On this full-day excursion, take the opportunity to explore both Petra, the ancient Nabataean caravan-city ideally situated between the Red Sea and the Dead Sea, and Wadi Rum, a nature lover's paradise.
Begin with a scenic drive to Petra, an important crossroads between Arabia, Egypt and Syria-Phoenicia. Camel caravans passed through, loaded with spices, textiles and incense from distant regions, and through such commerce, the city of Petra flourished, until a massive earthquake in 363AD left the freestanding structures of Petra in ruins. The remnants of Petra were an object of curiosity during the Middle Ages, and the first European to describe them was Johann Burckhardt in 1812.
Upon arrival at the Visitor's Center, you will walk to the impressive entrance to Petra, a stunning narrow gorge called the Siq (the shaft), a natural geological feature formed from a deep split in the sandstone rocks. After walking through the Siq, see Petra's most elaborate ruin and fabled achievement, El Khazneh, the Treasury, hewn directly out of the red sandstone cliff. Enjoy time to explore the Treasury and the Outer Siq, leading to immense tombs, and facades and doorways cut in the steep passage walls.
Following your time at the ruins, retrace your steps through the Siq, past the Obelisk Tomb, to a local hotel. Following a sumptuous buffet lunch at the hotel, re-board your motorcoach for the drive to Wadi Rum, then explore using 4x4 vehicles that will take you into the heart of the desert. Acclaimed by many as one of the most stunning desert landscapes in the world, Wadi Rum is spectacular in its natural beauty.
Arriving in Rum, you'll transfer to your off-road vehicles and begin your journey through the starkly beautiful Wadi Rum, with its sheer granite, sandstone cliffs, and uniquely shaped mountains that rise dramatically out of the sand. The magnificent scenery, including the towering cliffs of weathered stone, ancient riverbeds and mauve-colored stretches of sand will amaze you, as you drive through the desert with your local guide en route to a Bedouin camp. Upon arrival, indulge in a sumptious buffet dinner served under Bedouin tents. Following dinner, transfer back to your buses in the 4x4 vehicles, then re-board your motorcoach for the return drive to Aqaba.
Please note: This tour entails an extensive amount of strenous walking both to and from the site (45 minutes in each direction) and within the site itself. The tour is not considered suitable for wheelchair guests or those with mobility concerns. While there are a limited number of carriages, camels and donkeys available at Petra, they are available on a first-come, first-served basis and their use is in no way encouraged or sanctioned by Oceania Cruises. Furthermore, in order to completely view the sites, you would still need to travel on foot over uneven and sloping ground. The off-road vehicles used at Wadi Rum are older vehicles that have no air-conditioning or seat belts and are owned and operated by the local Bedouins. Weather appropriate clothing (it can be cool in the Spring and Fall); sun cap; sunglasses; a bottle of water from the ship; and flat, comfortable walking shoes with a closed-toe are recommended.