"Aqaba : the sea, the ships and the shops" Top 5 Page for this destination Aqaba by TheWanderingCamel

Aqaba Travel Guide: 167 reviews and 313 photos

Aqaba is crammed into a little strip of land between the mountains and the sea. Across the water one can see the mountains of Sinai, and Eilat in Israel is only a few miles away to the west. Indeed, when arriving in Aqaba from the Desert Highway, it is not immediately obvious that one is looking at two towns (and countries) and not a single one. Just 25 kilometers to the south is Saudi Arabia.

Ships 'n' shops

Aqaba became the main entrepot for all goods coming into Jordan from abroad as a deliberate government policy following the foundation of the state of Israel which saw the tiny country's access to the Mediterranean cut off. Now the harbour is always busy with ships from all around the world, cargo and container ships moving goods both in and out of the country and cruise ships disgorging tourists, usually into fleets of buses that head up the Desert Highway on a day trip to Petra.

It is a free trade area (the "Aqaba Special Economic Zone"), so many people from south Jordan come here to shop. Most prices are lower than elsewhere, but you are subject to customs duty when you take goods outside the area - there is a control point. However, the officials are reasonable, and if you have low taxed items for your own consumption, you are unlikely to be asked to pay. This does NOT necessarily apply to electrical goods. For those who are thirsty, the off-duty prices also apply to alcohol, beer and wine! Have a look at Sami's Supermarket, opposite to the Cairo-Amman Bank. Imported cigarettes are also cheaper here but tend to be rather dried up.

For land-based visitors to Aqaba, there are frequent buses between the city (the central bus station) and most of the towns in south Jordan including Wadi Rum - 2 services a day except Fridays - and of course to Petra and to Amman. This latter is one route where the Jett buses do come in useful, they leave from the Jett office on The Corniche, phone 03.201.5222. The Trust International Transport (An-Nahda Street) also offers six services to and from Amman every day including Fridays, their phone number is 03.203.2300. Locals much prefer their buses to the Jett ones.

The main bus station is just below the police station (if you need your visa registered, this is the place to have it done). You can go straight downhill from the bus station to reach the shops. You pass beside one of the public gardens, it's a pity that the entrance to the garden is closed up at the top, and you can only get into it from opposite the shops.

Leaving by land?

For land-based visitors to Aqaba, there are frequent buses between the city (the central bus station) and most of the towns in south Jordan including Wadi Rum - 2 services a day except Fridays - and of course to Petra and to Amman. This latter is one route where the Jett buses do come in useful, they leave from the Jett office on The Corniche, phone 03.201.5222. The Trust International Transport (An-Nahda Street) also offers six services to and from Amman every day including Fridays, their phone number is 03.203.2300. Locals much prefer their buses to the Jett ones.

The main bus station is just below the police station (if you need your visa registered, this is the place to have it done). You can go straight downhill from the bus station to reach the shops. You pass beside one of the public gardens, it's a pity that the entrance to the garden is closed up at the top, and you can only get into it from opposite the shops.

These Aqaba reviews and photos were posted here by lulu and leyle. Please see our Homepage re photo use.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:The diving in Aqaba is among the best in the world
  • Cons:Everybody always want a room with a sea view. But in Aqaba the sea is due south of the town and a view of it means that you are going to get a hot sun on your window all day. If this is going to bother you, then decide if it's worth it!
  • Intro Updated Dec 30, 2011
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Reviews (34)

Comments (13)

  • crewrower's Profile Photo
    Sep 22, 2007 at 5:50 AM

    You have great Jordan pages. I'm trying to figure out if I should put Aqaba as the first stop on an upcoming 5 day trip to Jordan. I'm thinking no, regretfully.

  • iandsmith's Profile Photo
    Sep 18, 2006 at 12:39 AM

    Mmm, all looks a bit fishy to me.

  • trotador's Profile Photo
    Aug 27, 2006 at 6:24 AM

    Another great page. For sure I will enjoy there.

  • canuck68's Profile Photo
    Aug 1, 2006 at 10:01 PM

    This is a very interesting tour of Aqaba. I have so much to learn about this part of the world. I don't think I would try diving!! Thanks for visiting my South African pages. Diane

  • BerniShand's Profile Photo
    May 28, 2006 at 10:31 PM

    Wonderful, I love the diving tips and I dont even dive ! though I know a young man who does, I`ll have to send him over

  • budapest8's Profile Photo
    Apr 21, 2006 at 3:27 PM

    Incredible pics! spent a month in Eilat working tempoary jobs like offloading banana boats in the port, washing dishes in the Shulamit hotel, also partime in some beach side cafes.I could see Akaba just across the bay. Always wondered what it was like.Tim

  • Pete.Gibson's Profile Photo
    Apr 6, 2006 at 11:55 AM

    hi Lesley, hope you got the Camel pic ok! I passe dthrough Aqaba once on route to Petra whilst working in Eilat wish I could of stopped and had a good look round

  • triplehelix's Profile Photo
    Dec 20, 2005 at 8:26 PM

    my boss used to work for king hussein and used to frequent aqaba. is it possible to walk over to israel and saudi arabia without a passport?

  • Martman's Profile Photo
    Nov 22, 2005 at 8:23 PM

    I am curious about your warning about diving then far above sea level. Does the dive effect the body in some way that it is not safe to go high up soon after?

  • deecat's Profile Photo
    Aug 20, 2005 at 11:04 PM

    This is a most informative page on Aqaba. The snorkeling information is priceless. Astounding photographs. Enjoyable, helpful, and enticing.

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