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Aqaba

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Jordan : Southern Desert : Aqaba
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Aqaba (العقبة al-ʿAqabah) is the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan's only port city, located on the Gulf of Aqaba at the southernmost extremity of the kingdom.

Understand

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.

Get in

By boat

Ferries run regularly from Aqaba across to Nuweiba on Egypt's Sinai peninsula, bypassing Israel and the sometimes complicated border arrangements.

By bus or car

The Desert Highway terminates in Aqaba. There are frequent buses to Amman and other points along the highway.

The Israeli border at Arava (for Eilat) is only a short hop away. The Saudi Arabian checkpoint is also visible on a clear day, but visitors without a visa can only look.

Get around

See

  • Aqaba Fort. Originally dating to the 14th century, although the present structure was built by the Mamluke sultan Qansawh el-Ghawri (1501-1516) and has been revised many times since then.

Do

  • Scuba diving is the most popular sport. Aqaba Gulf Divers (formerly Arab Divers), 3/5 Ma`an Street, though it can be reached off of Corniche Street, phone 03 2031808, is a very professional operator with fairly new equipment and decent prices. Introductory dives, for those who've never gone before, can be arranged for JD25. A similar refresher dive, for those of us certified but out of practice, is JD30.
  • Internet Cafes are everywhere, but most charge an unreasonable JD2/hour. The Red Sea Internet Cafe has surprisingly fast connections and charges only a half dinar per hour.

Buy

Eat

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 neigborhood. They serve exquisite fare(mostly seafood fresh from the sea)for prices that are reasonable by Western standards. Service is fast and courteous.

Drink

Sleep

Dweik Hotel (1) has small rooms, but bathrooms are in good condition. Some rooms have TV, with access to satellite channels, but you do have to get the front desk to tune the satellite for you. JD20/night

Get out

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.

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