Greatly prized as Jordan’s window to the sea, Aqaba brings a refreshing release from the rose-coloured desert to the north. Its sandy beaches and coral reefs are the most pristine on the Red Sea, and Jordanians continuously work hard to preserve it as such.
Aqaba basks in delightfully warm weather nine months of the year during the winter, spring and autumn. Summer is hot, but you can pace your activities and adapt to the climate, slowing down in midday, and reviving in the cool of the evening.
Indigo-coloured deep water lies just off shore in Aqaba, offering kaleidoscopic marine life within easy reach. Exploring means a leisurely drive to a private spot and a short swim out to the reef. Unusual vertical currents and sea breezes make diving cool and pleasant, even in the heat of the summer.
There are over thirty main diving sites in Aqaba, most of them suitable for all levels of ability. If you are a qualified scuba diver, be sure to pack your diving certificate and log-book. Even if you weren’t planning on a dive trip, the temptation of Aqaba’s reefs may soon get the better of you! Aqaba’s reef is thriving, adorned with variety in its coral and fish. Two of the most intriguing are the harmless, plankton-eating whale shark, the largest fish in the world, and the willowy garden eel, almost invisible in the sea grass.
Aside from some of the world’s best scuba diving, Hotels and other beachfront operators can organise other water sports for you. There is snorkeling, fishing, sailing and waterskiing to pass the time as well.
Fun for Land Lovers
For those who prefer to keep their feet dry, all the deep sea wonders can be viewed through a glass-bottomed boat or by submarine, or you can just relax under the sun on the resort’s sandy beaches.
Camping is also a favorite activity in Aqaba especially during the cooler seasons between April to June and September to November – with a campsite available on the South Beach.
Anyone wishing to drive, trek or camp in the deserts north of Aqaba should be sure to take a guide with them. The desert is vast and uninhabited and it is easy to lose your bearings. Do not attempt this without a professional who knows the area well.
History lovers will also enjoy Mameluke Fort, located on an island in the middle of the Gulf. This castle was once under the control of Saladin, foe of Crusaders like Richard the Lionheart and Reynald de Chatillon. Somewhat more recently, Arab forces that included T. E. Lawrence “of Arabia” wrestled the port from the Ottomans in one of the most dramatic victories to take place during the Arab Revolt.
Resorts & Accommodation
Why not kick off your sandals and relax on the beach? Aqaba offers a wide range of accommodation, including excellent five, four and three star hotels – most of which are well-equipped with all facilities necessary for meetings and conferences. The top resorts are located alongside the beaches and offer a full range of water-sports and holiday activities, as well as tennis courts, spa and fitness centres, boutiques and beauty shops. More modest accommodation is also available within the town along with a campsite located on the beach.
Regular flights depart the capital city of Amman daily and take only 45 minutes to reach Aqaba. Several companies offer charter bus tours and regular tours between Amman and Aqaba. By car or taxi, Aqaba is approximately a 3 hour to 5 hour drive south from Amman depending upon the route one follows.
For more information on Aqaba and other great destinations in Jordan, visit: http://na2.visitjordan.com/