One of the factors that made our Jordan trip very satisfying and memorable was our local guide from Amani Tours. Wafa is a very experienced tourist guide and goes out of her way to tell us stories of the place complete with history and humor. She speaks Arabic, very diplomatic and can ward off aggressive peddlers (without hurting their feelings!) which is helpful as I really find it hard to refuse to shoo away these kind of people aplenty on touristy areas, especially children selling goods or begging.
There are hundreds of Jordanian tour operators dealing with incoming tourism, but most are fairly set in their ways, offering virtually identical seven-day tours around a circuit of sights from Amman to Jerash, Madaba, Karak, Petra, Wadi Rum, Aqaba and the Dead Sea.
Only a handful has guides that take you off the beaten track and our guide took us to a more scenic route on our way to Aqaba after Petra and other significant places very few tourists reach.
Fewer can take you out of the tourist bubble for one-on-one encounters with local people.
She wasn’t required to go into the water but was there so I can get out of the Dead Sea ALIVE. Don’t zoom in my face.
She took us to an elevated area in Aqaba where the locals live, so we can see the whole port city and say goodbye to it properly.
In all my trips, this is the first time we’re with a guide because in all other cities, I preferred to navigate all on my own, getting lost and learning along the way.
However, the sites in Jordan is massive and I think, without a guide, it’s easy to miss important, historical details that add more meaning to your trip.
Professional, licensed guides can be either hired to accompany you throughout your tour of Jordan (the best option), or at least to visit Petra exclusively, from the Visitors Centre at the entrance to Petra itself. I am not sure about the cost of a private guide to Petra.
We connected very easily with Wafa.
I love her positive attitude about life, her love for travel (oh her adventure-packed travel experiences and stories!) and passion for what she does. She ‘works’ tirelessly (I’m ashamed to admit she has more energy than I do!).
I feel so happy to have met our wonderful guide in Jordan and I’ve never been this excited to write about people I met during my travels. She was more than a tour guide for us – she didn’t make us feel we were tourists but instead, her long time friends who has come to Jordan to visit her.
And she gives the best hugs.
So yeah…I think a trip to Jordan without a guide, although possible would be different. The majority of sites in Jordan are not well marked and you can miss a lot of important places/events because of this. A full-time guide is by far the best bet as they will show you a truly personal view of their country which they are very proud of.
If and when you get to Jordan and decide to hire a guide, I hope he/she is as wonderful as ours. Good luck!
Amani Tours (where Wafa is connected), is in the trusted tour agencies list of the official Jordan Tourism Board.They offer standard and tailored tour packages, car transfers and fully licensed local guides. You can reach them via their Facebook page or on Twitter or call +962 6 585 9696 & Fax + 962 6 585 9697.
Amani Tours provided a driver and a guide to take us around Jordan to fulfill our 4 days, 3 nights itinerary, however, all opinions are my own.