From the glittering waters of the Red Sea to the towering red rocks of the Jordanian desert, there is so much to see in southern Jordan – if you’re visiting this country and region, you simply have to explore!
As you plan your Jordan itinerary, you might have questions about how to get from one part of the country to another. I’ve been working on a series of guides on getting around, and this one is here to help you figure out the basics of travel from Aqaba to Wadi Rum.
If you’re curious about how far it is between them, your travel options, and what I consider the best way to travel from Aqaba to Wadi Rum, read on. This quick guide will give you all the info you need to finalize this part of your Jordan itinerary.
This post was originally published in August 2022, and was updated most recently in November 2023.
How Far is it from Aqaba to Wadi Rum?
Located in the southernmost of the country, Aqaba is a popular base for many travelers. And for good reason. Jordan’s only port city is close to two of the country’s landmarks: Petra and Wadi Rum.
Aqaba and Wadi Rum are connected by Highway 15, better known as the Desert Highway. The Aqaba to Wadi Rum distance is 72 km long and it takes a 1 hour and 10 minutes drive to cover that distance, depending on the transport option you choose and traffic conditions.
While traffic jams aren’t uncommon in Jordanian routes, the traffic in Aqaba is very quiet and light to cope with, so getting stuck in long traffic jams is unlikely.
How to Travel from Aqaba to Wadi Rum
There are a number of ways to get to Wadi Rum from Aqaba; if you’ve read any of my other guides on getting around Jordan, you’ll see that they’re the same options – but unique as you’re traveling from Aqaba compared to Amman.
Wadi Rum Tours from Aqaba
Given the Aqaba to Wadi Rum day trip is highly popular, you’ll find tons of companies offering tour packages to explore the valley.
Tours from Aqaba to Wadi Rum start at $130. While tours vary slightly, most take five to eight hours and start around 9 am – this is great news if you aren’t an early bird. Most tours include a two-hour jeep tour through Wadi Rum plus a sunset-watching session at the end. Some also include lunch and tea at a Bedouin camp.
You’ll notice that some tour companies offer full-day excursions that include Petra as an extra stop. So if you’re short on time, it’s a good alternative to squeeze in two popular sights in one day.
Here are a few tours I found, to give you some options:
- Jeep Tour to Wadi Rum Desert
- Wadi Rum Half Day From Aqaba
- Full-Day Wadi Rum from Aqaba
- Wadi Rum Day Tour
- Private Full-Day Wadi Rum and Petra Tour from Aqaba
Aqaba to Wadi Rum Bus Options
Buses are another alternative to planning your Aqaba to Wadi Rum day trip. Before I dive into the schedules and costs of traveling by bus in Jordan, I’d like to clarify that travelers can take two types of buses: regular public transportation minibusses or JETT buses.
While local bus services from Aqaba to Wadi Rum are cheaper, they’re a bit more complex to understand and use. Jordan’s public transportation system isn’t the best nor the most organized one. For example, buses don’t work according to a timetable and they tend to leave once the bus has reached its full capacity. These buses depart from the station located outside of Aqaba Police Station and a one-way journey costs just 3JD (4.25USD).
Another alternative is JETT Buses. This public transportation and tourism bus service is oriented to tourists. They have plenty of routes and cover most of Jordan’s landmarks. Tickets for a one-way ride cost 15JD.
Unlike other routes, JETT buses have only one daily service to and from Wadi Rum. The Aqaba-Wadi Rum service departs at 8:00 am, and the Wadi Rum- Aqaba leaves at 6:30 pm.
Aqaba to Wadi Rum Taxi Options
Taking a taxi from Aqaba to Wadi Rum is one of the cheapest alternatives for travelers on a budget. A taxi from the center of Aqaba will usually cost around 20JD (28.25USD) one way. Taxis can take up to four people, so if you’re traveling in a group it is the most convenient choice.
Visitors can ask their hotels to book an Aqaba to Wadi Rum taxi in advance or simply go out and hail one off the street. If you’re visiting Wadi Rum for the day, I would recommend you arrange a round trip with the taxi driver. This way you avoid worrying about how you’ll get back to Aqaba.
One last piece of advice, make sure you negotiate the fare before you get in the cab and start your journey to Wadi Rum. You’ll avoid unpleasant surprises and enjoy a smooth ride.
Car Rental for Visiting Wadi Rum
Many travelers prefer to stay away from driving on foreign roads. However, since Aqaba and Wadi Rum are so close to each other, driving is an alternative worth considering.
Driving in South Jordan doesn’t pose many difficulties. Like I said before, Aqaba is a small town, and traffic isn’t as hectic as in Amman. Moreover, the main roads in Jordan are in excellent condition.
Wadi Rum is on the Desert Highway, Jordan’s main road. It is well-signposted in English, so you can’t get lost. If the road is bad or the sign is only in Arabic, you can be pretty sure it’s a road you shouldn’t be on!
On average, renting a car with air conditioning and insurance costs around 25-30JD (35-40 USD) per day – Kayak is a good website to browse car rental options.
Private Driver from Aqaba to Wadi Rum
If haggling or driving isn’t your thing, private drivers are always available to take you to Wadi Rum.
Private transfers from Aqaba to Wadi Rum costs starting from $105 one-way per vehicle. The main advantage of private transfers is that, like tours, you know what to expect. Operators will make sure to organize your itinerary in advance and communicate each step to you.
It’s also easier to communicate your needs. Most drivers speak fluent English and are open to small changes, like stopping for pictures or souvenirs along the way.
The Best Way from Aqaba to Wadi Rum
Now that we’ve examined all transport alternatives, it’s time to decide what’s the best one to organize your Aqaba to Wadi Rum day trip. Depending on your needs and budget, car rental, private drivers, and tours are the best ways to go from Aqaba to Wadi Rum.
If you’re traveling on a budget, driving is by far the most convenient option. It’s cheap, it’s easy, plus it gives you more freedom to organize your trip as you see fit.
If you’re traveling with kids or older adults, private transfers are the way to go. Yes, they’ll be more expensive, but you make sure you get to your destination hassle-free. Private transfers also offer more flexibility in terms of stops.
Last but not least, tours are the best option if you want to have everything planned for you. From pickup and lunch to activities, tour packages have devised a whole itinerary to ensure you make the most of your visit to Wadi Rum. You can find pretty good deals if you look in advance, too.
Have any other questions about traveling from Aqaba to Wadi Rum? Let me know in the comments!