does occur in all countries during winter so it is advisable to take an umbrella at these times. There are even occasions when it snows in Jordan during winter. 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.
Start hotel: Khan Khediwe Hotel, Quraysh St. 100, Amman
Phone: +962 6 465 1444
Recommended arrival time: You can arrive at any time today. There will be a welcome briefing in the evening, but if you miss it the leader will update you separately
Airport: Amman Airport (AMM)
The start hotel is approximately 45 minutes’ drive from the airport. Exodus provides free arrival transfers to the start hotel from the airport for all customers. If you would like further information on joining this trip, please speak to your sales representative.
Please note: Unless specified otherwise, the transfer will be to the start (or pre-tour) hotel and will be on the date on which the tour starts; transfers to other hotels in the same city and/or on different dates may attract an extra charge. Transfers should be booked with your sales representative at least two weeks before the tour starts.
Group flight from London, UK
Those on the group flight will be met before immigration by an airport co-ordinator who will collect your passport to get it stamped with the group visa. In high season, this process may be subject to delays. You will then be directed to the baggage collection point and the transfer to your overnight hotel.
There’s a group departure transfer from Tel Aviv to Ben Gurion Airport (TLV) for customers who Exodus booked onto a chosen flight to London, UK. Please speak to your sales representative if you wish to join. Speak to your sales representative to arrange a private transfer at an additional cost or you can book a taxi at the hotel reception.
If the group departure transfer does not suit your flight time, speak to your sales representative to arrange an alternative transfer.
Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers will be sent to you as part of our Final Joining Instructions. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.
Location start: Amman
Location end: Tel Aviv
Please note, Jordan and Palestine are Muslim countries so modest dress is required when visiting holy sites and rural areas (ie legs, shoulders and upper arms covered). In the larger cities and more popular destinations this is not necessary.
Please try to bring no more than one main piece of luggage per person. On occasion, luggage may be transported separately to the vehicle the group travels in.
Plastic bottles are a big issue in many countries where recycling isn’t yet widely available; they often end up in landfill or get burned. Both processes are harmful to the environment and we would like to reduce our impact here. For your trip, we provide an alternative to single-use plastic bottles to reduce the plastic used. This means that safe drinking water will be available throughout; all you need to do is bring a bottle to refill along the way. Please add this to your packing list.
Jordan passport information
It is essential that we have your full passport details at least two weeks before the start of your trip (or at the time of booking for late bookings). This is required for the free visa (see below for eligibility details) and additionally, has to be supplied in advance to the tourism police, hotels and sights we’ll be visiting. If we are not provided with accurate passport information in advance, problems may be encountered during the trip and you may incur extra costs.
Visas are required by most nationalities and can be obtained at the border or Amman airport.
We will arrange a free visa (usually 40 Jordanian dinars) for travellers booking a tour and any pre-tour arrangements through us, provided we receive full passport and flight details at least two weeks before arrival.
You will need to pay for the visa if we do not have these details two weeks before arrival or you are making your own pre-tour arrangements (ie extra nights before the tour that are not booked through Exodus).
Our airport representative will meet and assist you with obtaining the free visa on arrival in Jordan at Customs & Immigration. They will be carrying an Exodus sign.
You don’t need a visa to enter Israel or Palestine as a tourist. On entry, visitors are granted leave to enter for a period of up to three months. Visitors will be given an entry card instead of an entry stamp in their passport. You should keep your entry card with your passport until you leave. This is evidence of your legal entry into the country and may be required, particularly at any crossing points into the Palestinian territories.
Please note, visa requirements often change and it is your responsibility to obtain any required visas for this trip. Therefore, we recommend that you check with the nearest embassy or consulate of your chosen destination(s), including any countries you may be transiting or transferring through.
Some local governments provide guidance on what visas their citizens need. To help, we’ve gathered a selection of useful links below.
There are no required vaccinations. However, you may want to consider vaccinations for tetanus, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, rabies and typhoid. Please confirm all requirements with your doctor or travel clinic.
There are no required vaccinations. However, you may want to consider vaccinations for tetanus, polio, hepatitis A, rabies and typhoid. Please confirm with your doctor or travel clinic. Please note, if you plan to visit Israel for four weeks or more, you may be required, upon leaving, to show proof of polio vaccination on an International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis (ICVP) provided four weeks to a year before departure.
Jordan's time zone: Asia/Amman (UTC +03:00)
Israel and Palestine's time zone: Asia/Jerusalem (UTC +02:00)
Jordan's electricity: Plug types C (two round pins, European standard), D (three round pins), F (two round pins), G (three rectangular pins, UK standard), and J (three round pins) – 230V, 50Hz
Israel and Palestine's electricity: Plug types C (two round pins), H (three round pins) and M (three round pins) – 230V, 50Hz
Jordan's currency: Jordanian dinar (JOD)
Israel and Palestine's currency: Israeli shekel (ILS). Currencies used in Palestine include the Jordanian dinar (JOD) and the US dollar (USD), but the most popular is the Israeli shekel
For Jordan, you can choose to either change your money in advance or on arrival at Amman airport. Here you will find both ATMs and exchange desks. ATMs can also be found in the major towns and cities, including Madaba, Petra and Amman. However, not all ATMs will take all cards, so please bring some cash to change if possible. Your leader can advise you on changing money and ATMs.
Larger shops in the cities may take credit cards, but do not rely on this. Please do not rely solely on cards for both Jordan and Israel. We suggest taking some money in cash (British pounds, euros or US dollars) with a mix of denominations. Your leaders in both countries will advise you on where you can change money. Small denomination cash dollars are useful for times when you want to change a small amount of money outside the major towns or cities.
Optional excursions – Jordan
There are various excursions possible on this trip – the leader will provide more details. All prices are subject to change.
Petra by Night: Follow the trail from the Siq to the Treasury in candlelight where you will be offered tea and traditional music by the local Bedouins. It costs 17 Jordanian dinars (US$24) per person (Please note this is not possible every evening and it can get crowded at times. It is a low-key entertainment so it is best not to have any expectations).
Turkish bath: 22 dinars (US$31) per person
Camel rides in Wadi Rum: Sunrise camel rides provided by the local Bedouin will be possible and scheduled according to the group preferences. The trek takes approximately 1hr 20min and costs 20 dinars (US$29) per person
Amman entry fees: The Citadel is included in our city tour at the beginning of the trip. However, if you arrive a day early you may like to visit Mosque Abdallah. The entrance is 2 dinars (US$2.85).
Our local staff are paid fairly for their work. However, tipping is part of the culture in Jordan and Israel. We have given guidance in US dollars below, but tipping is best done in the local currency (Jordanian dinars or Israeli shekels).
For tipping your trekking staff, driver, hotel staff and other local staff, we recommend the use of a tipping kitty. Your leader can advise on the amount; as a guide, expect it to be US$45 in Jordan and US$25 in Israel for this trip. This kitty can be placed in the hands of one of the group members to look after and the leader will advise where it is appropriate to tip. If preferred, however, the leader can manage this for the group.
Most clients also wish to tip their tour leader. As a guide, we suggest US$30 in Jordan and US$20 in Israel per person. Most groups prefer to present the money to the leader at the end of the week in an envelope. The amount is at your discretion and our suggested amount is to be used as a guideline only.
We work hard to create trips that 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. To receive the award, our Jordanian partner had to comply with more than 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:
How this trip helps improve life for local communities.
How this trip helps protect and conserve local landscapes and nature.
How we seek to keep the carbon footprint of this trip low.
Tips for sustainable travel on this trip
This trip includes time by a lake, river or sea, where there may be opportunities to swim. You should always seek local advice before deciding whether to swim. Open-water or wild swim spots should be treated with extreme caution. Information on how to keep yourself safe while swimming is shown here.
This trip goes near an area deemed unsafe to visit by the UK government’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, whose advice we follow when operating our trips. While our itinerary doesn’t go to these areas, you should familiarise yourself with your local government’s advice if you are planning any pre- or post-trip travel. Any independent travel to areas currently against your local government advice is entirely at your own risk and unlikely to be covered by your travel insurance.
Your safe participation
When booking this trip, you should be confident in your ability to participate in all activities described in these Trip Notes. If you have any doubt about your suitability, please call the Exodus office and ask to speak to one of the experts on this itinerary.
Although our leaders are well trained to deal with different capabilities, if they have any concerns about someone’s ability to safely take part in an activity, or their impact on other people’s enjoyment, we authorise them to take necessary action which, in some circumstances, may involve asking someone to miss that activity.
By booking this trip you agree to our Booking Conditions which clearly state that our leaders have the authority to do this. In these rare instances we will ensure anyone sitting out is safely provided for and offered alternative options where possible. Refunds will not be provided for activities missed and customers may be liable for additional costs incurred.
When you’re ready to book, go to our website for online bookings, book over the phone or you can complete a booking form (available online or on request by calling us). We accept all major credit and debit cards, or you can pay be cheque.
You will receive your booking confirmation letter and invoice, which includes extra information and guidance about your travel arrangements.
Full joining instructions, including local emergency numbers and details of how to reach the start point, will be sent to you approximately two to three weeks prior to departure. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier, please contact our office or your travel agent.
Trip Note validity
These Trip Notes are valid from the “Current as” date on page one. They will occasionally be updated after booking and before departure; if there are any updates that significantly impact the inclusions or itinerary, customers will be written to separately. They will also receive a link to the most up-to-date Trip Notes with their Final Joining Instructions before travelling.
The information in these Trip Notes is given in good faith. Where differences exist between the Trip Notes and our current brochure or website, the Trip Notes supersede the brochure and website. All holidays can be subject to unexpected changes; to enjoy them you should be prepared to be flexible where necessary. Occasionally, it may not be possible to follow the itinerary as planned. This may be for a variety of reasons – climatic, political, physical or other. In these circumstances we will make the best-possible alternative arrangements that maintain the integrity of the original itinerary.
Exodus is fully licensed and bonded as a tour operator. We hold Air Traffic Organisers Licence (ATOL) number 2582, issued and bonded with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). We are also bonded to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and we are members of the Federation of Tour Operators (FTO) and ABTA – The Travel Association. This means you can book your Exodus holiday with confidence, as all money paid to us for your trip is fully protected.