Explore Jordan, its rich history and culture spread across a tapestry of dramatic ancient ruins and stunning pastel desertscapes and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), where modernity and tradition play out in stunning ways. Explore the well-preserved ruins at Jerash and the inspiring Nabatean city of Petra – carved out of solid rock, Crusade era fortresses, and venerated Biblical sites. In the UAE, visit Dubai and the Sheikh Mohammed Center for Cultural Understanding amidst towering modern skyscrapers, a symbol of the UAE’s economic prowess, and in Abu Dhabi marvel at the magnificent Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, which can hold 41,000 worshipers.
Moderately Active. May involve some moderate hikes in forests and nature reserves, getting in and out of vehicles and rocking boats, and walking in uneven pavement in archaeological sites, in some cases in extreme weather conditions, heat, high elevation and humidity.
Jordan: The main characteristics of Jordan's climate reflect the transitional location of the country between the Mediterranean climate in the West and arid climates in the East and in the South. Jordan thus has a temperate, semi and subtropical climate which is well suited to travel for most of the year. It can be quite cold in January/February and hot in July/August.
Dubai: The best time to visit Dubai is between November and April then the temperature is in the 80's, low 90's. It can be unpleasantly hot in the summer with temperatures soaring to nearly 120 degrees.
Board your overnight flight to Amman, an exotic white sandstone city built on seven hills. Transfer to your luxury hotel and enjoy a welcome dinner in the evening. GRAND HYATT AMMAN. (Meals Aloft; D)
Tucked away overlooking the Sea of Galilee are the ancient city ruins of Um Qais. Wander through impressive Corinthian columns, Ottoman village homes and a Roman basilica. Lunch will be served on a terrace with views of Jordan, Israel and Syria, before your visit to Ajloun, a 12th century castle built to protect lines of communication and iron mines from invading crusaders. Arrive at Jerash in the afternoon to see the ancient Roman ruins built on a site occupied since the Neolithic Age and walk the incredibly well-preserved colonnaded streets to ancient baths, plazas, theaters, and arches which remain intact and in near pristine condition. GRAND HYATT AMMAN. (B,L)
Travel via the King’s Highway, an ancient trade-route between Egypt and Jordan, to Madaba to see the beautifully preserved mosaic map of the Holy Land on the floor of Saint George’s Church then drive to Mt. Nebo, the traditional burial site of Moses. Through the scenic canyons of Wadi Mujib, reach the Crusader Castle at Kerak, a 12th century hilltop fortress featuring well-preserved galleries, towers, chapels and ramparts. Arrive in the evening at the Nabatean capital of Petra, where just steps away lies your luxurious hotel. Relax at the Petra Kitchen while learning to prepare Jordanian dishes alongside women from the Iraq al Amir Women’s Cooperative and an experienced chef. PETRA MOEVENPICK HOTEL. (B,L,D)
Spend today exploring the inspiring vestigial remains of Petra, a national treasure of Jordan. Follow a serpentine path as it winds through a narrow slot canyon of Nubian sandstone to the Al Khazneh (The Treasury), a magnificent edifice carved from the rose-colored stone. Designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Petra features elaborate tombs, soaring temples, majestic monuments, Roman theatres, burial chambers and mysterious caves hewn from rock. Return to Petra this evening to view the ruins softly lit by the moon and spotlights (available on Mondays & Thursdays – subject to change). PETRA MOVENPICK HOTEL. (B,L)
Drive today to the Wadi Rum and experience another world when you enter the Valley of the Moon, replete with its distinctive undulating, mauve-lined sandstone formations, memorialized by T.E. Lawrence in his memoir, The Seven Pillars of Wisdom. Lawrence was stationed here during the Arab Revolt against the Ottomans in 1918, and the Wadi Rum served as a location for the film, Lawrence of Arabia. Spend the night under starry skies in true Bedouin fashion at a rustic tented camp. (B,L,D)
Travel to the lowest point on earth – the Dead Sea. Dip your hands into the River Jordan at the legendary baptism site of Jesus. Stunning geological formations and hidden ravines with lush vegetation tantalize you with their beauty. Enjoy the tranquility of your resort and its natural resources. Float in the saltiest sea in the world while the ozone-rich air fills your lungs and sunshine warms your skin. MOEVENPICK DEAD SEA RESORT. (B,L; B)
Fly to Dubai, a city of contrasts as a center for commercial activity in the Middle East that maintains a very traditional way of life. Be immersed in Emirati culture at the Sheikh Mohammed Center for Cultural Understanding, where you will experience a traditional breakfast and discussion on the culture, religion and traditions of the Emiratis. Walk the labyrinthine lanes of the Bastakiya Quarter, replete with restored merchant’s houses, art galleries, cafés, and boutique hotels. Visit the Dubai Museum inside the imposing 18th century fortress of Al Fahidi. JW MARRIOTT HOTEL DUBAI. (B; B,L)
Your luxury motor coach takes you to the island city of Abu Dhabi, the capital and second largest city in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The Emirate features over 200 natural islands, tranquil oases, UNESCO World Heritage sites and vast deserts. Visit the awe inspiring Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, UAE’s largest mosque which can accommodate up to 41,000 worshippers. Take in local arts and crafts at the Women’s Handicraft Center. Drive to Heritage Village and experience the traditional oasis village as it was before oil drove the economy. Your next day is at leisure in Dubai to shop and relax. In the evening, enjoy a farewell dinner. JW MARRIOTT HOTEL DUBAI. (B,L; B,D)
Bid farewell as you head to the airport for your flight home taking with you the unforgettable experiences of the people, places, and cultures of the Middle East.
Explore the desert jewel of Oman. Begin with the capital city of Muscat between the shadows of the Al Hajjar Mountains and the glimmering Gulf of Oman. View the peak of Jebel Akhdar at 6,560 feet above sea level, and take a boat ride in search of porpoises in the gulf. Be immersed in Omani culture with tours of the Grand Mosque and the Palace of the Sultan. Test your bargaining skills at the Souq and cattle market in Nizwa. Feast on the stunning views of Oman with a 4x4 tour of Wadi Bani Auf and be refreshed at the springs of Nakhl. Finish with Wahiba Sands, an immense expanse of white sand and towering dunes, some reaching 650 feet skyward.
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