Day 1: Jerusalem – Jerash – Amman – Petra (L, D)Meet your guide in the early morning in central Jerusalem. Board your comfortable, air-conditioned minivan and enjoy the stunning landscapes of the Jordan Valley as you travel to the Sheikh Hussein Bridge Israel–Jordan border crossing.
Cross into Jordan and drive through the country's dusty northern terrain past Ajloun Castle (Qala'At Ar-Rabad), a 12th-century citadel built by Saladin’s army to defend the land from the Franks and Crusaders. Admire the views of this semi-crumbled fortress and continue to Jerash to visit its incredible ancient remains. Lying in a fertile valley, this archaeological site was once one of the wealthiest Decapolis cities of the Roman Empire. Amble around the well-preserved Roman ruins that include colonnaded streets, mosaics and theaters as your guide reveals how Alexander the Great ruled the city during its heyday.
Travel on to Jordan’s capital of Amman, roughly 1.5 hours away. If you’ve downloaded the complimentary tour app on your smartphone or tablet, perhaps refer to it on the journey to learn about the city’s roots as the ancient Roman settlement of Philadelphia. See the bustling commercial downtown and visit the fascinating Roman, Byzantine and Islamic ruins that make up its impressive hilltop Citadel.
After lunch in a local restaurant, continue toward Petra, the UNESCO-listed rock city. In the evening, arrive at an authentic Bedouin camp near the modern town of Petra. After a typical Bedouin dinner around the campfire, sleep overnight in a comfortable Bedouin tent or opt to stay in a nearby 3-star hotel.
Overnight: Bedouin campsite or Rocky Mountains Hotel, Petra
Day 2: Petra – Jerusalem (B, L) After breakfast, board your minivan and drive to ancient Petra. Carved into a sandstone valley by the Nabataean people some 2,000 years ago, this ancient city is a wonder to behold. Enjoy a guided tour, starting with a walk through the Siq, the 1-mile (1.5 km) rock fissure that acts as its entrance corridor. As you reach the Siq’s final bend, be blown away by your first teasing glimpse of Petra’s showpiece — the majestic Treasury (Al-Khazneh). Admire its rose-pink beauty and perfect Hellenistic symmetry and capture it on camera from every angle.
After taking photos, enjoy a tour of Petra’s other glories. Marvel at the Royal Tombs, Monastery and the city's 3,000-seat theater sculpted into a sheer rock face. As you walk, listen to fascinating insights from your guide about why Petra was built and how the Nabataeans mastered the harsh desert environment to make their lives here.
After your tour and an included packed lunch, bid farewell to Petra in the mid-afternoon and make the return journey to the Israel-Jordan border. Cross into Israel at the Allenby Bridge border point and head for Jerusalem where your tour ends at the original start point at around 9pm.