Jordan's Hidden Trails (JSH)
Trip Duration: 9 Days / 8 Nights
Group Size : 16
Physical Rating :
Moderate : A reasonable level of fitness is required, as these trips can require sustained endurance levels along steep trails and uneven paths. Canyoning trips may include few abseils (rappels), long hikes and occasional climbs. Biking trips include a series of up and downhills but nothing too strenuous. A support vehicle will be always available so weary travelers will be able to hitch a ride. A typical trekking day would be walking 4 to 5 hours a day including a 2 hour ascending a mountain.
Welcome to Terhaal Adventures. We've designed these journeys to help you explore the very best of Jordan. Don't hesitate to get in touch with us if you have any questions about the trip. We're here to help. Enjoy!
The holiday itinerary set out below offers a good overview of the trip, but should be taken as a general guide only. We're continually improving these tours, and it's possible we will adjust the itinerary to take advantage of new opportunities or to avoid adverse weather or difficulties with transportation. We recommend that you print out a copy of the trip details a couple of days prior to departure, in case there have been any changes that may affect your plans.
The information in this document does not form part of the contract between the client and Terhaal Adventures.
We don't expect any problems (and nor should you!) but if for any reason you are unable to begin your trip as scheduled, please contact us immediately at one of the following numbers:
+962(0)77 751 5919
+962(0)79 879 5680
Day 1 : Arrival- Amman
Meet at the group hotel in Amman. A single group transfer from Amman Airport to the group hotel in Amman is provided. This transfer is normally in the late evening and a representative of our local agent will accompany the group on the 40 minute journey to the hotel.
Overnight in Amman
Day 2 : Jerash - Hiking in Ajloun
This morning, we will drive north to the Roman city remains of Jerash. Founded at the time of Alexander the Great, Jerash flourished as a trade centre between Damascus and Petra and we can step back in time and wander along its ancient colonnaded streets and see its incredibly well-preserved temples, baths and hippodrome, complete with Byzantine mosaic floors. After exploring Jerash, we take a short transfer to Al Ayoun, a tranquil and scenic valley and one of the most beautiful in the highlands of Jordan. In the village of Orjan, we will enjoy a lunch of freshly baked bread and local Jordanian dishes, hosted by a local family for a delightfully authentic experience. After lunch, we walk on gentle trails that take us through olive groves and under the shade of fig trees. We will explore the ancient village of Rasun and see its ancient relics of Bronze Age tombs and even a Roman wine press. We visit the locally run women's artisanal cooperatives and the Soap House, where we can see (and buy) hand-made olive oil soap, scented with local flowers and herbs. Nestled in the Ajloun Forest Reserve, we will find our comfortable rustic cabins for our overnight stay.
Overnight at Ajloun Nature Reserve
Meals: B, L, D
Day 3 : Dead Sea - Kerak visit - Dana
After breakfast, we set off south towards the Dana Biosphere Reserve. On our way, we stop at the Dead Sea. Spas around the world charge a fortune for Dead Sea mud packs, but here we can do as the locals do and have fun, scooping up the mineral-rich mud and smothering it over our skin! After experiencing floating in the strangely buoyant waters of the Dead Sea, we continue our drive to Kerak Castle. 900 years after it was built, the castle retains a sense of defiance and belligerence. Marking the extreme eastern edge of the Crusader kingdoms, it was a launchpad for attacks on trade routes and even Mecca itself. Eventually besieged and taken by Saladin in 1189, the castle was later adopted by Bedouin tribes who were revolting against Ottoman rule. Considering its violent past, it remains remarkably well-preserved. Dana Biosphere Reserve is only a short drive away, nestled amongst wind-eroded sandstone formations. At the head of a gorge, the ground drops over 1000m towards the Great Rift Valley and the views are incredible. With four distinct biomes, the area supports a wide diversity of wildlife and we are likely to see griffon vultures, hyrax and copper-blue lizards and, if we're lucky, a glimpse of a desert fox or an ibex. We will have the rest of our day at our leisure, wandering long the village trails.
Overnight at a hotel in Dana
Meals: B, L, D
Day 4 : Dana Village Trail- Little Petra
After experiencing the serenity of morning breaking over the reserve, we take a beautiful, rambling walk; led by a local guide to Wadi Dana. Our reward will be panoramic views across the valley and we will be treated to more wildlife watching opportunities. Our guide will be able to spot and identify animal tracks and point out medicinal herbs and plants that grow here. Our trail will wind its way back to the irrigated gardens and terraced orchards of Dana Village. After arriving back to our start point, we meet our transport and drive to the relatively unknown Little Petra. Little Petra, like its more famous sibling Petra, is a Nabataean site; with buildings and dwellings carved into the steep walls of a canyon around 2000 years ago. Visiting Little Petra is a much quieter and more intimate experience than Petra and a fabulous way of whetting our appetite for the main site tomorrow. We settle for the night at a fixed Bedouin camp nearby, nestled amongst rocky outcrops.
Overnight at fixed camp in Little Petra
Meals: B, L, D
Day 5 : Petra Back Trail
This morning, after breakfast, we set off on the back trail into Petra. This easy walk winds its way across weathered sandstone outcrops and natural terraces and balconies, contouring around the faces of cliffs. Views into the Great Rift Valley begin to open up and, eventually, we will catch our first glimpse of the imperious and towering façade of the Monastery. This is one of the most impressive monuments in Petra but, isolated as it is from the rest of the site, receives few visitors. We recommend sitting in the shade, sipping an aromatic cardamom-spiced coffee, and taking in the remarkable atmosphere. Once rested, we descend the stone steps of the Nabataean processional route down into the heart of Petra. Hidden deep within a highly inaccessible valley, it is not hard to comprehend how this Nabataen city lay undiscovered to the outside world for centuries. We will take lunch inside the archaeological site before spending the rest of the afternoon exploring the countless tombs, temples and churches. It is incredible to contemplate that only a small fraction of Petra has been excavated! Our route out takes us past the Roman theatre and, towards the end of the afternoon, to Petra's most famous and photographed monument: the Treasury. From here, we walk along the thin passages of the Siq, through tight canyons that once guarded the secrets of Petra, to the main entrance and onwards to our hotel. There is an optional evening excursion: to return to Petra after dark. Walking into the ancient city after dark, after the tourists have gone, to experience the Siq and the Treasury lit by hundreds of candles is a very special experience
Overnight at a hotel in Petra
Meals: B, L
Day 6 : Explore Wadi Rum By Jeep and on Foot
We set off early this morning to drive to Wadi Rum. On the edge of the desert, at Rum Village, we meet our Bedouin guides. Wadi Rum was best described by Lawrence of Arabia, who had made it his home, as being "vast, echoing and God-like". Our guides are from the Hoewietat tribe, the same tribe that guided Lawrence, over 100 years ago. Setting off in rugged 4x4 vehicles, we make our way across the seemingly endless red sands to explore soaring sand dunes, mountains and ancient petroglyphs etched into the rock face. After a picnic lunch in the shade followed by sweet herbal tea prepared the Bedouin way, we drive across the desert plains to the natural rock bridge of Jebel Um Fruth and run, bare-foot, down vast red sand dunes. We continue on our way to our desert camp. There will be time to relax and enjoy the sunset, before enjoying an authentic Bedouin feast of meat and vegetables, cooked in a zerb (an underground oven made of sand and stone). For those who want to stay up, we can lay around a campfire, sipping herbal tea. We listen to stories, talk and laugh with our Bedouin hosts under an incredible blanket of stars.
Overnight at a Bedouin Camp in Wadi Rum
Meals: B, L, D
Day 7 : Optional Camel ride- Aqaba
Waking up in the desert is quite spectacular. Shadows slowly move across the landscape as morning breaks and the sun's rays will soon warm our faces. For those who want the full desert experience; there is an optional camel ride across the sands, a gentle way to take in the scenery before arriving back into Rum Village. We say goodbye to our Bedouin hosts and transfer to the Red Sea resort of Aqaba, where we have the rest of the afternoon to relax on the beach, perhaps enjoying some swimming and snorkeling.
Overnight at a hotel in Aqaba
Day 8 : Amman Tour
After a relaxed morning, we set off on the 4 hour drive back to Amman. On arrival, we should have time to take a walking tour of the souks and ancient citadel ruins. The hilltop citadel has been here since the Bronze Age and has been rebuilt, and added to, by subsequent Roman and Byzantine Empires and the Umayyad Caliphate. We will explore the souks and markets, perhaps stopping off at one of the many cafes to take in the street scenes where old men play backgammon and smoke the sweet-scented tobacco of the hubbly-bubbly pipes.
Overnight at a hotel in Amman
Day 9 : Amman-QAIA
There is a single-timed group transfer to the international airport for our departure flight.
- A professional and qualified tour leader
- Bedouin Hiking guide in Ajloun- Dana, backdoor, Bedouin Guide in Wadi Rum
- All land transport required by the itinerary
- All accommodation as described
- Meals as per the Meal Plan
- All activities/excursions/entrance fees mentioned except where specified as ‘optional’
What's not Included
- Travel insurance
- Visas (if applicable)
- Some meals as per the Meal Plan
- Miscellaneous expenses - drinks and souvenirs etc. Candle-lit evening tour of Petra
What to Take
During the trip your baggage will be carried by bus and by 4WD vehicles. The only baggage weight limit is that imposed by the airline. However, we ask that you restrict your luggage to one main bag plus a small daypack. In general we recommend that you travel as light as possible as this will make transiting between airports and carrying your bag to hotel rooms a lot easier for you. You may find that wheeled luggage is more convenient on a trip of this nature.
Temperatures in Jordan can be hot, with little rain from late spring through until late autumn. The heat can become extreme during the summer months of July and August. In the months of November to March it can be cool at night, particularly in the desert where the temperatures can drop to 5C or even less. Even in the hot months out in the desert it can get cold at night.
Jordan is a predominantly Muslim country and tends to be quite conservative, so you should dress accordingly. As a general guideline, shoulders and knees should be covered at all times.
A light water and windproof jacket is useful and a hat is essential. From mid November to late February, a sleeping bag is essential for your nights in the desert. At other times a sleeping sheet will suffice. Loose, lightweight, long clothing is both respectful and cool in the heat.
> Travel documents: passport, visa, travel insurance, air tickets etc.
> Health requirements arranged
> Money: travelers cheques/cash/credit card
> Money pouch
> First aid kit
> Backpack to carry your personal needs during the day(the type with a lower-back pad support and waist strap are very much recommended)
> Alarm clock and torch/flashlight (headlights are best)
> Insect repellent
> Ear plugs can be useful
> Tampons can be difficult to buy in rural areas or in the desert
> Lock for your bag
> Bedding - a bed sheet to be used over the mattress provided in the desert- the travel bed sack is even better
> Sleeping bag if you wish - mattresses and blankets are available in the desert
> Small travel towel - for use in the desert
> Your personal hygiene kit
> Toilet paper
> Eye shades
> Hiking shoes
> Foot powder or Vaseline can be useful against blisters.
> Light clothes; long sleeves and light colors are advisable in summer time
> A hat or head dress that also covers the neck
> Warm clothes for cooler nights
> Sun protection lotion
> Dates, fruits, or candy bars (to provide instant calories during outdoor activities)
> Water flask
> Insect repellent
Terhaal Cycling Guides
Terhaal's biking tours are fully guided by Raslan, Anas and/or Atef—our full-time cycling guides.
Raslan and Anas are both Jordanian professional cyclists. Raslan has a graduated with a degree in sports rehabilitation while Anas has a degree in Hospitality Business. They are sportsmen since their childhood. They are both members of the Jordanian national cycling team, participated in several triathlon and cycling races between 2005 and 2010 including the famous 253km Dead to Red cycling race which they won multiple times. They have been leading cycling tours since 2005 and has been working with Terhaal since 2008. They have professional road cycling skills and excellent MTB skills in addition to excellent bike maintenance skills. They are passionate outdoorsmen and regularly indulge in hiking, canyoning, climbing and camping trips.
Raslan has attended a Customer Service Training in France in 2010 provided by one of our partners.
Our support guide (handling the support vehicle) is Atef. Born in 1963 in Madaba-Jordan, Atef is an x-special-police officer who has been part of the Peace Keeping Forces in Croatia, Bosnia, Serbia and East Timor. He is a very passionate nature adventurer and an amazing people’s person. He leads some of our trekking and canyoning groups and has been receiving outstanding personal feedback ever since he started working with Terhaal in 2008.
Jordan is generally considered a safe country. There is very little petty crime here, especially in rural areas. However, we recommend you take normal precautions to ensure your safety and that of your belongings, as you would for any other destination. Take good care of your passport, wallet, and other valuables. In crowded streets, keep your bag closed and in front of you. There will be free time during this trip - you can always ask your local guides for their advice about where to go and what to avoid. Please make sure you have adequate footwear and clothing for the hiking trips you will be taking.
Jordanians are famously friendly and welcoming towards guests, especially in rural areas. It is quite normal for Jordanians to invite foreigners in to drink tea or have a meal in the family home. Meeting the local people in spontaneous encounters of this sort is one of the great pleasures of travelling in Jordan.
During the month of Ramadan, Muslims refrain from eating or drinking during daylight hours. Business hours are shortened, including opening hours at all tourist attractions. Alcohol is not permitted during daylight hours [except in 5-Star Hotels] and many restaurants will be closed. While you definitely need to expect some delays and inconveniences during this period, the month of Ramadan is a fantastic time to travel to Jordan as you'll be able to participate in the feasting and holiday atmosphere that follows the breaking of the fast as sunset each day. You'll also get to taste special sweets that are only baked for Ramadan. You do not have to fast, and no-one will expect you to; however, you should try to eat and drink discreetly, if possible, rather than in crowded public places.
Most nationalities are able to obtain a single-entry visa at the airport, at the land borders, or at the port in Aqaba, valid for 14 days and costing JOD 40. However, you should consult the Jordanian embassy in your home country to make sure you are not subject to any special visa requirements.
You will be required to pay a JOD 5 Departure Tax upon leaving Jordan (does not generally apply when exiting through airports, but travellers on some budget airlines may be required to pay it).
The Jordanian Dinar is fixed at a rate of JOD 0.709 against USD 1.
It is difficult to say how much spending money you should bring as each person is different! However, you'll need some cash for any meals not included in the itinerary, plus snacks, drinks, gifts etc.
It is a good idea to have access to extra funds in case of any emergency (urgent healthcare / travel costs etc.). This is highly unlikely, of course, but best to be prepared.
Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment, and loss of luggage and personal effects. When travelling on a group trip, you will not be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance (and the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number) has been seen by your trip leader. If your insurance is provided through your credit card, your tour leader will require proof of purchase of the trip (a receipt or credit card statement) with the credit card in your name. Contact your bank for details of their participating insurer, the level of coverage and emergency contact telephone number.
In case of an emergency Terhaal's Amman Office can be reached on -
+962(0)77 751 5919
+962(0)79 879 5680
+962(0)79 778 4433
Alternatively you can email email@example.com
Your Fellow Travelers
Group trips entail all the pleasures and occassionally some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travelers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the group's needs and preferences. Patience and flexibility really help to create a relaxed and happy atmosphere. Please remember that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, please don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and again that the best trips are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part. Many thanks in advance!
We believe in low impact or ‘positive impact' tourism. Broadly speaking, this means that we try to minimize the negative aspects of tourism on the local cultures and environments that we visit, while maximising the positive aspects of the encounter. Jordan is a small country with few natural resources. Water scarcity is a big issue in the region, so please go easy on the water. Terhaal designs these tours in a way that maximizes benefits for local communities. Whenever possible we hire local staff in the areas where we operate, and our guests stay in locally owned hotels. We also include some volunteering activities where appropriate, such helping farmers to harvest their olives. Terhaal also contributes towards efforts that strengthen environmental advocacy and the environmental education of Jordan's children.
A Couple of Rules
Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Our philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter, and in particular the local people who make your destinations such special places. Our group leader has the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession. It is also unsafe to drink alcohol while out hiking / cycling, so please wait until you're back at the hotel to enjoy a drink.
After your trip we hope you will send us your photos and any stories or feedback you may have. Your feedback not only helps us to improve the trips, but also helps other travelers to decide on the right tour for them. We would appreciate it if you could take a couple of minutes to complete our feedback form, just follow this link: http://www.terhaal.com/feedback-form
Our blog - ‘Treks & Trails of Jordan' - is a collection of stories posted by a variety of people that reflect the natural, environmental and cultural aspects of Jordan. It is also a great way to give feedback and to share your Jordan experience with others. All you need to do is write one or two paragraphs about your trip with Terhaal, attach some photos if available and send it to us at this email: team[at]terhaal.com
You can find the blog here -
Our trips are designed with shared accommodation in mind whereby single travelers are paired with individuals of the same sex in twin shared accommodation. Forced singles are free of charge.
Single accommodation is available on request pending availability.