Maybe I’m stating the obvious here, but I think it’s safe to say that Petra is one of the most visited places – and most desired places to visit – in Jordan. Everyone wants to visit Petra at least once, and after that first trip, many people wish to return. I know I’m one of them: I can’t wait for my return trip to Petra on my next trip to Jordan.
While most international travelers enter and exit Jordan through Amman, you might find yourself in Aqaba on Jordan’s southern coast of the Red Sea. Whether you have one day in Petra or are just starting your tour of Jordan or the Middle East, it’s important to understand your options for reaching Petra from Aqaba. One easy way to do this is by taking Petra tours from Aqaba.
There are a number of tour operators who offer tours to Petra from Aqaba; most offer a day or overnight tour option to make it easier for travelers based in Aqaba to see this world wonder even if they’re short on time. Below you’ll find some of the best Petra tours from Aqaba, offered through a number of tour operators and booking platforms. Review each one and you’ll surely find one that works perfectly in your Jordan itinerary.
This post was originally published in March 2022, and was updated most recently in October 2023.
Petra One-Day Tour from Aqaba
This Petra one-day excursion is one of the top Petra tours from Aqaba in terms of time and services included.
The tour lasts nine hours (most last 7 to 8 hours), and includes hotel pick-up service and a traditional lunch at a local restaurant. That extra hour means you get three complete hours to explore the Nabataean Kingdom. In your visit, you’ll see Petra’s main sights, including the Roman theater, temples, and the Treasure– all in the company of an English-speaking guide who’s well-versed in Petra’s 2,000 years of history.
After exploring Petra, your guide will take you to the gift shop and then make a stop for lunch at a local restaurant specializing in Jordan’s cuisine. You’ll return to Aqaba at around 7:00pm. The tour also includes pickup and drop-off from Aqaba, plus the 1-day entrance ticket.
Private Petra Day Tour from Aqaba
When you have only one day in the Red Rose City, some travelers prefer to book private tours from Aqaba to Petra instead of group ones to have more freedom managing their time at the historic site. This private Petra day tour takes eight hours; a private guide will pick you up at your hotel and embark on the two-hour drive to Petra via Kings Highway. He’ll also make a short stop along the way for you to take pictures of the Petra mountain and Arab desert.
Once in Petra, your tour guide will show you the site’s highlights. The tour starts at the Siq, the impressive natural gorge, and finishes in the Colonnaded Street, what used to be the commercial hub of ancient Petra. Then, he’ll give you free time to explore in more detail the things that have caught your attention before heading back to the visitor center. Your driver will take you to a restaurant to indulge in Jordanian delicacies to conclude the tour.
NB: make sure you check that they offer pick-up services for your specific hotel.
Private Petra & Little Petra Day Trip from Aqaba
If you’d like to take it a step further and explore Petra beyond its landmarks, you’ll love this private Petra & Little Petra day tour. When it comes to Petra tours from Aqaba, most companies split the tour itinerary between Wadi Rum and Petra. However, this tour takes a different route and invites you to discover Little Petra.
After the classic visit to Petra, your driver will take you to Little Petra, a small suburb that archaeologists believe acted as a refuge for the caravans traveling through the Silk Road. The tour takes eight hours and, unlike others on the list, it doesn’t include lunch unless you ask your driver specifically.
One-Day Guided Petra Tour from Aqaba
Check out this fun guided Petra tour for yet another private tour alternative; this one does require a minimum of six passengers though, so it’s great if you’re traveling with a family or group.
The best about this tour is the flexibility. You can ask your driver to pick you up from a hotel or Aqaba’s port. Also, you can set the departure time as early as 7 a.m., so you get to the site well before people-loaded buses arrive. Regarding the itinerary, a driver will pick you and your friends up at the hotel and hit the road to Petra.
Once at the historic site, your driver hands you over to another local guide who’ll show you around the Red Rose City for two hours. You’ll have plenty of time to take pictures while hearing the history of each particular area. Before going back to your hotel, your driver will stop for lunch at a local restaurant inside Petra.
Private Petra Shore Excursion with Lunch
If you happen to be a lucky traveler aboard a Middle-Eastern cruise, chances are your ship will dock in Aqaba, allowing you to take a short trip to Petra.
In this private Petra shore excursion, your driver will meet you at the dock and drive you to Petra, stopping partway at a store that sells goods made by local women. At Petra, you’ll meet your local guide, who’ll share interesting history bites of the Nabateans and show you Petra’s iconic sights. Back at the visitor center, your driver will be ready to take you to a local restaurant for a buffet lunch. Then, he will get you back on time to board your ship and sail to the next destination.
A piece of advice, if you have the choice, take something to eat for lunch and skip the buffet – it will give you at least another hour in Petra.
Jordan Horizons Tours: Petra Shore Excursion from Aqaba
Jordan Horizons also offers a Petra shore excursion from Aqaba. They offer private and group tours for travelers with a short stay in the port city.
This agency’s staff is extra accommodating, with Andrea, your trip coordinator, organizing the excursion according to your cruise’s arrival and departure times and any other requests you may have.
The tour follows the same itinerary as most tours from Petra to Aqaba. A driver and a guide will pick you up at Aqaba Port and travel to Petra. Once you arrive in Petra, you’ll only cover the very basic sights. You can take a short horse ride through the Siq or walk and marvel at the Treasury. On the way back, you’ll stop at a local restaurant for lunch with delicious Middle Eastern dishes.
One Day in Petra by Tours by Locals
This one-day Petra tour is completely different from other Petra tours from Aqaba I’ve listed in the article. This tour offers the number-one advantage we all want when visiting a new place: a tour guide that’s a native to the area.
Mahmoud, your guide, is lucky enough to call Petra his hometown. He’s well aware of the gorgeous surroundings and loves sharing them with travelers who come for the first (or second) time. His tours are famous for being laid-back and friendly – pretty much like a friend who shows you around the city where they live. The tour lasts ten hours, where Mahmoud weaves Petra’s history, culture, food, and landscape. You’ll leave with a unique perspective on Petra and certainly an authentic view of the place.
The tour has numerous meeting points, so you can coordinate to find one that’s convenient for where you’re staying Aqaba.
One Day Petra From Aqaba
If you want to keep things simple, this Petra tour is for you. The tour can last anywhere from 7 to 9 hours.
It’s perfect if you want more freedom to explore the Nabatean Kingdom – the tour simply picks you up, takes you to Petra, and then drops you off at your hotel in Aqaba. The tour allocates three hours to see Petra. Since there’s no guide included, you’ll be able to manage your itinerary as you see fit and spend as much time as you want in the different places.
Like other tours, you’ll get to recharge your energies with an open buffet lunch (one hour).
Private Day Tour to Petra
This ten-hour tour is one of the most complete ones to visit Petra. As basics, it includes a private a/c vehicle with an English-speaking driver, pick-up and drop-off services from your hotel in Aqaba, a visit to the Petra Museum, and lunch.
They also offer these extra services: you can add the entrance fees to Petra Archeological sites and a local English-speaking spot guide in Petra for 2 hours. But the real differentiator is that they offer pick-up and drop-off services from Aqaba Cruise Port and Airport.
As for the tour inside Petra, you’ll do the classic tour: The Treasury, the Street of Facades, the Royal Tombs, the Roman ruins, and the Qasr El-Bint. After completing the trail, your tour guide will give you free time to discover Petra on your own. Oh, and the tour also sets apart 1 hour so you can visit Little Petra!
Now that you know your options, all that’s left to do is read reviews, check availability, and decide which Petra tour from Aqaba you want to do. Have any questions about these various tours from Aqaba to Petra? Let me know in the comments below!