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A visit to Jordan is often passed over because of the Middle East conflict especially after the Arab Spring. Or a visit may be only a cruise ship land excursion taking a long tour bus ride from the port of Aqaba to Petra to view one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World.
Jordan’s rich history from ancient times and its extremely varied geology and geography is worthy of a full week tour going from its verdant north to the desert south and from the tall mountains to the lowest elevation on earth, the Dead Seas.
Jordan Select’s classic 8 day tour gave us an excellent understanding of the country which is the size of the state of Maine. We saw Greek and Roman ruins in Jerash, olive trees and farm land in the north, then the Dead Sea area’s historical biblical sites, then to the historic and archeologic city of Petra, then to Wadi Rum, the fascinating desert we recalled in movies such as Lawrence of Arabia and recently the Martians and at the end the seaport city of Aqaba.
Our tour was a private tour which included a private driver and car with internet access, local tour guides and per our request 5 star international hotels. As we experienced elsewhere in the world the cost of a private tour on a daily basis was less than a group tour and more custom to our interests and timetable.
Most group travel tourists only meet the local people in passing. Recognizing the problem group tour operators are adding visits to local homes or schools.
In comparison, with a private tour with a private driver, you are spending a lot of time with the driver and gives you an opportunity to know a Jordanian. If he is open, engaging and enjoyable to talk with like Ibrahim Smadi, our designated Jordan Select driver, you can learn a lot of the life of Jordanians, their aspiration and struggles and some socio-political insights, which you cannot learn from a Lonely Planet guidebook. You can ask questions that are difficult to ask in a large tour group.
Licensed local guides are useful with providing information about what you are seeing but too often they are like a walking tape recorded message giving the same information to everybody. We learned and remember so much more about contemporary Jordan from Ibrahim and will probably forget over time what I learned about the Umayyad period in Jordan.
We highly recommend Jordan Select’s classic itinerary and very much appreciate the services of their driver, Ibrahim Smadi.