Petra, the fabled "rose red city, half as old as time", is a well known ancient Nabataean city in the south of Jordan. Due to its breathtaking grandeur and fabulous ruins, Petra was recognized as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1985.
Petra was the impressive capital of the Nabataean kingdom from around the 6th century BC. The kingdom was absorbed into the Roman Empire in AD 106 and the Romans continued to expand the city. An important center for trade and commerce, Petra continued to flourish until a catastrophic earthquake destroyed buildings and crippled vital water management systems around AD 663. After Saladin's conquest of the Middle East in 1189, Petra was abandoned and the memory of it was lost to the West.
The ruins remained hidden to most of the world until the Swiss explorer, Johann Ludwig Burckhardt, disguised as an Arab scholar, infiltrated the Bedouin-occupied city in 1812. Burckhardt's accounts of his travels inspired other Western explorers and historians to discover the ancient city further. The most famous of these was David Roberts, a Scottish artist who created a number of accurate and detailed illustrations of the city in 1839.
The first real excavations of the site were in 1929 after the forming of Trans-Jordan. Since that time, Petra has become by far Jordan's largest tourist attraction, partially due to the exposure by the Steven Spielberg movie, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, in 1989. Due to the fantastic engineering accomplishments and well-preserved dimension of Petra, the archaeological site was chosen in July 2007 as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World .
Entry Ticket to Petra costs 90 JD (=127 USD) for Day-Visitors. Tourists (overnight and cruise visitors) pay 50 JD (=70 USD) for 1 day, 55 JD for 2 days or 60 JD for 3 days. Students have to pay the full price.
Exit fee from Israel is 103 NIS (Feb 2012). Eilat Border Info (Arava Crossing) Exit fee from Jordan is 8 JD (Dec 2011). Border open most days 8AM - 8PM.
JETT buses, both ordinary and all-inclusive guided tour, connect to Amman and Aqaba via the fast (but boring) Desert Highway. Other tourists come with organized groups, including daily trips from Eilat. Tours to Petra from Taba, Sinai and Sharm el Sheikh are also gaining popularity with charter tourism.
It would cost 24 JD for two persons to travel by JETT bus, and allow you to see almost the entire site in an (exhausting) day trip.
Public minibus from Wadi Musa (Petra) to Ma'an is 0.55 JD and from there to Aqaba 1.50 JD (April 2012). The main route from Wadi Musa to Aqaba is overpriced for tourists! The same for the route from Amman to Wadi Musa. With the stop over in Ma'an you should be able to pay the normal price for the public minibus.
The minibus from Wadi Rum costs 5 JD. It takes 1.5 hours to get to Petra. Have the Rum Guesthouse or your tour operator call the bus owner the day before to arrange an exact time for pick up. The bus usually leaves from Wadi Rum at 8:30 in the morning, but may be delayed due to weather or tour groups coming the other way.
There are also minibuses from Amman departing from the Wihdat bus station - these leave when full, and tourists are charged 5 JD to get on. Do not allow the drivers to charge you for your luggage, as they might sometimes try to do. The ride is about three hours.
There is a minibus going from Aqaba, for those that cross from Eilat and don't want to pay the outrageous taxi fare. The problem is, there's no timetable - it leaves early in the morning (6:45) from Wadi Musa towards Aqaba, then returns from Aqaba when it fills up etc. The trip was 5 JD (Dec 2011).
Taxi is also a viable option. For 75 JD or less (depending on how much you haggle) you may be able to get a private taxi from Amman to Petra and back, including the driver waiting around for 6 hours.
A taxi from Aqaba to Petra should cost about JD 30 one-way. In January 2010 a day trip to Petra and back from Aqaba was 45 JD.
If you get there renting a minibus with a driver in the hotel at the Dead Sea, the one-way price would be 140 JD.
Aqaba/Eilat Border Taxi Mafia
There is a problematic man running the border taxi service, which has been likened to the "Mafia", just outside the customs gate. As soon as you see him, he will let you know that sharing a taxi is not allowed (three men were forced to take three separate taxis in Dec 2011). If you want to share a taxi, you must form your group before exiting the customs area and insist that you are all part of the same group.
Fares from this monopoly run upwards of 100 JOD. You may be able to negotiate down to 75 JOD, even 50 JOD. It may be better to take one expensive cab to central Aqaba and continue from there at the normal price. Do not mention Petra in front of this man, or they may deliberately drop you somewhere their colleagues are waiting. Say you are going to a hotel.
In January 2010 a day trip to Petra and back by taxi from the Eilat border crossing cost 50 JOD return for 3 people.
Also, if he sees you call your hotel or any other car to come and pick you up, they may be stopped and forced to go back to Aqaba. The man has said, "we will close their hotel" and "we will take their driving license". To try to avoid this, call your hotel or private car while still in the customs area, before being seen by the taxi man.
For those trying to walk the 500 meters to the main road, the taxi mafia has connections with the military personnel and may have you brought back.
The only modes of transport allowed within Petra are on two feet or four (camel, donkey, or horse). When entering Petra, there is a brief hike down towards the Siq. Horses will be available for travel to the entrance of the Siq, or you can choose to take a horse-drawn buggy through the Siq (a distance of about 0.9 kilometers) and down to the Treasury. The prices for such rides are not set and are extremely negotiable, depending on one's bargaining abilities.
Once you arrive at the Treasury and throughout Peta, there will be many camel and donkey owners jockeying for your business. Be prepared to do some bargaining and don't pay more than 10 JD, a more reasonable price is around 3 JD a person. Often there are times when the owner will drop his price in half simply by hearing a few phrases in Arabic.
Camel or donkey transport should be seriously considered. Riding a camel is a unique experience on more level ground, but a donkey is recommended for more ambitious climbs, such as the ones to the High Place or the Monastery. However if you are reasonably fit and the weather is good, the walk is quite nice.
Between your hotel and Petra entrance, you can either walk or take a taxi for 1-2jd. Most hotels have free shuttle to the entrance on fixed schedules.
A good idea is to stock up on high quality batteries for your digital camera, before you enter the site. You will need more photos than you think, and local batteries will often not last many minutes.
Guides can be hired from about 50 JD and up (depending on what you want to see) at the Visitors Center. Many of them were born and raised in Petra, and will gladly share their knowledge with you. You could hire the Bedouin licensed guide " Samer Twaissi - email : [email protected] , cell : 00962 77 909 52 53" he is the expert in this area.Alternatively, major hotels can rent you a portable Easyguide  audio guide (JD 10/day) for commentary in English, Arabic, French and Spanish. Easyguide is also available as a mobile phone service on all Jordanian mobile phone networks, a map  is needed to use this service.
For the terminally energetic, there are a number of popular hikes around Petra.
Most hikes last about 2-3 hours both way.
Eat & Drink
There is only one restaurant in all Petra at the far end of the Roman Highway, which does a roaring trade despite steep pricing. It also has the valley's monopoly on beer.
For just snacks and hot & cold drinks however, there are a number of small stores and vendors scattered throughout Petra.
Shade is sparse in Petra, and on a hot summer day you can expect to go through at least 4 liters of water (and more if you can afford to carry it). The need for water in the winter months is much less. 1.5 liter bottles cost 0.5 JD.
In Wadi Musa, there are many more eating options.