Many travelers arrive in Aqaba thanks to the ever-increasing number of low-cost flights into Jordan’s Red Sea region. There are various ways to get from Aqaba to Petra including by bus, by taxi, by rental car, or on a day tour. Whether it is to visit Jordan’s Golden Triangle (Aqaba-Petra-Wadi Rum), or as the start of trip backpacking in Jordan, by the time you finish reading this post, you will be familiar with all of the ways to get from Aqaba Jordan to Petra, Jordan’s most famous tourist site.
Thanks to Aqaba’s proximity to Petra (just a 2 hour drive away) it is possible to leave the resort town and see one of the World Wonders in just a day trip if you are based in Aqaba. However, I highly suggest you spend at least one night in Petra to give yourself time to really see this new Wonder of the World!
Where to Stay when you Get to Petra From Aqaba
Before you even worry about transportation between Aqaba and Petra you are going to want to make sure you have some accommodation booked. There are hundreds of hotels in Petra, most are small, 3 star style accommodations. There are also lots of five-star hotels as well as plenty of budget accommodations. However, in the busy season, ALL hotel rooms can actually sell out!
CLOSEST TO SITE ENTRANCE: Movenpick
How to Get from Aqaba to Petra
Bus From Aqaba to Petra
JETT Bus offers daily service by bus from Aqaba to Petra. The Aqaba Petra bus schedule currently shows 2 one way trips per day as well as a round-trip option. The morning bus leaves Aqaba at 8:00am and that same bus leaves Petra at 16:00 (4:00). Each one way journey is JD6 for adults and also JD6 for children (lap children typically go free of charge). However in the photo below, it has totally different prices. Just be aware when you book that prices may be different than what is specified here.
There is now an easy online way to buy tickets. It used to be cumbersome to navigate the JETT website, but it is now wasy to buy tickets online in advance.
I suggest purchasing a round trip ticket if you do plan to take the bus back on the same day, as it can fill up with one way passengers heading south.
One thing to note about taking the JETT bus is that it drops you at the Petra visitors center parking lot. If you have just bought a one-way fare and you have luggage, you will need to take it to your hotel room before you go to the site. I suggest you book a hotel near the site entrance for this reason.
Here is some info on getting from Wadi Musa to Petra if your hotel is uptown. It also provides info on how local taxis and drivers work in the area.
There are also local coaster busses that will take you from Aqaba to Petra. They will drop you in Wadi Musa bus station which is a 15 minute walk downhill to the site.
Aqaba to Petra Tour
An Aqaba Petra Tour is another way to get from Aqaba to Petra where someone else does all the planning and you can sit back and relax and enjoy your day. Day tours from Aqaba to Petra are common, especially with cruise ship passengers, but also for solo travellers, couples, and those who are looking to see Jordan’s best sights with ease!
Get Your Guide: One Day from Aqaba to Petra
This tour includes pickup from your hotel in Aqaba and transport to Petra and back to your Aqaba hotel. It includes entrance fees into Petra as well as a lunchbox. It includes a Tour Guide, but it does not say on the tour whether the guide will accompany you all day on the bus or just in Petra.
This tour includes hotel pickup and transport to Petra and back to Aqaba at the end of the day. It includes a local guide in Petra for 1.5 to 2 hours and lunch. It also includes entrance to Petra. It is a private tour and available for 2-6 passengers.
This tour looks great for passengers arriving for the day into Aqaba Port. Your driver will pick you up for the two-hour drive to Petra, possibly stopping along the way for bathroom breaks or to visit local shops. Lunch is included as is a 2 hour tour guide in the site. Check to ensure entrance to Petra is included as it is not mentioned in the itinerary and entrance to Petra is JD50 per person.
Tours by Locals: Private Guide One Day Petra Tour
With a tour like this, you know exactly who your guide is and can read reviews. Ensure you read what is included as I am not sure whether or not a single day entrance to Petra is included. The tour mentions a JD40 surcharge but this might just be for one day visitors to Petra who have to pay JD90 instead of JD50 to visit Petra if they are not spending the night in Jordan.
Aqaba to Petra Taxi
There are a couple of ways to take a taxi from Aqaba to Petra. This depends on whether you are looking for a one-way fare or if you want to return Petra to Aqaba at the end of the day. A taxi from Aqaba to Petra is likely about 50JD one way and 90JD if you want the taxi to wait and take you back at the end of the day.
Rental Car from Aqaba to Petra
Renting a car in Jordan is one of the most convenient ways to get around the country at your own pace. There are several rental car agencies in Aqaba, both big and small. Expect to pay 25-30 JD for a typical rental car. Watch for one-way drop fees if you are not returning the rental car to Aqaba.
If you are driving, the distance from Aqaba to Petra can be covered in just under two hours. There is free parking outside the Petra visitors centre, just slightly uphill from the site near the Petra Moon hotel.
Consider getting a local Jordan Sim Card so you have GPS, while there are signs on the highway to Petra, you might have trouble finding your hotel in the winding streets of Wadi Musa!
Best Way to Get from Aqaba to Petra
The best way to get from Aqaba to Petra depends on your travel style, and your itinerary. If you are on a shoestring budget, you can take a minibus to Petra for a very small fee. They do not operate on and set schedule.
If you are a solo traveller and want to visit on a comfortable air-conditioned coach, then JETT bus is likely the most economical. It can take you on to Amman the same evening, or back to Aqaba.
If you are a couple or a family then a rental car might be cheaper than the bus, or at least more convenient. You can leave Aqaba when you like and overnight in Petra before visiting Wadi Rum, Feynan or Amman. Most of the driving is highway driving and self-driving is a great way to see the country. I also have a guide for independent travelers who want to see Jordan on thier own. You can check it out here.
RELATED: Tips for Driving in Jordan
If you are not comfortable driving, then a one way or round trip taxi is an option if you are not able to take the JETT bus.
If you want someone else to take care of all of the logistics, then booking a guided tour is the best way to see not just Petra but Jordan as a whole. The guides in Jordan are extremely knowledgeable and they provide so many insights that you cannot read from a guide book. There are several local companies that can arrange a private tour based on your desired itinerary or even provide transportation for you from Aqaba to Petra and back.
If you think you want to book a tour, check out my post on choosing the right Jordan tour for you.
Overwhelmed with Planning a trip to Jordan?
Want to skip all of the planning and access my detailed Jordan Itinerary and Guide? I have been to Jordan several times and after being asked again and again for suggestions, not only did I build this website but I created an interactive PDF guide to help you plan the best trip to Jordan! It includes an interactive map, multiple itineraries for up to 10 days and as little as three days and plenty of practical information about renting a car and driving in Jordan. Get the guide by clicking the button below.
More Useful Jordan Resources
Hotels to Book in Petra
If being close to the site entrance is important to you, here are 3 hotel choices. All offer parking and all are just a few minutes walking distance to the site (rather than uptown Wadi Musa). Perfect if you do not have a car.
Mövenpick Resort Petra
Mövenpick Resort Petra is the most opulent of all the 5-star hotels near Petra. It is also located on the other side of the street from Petra’s entrance, making it a perfectly convenient place to stay. Arguably the best hotel in Petra, the rooms at Mövenpick are exquisite; large and airy, and elegantly decorated. Thanks to the large windows, the rooms stay bright and filled with natural lights. The beds in each room are soft and comfortable, making residents want to spend their days sleeping in them. Even the pull out couches have comfortable mattresses and are perfect for families! The hotel also has a pool, it can be quite cold in fall, winter and spring.
Petra Palace Hotel
The Petra Palace Hotel is located just a few minutes walk from the Petra Visitors Center and the best three/four star option near the site entrance. Its rooms are warmly but simply decorated and some have walkouts to the pool. Every room has a seating area. The rooms also have a well-stocked minibar, a mini-fridge, a television set with cable, and a spacious bathroom that comes with all the necessary toiletries. Breakfast is complimentary and served in the restaurant of the hotel, which is on the first floor.
Petra Moon Hotel
Located just above the parking lot for the Petra Visitors Center, Petra Moon Hotel is one of the best hotels in Petra for travelers with a midrange budget who want to be close to the site. Petra Moon hotel is reasonably priced and is definitely worth the money spent to be very close to the site entrance. The rooms of this 3-star hotel are roomy, excellently cleaned, and simply decorated. The beds are simple and comfortable. Breakfast is served buffet-style in the restaurant and afterward. When you return in the evening, feel free to head up to the rooftop pool, where you can rest and think fondly about your full day of Petra exploration.
Other Things to do in Petra
If you have just begun the planning, check out 101 Things to do in Jordan to give you some inspiration on the places you want to make sure you have time to see. If you are looking for other things to do in Petra, consider Petra by Night, Little Petra, enjoy a meal with locals or Henna Fantasia (a new show featuring music, folklore and dance). If you want to know where to eat check out the best Petra restaurants.
Other Useful Travel Guides:
Travel Insurance for Jordan
There are a few other things to think about when it comes to travel. The first thing is travel insurance. Whether it is an emergency room visit for something as simple as strep throat, or an emergency appendix surgery, or an unfortunate moped incident things do go wrong when people travel everyday.
I highly suggest travel insurance and a good policy. I personally never travel without it, and I even checked into my policy about care for my children if I am ever in an accident or hospitalized. There are just too many things to think about.
You can find out more information and buy your travel insurance here.