Tour type: Small Group
Group size: Min: 2 | Max: 14
Accommodation: 3 to 4-star hotels, guesthouse, monastery, bedouin camp
Transport: A/C car/minibus/coach
Highlights: Beirut, Beiteddine, Tyre, Sidon, Baalbek, Ksara wine tasting, Cedar Forest, Qadisha Valley, Baatara Gorge & Waterfall, Byblos, Jeita Grotto, Harissa cable car, Petra, Wadi Rum, Desert Castles, Dead Sea, Kerak Castle, Kings Highway
Spend the first 7 days of this tour exploring Lebanon, located on the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea. Though small, Lebanon is rich with history, culture and was the site of some of the world's oldest human settlements.
On this tour, you will visit the great Phoenician cities of Tyre and Sidon. You will see Byblos, the oldest continually inhabited city in the world, and the City of the Sun, the most well-preserved temple complex in the Middle East.
This Lebanon tour is also perfect for lovers of nature and scenery. You will see several natural phenomena, including the Ksara Caves, Rock of Raouche, the Baatara Gorge Waterfall, and the Jeita Grotto. You will visit the birthplace of the renowned poet Khalil Gibran and see the famous Lebanon cedar trees, mentioned in the Old Testament.In Jordan we start by heading out of Amman to discover some of Jordan's famous Umayyad 'Desert Castles', situated amidst the sands on ancient trading routes. We'll also explore Downtown Amman on foot, enjoying a tasty lunch of falafel and hummus in a local restaurant and picking up some Arabic tips from our guide. Next we head north to the amazing Roman site of Jerash, one of the very best preserved in the whole of the Middle East. An afternoon hike through the forests near Ajloun Castle to see some Bronze Age Dolmens follows, before we spend the night in a simple but comfortable local homestay, eating and chatting with the family.
The Roman mosaics at Madaba are next, and the amazing views towards Jericho and Israel from Mt. Nebo follow, as we descend towards the Dead Sea for a night in a 4-star resort and a swim, or float in the amazing salty waters. From the Dead Sea our next short hike takes us around the restored Dana Village in the Dana Biosphere Reserve, Jordan's largest nature reserve. A visit to the Crusader Castle at Shobak then follows before we explore Jordan's main highlight, the amazing lost city of Petra. We have time for a guided tour here, as well as free time to hike up to the Monastery and High Place of Sacrifice for some amazing views. Finally we head to the beautiful desert scenery of Wadi Rum where we'll spend the night in a comfortable Bedouin camp against the towering cliffs. The next morning we take a jeep safari through the sand dunes and past amazing rock bridges before spending some time with a local Bedouin shepherd, learning about their nomadic way of life and how they look after their animals in the desert. After a tasty lunch in the desert, we head back north to Amman for a final evening in a coffee shop, perhaps enjoying a sheesha and game of backgammon while looking back over our time in this amazing country.
Your tour starts with your arrival at Beirut International Airport. Our representative will meet you, and you will be transferred to your hotel. Overnight in Beirut.
We leave Beirut after breakfast and today's first destination is Barouk Cedar Nature Reserve, also known as the Al Shouf Cedar Nature Reserve. It is the largest nature reserve in Lebanon and is rich in biodiversity, with 500 species of plants and 32 species of wild mammals calling this sanctuary home. The most famous of course are remnants of Lebanon's ancient cedar forests, mentioned in the Bible. Barouk Cedar Nature Reserve also contains several important archaeological and architectural sites and is classified as an Important Bird Area (IBA), with 200 species.
Next, we drive to the Chouf Mountains to visit the village of Deir al Qamar, its name meaning "Monastery of the Moon". The village is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and was the capital of Lebanon during the 17th century. It is quaint and charming, with stone houses and winding roads.
We then continue onto the beautiful Beiteddine Palace. The palace, constructed in the 19th century by Emir Bashir, is exceptionally well-preserved and is a testament to the opulence of the time.
The remainder of the day is spent touring Beirut, Lebanon's capital and largest city. It is one of the oldest cities in the world, and has had a turbulent history, both ancient and modern. This is evident in the contrast of modern buildings seen alongside small old houses and historical architecture, some still displaying bullet holes and damage from the civil war in the 1970s. Highlights visited include the Beirut Souks, the Corniche, and the downtown region. We will also see the Pigeon Grotto, or the Rock of Raouché, a famous natural formation rising out of the sea.
Today we tour the south of Lebanon. We begin by visiting Tyre, also known as Sour in Arabic. It is more than 4,000 years old and was a great ancient Phoenician city. Tyre is filled with important historical landmarks and is currently a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Our next destination is Sidon, or Saida, also an ancient Phoenician city, possibly the oldest. The city became wealthy due its excellent production of glass, as well as a purple dye extracted from murex, a type of shellfish. It is now a fast-growing city, and important both administratively and commercially.
In Saida, we will visit the Crusader Sea Castle, the great Mosque, Khan el Franj, and other interesting sites. You will also get the chance to stroll through the old souks. Overnight in Beirut.
Today we head to Baalbek, a definite highlight of any visit to Lebanon. Called "Heliopolis" or "City of the Sun" by the Romans and Greeks, it is home to a famous temple complex that is superbly well-preserved. This complex, which is one of the finest examples of Roman architecture at its peak, was built as a sanctuary dedicated to worshipping the Heliopolitan triad of god- Jupiter, Venus, and Mercury.
Pilgrims would flock to the temple in their thousands in order to venerate the triad. Still largely intact, the temple has outstanding artistic and historical value.
We then visit the Umayyad city of Anjar, located in the Bekaa Valley. Founded in the 8th century by Caliph Walid, it provides evidence of excellent town-planning and features mosques, palaces, and baths. It also features 600 shops, indicating that it was an important commercial centre.
The last stop of the day is at Ksara Caves, where we find the oldest winery in Lebanon. It was founded in 1857 by Jesuit priests. The caves are approximately two miles long and were used as cellars to stores the wines. We enjoy a guided tour of the caves and the winery, where you can sample some of the finest wine in Lebanon.
Today, we head to The Cedars Ski Resort, found in the north of Lebanon, famous for skiing and snowboarding. The area known as the Cedars of God is found nearby, and contains the last remaining groves of the cedar forests that once thrived in the region. The cedar trees of Lebanon- Cedrus Libani- are famous- they are mentioned in the Old Testament and are the national symbol of the country.
We drive to the nearby village of Becharre, the birthplace of the iconic novelist and poet of Lebanon, Kahlil Gibran. The village contains a museum dedicated to him, featuring his paintings and manuscripts.
During the afternoon, we visit Qadisha Valley, another UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is known as the Holy Valley, and the Holy River, Nahr Qadisha, flows through it. Many caves are found along its steep cliffs, used as shelters and burial sites in ancient times. We spend the night in the Monastery of St. Anthony, in a separate building with simple but comfortable en-suite accommodation.
Mar Antonios Kozhaya Monastery
Those interested may rise early this morning to join morning prayers with the monks of the monastery. Later after breakfast, we visit the unique Baatara Gorge sinkhole, where during the winter and especially rainy periods a 255-metre waterfall cascades into an enormous cavern known as the Baatara Pothole. The cave is also called the Cave of the Three Bridges, for the three natural stone arches over which the waterfall drops. This is a spectacular natural phenomenon and we have time for a short hike here, and can also explore nearby Douma Village. A traditional Lebanese lunch is included today.
We finish the day in the beautiful coastal town of Byblos and can spend a pleasant evening exploring the old streets around the harbour which are busy with cafes and restaurants.
Today we start by touring Byblos, another ancient Phoenician city that has been inhabited since 5000 BC. It is known locally as Jbeil and is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Byblos is filled with significant historical and archaeological sites, and also features a lovely Phoenician harbour.
Next, we visit Harissa, famous for containing an important Christian shrine dedicated to the Virgin Mary, known as Our Lady of Lebanon. We take a cable car to the top of the Basilica, from where we can enjoy a spectacular view of the Bay of Jounieh.
We then experience a thrilling visit to the spectacular Jeita Grotto. Here a system of limestone caves spans a distance of almost 9 kilometres, and contains one of the largest collections of stalactites and stalagmites in the world. It is a symbol of the country and was a finalist in the New 7 Wonders of Nature competition.
We transfer you to Beirut airport today to board your flight to Jordan's busy capital of Amman (not included). Once you arrive in Amman, one of our staff will be there to meet you before taking you to your hotel. We'll have some time to settle in before being introduced to the local area and we'll also arrange tomorrow's collection time.
Your first full day of our Jordan tour starts after breakfast, as we make our way to Jordan's famous 'desert castles', before we head out on a city tour of its capital - Amman.
Jordan's desert castles are located on the old trade routes created during the Umayyad era and still house some of its ancient remnants including frescoes, bath houses and wells - giving us great insight into how they were built during the 7th and 8th centuries. We'll explore the desert castles of Qasr al-Kharrana, Qal'at al-Azraq and Qseirr Amra before we head back to Amman for lunch at a local eatery, with falafel and hummus on the menu.
After lunch, we'll explore downtown Amman on foot, visiting the impressive Amphitheatre, the Jordan Folklore Museum as well as the Citadel. We'll also visit some of Amman's busy markets, tasting Knafeh - a tasty sweet - while our guide teaches us some basic Arabic greetings and phrases to use during our Jordan tour.
If there's time left, we may visit a few traditional handcraft and art galleries, before we return to our hotel in Amman.
Leaving Amman this morning, we head north to the ancient city of Jerash - known for being one of the largest and well-preserved Greco-Roman cities outside of Europe. Once we arrive in Jerash, we'll visit the Forum, explore its Roman colonnaded streets, the Nymphaeum and the Temple of Artemis - built on one of the highest points in the city.
From Jerash, we'll make our way to Aljoun Castle, built by the Ayyubids in the 12th century and extended by the Mamluks in the 13th. It also served as the base for Saladin's Arab forces when he defeated the Crusaders in the 12th century. The countryside of the Ajloun Forest Reserve around the castle is picturesque and green and a popular place for avid hikers, with its hills, mountains and forests just waiting to be explored.
After a visit to Aljoun Castle, we head to the village of Rasoun to meet our homestay hosts for the night. After settling in and being shown through the village, we'll walk through hills covered with scrub and forest to see some Bronze Age Dolmens - which are megalithic tombs formed by placing a huge stone slab atop two or more standing stones.
We'll return to our homestay in Rasoun this evening, where we'll be treated to a home-cooked traditional Arabic meal which will be prepared by our host Jordanian family, and we spend the evening chatting with them about life in Jordan.
After a splendid night with the Jordanian family, we say goodbye after a shared breakfast and head south to Madaba, where we'll marvel at the Byzantine mosaics and the 'Madaba Map' - which is the oldest preserved map of the Holy Land. From Madaba, we'll make our way to Mount Nebo, the place where the prophet Moses looked across the Promised Land and is also his burial place. On a clear day, which is most of the time, you get great views towards Jericho and beyond from here.
After a tasty lunch, we'll make our way down to our resort right on the banks of the Dead Sea, where you have some free time to swim - or rather float - in its incredibly salty waters and to relax by the hotel pool. Don't forget a newspaper or magazine for your iconic Dead Sea photo!
Dead Sea Spa Resort
Today, we'll make our way down the Dead Sea coastline, passing lots of deep canyons and gorges as they meet the sea. After we pass some salt flats at the southern end of the Dead Sea we head up through the mountains towards Petra, stopping for a short walk in the beautiful scenery and hills of the Dana Biosphere Reserve along the way. This is Jordan's largest nature reserve, and there are great views of the valleys and hills on the various trails around the restored Dana village. Spring is a particularly lovely time to visit with the terrain surprisingly green and full of flowers. We'll stop for lunch and take a walk before continuing to the imposing crusader castle at Shobak, finally arriving at Petra in the evening.
You have the option for a spectacular and atmospheric introduction to Petra tonight, with the Petra by Night tour. Here you walk through the Siq to the Treasury, the whole way being atmospherically lit up by hundreds of candles.
We start our exploration of the Rose Red city of Petra, now one of the Modern 7 Wonders of the World, with a walk through the winding Siq to the magnificent Treasury.
Our guide will explain the fascinating history of the site and the Nabatean people who built it, and we'll explore several caves and tombs. You'll then have time to explore further, perhaps hiking up to the huge Monastery, carved out of the cliffs overlooking the Jordan Valley, or walking up to the High Place of Sacrifice.
Late in the afternoon, we head into the spectacular desert scenery of Wadi Rum for a night under the stars enjoying the hospitality of the Bedouins. We stay in a comfortable camp with a great remote location between the sand dunes and the rocky cliffs, well away from the road and traffic.
You can sleep in your traditional goat hair tent, with a proper bed and all bedding provided, or take a sleeping bag and find a secluded location to sleep outside under the stars.
Wadi Rum Bedouin Camp
After breakfast in the camp, we take a jeep safari through the sands and beneath the towering 'jebels' of Wadi Rum, stopping to climb sand dunes and to see some of the strange rock formations, including a spectacular rock bridge.
We'll also do some local activities inspired from the Bedouin traditions, walking with a local shepherd with his sheep and goats to a Bedouin tent where we'll participate in making lunch.
We can also join in and learn about other traditional Bedouin activities such as shearing the sheep & goats' hair, milking, grinding grains, making bread and roasting coffee until our lunch is ready. Finally, after really getting a feel for nomadic Bedouin life, we return by jeep to our camp and then drive north on the Desert Highway back to Amman. If you would like to add a few days to your tour and spend some time by the Red Sea, then an extension to Aqaba is available after you finish in Wadi Rum.
This evening we'll walk out to a coffee shop or cafe near our hotel in Downtown Amman to enjoy a shisha, a game of backgammon and to reminisce on our Jordan tour.
Your time is free in Amman today until we pick you up from your hotel and transfer you to the airport for your departure. Further sightseeing tours are available today if you have a late afternoon or evening flight, including a trip to the Baptism Site at Bethany on the Jordan River. This tour also connects well with several of our Egypt and Israel tours; please contact us for ideas and help with connections.
Extra day in Amman - post-tour
Winter Season adjustments:
During the winter season from December till March, the monastery accommodation at Mar Antonios Kozhaya, and the tours on Days 4-6 may be adjusted subject to the weather conditions (as snow does sometimes close some of the roads). Should this be the case, the itinerary will be adjusted to suit the current conditions. Should any locations/activities be missed, they will be replaced by other tours and activities in Lebanon that are not affected by the winter weather.
This tour has regular small-group departures all year round starting on Saturdays. The tour is also available privately on any other dates. Please contact us for more information and prices.
The hotels and accommodations listed below are the ones we most often on this tour. From time to time we may exchange these for similar properties at the same level. In general, specific hotels cannot be guaranteed on our group tours, but you may select your preferred options if you are booking a tailor-made trip.
The J Hotel & Spa
The J Hotel and Spa is a small and friendly boutique style 4-star hotel with an excellent location just off Hamra Street, the heart of Beirut's culture, shopping and nightlife. A fitness centre and spa treatments are available.
The J Hotel and Spa is a small and friendly boutique style 4-star hotel with an excellent location just off Hamra Street, the heart of Beirut's culture, shopping and nightlife. There is masses to see and do within easy walking distance including a small market, restaurants shops, cafes and bars.
The rooms are not huge but decently appointed, clean and comfortable with a flat screen TV, safety deposit box, desk and en-suite bathroom with a hairdryer and free toiletries. A fitness centre and a selection of spa treatments including massages and a hot tub are also available. WiFi is free.
This rustic B&B hotel is located in the Zahle city centre, within walking distance from the souks. It has several room types, and offers free WiFi. It features a bar, coffee shop, business centre, and garden.
Auberge Braidy is located in the heart of Zahle, surrounded by pubs and restaurants and near to the Zahle souks. It is a former old political house that has been refurbished into a rustic B&B hotel. It features standard, double, and twin rooms. Free WiFi is available in the rooms and public areas, and there is a business centre on site. Facilities include a coffee shop, bar, terrace, and garden, as well as a health club available for use at a partner property.
The Qozhaya Monastery is located in Lebanonâ€™s Qadisha Valley, a World Heritage site. The guesthouse is set apart from the monastery and features simple rooms with en-suite facilities, with charming decor.
The Qozahya Monastery of St. Anthony is found in the Qadisha Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage Site famous for the caves found along its steep sides. There is a guesthouse located at the monastery, which features simple but comfortable accommodation. The rooms are charmingly decorated and have en-suite facilities.
Aleph Boutique Hotel
This boutique hotel overlooks the Mediterranean in the historical city of Byblos. It is located close to the famous Byblos ruins, and has 26 rooms and suites. Free WiFi is available, as well as a range of facilities and services.
Aleph Boutique Hotel is found within the historical city of Byblos, overlooking the Mediterranean, just 5 minutes from the world’s oldest ruins. It has 26 rooms and suites with unique decor, each with TVs, minibars, and hairdryers. There are conference facilities, a rooftop restaurant, beach accessibility, a concierge service, and free WiFi in the lobby and rooms.
Guest House Amman
The Amman Guest House is a comfortable 3-star hotel. The property has a good selection of dining outlets just a short walk from the hotel.
The Amman Guest House is a comfortable 3-star hotel located in central Amman. The property has a good selection of restaurants, cafes and shops just a short walk from the hotel. There are 30 en-suite rooms, all of which feature modern amenities such as Free WiFi, flat screen TVs, bathrooms with rainfall showers and a safety deposit box. The hotel also has an onsite restaurant/coffee shop.
This is a friendly local homestay in Rasoun village near Ajloun Castle. Accommodation is in shared rooms holding up to 4 people. Bathrooms are separate and shared. Overall you can expect a simple but comfortable and very welcoming experience.
This is a friendly local homestay in Rasoun village, near to Ajloun Castle and the RSCN's Ajloun Forest Reserve. Accommodation is in shared rooms holding up to 4 people. There are a number of homes in the village that will accommodate guests, so depending on our final group size we may split across several houses. We will all eat together in one house with the hosts. All beds and bedding are provided. Bathrooms are separate and shared but quite basic. Overall you can expect a simple but comfortable, and very welcoming experience with good food and interesting insights into local village life in rural Jordan. The RSCN's Soap House is also nearby and worth a visit. Here local women use a variety of local natural ingredients, including lavender, geranium, mint and pomegranate, to create high-quality handmade natural olive oil soaps.
Dead Sea Spa Resort
The Dead Sea Spa hotel is a comfortable resort style hotel located on the banks of the Red Sea. Access to the Dead Sea itself is directly from the hotel, with spa treatments and Dead Sea mud to lather yourselves with before swimming also available.
The Dead Sea Spa hotel is a comfortable resort style hotel located on the banks of the Red Sea, around 1 hour's drive from Amman and Amman airport. There are several pools, and the hotel has great direct access into the Dead Sea itself, with the famous Dead Sea mud available on the beach to lather yourself with before swimming (if you wish!). Various treatments are also available in the hotel spa. Meals are generally buffet style with a good selection of different options including several vegetarian options. There are more luxurious 5-star resorts on the Dead Sea, but we feel the Dead Sea Spa hotel provides an very good mid-range option, ideal for short stays.
La Maison is a comfortable, mid-range hotel in Petra with an excellent location less than ten minutes walk from the Visitor Centre and entrance into Petra.
La Maison is a comfortable, mid-range hotel in Petra with an excellent location less than ten minutes walk from the Visitor Centre and entrance into Petra. The 76 en-suite rooms have been recently rennovated and all ll have air conditioning, free internet and TVs.
The hotel has a lobby lounge and bar, a restaurant and an Arabic styled roof terrace where you can enjoy traditional Jordanian snacks, drinks and shisha pipes.
This Wadi Rum desert camp has a fantastic location on the desert sands against the cliffs in the Wadi Rum Protected Area. Accommodation is in permanent goat hair tents with proper beds and all bedding provided. The food is generally excellent.
This Wadi Rum desert camp has a fantastic location and setting on the desert sands right up against the cliffs within the Wadi Rum Protected Area. We like it for its spectacular and remote location well away from the main road, and for the excellent food and friendly welcome the Bedouin hosts always provide.
Accommodation is in permanent traditional goat hair tents with proper beds and all bedding provided. We book the standard tents with shared bathrooms, though some en-suite tents are also available and subject to availability you can upgrade to these locally if you wish. You can also bring a sleeping bag if you wish, and find a sheltered spot on the rocks on the edge of the camp and sleep under the stars.
WiFi is available throughout the camp. Meals are traditionally cooked, with a delicious underground 'BBQ' prepared nearly every night. Alcohol is not available.
Sunrise and sunset camel rides are available to book locally (around US$30).
Our tours are designed to include all that you need to enjoy a really special time in the destination youre visiting. However, we do also offer some extra options to complement the tour and add some additional sightseeing or activities, or some extra time at either end of the tour.
All accommodation based options (e.g. Single supplements, extra nights, cruise upgrades) should be booked and paid for in advance so that we can make the appropriate arrangements. Other options may either be booked and paid for in advance or while you are on the tour, though we recommend booking in advance to ensure there are no issues with availability.
Many options are priced the same throughout the year, but some may incur single or high season supplements - full details are given on the tour reservation form or on request.
The detailed Tour Notes below have been written to give you some more detailed information about how the tour runs, what to expect, and how to prepare for your holiday. We recommend downloading an up to date copy of these shortly before you travel in case of any changes.
This tour uses a mix of accommodation including good quality 4-star hotels in Beirut and Byblos, a comfortable guesthouse Zahle and rooms in a separate new block at Monastery of St. Anthony in Qozhaya. Rooms at the monastery are simple but comfortable and en-suite and you may join the monks for their morning prayers.
Accommodation is based on twin or double en-suite rooms with air conditioning. Please visit the accommodation tab of this tour for examples of the hotels normally used on this tour. These are subject to change to alternative properties of a similar standard. If you have any specific accommodation requests please let us know and we'll be happy to provide you with a customised quotation for a private tour.
The hotels used on this tour are rated at the Jordanian 3 and 4-star level. Local star ratings may vary from international standards but we ensure we use some of the best hotels available at the level stated. We have also aimed to use hotels in Amman that have a better location than most, with a range of cafes and restaurants within easy walking distance. Accommodation is based on twin or double en-suite rooms with air conditioning. All couples will have a private double room.
A friendly local homestay is included for one night in Rasoun village. Accommodation is in shared rooms holding up to 4 people. There are a number of homes in the village that will accommodate guests, so depending on our final group size we may split across several houses. We will all eat together in one house with the hosts, who will also provide a tour of the village. All beds and bedding are provided. Bathrooms are separate and shared but quite basic. Overall you can expect a simple but comfortable, and very welcoming experience with good food and interesting insights into local village life in rural Jordan.
In Wadi Rum we use a Bedouin camp located inside the Wadi Rum Protected Area. Accommodation is in permanent traditional goat hair tents with proper beds and all bedding provided. Bathrooms are separate, though some en-suite tents are also available and subject to availability you can upgrade to these locally if you wish. You can also bring a sleeping bag if you wish, and find a sheltered spot on the rocks on the edge of the camp and sleep under the stars.
Our trips feature a mix of different transport options. We want you to feel like you're really experiencing the country you're travelling through, but at the same time we want you to finish journeys refreshed enough to enjoy the next stage of the tour. Our routes in Lebanon/Jordan and the small distances involved mean that we use private vehicles throughout this tour. Vehicles will be selected to be comfortable for the number of travellers in the group.
The jeeps used in Wadi Rum are provided by the local Bedouins we work with, and while suitable for your desert safari, they may fall below the normal safety and quality standards for vehicles we use during the rest of our tours.
Your airport transfers are only included on the first and last day of the set tour itinerary, plus on any additional days if you book your hotel room with us. If you make your own arrangements for additional accommodation at either the beginning or the end of the tour then you will need to arrange your own airport transfers on these days.
We want to give you as much flexibility as possible when it comes to booking your holiday with us. So, to take account of people with varying travel plans, we don't include your international flights in the main tour price. We are however very happy to suggest flights to go with the tour. Please contact us with your preferred dates and departure airport and we'll give you a selection of airlines, times and fares to choose from.
Your airport arrival & departure transfers are included on the first and last days of the tour.This tour starts in Beirut (BEY) and ends in Amman (AMM). You will also need to arrange a flight between Beirut and Amman to link together the two sections of this tour. This can either be purchased as a single ticket (for example with Middle East Airlines), or as part of your overall international flight ticket. Your airport transfers are included at both ends and you may fly at any time during the day.
Our small-group tours in Lebanon and Jordan run with a minimum of 2 and maximum of 14 travellers in the group.
Tailor-made tours are priced based on 2 people travelling. Discounts and customised quotations will be provided if you are travelling in a larger party.
In Lebanon we provide fully trained, local English-speaking guides for all of the sightseeing tours.
In Jordan we provide an English speaking local tour leader/driver and specialist guides in Jerash, Amman and Petra. Groups of 6 or more will have both a driver and a professional guide throughout the trip. At Encounters Travel we aim to only use local guides and reps. We feel this gives you the best experience of the country and the sites you are seeing.
The tour price includes entrance fees to all the tourist sites mentioned in the itinerary. If you visit any sites not mentioned in the itinerary then you will need to cover the entrance fee costs.
The tour price does not include entrance fees to the sites visited on the tour whilst in Jordan.
We strongly recommend that you purchase a Jordan Pass prior to your travel to Jordan. This is a special package that has been designed by the Jordanian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities for tourists visiting Jordan. As well as including a discounted package of entrance fees covering all the sites in Jordan that you will visit on this tour (plus many others), the Jordan Pass also provides free downloadable digital brochures on each attraction, plus a free tourist visa for entering the country (40JD if obtained on arrival in Jordan).
The cost for the Jordan Wanderer Pass suitable for this tour is JD70 (approx. US$99). Passes are available by completing a simple online form before you travel, taking care to make sure your passport details are entered correctly as this doubles as your visa application. Your Jordan Pass will then be emailed to you as a pdf document, which you should print out and bring with you. You will then need to show this print out at the immigration desk on arrival in Jordan to obtain your free entry visa, and also at each attraction where it will be scanned to confirm your entry. Obtain your Jordan Pass here
Tipping is common practice in Lebanon and Jordan, as a sign of appreciation for services provided. You may therefore wish to tip your guide and driver at the end of the tour. You should not feel obliged to tip any particular amount, and should consider your personal budget. We are often asked to provide a guide however, and can suggest that approx. USD 3-5 per person per day for your driver and USD 3-8 per person per day for your guide would be appropriate.
You should ensure you are fully insured for medical emergencies including emergency evacuation and repatriation.
Recommended vaccinations and other health protection measures vary according to the country you are visiting and where you are travelling from. We recommend you contact your GP/medical practitioner or a travel clinic for current information on vaccinations needed for your destination. You should ensure that you are up to date with vaccines and boosters recommended for your normal life at home, including for example, vaccines required for occupational risk of exposure, lifestyle risks and underlying medical conditions.
In addition, additional courses or boosters normally recommended for the countries in this region are:
Egypt: Tetanus, Typhoid, Hepatitis A
Jordan: Tetanus, Hepatitis A
Israel: Hepatitis A, Poliomyelitis
Lebanon: Dipheria, Hepatitis A
Malaria is not generally present unless it has been contracted abroad; you do not need to take malaria prophylactics.
Note: We are aware of some places in Egypt using 'black henna' instead of pure brown henna. Black henna contains a chemical dye PPD (paraphenylenediamine) which can result in severe allergic reactions and resultant scarring. To be safe we recommend avoiding any henna tattoos while in Egypt unless you are certain they are using pure brown henna.
Passports should be valid for at least six months after your departure from the country. Please do not bring an almost full or almost expired passport. Visa arrangements are the responsibility of the traveller, and requirements are subject to change by the local authorities.
For many nationalities visiting Lebanon a visa on arrival is possible at Beirut International Airport. This applies to most countries of the Commonwealth, European Union, Russia, Japan and the US continent. Even if you are eligible for a visa on arrival, it is prudent to check up to date requirements with your nearest Lebanese consulate.
Other nationalities may require a visa prior to arrival and to obtain this in advance, please contact your local Lebanese embassy or consulate or a visa agency for details.
IMPORTANT: The Government of Lebanon denies entry to Israeli passport holders, Israeli visa holders (valid or expired) and those with any evidence of travel to Israel within their passport.
Passports should be valid for at least six months after your departure from the country. Please do not bring an almost full or almost expired passport. Visa arrangements are the responsibility of the traveller, and requirements are subject to change by the local authorities.
To promote tourism to the country, the Jordanian government has designed the Jordan Pass. This provides adults of most nationalities with a free single entry Jordan visa (for stays of 3 nights or more), a discounted package of entrance fees, and free digital brochures for the various sites in Jordan. Please check the Jordan Pass tour note for more information.
Double or multi entry visas for Jordan are no longer available and you will need to arrange two visas if you are doing a combination tour (eg. with Egypt and/or Israel) that visits Jordan more than once. Exceptions may occur if you are crossing to and from Israel via the King Hussein Bridge - please contact us for details.
If you wish to arrange your visa separately in advance, or if your stay will be shorter than four days/3 nights, then a visa fee of 40JD (approx. USD 57) will be due.
Families with children under 12 are recommended not to purchase the Jordan Pass as entrance fees are not charged in Jordan for children under 12. Our Jordan Family tour prices include your entrance fees and we will also arrange a free visa for you on your arrival into Amman airport.
Other nationalities may require a visa prior to arrival and to obtain this in advance, please contact your local Jordanian embassy or consulate or a visa agency for details. In addition, if you plan to enter Jordan via the southern Wadi Araba crossing (Eilat-Aqaba) or the Allenby Bridge/King Hussein border with Israel in the north, you will need to obtain your Jordan visa in advance as these are not available on arrival at the border.
The time in Egypt, Jordan, Israel and Lebanon is GMT plus 2 hours and in UAE GMT plus 3 hours. Daylight saving adjustments have historically been applied in some years but not others. At present it appears that there will be no daylight saving changes in Egypt 2016 and beyond, though this may change at short notice (with a resulting impact on flight times and schedules). In Jordan and Israel, daylight saving of one hour is generally applied between the end of March and the end of October, making it GMT plus 3 hours. Exact dates vary from year to year and sometimes the changes may be scrapped altogether.
Sockets are two round pronged and 220 volts (Type C). Universal adaptors are available in most airport shops if you don't have one already. Standard European adapters will work fine, though sometimes they may feel a little loose in the sockets. All hotel rooms have electrical sockets where you can re-charge cameras, phones etc. Hair dryers are normally available on request from the hotel reception if not in your room already.
If you have US appliances (110 volts) you will need a voltage converter as well as a plug adapter.
The local currency in Lebanon is the Lebanese Pound (called Lira). You do not need to arrange to bring any Lebanese currency with you as exchange facilities are available in the international airports and in most hotels, banks and bureau de changes in major towns. You should try to obtain and keep hold of small denomination notes or coins on you during the tour as these are useful for toilets, tips and small purchases. ATMs are readily available in major towns and many local shops will accept VISA/Mastercard or Amex, but may charge additional fees - check before you pay. Travellers cheques are not recommended as they can not be changed in many places now, and can incur high fees.
While in Lebanon you will need sufficient funds to cover meals not included in the itinerary, drinks, snacks, souvenirs and personal expenses such as laundry. These should generally all be paid for in local currency, though tips for guides and drivers may be paid in hard currency (GBP, USD, EUR).
It is difficult to recommend a level of personal spending money which will suit everyone as this can differ greatly, but as a guideline, we would suggest allowing USD 25-35 per person per day as a minimum. Allow more if you plan on doing lots of shopping, or buying many alcoholic drinks.
Luggage: Suitcases, rucksacks or fabric holdalls are all fine to bring with you on this tour. You should also bring a small daypack/bag to take out during the day. Your main luggage will normally be left in the hotel during your sightseeing trips - you will not need to carry it far, and there are nearly always hotel porters to assist.
Luggage limits: There is no luggage limit for this tour. However, most airlines restrict you to between 20kg and 25kg for your hold luggage and between 5kg and 10kg for hand luggage. Please check with your airline before travelling to the airport.
Clothing: The climate varies widely from hot days in the summer to cool and sometimes wet days in the winter months. At night, especially in the deserts, the temperatures can drop quite dramatically. So you must pack for cool conditions. Formal dress (eg. suits & ties) is not required. Modesty rates highly in Jordan, especially for women, so to respect the local culture and people, please ensure all clothes are loose fitting and not revealing. Shorts (not hot-pants) are OK in tourist sites, as are T-shirts, but these should not show too much bare flesh (we suggest that your shoulders should remain covered). When visiting any mosques, legs and arms should be covered.
Other items: If your tour includes an overnight Bedouin camp then bedding is provided but we recommend bringing a light sleeping sheet or sleeping bag liner for comfort all year round (even with the best efforts, sand does find its way pretty much everywhere). In the winter months, or if you think you would like to sleep under the stars instead of in your tent, then we recommend you bring a sleeping bag with you as it can get very cold at night. We also recommend you bring a sun hat, sunscreen, sunglasses, a basic first aid kit, toiletries, money belt, small torch, camera & charger.
The local currency in Jordan is the Jordanian Dinar (JD). You do not need to arrange to bring any Jordanian Dinar with you to Jordan as exchange facilities are available in the international airports and in most hotels, banks and bureau de changes in major towns. You should try to obtain and keep hold of small denomination notes or coins on you during the tour as these are useful for toilets, tips and small purchases. ATMs are readily available in major towns and many local shops will accept VISA/Mastercard or Amex, but may charge fees of up to 10% - check before you pay. Travellers cheques are not recommended as they can not be changed in many places now, and can incur high fees.
While in Jordan you will need sufficient funds to cover meals not included in the itinerary, drinks, snacks, souvenirs and personal expenses such as laundry. These should generally all be paid for in Jordanian Dinar, though tips for guides and drivers may be paid in hard currency (GBP, USD, EUR).
It is difficult to recommend a level of personal spending money which will suit everyone as this can differ greatly, but as a guideline, we would suggest allowing USD 15-25 per person per day as a minimum. Allow more if you plan on doing lots of shopping, or buying many alcoholic drinks.
Small-group departure dates run regularly all year round, starting on Saturdays. The tour is also available privately on any other dates if our group tour dates don't work for you or if you would prefer to travel in just your own party. Please contact us for more information and prices to fit your preferred dates and number of travellers.
If you would like to book a place on this tour, please complete the online reservation form on our website (via the Dates & Prices tab on the tour page). You may make a deposit or full payment online, or just hold a reservation if you prefer (full payments are due 8 weeks before departure). We will then contact you with more details about how to complete your booking. Payments may be made by debit or credit card (subject to a card processing fee), or by making a bank transfer, or posting us a cheque/bank draft. Full details will be provided in your booking confirmation email. Please contact us if you would like any more information or have any questions before making a booking.
Travel insurance is compulsory on all of our tours and needs to cover personal accident & liability, medical expenses and repatriation, travel delay & abandonment. We also strongly recommend that you take out cover against cancellation and lost/stolen baggage. Personal medical insurance does not normally provide sufficient cover and is generally not suitable for travel on our tours. You will not be able to join your tour if you have not provided us with details of your insurance or if you arrive without cover in place (no refunds will be due in this event). More information...
You may arrange your own insurance, or you can take advantage of a comprehensive policy that we can arrange for you through Endsleigh Insurance which has been designed to be suitable for our tours. The policy is available to travellers of all nationalities and you do not need to live in the UK to take out the policy. For full details of cover provided, prices and to apply for one of our policies, please complete travel insurance application form.
Note: Any country that borders the Mediterranean is considered as 'Europe' for the purposes of travel insurance (including Turkey, Israel, Egypt and Morocco). If you are doing a tour that visits one country in 'Europe' and one that is 'Worldwide' (for example, an Egypt and Jordan tour), then you need a 'Worldwide' policy. When completing the form you should enter your travel dates including any extra days involved in overnight flights or connecting travel between your home and the tour. Our policies are not able to cover any extra time or activities other than your tour and options booked with us and your travel to & from home.
Note - to comply with insurance sales regulations, our travel insurance policies are only available to customers booking directly with us. If you have booked through a travel agent you will need to arrange your own insurance.
If you plan to arrange a hot air balloon flight locally, or do some scuba diving during your tour, you should check the small print in your policy to make sure these are covered (these are covered in our policy). Please also check the maximum altitude that you will be reaching and that full cover including emergency evacuation is provided up to this altitude.
If you are taking expensive camera gear or other electronic equipment with you then please check the coverage and the fine print of your policy to ensure that you have sufficient cover.
IMPORTANT: We must have your travel insurance details (policy number and type of insurance) before you depart or you may not be allowed to join the tour. If you haven't told us already, please let us know the details when you can. You should take a paper copy of your insurance policy with you as you may be asked to show this at the start of the tour.
We are a UK registered company and an ABTA Member (Y4447) and you can be confident when booking with us that your money is safe and protected.
Financial failure insurance is also provided through Affirma to protect all customers for the land portion of your tour.
Please see our website or booking conditions for more information.
It is impossible not to have an impact on the local environment, cultures and eco-systems when you travel. However, it is very possible to try and ensure that these impacts are as limited, or positive as possible. We are committed to ensuring that we try to leave our host countries in a better state than we found them and encourage and assist our travellers to help us with this.
The following are a few simple tips that require very little effort on your part but which will help ensure that any effect you have on the locations you visit is positive rather than negative.
All porters are employed and equipped following guidelines set by the International Porter Protection Group (IPPG).
You can stay in touch with us online by following us on Facebook and Twitter. We post updates on relevant travel news in our destination countries, special offers and discounts and other interesting travel related news and information.
www.twitter.com/encounterstravl (yes, without the 'e')
It is important when considering and preparing to travel anywhere in the world that you have a good understanding of the country you are visiting, its laws and customs, and the possible risks and situations that may occur. This includes specific risks related to your itinerary (eg. does it involve water & can you swim, are you fit enough for the activities included), as well as more general risks such as terrorism and natural disasters.
General details and links to more information about health risks, visa requirements, money, and travel insurance are given in these tour notes. We recommend that you re-read all these before your departure as well as the small print of your travel insurance policy so you know exactly what is covered and what is not.
You should take copies of your important travel documents with you and ideally also store them online securely as a backup. Make sure that you have given us your emergency contact details and told that person where and when you are travelling. Ensure you take enough money with you and that you have access to emergency funds.
Finally, you should read through and stay updated with the current official government travel advice for your destination. We are registered partners with the UK Foreign Office's 'Travel Aware' campaign which provides further useful and invaluable information.