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(Photo by Argenberg)

 

I received a brochure from The University of Washington for a 12-day tour of Jordan. It’s called “Treasures of Jordan: Antiquities and Natural Wonders” and includes visits to Amman, Petra (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), the Dead Sea and the deserts of Wadi Rum. As you may know, many university alumni associations sponsor guided tours to various locations around the world. I’m more of an independent traveler, myself, but can certainly see the benefit of professor-led tours. In this instance, the professor accompanying the tour is an expert on Middle East History who has published extensively on Islamic culture and architecture. It sounds like a great idea to have someone like this accompany you to Petra or Jerash.

 

The itinerary for this particular trip sounds very compelling, although it’s not cheap at $3995 per person (including air from Seattle). It made me wonder what other guided travel options are available for this part of the world and how they differ from the UW trip.

 

iExplore offers several trips to Jordan and the Middle East, including a 12-day tour through Egypt and Jordan complete with Nile cruise and a 9-day humanitarian adventure in Jordan that includes visits to refugee camps and educational centers in addition to excursions to Petra and the Dead Sea.

 

Select Tours offers an 8-day “Jordan Classic” trip focusing on the biggest tourist attractions in Jordan: Jerash, Petra, the Dead Sea and Aqaba, among other places. They also provide optional 4×4 trips through the desert and voluntourism opportunities.

 

Intrepid Travel lists, among other options, a 9-day tour called “http://www.intrepidtravel.com/trips/ERJ” that includes hiking on Mt. Sinai and sleeping in Bedouin camel-hair tents. Prices start at a reasonable $1040 per person.

 

In contrast, the luxury tour company Abercrombie & Kent offers a 16-day trip through Israel, Jordan and Egypt that starts at nearly $14,000 per person. They also coordinate an 11-day trip called “Jordan: Following the Steps of Lawrence of Arabia” that focuses mainly on Jordan’s Eastern Desert and Wadi Rum areas.

 

There are a lot of opportunities to explore Jordan and the Middle East on a guided tour if you so desire. Given the wide range of trips available, there’s surely one to cater to your personal preferences.

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