Difference between revisions of "Aqaba"
Revision as of 15:24, 23 January 2009
Aqaba is Jordan's window on the Red Sea. Historically the same city as Eilat on the Israeli side of the border, plans for a shared international airport and other forms of cooperation have cooled down in the past few years during a period of political tension.
Ferries run regularly from Aqaba across to Nuweiba on Egypt's Sinai peninsula, bypassing Israel and the sometimes complicated border arrangements. Generally there is no visa fee for entering Jordan through Aqaba since it is a part of the free trade zone.
There are two ferries that leave Aqaba for Nuweiba, Egypt. The first is the slow ferry (US$50, about 3 hours). Departure is generally in the evening (anywhere from 5pm to midnight). Expect delays. There is a company office in Aqaba town center that sells the ticket. Immigration procedures for Eqypt are initiated on the boat and completed by paying the US$15 visa fee on arrival at Nuweiba (and then finding the immigration counter to get your passport back).
The second ferry is the fast catamaran (US$70, about 1 hour). Departure is generally at midday except on Saturday when it does not run.
By bus or car
The Desert Highway terminates in Aqaba. There are frequent buses to Amman and other points along the highway. Fare is currently 7 JD each way.
Royal Jordanian operates 2 daily flights between Amman and Aqaba, one in the morning and one in the evening. Duration of the flight is apprx. 1 hour and costs 20 JD + tax one-way. (Price updated: 14 May 2008.)
The King Hussein International Airport is located north of Aqaba, in around a 20-minutes drive.
The minibus rental with driver from Petra costs 45 JD and it takes about 2 hours to get from Petra to Aqaba.
Taxi are fairly available in the city. A ride with in town should cost no more than 2JD. A ride outside town (to a beach near by or to any border crossings) costs around 5 JD.
While taxis are yellow all around Jordan, early 2008 Aqaba taxis have been painted green and blue: the logo colours of Aqaba Special Economic Zone (ASEZ.
By local buses
Local minibuses connect the residential areas with the downtown. The fare is 17 Piasters (170 Fils or 0.17 JD) regardless of the length of the journey. Passengers can get on and off at any point of the route. The central bus station is located in front of the Police station.
One of the finest, if not the finest restaurant in town is The Royal Yacht Club. It is situated next to the water in an upscale neighborhood. They serve exquisite fare(mostly seafood fresh from the sea)for prices that are reasonable by Western standards. Service is fast and courteous.
In the center of the city one can find very good hummus, Falafel and Showarma (lamb meat in pita bread) places in many local restaurants. Prices starts form 1.5JD for a Showarma dish.
Aqaba is relatively close to both Wadi Rum and Petra. Public buses go to both. Alternatively, there are a lot of tour companies around town who would happily arrange excursions, in particular to Wadi Rum.