Aqaba

Aqaba (العقبة al-ʿAqabah) is Jordan‘s only port city. It is on the Gulf of Aqaba in the extreme south of the country.

Aqaba city view

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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. Aqaba has seen a lot of development. This has improved the infrastructure and facilities. Be prepared for road maps to be incorrect or out of date.

See also: Jordan#Get in for details on getting in from other countries and the associated visa requirements.

If you are coming from Eilat, Israel, you will cross through the Yitzhak Rabin Terminal. It is open Sunday-Thursday from 06:3020:00 and Friday-Saturday from 08:0020:00, except for Yom Kippur and the Moslem New Year (Id il Hajira). Taxi from Eilat centre to the border is 35 (Feb 2014). The fee to exit Israel is ₪101 plus a processing fee of ₪5 you can pay with credit card.

If you are planning to come to Aqaba directly from northern Israel (e.g. from Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, or Be’er Sheva) by catching an Egged bus to Eilat, you should ask the driver to let you off at the “Eilot stop to Jordan”, which is the last stop before the Egged station in Eilat, and then walk to the border checkpoint (less than 1 km).

After crossing the border, take a taxi from the taxi mafia (see below) for 11 JD, or just walk out. If the bird observatory to the right is open, walk straight through until the road with the fence and continue through the treatment plant further on another deserted road until you reach the housing area. From here, taxis are very cheap. If the bird observatory is closed, go through the sandy desert area to the right after it around the treatment plant until the road north of the new golf course, resort and oasis. It is best to have a map or GPS. If you get bothered by the taxi mafia, just keep walking, don’t talk. The other way around is easier: either you walk through the treatment plant or cross through the sandy desert area straight north just before the treatment plant. If you get a taxi from the city for 5 JD, it is fine. 13 JD is way too much. In any case, if you feel you have been bothered, complain to the Ministry of Tourism & Antiquities.

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. The line to Nuweiba is operated by ABMaritime, see their website for the timetable and current prices.

Also ferries from Taba and Sharm el-Sheikh are available. There is more information about the boat crossing in the itinerary Ferries in The Red Sea

The Desert Highway terminates in Aqaba. The 29.52733535.0059881 bus station is about 300 m east of the mosque. There are frequent buses to Amman and other points along the highway. The fare is 7 JD each way.

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