Petra Port is an amazing ancient city that's one of the top destinations in the Middle East. The city was carved out of the rock by Nabateans in the 5th to 6th centuries B.C. Cruise passengers arriving at the Petra port of call dock at Aqaba. Since this is Jordan's sole cruise port, a large amount of cruise traffic passes through here. Aqaba's cruise terminal is a modern complex with shopping and restaurants. The easiest way to get into Petra is by public bus. It may be worth your while to find out about excursion options through your cruise line.
The Petra area is well-known for its silver and gold jewelry, often including small coffeepot pendants. Some of the local crafts include olive wood carvings, embroidered tablecloths, Hebron glass, rosaries, pottery, and mother-of-pearl boxes. The Aqaba City Mall has several duty-free shops with great deals on clothing, electronics, and more.
There are several smaller gift stores with interesting items in Aqaba. Jordan Jubilee has an impressive number of ouds, or lutes to choose from. Rivage specializes in bath and skin care products made with Dead Sea salt. Hagoub is the local photo processing center, which makes getting all the pictures you've taken onto a CD much easier.
Things to See
Petra, the ancient city carved from rock, is the primary attraction here. It was used as a location in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. It's reached by means of a mile-long journey through a narrow chasm. The Temple of the Winged Lions is one of the more memorable sights in this complex. El Khazneh is a giant rock tomb also known as The Treasury. A monastery called Al-Deir is also located within the confines of Petra. An adjacent Archaeological Museum showcases some artifacts found here.
The Aqaba Fort, dating back to the 14th through 16th centuries, isn't too far from Petra. The current building was built by Qansawh el-Ghawri. Wadi Rum is about an hours' drive away from the port, and buses make regular runs there. The sand in the wadi boasts an impressive array of colors ranging from brown to bright orange and red. This can can be explored by Jeep, camel, or donkey if you prefer not to walk in the heat.
The Red Sea is a prime destination for divers and snorkelers. Some of the coral reefs in the area are truly amazing. Windsurfers and water skiers will also find a lot to do here. Aqaba has an extensive aquarium housed in the Marine Sciences Center.
Restaurants and Bars
Restaurants near Petra serve a lot of Middle Eastern specialities. Turkish-style coffee and lemon tea are the non-alcoholic beverages of choice.
Several good restaurants are located in nearby Aqaba. Ali Baba is a popular destination for Egyptian-style barbecue and seafood. The Syrian Palace has some tasty shish kebabs. Mohandes serves quick, filling Arabic dishes such as hummus and falafel. If you're craving a slice of pizza, there's also a Pizza Hut.
There are also a few good bars in Aqaba. The Tumbleweed Bar and Grill draws a young, active crowd. Friends is a popular bar with visitors, and Rovers is an English pub.