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Aqaba – Red Sea

The prime junction for land and sea routes from Asia, Africa and Europe.

 

With its wealth of other attractions, Jordan’s splendid Red Sea resort is often overlooked by modern-day visitors. But apart from being a delightful place for discerning holidaymakers, this is actually a great base from which to explore various places of interest in southern Jordan.

Aqaba is a fun place. It is a microcosm of all the good things Jordan has to offer, including a fascinating history with some outstanding sites, excellent hotels and activities, superb visitor facilities, good shopping, and welcoming, friendly people, who enjoy nothing more than making sure their visitors have a good time.

But perhaps Aqaba’s greatest asset is the Red Sea itself. Here you can experience some of the best snorkelling and diving in the world. The temperate climate and gentle water currents have created a perfect environment for the growth of corals and a teeming plethora of marine life. Here you can swim with friendly sea turtles and dolphins as they dart amongst the schools of multi-coloured fish. Night dives reveal the nocturnal sea creatures, crabs, lobsters and shrimp, as they search for a midnight snack.

There are several dive centres in Aqaba. All offer well-maintained diving equipment, professional instructors, and transport by boat to a variety of dive sites.

For those who prefer to keep their feet dry, all the deep sea wonders can be viewed through a glass-bottomed boat or by submarine, or you can just relax under the sun on the resort’s sandy beaches. Plus, of course, there are plenty of other water-sport activities available, as well as an extensive and interesting Marine Park.

From as far back as five and a half thousand years ago Aqaba has played an important role in the economy of the region. It was a prime junction for land and sea routes from Asia, Africa and Europe, a role it still plays today. Because of this vital function, there are many historic sites to be explored within the area, including what is believed to be the oldest purpose-built church in the world.

Aqaba International Airport is situated just 20 minutes from the town centre and services regular flights from Amman as well as from several European cities. From the town centre, the borders of Israel, Egypt’s Sinai and Saudi Arabia are no more than a 30-minute drive.

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    Diving & Snorkeling (Red Sea)

    Aqaba, Jordan

    Activity Type: Daily Activity

    Due to its ideal water temperatures and shallow waters, The Red Sea is one of the world’s ...

    From $ 98,00 $ 93,10
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Aqaba and its environs provide plenty of scope for creative and lively incentives. Primarily, there is the Red Sea itself, which offers an underwater world of diving experiences. Dive boats and full equipment can he hired for one-day or overnight trips during which delegates have the opportunity to explore the spectacular coral reefs, discover the delights of wreck diving and experience the strange and wonderful world of Aqaba’s undersea nightlife. There are plenty of challenging activities topside too, with sailing, windsurfing, waterskiing, and parascending.

ECO & NATURE Jordan’s only outlet to the sea, Aqaba is backed by purple-tinted mountains that are rich in phosphates. Beyond are the rose-coloured deserts of Wadi Rum.

Beneath the clean, crystal clear waters of the Red Sea, is a unique marine environment, where divers can discover Jordan’s amazing underwater wildlife. Brightly-coloured corals, sponges and sea fans are home to millions of reef fish and a range of invertebrates. Even the world’s largest fish, the Whale Shark, visits these nutrient-rich waters. These harmless, gentle giants come to dine on the rich plankton harvests that flourish in the area. Other visitors include turtles, dolphins and sea cows.


Bird Watching Jordan is a great destination for bird-lovers, its remarkable variety of habitats, from rugged mountains and evergreen woodlands to scrubby steppe and hot dry deserts provide perfect environments for many species of indigenous birds. Furthermore, its location at the crossroad of Europe, Asia and Africa means that migrating birds from these three continents can sometimes be seen together in the same general area within Jordan. A total of 17 sites have been declared as Important Bird Areas (IBAs) in Jordan’s national parks. RSCN’s nature reserves are also IBAs. Five of the IBA sites are fully protected by law, five are partially protected, and two further have been officially proposed for legal protection. Great efforts are being made to ensure the protection of the Red Sea marine life, particularly from the impact of tourism. Derelict ships and military vehicles have been sunk in some cases to create artificial reefs. These wrecks provide permanent places for corals to grow and offer marine life a safe refuge to set up residency, not to mention some exciting diving for non-aquatic visitors. The Aqaba Marine Science Station showcases the marine life of the Gulf of Aqaba and the many steps that are being taken to protect it.


Aqaba Bird Observatory The green areas of Aqaba, particularly the relatively dense vegetation and open ponds at the waste water treatment plant, attract hundreds of thousands (possibly millions) of migratory birds every spring and autumn comprised of more than 350 different species. Migratory birds flying from Europe to Africa in autumn visit suitable habitats in the region to make final preparations for the long journey across the Sahara desert. In the spring, migrants tend to land at any suitable habitat in the region, Aqaba being the first station they encounter after a long journey over the deserts of North Africa. The Jordanian Society for Sustainable Development (JSSD) began the establishment of protected areas in Aqaba, in cooperation with the Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority and the Aqaba Water Company. The Aqaba Bird Observatory is responsible for the monitoring and protection of the birds, and the JSSD set up a centre for visitors and a research centre at the Observatory. A Visitors’ Centre was constructed with an education room to implement the educational and awareness programs. The observatory has a research facility that will be used as a research centre. Walking trails in the observatory will lead to the bird’s hide, the major spot for watching birds. In addition, the observatory includes a nature garden that educates visitors about the native plants found in the Aqaba area and will support resident birds that depend on such habitats.

Adventure seekers visiting Jordan will be in their element when they visit Aqaba. The southern part of Aqaba is situated on the coast of the Red Sea and offers a wide range of sports and activities of an aquatic nature including: scuba diving, windsurfing, waterskiing, jet skiing, snorkeling, and sailing.

To the north of Aqaba, visitors will find the majestic landscapes of Wadi Rum, which can be reached by camel, 4×4, or a car. More intrepid adventurers may like to take a week-long camel trek through this beautiful landscape to the Visitors’ Center at Wadi Rum or jump in a 4×4 and drive cross-country.

Camping is also a favorite activity in Aqaba especially during the cooler seasons between May – July and September – November.

Diving in Aqaba is spectacular and goes on all year round, with different species to be seen in the different seasons. In June / July there are whale sharks, while in February one can often see Mantas.

Aqaba’s long history dates back to pre-biblical times, when it was known as Ayla. According to the Bible’s Old Testament, King Solomon built a naval base at Ezion Geber, just 3km from where the modern town of Aqaba stands today.

From 106 AD, the Romans, who ruled the region from their base in Syria, also used Ayla as their trading sea port, until it came under the control of the Byzantine Empire in the early 4th century. The Byzantines appointed Christian Arabs from south Arabia to rule the port city on their behalf.

The Middle Ages were turbulent years for Ayla. In the 12th century, the crusaders captured the city. They built a fort on Far’un Island, known then as Ile de Graye, 7km offshore. Ayla was then retaken by Saladin and the fort became known as Saladin’s Castle. In a counter-attack, the notorious crusader, Reynald de Chatillon, took the island, but lost it again to Muslim forces the following year.

When the Mameluk Sultans of Egypt took control of the region, they renamed the city Aqaba and, in the 14th century, built the town’s famous Mameluk fort. The Mameluks were followed by the Ottomans, who ruled Aqaba for 4 centuries.

Aqaba was taken from the Ottomans in 1917 by Arab forces together with T. E. Lawrence. At the end of World War I, the British secured Aqaba for Jordan.


Step into Aqaba Castle

An inscription in Arabic at the entrance gate tells us Aqaba’s Mamluk (Mameluke) fort (now known as Aqaba castle) was built during the reign of Qansur Al-Ghuri (Qansuh al-Ghauri) (1510-17). Since then, it has had a Chequered history. Periods of enlargement and renovation have been mixed with serious destruction. The fort has served as a caravanserai for pilgrims travelling to Mecca as much as a military site.

Opening times:

Summer Time:

Sunday –Thursday              08:00 – 17;00

Friday – Saturday                10:00 – 17:00

Winter Time:

Sunday –Thursday              08:00 – 16;00

Friday – Saturday                10:00 – 16:00

Greatly prized as Jordan’s window to the sea, Aqaba brings a refreshing release from the rose-colored desert to the north. Its sandy beaches and coral reefs are the most pristine on the Red Sea, and Jordanians hope to preserve them through careful planning. With several first-rate hotels, restaurants and shops, Aqaba caters to a tourist crowd that is tranquil and relaxed, seeking its pleasures more by day than by night.

Indigo-colored deep water lies just off shore in Aqaba, bringing kaleidoscopic marine life within easy reach. Exploring means a leisurely drive to a private spot and a short swim out to the reef. Unusual vertical currents and sea breezes make diving cool and pleasant, even in the heat of the summer.

Although Aqaba is famous for its water sports and adventure activities, there are a host of leisurely activities that can be enjoyed by visitors who wish to relax, rejuvenate or just get away from the pressures of city life. For those who prefer their marine life at arm’s length, glass-bottomed boats are a fun way to enjoy the marvels of the Red Sea.

Boat trips are a great way to spend a relaxing day, and there are many to choose from. Daily excursions tour Aqaba’s coastline, stopping periodically to allow guests to take a dip in the warm waters or slip on a mask and snorkel to take in some of the colorful sea life. Overnight trips can also be arranged on board the larger sailing boats and include full-board accommodation and water sport activities.

Aqaba basks in balmy weather nine months of the year, in winter, spring and autumn. Summer is hot, but you can pace your activities and adapt to the climate, slowing down in midday, and reviving in the cool of the evening.

After a long day of relaxing on Aqaba’s sandy shores, there is no better way to refresh than by visiting one of the luxurious spas found in many of Aqaba’s leading hotels. The spas combine Eastern and Western techniques and offer luxurious body treatments, rejuvenating facials, cleansing scrubs and body wraps, using world-renowned Dead Sea products.


Hold your Wedding on the Beach

Are you looking to host your wedding in a unique place? You will get a special for better value and on fabulous Red Sea.

In reality, planning a wedding in a non-traditional venue that also happens to be open to the public is anything but breezy.

From the turquoise waters of the Red Sea and the white sandy beach to the exquisite views your dream wedding come true. This special day on the beach will surely capture your heart and let you luxuriate in the aquatic view of the Sea.

Aqaba beaches are an ideal option for you and your love and an aquatic romantic experience.

Night Dives

Night dives have a vibe of their own, one you can only understand if you dare. Most night dives in Aqaba boast clear waters that are cool but not freezing. Aqaba offers you a unique and memorable chance to explore underwater treasures and catch spectacular fish by the night’s light.

Some of the same things you see during the day look entirely different by night. There are also nocturnal aquatic animals which are rarely seen out and about during the day.


Take a Romantic Cruise

Longing for a romantic getaway aboard a cruise ship while experiencing unrivalled views? Rediscover togetherness and reconnect with your loved one while gazing at the velvety blue sea and enjoying clear skies.

Aqaba promises an unprecedented once-in-a-lifetime experience set against the murmur of the soft sea. What could be more romantic than a cruise to set the scene and rekindle the spark?


Have a Romantic Dinner on a Pier

Treat your loved ones to a unique dinner experience whilst making lifetime memories. Take in the breath-taking views of sunset and watch Aqaba glittering by radiant lights as your feet touch the cool sand. Take in a candlelight dinner like no other.