For many travelers, determining the logistics of how to travel between different attractions and destinations in Jordan is one of the most complex parts of planning your itinerary. In this post, I’ll cover one of the most popular routes that people want to take: the journey from Amman to Petra. As Petra is one of those bucket-list sights in Jordan (and the whole world!), many people visit Jordan specifically to see Petra. Heck, it’s one of the reasons I visited Jordan – and I can’t wait to make the return trip on my next trip.
The good news is that there are lots of options for traveling to Petra from Amman so you can find one that fits your schedule, travel style, and budget. Read on to discover the different modes of transport available to go from Amman to Petra and how much each one costs. In the end, I’ll break down what I consider to be the best ways to get from Amman to Petra in detail.
Short on time? The best way to get from Amman to Petra is on a tour – but taking the JETT bus is a good budget-friendly alternative.
Before diving into all the details, there’s one last important detail I need to clarify. When discussing the journey from Amman to Petra, it’s important to be clear: when I say “Petra” in this post, I really mean “Wadi Musa,” the Jordanian town right next to the archaeological site of Petra. When discussing travel within Jordan, most people say “Petra” even though transport options take them to Wadi Musa. My post follows the same conventions.
How Far is it from Amman to Petra?
Both from a time and distance perspective, getting from Amman to Petra is relatively easy for one simple reason: the Amman to Petra day trip is one of the most popular excursions in Jordan. The journey from Amman to Petra will vary depending on what route you choose and whether you have pit stops or not.
There are four main north-south highways in Jordan:
- Highway 5, which is the furthest east
- Highway 15, also called the Desert Highway
- Highway 35, also called the King’s Highway
- Highway 65, also called the Dead Sea Highway
The best route from Amman to Petra is by the Desert Highway (Highway 15); this takes about 3 hours and covers 140 miles. You could also take the Dead Sea Highway (Highway 65), which is 150 miles but takes about 4 hours due to the terrain and speed you can drive.
Finally, I’ve had questions about the King’s Highway as a route between Petra and Amman, but I don’t recommend this as it’s substantially slower (taking 5 hours to drive), though it does pass through some other sights like Madaba, Kerak, and Dana if you have plenty of time and want to make stops along the way.
Petra Tours from Amman
As I said before, the Amman to Petra day trip is incredibly popular. So you’ll find numerous companies offering different packages that cater to every budget and interest. In this section, I’ll cover a comprehensive overview of the tours and what you can expect should you book one.
Most Petra tours start early in the morning at 7 am and include pick-up and drop-off services. They all take you to the Nabatean Kingdom in a modern air-conditioned large vehicle with an English-speaking driver. So, if being comfortable during the journey is a priority, then this is definitely an excellent option.
The tours last from eight to thirteen hours, depending on the company. How you spend those hours varies according to the company’s itinerary. Some tours focus solely on Petra and its landmarks, whereas other tours take you to Wadi Rum. In most cases, you can also choose to explore Petra on your own or hire a private guide to show you around.
Here are a few tours I found, to give you some options:
- Private Petra Day Trip Including Little Petra from Amman
- Day Tour to Petra from Amman
- Petra One Day Tour
- Amman Petra Full-Day Trip
- Private Petra Round-Trip from Amman
- Full-Day Private Round-Trip Transfers to Petra from Amman
Amman to Petra Bus Options
Taking a bus is another transport alternative to consider when organizing your Amman to Petra day trip. As a heads up, while you can take local buses to reach Petra from Amman, I’ll only cover the JETT Buses in this section. JETT (Jordan Express Tourist Transportation) is a company offering public transpiration and touristic bus services to facilitate travelers getting to Jordan’s iconic landmarks.
The JETT bus to Petra departs daily from the 7th Circle in Amman at 7am and their last bus leaves Petra (Wadi Musa) at 4pm. So make sure you plan and time your visit to Petra accordingly so as not to miss it. One-way tickets cost 10 JD for adults and children alike and you can book them in advance online or at the JETT Bus Office located in Amman. Also, always check out their website to ensure these routes are still on their schedule.
Amman to Petra Taxi Options
Travelers can also book a taxi to get to the Rose City. A taxi from Amman to Petra is quite expensive, with a one-way trip costing around 85JD ($120). While it certainly isn’t the best option if you’re on a budget, taxis are decent alternatives for families or people with reduced mobility. Some choose to take a taxi to Petra as soon as they arrive at the Amman airport. An Amman to Petra taxi journey takes around three hours, depending on the traffic and hour.
So that you know, there are two types of taxis in Amman: service and regular taxis. Service taxis are white and drive a specific route with a set price (like the one mentioned above), whereas regular taxis are yellow and work with a meter. If you choose the latter, I highly recommend negotiating a fare in advance to avoid future hassle.
Private Driver from Amman to Petra
Booking private drivers to reach Petra is another extremely common transport option. Besides privacy, there are many advantages to booking a private driver: you can choose a car according to the number of people taking the tour and the luggage you bring; they also offer more flexibility in terms of stops you can make along the way.
You can book a private driver year-round, and the prices start at $195 USD. There are many companies online, or you can ask your hotel to suggest a few alternatives. Private driver tours to Petra last ten hours. Notice that while your driver might be super knowledgeable about Jordan and its landmarks, he’s not a professional tour guide and might not be able to answer all your queries.
Car Rental for Visiting Petra
While not for everyone, renting a car offers unmatched flexibility when exploring a new country. When it comes to Jordan, renting a car is one of the most convenient ways to get around. You’ll see most rental companies are in Amman at Queen Alia International Airport. So I suggest you save yourself some trouble and rent your car as soon as you arrive at the airport.
On average, travelers will have to pay around 25-30JD (35-40 USD) per day for a new model with air conditioning and insurance–I always use Kayak to browse car rental options. While travelers don’t need an International Driver’s License to rent a car in Jordan, they must be 25 years old to rent a car and need to show their driver’s license and passport as part of the rental process.
Similar to other options, driving from Amman to Petra will take around three hours, depending on traffic and the roads you make on your journey.
The Best Way from Amman to Petra
Deciding how to plan a trip is extremely personal, and the same happens with Jordan. No one can assess better than yourself what’s the most convenient way to reach Petra from Amman. However, I’ve narrowed the above list down to the two options I believe are the best for most travelers out there, based on their flexibility, price, and travel time.
Petra tours are by far the best way to visit Petra from Amman. As I mentioned before, there’s a generous offer of tours, with different prices and itineraries. Another perk is that they run services daily, so you can fit a tour on the day that works better for you.
If you’re on a budget (or not), booking a JETT bus ticket is the second-best way to get Petra from Amman. The journey takes three hours, and you only have to pay 20 JD for a round trip. Plus, the buses are extremely well-equipped, offering great comfort for families or older travelers.
Ready to make the journey from Amman to Petra? Let me know any questions you have about the different ways to reach Petra from Amman, or join the conversation in the Jordan Travel Tips Facebook community.