Wadi Musa is the town where Petra is located. Most uninformed visitors refer to the area as “Petra” when in fact the area is a town called “Wadi Musa” and is located in Maan Governante. Only the UNESCO site is actually called Petra. If you have heard of Wadi Musa, it probably means you have booked a hotel and are wondering how to get from Wadi Musa to Petra.
The answer on how to get from Wadi Musa to the entrance of Petra really depends on which hotel you booked. There are about 6 hotels that are very close to the site, just a few minutes walk. These are Movenpick Petra, Petra Moon, Petra Palace, Edom Hotel, Candles Hotel, Petra Guest House, Silk Road, and Petra Boutique Hotel. Apart from those, the rest of the hotels are located uphill from the Petra visitors center and the entrance to Petra. If you are backpacking and have booked a budget hotel or hostel, chances are, you are not close to the visitors center entrance to Petra.
The area not adjacent to the site is referred to as uptown Wadi Musa and it is littered with affordable hotels and hostels. At max, you are looking at a 15 t0 30-minute walk downhill from your hotel to the visitors center. Just remember, it’s going to be UPHILL when you finish Petra. I suggest you book one of the closest hotels for this reason. They might seem a few dollars more if you are very budget-conscious, but you will eat up the difference in transportation from Wadi Musa to Petra and back quite quickly!
If you did book accommodation uptown Wadi Musa, here is how to get to Petra from Wadi Musa
How to Get from Wadi Musa to Petra
As mentioned, it is as far as 2 kilometers downhill from uptown Wadi Musa to Petra. But the hill is steep and after walking all day in Petra, especially in the heat, you may have wished you booked closer to the visitor’s center entrance. But if you did not, here are your options on getting from Wadi Musa to Petra
Where to Stay when you Get to Petra
Before you even worry about transportation between the town of Wadi Mus 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! Some of these (typically the luxury ones or the camp sites, will operatue shuttles.)
CLOSEST TO SITE ENTRANCE: Movenpick
** WHEN YOU ARE FINISHED READING THIS GUIDE, BE SURE TO CHECK OUT MY PETRA GUIDE ** (you can click on this link now and it will open in a new page so you do not lose off where you are, or just scroll back to the top when you are done!)
How to Get from Wadi Musa to Petra by Taxi
Taxi is one of the options to get to the Petra entrance (or to Little Petra which is about 15 minutes drive from the main entrance). Taxi’s in Petra do not usually use a meter and will offer a flat rate fare to wherever you want to go. Expect to pay as much as JD5 for a one way trip from your hotel in Wadi Musa to the Petra entrance. You can try and get it a bit cheaper if you have good negotiating skills. You should not pay more than JD5. Ensure you have cash and carry small bills.
Wadi Musa to Petra by Local Pickup Truck
Often locals will offer you rides to Petra or Wadi Musa or Little Petra or even for beautiful sunset viewing spots. Generally, these are safe, but I personally would not use them to head out of town as a solo female not familiar with the area. Couples or small groups are fine. If you are trying to go to Petra, offer to pay JD2 from one of these drivers. Ensure you have lots of JD1 bills handy as no one ever has “change”
Walking from Wadi Musa to Petra
This is the most common way to get to Petra and you will see dozens of travelers walking down Tourism Street towards the visitors center. There is only one main street down the hill so it is impossible to miss it. While it is fine in the morning, after walking countless kilometers in Petra, including a 2 km uphill walk from the Treasury, the thought of 30 minutes uphill at the end of the day can be daunting. Pop into one of the Wadi Musa restaurants on Tourism Street for a break, before you make the trek back to your hotel!
Driving from Wadi Musa to Petra
If you came in a rental car and are staying uptown, you can drive to the visitors center and park in the parking lot (it is JUST past the site entrance on the right.) It is a dirt parking lot and is free. There are no attendants, although you will find locals hanging around the area quickly offering help for just about anything you look like you need. I personally have never had a problem leaving my luggage in the trunk here. Property crime and theft against tourists is very rare in Jordan.
Local Busses from Wadi Musa to Petra
There is no local public transportation from Wadi Musa to Petra. The options above are your only options to get from uptown to the visitors center entrance.
A few notes about Public Transportation to Petra.
I have an entire post about coming to Petra from Amman and also coming to Petra from Aqaba. Have a read if those interest you.
But one note about luggage.
If you are staying uptown and arrive on a JETT bus, they drop you at the visitors center bus parking lot. You will then need to get transportation up TO YOUR HOTEL to drop your luggage and then back to the site. Just keep that in mind when you choose your hotel. There is no luggage storage near the visitor’s center.
If you are coming on public transport from Aqaba, they will drop you 15 mins walk from the site at the public transport parking lot in Wadi Musa. This is where the small coaster busses park, as they cater to locals who are going from Aqaba to Wadi Musa or Wadi Musa to Aqaba, not tourists actually visiting Petra.
Did I miss anything? Any questions about getting around in Wadi Musa feel free to leave a comment or contact me!
As mentioned above, I have an entire guide to visiting Petra. You can read it here.
More Jordan Travel Resources
If you are planning on booking an Air BNB during your trip (or anywhere for that matter), use this link to save on your booking. There are plenty of AirBNB options in Petra and Jordan, as the platform is constantly gaining popularity.
5 Things to Bring with You to Jordan
- I have always been a guide book person and physically having that book in your hand as you plan your day, in addition to blogs like this one, can help immensely. Pick up a Lonely Planet Guide to Jordan (or the kindle version) before your trip to Jordan.
- Whether you want to keep the sun off your head or want to show a little modesty, a scarf goes a long way in Jordan any time of the year. You can bring one with you or pick up one when you arrive, but don’t leave your hotel in the morning without it! It can serve as a hat to keep the sun off your head and neck in the summer and can add some warmth in winter and can offer modesty to cover shoulders for women.
- A Grayl Water Bottle is something I recommend for every traveller, not just those going to the Middle East. Some people say the water is safe to drink from the tap, others say it is not; it is not something I am going to chance. And Jordan has a HUGE garbage problem. The streets, the forests and even the desert are littered with plastic bottles.
- Kleenex or Wipes are another thing to put on your list. Jordan’s public washrooms (and even restraint or hotel lobby washrooms can often be unstocked. Unless you are good with a bidet sprayer, bring yourself some kleenex or wipes just in case! The bathroom in the Petra visitors center is often very dirty in my experience. There is also a washroom by the basin restaurant and outhouses near the Treasury and Monastery. Have kleenex with you. In Jordan, the plumbing is not set up to handle toilet paper. Every bathroom (even hotels) you should use the garbage can beside the toilet for your toilet paper and any sanitary products.
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 do not want to be the person who slips and falls in Petra and does not have insurance.
You can find out more information and buy your travel insurance here.