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Aqaba, Jordan

Aqaba (العقبة al-ʿAqabah) is Jordan's only port city, located on the Gulf of Aqaba in the extreme south of the country.

Aqaba is Jordan's window on the Red Sea. Historically the same city as Eilat on the Israeli side of the border, plans for a shared international airport and other forms of cooperation have cooled down in the past few years during a period of political tension. Aqaba has seen a lot of development in the last few years. This has improved infrastructure and facilities. Be prepared for road maps to be incorrect/out of date.

Climate

Aqaba has a hot desert climate (Köppen climate classification BWh) with a warm winter and a hot dry summer.

Aqaba, Jordan

Destination:

Aqaba (العقبة al-ʿAqabah) is Jordan's only port city, located on the Gulf of Aqaba in the extreme south of the country.

Aqaba is Jordan's window on the Red Sea. Historically the same city as Eilat on the Israeli side of the border, plans for a shared international airport and other forms of cooperation have cooled down in the past few years during a period of political tension. Aqaba has seen a lot of development in the last few years. This has improved infrastructure and facilities. Be prepared for road maps to be incorrect/out of date.

Climate

Aqaba has a hot desert climate (Köppen climate classification BWh) with a warm winter and a hot dry summer.

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Aqaba, Jordan: Port Information


Cruise ships dock at a pier south of the city. It is about 2.5 miles to the center.
You won't be able to walk in the port area, so there are shuttles provided to take you out of the port area. Cabs are available. Besides, you can reach some attractions on foot.

Get around Aqaba, Jordan


By taxi

Taxis are easily available in the city. 
While taxis are yellow all around Jordan, early 2008 Aqaba taxis have been painted green and blue: the logo colors of Aqaba Special Economic Zone (ASEZ).
When negotiating the price of a taxi, make sure to determine whether the final cost is the total or "per-person" price, as you may otherwise receive a surprise at the end of the ride.

By local buses

Local minibuses connect residential areas with downtown. Passengers can get on and off at any point of the route. The central bus station is located in front of the Police station in King Talal street, less than 10 min walk from the city center (Ayla square, Al-Hussein Bin Ali Mosque).

Buses stop at the roofed benches at King Hussein Street, near the big flag pole and near the traffic light. Central bus station workers typically point travelers to the flag pole stop.

What to see in Aqaba, Jordan


  • Aqaba Fort

    . Originally dating to the 14'th century, although the present structure was built by the Mamluke sultan Qansawh el-Ghawri (1501-1516) and has been revised many times since then.
  • Ayla, (next to the Mövenpick resort). The old city that was established when Islam came to the area in 622 AD.  
  • The oldest purpose-built Christian church in history, (across the street from the JETT bus station, which is just west of the Mövenpick hotel.). A posted sign gives a little bit of information on the church.  

What to do in Aqaba, Jordan


Except the sea and diving, Aqaba doesn't have a lot of things to offer. The following could be of interest but could easily be done in one day. The Fort and the museum are right next to each other.

  • Aqaba Fort
  • Aqaba museum
  • Fourth-century roman church

To get money, there are many ATM on Al-Hammamat Al-Tunisyaa street in the city center.

  • Aqaba Heritage Museum, Grand Arab Revolution Square. 8:00-14:00. This unique museum is surely one of Aqaba's main attractions as it displays a large variety of heritage items as well as real-size models of traditional life in one of Jordan's most important cities. It also contains a collection of rare historic images from the beginning of the past century until today. Free admission.  

Spa

  • Zara Spa, Mövenpick Resort & Spa Tala Bay Aqaba, South Beach Road - Tala Bay Area, P.O. Box 2425, ☎ +962 3 209 0300 (resort.aqaba.talabay@moevenpick.com, fax: +962 3 209 0301). 9.00 am – 9.00 pm. As well as a sauna, steam room and a hydro pool with skylight, Zara Spa Tala Bay offers the latest in spa facilities. Included is an "ice fountain" designed to stimulate circulation and tighten the skin. A variety of fragrances and colored lighting effects are available for showers and also supposedly designed to increase blood circulation. A hair salon, a nail studio and a shop with a variety of beauty care products are also on premises.  

Scuba diving

  • Aqaba's Anchor Diving Centre, Bur Sa'id Street, PO Box 1522, Aqaba, Jordan, 77110 (Behind Jordan Post), ☎ +962 (0) 799385261 (aqabasanchor@outlook.com). 24. A scuba diving center in the middle of the city, teaching PADI courses from beginners to PADI divemaster in English, Arabic, Turkish and Swedish. A tailored and quality service in scuba diving for learners and qualified divers with free local pick up on request.  
  • Ahlan Aqaba Scuba Diving Center, Al Nahda St., Hotel area in the heart of the city (The road behind the Movenpick Hotel), ☎ +962 (3) 2062242 (info@diveinaqaba.com, fax: +962 (3) 206 2243).  
  • Intel.Arab Divers Village, South Beach Road (South Of Aqaba), ☎ +962 (3) 2031808 (info@aqaba-divevillage.com)
  • Red Sea Dive Center, South Beach Road (South Of Aqaba), ☎ +962 (3) 2022323 (info@aqabascubadiving.com, fax: +962 (3) 202 2323).

What to eat and drink in Aqaba, Jordan


Eat

  • Casalingo, Mövenpick Resort & Spa Tala Bay Aqaba, South Beach Road - Tala Bay Area, P.O. Box 2425, Aqaba 77110, (resort.aqaba.talabay@moevenpick.com). 6.30 pm – 11.30 pm. The Italian restaurant has a distinguished Mediterranean contemporary decoration with a live cooking counter and wooden fire pizza oven. Casalingo serves authentic Italian dishes, seasonal specialties, and piping hot pizza and a selection of fine wines will compliment the specialties, prepared by our Italian master chef. Guests can enjoy their dinner on the terrace or in the air-conditioned restaurant.  
  • Red Sea Grill, Mövenpick Resort & Residence Aqaba, King Hussein Street, P. Box 678, 77110 Aqaba, ☎ +962 3 203 40 20 (resort.aqaba@moevenpick.com, fax: +962 3 203 40 40). 7.00 pm-midnight. Open during the summer months for dinner only, the Red Sea Grill serves up some of Aqaba's best fresh seafood specialties. These include grilled fresh fish and shellfish dishes combined with an Afro-Arab cooking twist in one of the best locations in the country. Complete with a magnificent panoramic view of the Gulf of Aqaba from our popular terrace restaurant located on the hotel's private beach.  
  • Alerzal restaurant, Aqaba Gate complex, ☎ +962 3 201 3 733 (info@alerzal.com). Al-Erzal Lebanese Restaurant strategically located at the northern shores of the Red Sea (Gulf of Aqaba) inside the Aqaba Gate Complex, offering their guests a variety of Lebanese dishes and Mezza along with Sea Food and Barbeque delights. Truly it's the finest Lebanese restaurant in Aqaba; fine food can be enjoyed in the restaurant where they offer both inside and outside setting, or on the Harmattan Boat where they offer lunch and dinner cruise in the Gulf of Aqaba, for an added excitement, guests can experience the beautiful Corals of the Red Sea when diving (onboard we have certified diving instructors).
  • The Royal Yacht Club. It is situated next to the water in an upscale neighborhood. They serve exquisite fare (mostly seafood fresh from the sea) for prices that are reasonable by Western standards. Service is fast and courteous. Note however that they are not open all afternoon, but only reopens at dinner, so not available for a mid-afternoon snack after coming from the beach.
  • Not far from the Yacht Club, situated behind McDonald's, is a very nice restaurant/bar called "35 Degrees East" (Aqaba's longitude), which is open during the afternoon and serves very well prepared Western food (including steaks and seafood) for prices that are also reasonable by Western standards, though higher than many other restaurants in Jordan. This is also a great place to get a good photo (from land) of yourself with the famous Aqaba flagpole in the background, without it being obscured by trees.
  • Syrian palace restaurant, P.o.Box 1527 - Jordan - Aqaba // on Raghadan Street, Hayl al madina, Al Awsat (At the right side of Al Shuala Hotel when you are looking to the hotel), (fax: 314788).  

In the center of the city, one can find very good hummus, Falafel and Shwarma (lamb meat in pita bread) places in many local restaurants. 

  • Formosa Chinese Restaurant, The Gateway Aqaba, ☎ 032060098. 1200-2300. Indulge yourself with the authentic home-cooking Chinese food. Cozy and warm yet relaxing atmosphere makes you home away from home.

Drink

You can ask for fresh fruit juices in most restaurants, and they are a treat! Many also serve the lemon juice with fresh mint in it, and it is very delicious.
Alcohol is available from many liquor stores around Aqaba. Several are near My Hotel. 

  • Fish Fish, Al-Sa'adah Street (Opposite Golden Tulip Hotel), ☎ 00962 795 245 599. If you're hungry for seafood, Fish Fish is the place to go. From shrimp, lobster, fresh fish to traditional Jordanian and Italian cuisine, one is sure to find a fantastic meal at an affordable price! Also offered are a variety of mezze, crisp salads, and freshly-squeezed fruit cocktails. Sit inside the cozy and romantic dining area or outside on the shaded patio. End your dining experience with a choice of flavored hubbly-bubby. 

Shopping in Aqaba, Jordan


There are lovely jewelry shops, souvenir shops, art galleries, bookshops, etc. where you can buy local favorites, jewelry, books, accessories, gifts, and more.

Safety in Aqaba, Jordan


Dangers
Jordan is very safe. There is virtually no unsafe part of Jordan except at the Iraqi border.

As with many places, be cautious with anyone who seems interested in romantic entanglements, as incidents of foreign women being charmed by locals and then discovering that the "romance" was merely a cover to obtain sex, money, or other services are not uncommon. This is especially true for young foreign girls – a cozy camp surrounding and maybe some wine does the rest.

Society
Jordan is a Muslim nation, so western norms, such as public displays of affection, may not be accepted even by Jordan's western-educated elite. Jordan is not a place where homosexuality is taken as lightly as in the West, although it is not illegal as is the case in most other Arab nations. Though, the LGBT scene, especially in Amman, prefers the don't ask, don't tell approach to this topic. Adultery, including consensual sex between unmarried couples, is illegal and can be punished by a maximum 3-year jail term. However, this does in general not concern western couples, but will only be a problem when engaging with local people.

Stay healthy
Take caution with buying food from vendors; the vendors aren't trying to hurt you but the food might be unclean.

Also, the biggest risk to your health in Jordan is being involved in a road traffic accident.

Dogs can be a problem. Even though, they are far less numerous compared to Asia. If they get too close to you, (pretend to) pick up a stone. They will remember this gesture from the last painful "experience". Also (carrying) a large stick might help.

Tap water is said to be potable, at least in some areas, but most people drink bottled water, which is the safest choice for visitors.

Language spoken in Aqaba, Jordan


The national language of Jordan is Arabic.

Many Jordanians speak English. French and German are the second and third most popular languages after English. You might encounter some Caucasian and Armenian languages because of a number of Caucasian immigrants that arrived during the early 1900s.

LOCAL TIME

7:55 pm
July 5, 2020
Asia/Amman

CURRENT WEATHER

39 °C / 102.2 °F
sky is clear
Mon

38.37 °C/101 °F
sky is clear
Tue

38.48 °C/101 °F
sky is clear
Wed

38.93 °C/102 °F
sky is clear
Thu

38.61 °C/101 °F
sky is clear

LOCAL CURRENCY

JOD

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