Jordan is one of the most pleasant and visited countries in the Middle East. Its infrastructure is set up to encourage tourism, and as the home to some of the world's most unique sites, Jordan has one of the most full dance cards of any country in the Mideast.
Most people who travel to Jordan start in Amman, if they are not coming onland. Amman is a cosmopolitan city and yet retains a bit of a small-town feel to it. It is a beautiful city with several nice hotels, fine restaurants, including some of the best Arabic food restaurants in all of the Middle East, and has one of the most vibrant nightlifes of any city.
Weather & Climate
Jordan has many different climates. It is a virtually landlocked country (except for a small portion of the Red Sea) and is surrounded by Saudi Arabia on the Southeast, Iraq on the East, Syria on the North, and Israel on the West.
Jordan is part of the "fertile crescent" meaning that it shares a temperate climate good for growing produce. Jordan's mountains can be quite cool, and snowy in the winters.
Jordan is fairly hot in the summer, however, and quite cold in the winters, making spring and fall the best times to visit. The country isn't as cold or hot as some of its more extreme neighbors, however.
You can divide Jordan into three distinct climate regions: 1. The mountains/highlands 2. The Jordan Rift Valley and 3. The desert.
Religion is an important part of Jordanians' day-to-day lives. The call to prayer is broadcast five times a day and during Ramadan many businesses are closed during the day. Most of the country is Sunni Muslim. The King of Jordan and any successors are also slated to be Muslims throughout the country's history.
Jordan does have a Constitution which guarantees freedom of religion to everyone in the country. There are several groups of Christians, Shi'ite Muslims, Hindus, and Jews living in Jordan today.
Many people in Jordan speak English, though Arabic is the most spoken language. As an English speaker, you won't have any trouble getting around or communicating with only English. To pick up some Arabic, check out our Arabic learning page.
Jordan is a Muslim country, though "Western" style dress is worn by nearly everyone, especially in the cities. You don't need to worry too much about Western clothing in Jordan, but should try and not wear shorts or anything overly revealing.
At the beaches (Red Sea and Dead Sea) and swimming pools bathing suits are fine. Nightclubs usually have dress codes and you should dress up for them. Most restaurants appreciate a little dressing up as well, but Jordanians are extremely tolerant and welcoming toward any foreigner wearing most anything.
You can get a three-month travel visa upon arriving in Jordan as long as you have a valid passport.
You can also enter Jordan with an Israeli stamp on your passport as well; the two countries have peaceful diplomatic relations at the moment.
If you hold a passport from any of the following countries check with your nearest Jordanian consulate or embassy before travel to Jordan: Afghanistan, Albania, Angola, Bangladesh, Belize, Benin, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo (Dem Rep), Congo (Rep), Colombia, Côte d’Ivoire, Cuba, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, India, Iran, Laos, Lebanon, Liberia, Macedonia (Former Yugoslav Republic of), Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Mongolia, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, The Philippines, Russian Federation, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Vietnam and Zambia
International Driving Permit is preferred but not required. Application and info for US drivers on AAA's website here: http://www.csaa.com/.
Your home license can work just as well.
Driving around the country and cities is very pleasant in Jordan. The other drivers are pretty safe, though there is some speeding, especially in Amman. The roads of the country are all well kept and are in a good state.
If you are driving outside the cities, please take supplies with you and ensure that you have enough gas!
Car rental agencies are located in the major cities but renting a car is quite expensive in Jordan. Make sure you have enough insurance as well.
Drugs and Alcohol
Jordan does not tolerate drug use and illegal drugs are not easily obtained. Hashish and Ecstasy are perhaps the most common. All illegal drug use will be followed by a lengthy trip to jail, without the possibility of getting out in any timely manner.
Alcohol is widely available throughout the country. Jordan has a particularly potent beer called "Petra Beer."
Most Jordanians do not culturally drink alcohol, however, and abuse of alcohol is seen as particularly shameful and is to be avoided.
Jordanian money is the Dinar, or "JD" for short. It is divided into 1000 fils and 100 piasters or qirsh.
One Dinar is about .71 cents in the USA, or about 1.2 Pounds Sterling, UK.
ATMS are common throughout the country and all major places, hotels and restaurants, accept credit cards.
None are required at entry but hepatitis A, polio, tetanus, and typhoid are recommended. Jordan is a very clean and modern country and there is little risk of getting anything serious, however.
You will be pressed to find anything annoying about Jordan. The people are very welcoming and interested to meet strangers. They are also very helpful.
Gay and Lesbian Travel
In Jordan homosexuality is not illegal. The gay scene is pretty laid back and not as apparent, however. You might get some comments on the street but mostly Jordanians are very accepting of gay culture.
You won't, however, find any gay nightclubs to speak of.
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