Aqaba in the south of Jordan is located on the edge of the Gulf of Aqaba on the in the Red Sea. Aqaba is a vibrant, modern and exotically Middle Eastern beach resort with great diving opportunities. Aqaba is also Jordan’s only seaport. Once there visitors will find many interesting attractions.
Once in Aqaba you can visit the Aqaba Fort which was constructed in the 14th century and later renovated by the Mamlukes in the 16th century. Ayla is one of the most beautiful areas, this is Aqaba’s Old City where you can see historic buildings and wander the cobbled streets. There is also the Aqaba Marine Aquarium with rich corals and over 45 species of reef fish. In the Aqaba Archaeological Museum you can see artifacts collected from the Old City of Aqaba, the exhibits are from each of the Islamic historic periods. For a more modern attraction try the Aqaba Gateway, a huge entertainment complex with stores, as well as places of entertainment. Be sure to visit the Aqaba market place and sample some Middle Eastern cuisine in one of the city’s fine restaurants.
However the beautiful beaches and sea are the main draw to Aqaba, the City Beach and South Beach are popular for both swimming and water sports. Barracuda Beach is a good private beach where you can try water sports. If you have a chance try diving off the coast of Aqaba in the translucent water which is alive with coral reefs and marine animals. If you prefer to stay dry then enjoy the waterfront from the Aqaba corniche.
How to get to Aqaba
Aqaba shares the coast of the Gulf of Aqaba with Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Israel, the gulf is also called the Gulf of Eilat because of the Israeli beach resort city further north along the coast. From Jordan the Desert Highway and the King’s Highway lead to Aqaba, buses from the capital of Jordan, Amman travel regularly to the beach resort. It is also possible to reach Aqaba by ferry from Nuweiba and Sharm el-Sheikh in Egypt.
Visiting Aqaba from Israel
One of the most popular and convenient ways of visiting Aqaba is with an organized tour from Eilat, Israel. The two cities are close enough for it to be a day trip or a longer trip if desired. You can join a tour to Jordan from Eilat and even incorporate a visit to Aqaba into your itinerary if you are coming from Jerusalem or Tel-Aviv. Organized tours will save you the headache of dealing with border crossings, border taxes and transport. If you were to travel from Eilat to Aqaba alone you would have to take an Israeli taxi to the border and then change to a Jordanian taxi for the rest of the journey, but on a tour this is all taken care of for you. Luxury buses transfer you from your Eilat hotel to the border, across the border and on to Aqaba. Once there a guide takes you to the most impressive sites in the city. Organized tours also make a stop for lunch in a traditional restaurant and give you time to browse in the Aqaba market.