Despite the fact that Petra is probably Jordan’s most well-known and most visited tourist site, I still found it difficult to find updated, accurate information to go from Amman to Petra (as well as going to Petra from other cities / destinations) in a cost- / time-efficient manner, that’s also safe for solo female travellers.
When possible, I like to DIY my own trip which is why I opted not to do an Amman to Petra day trip tour. Amman is a common base for international visitors given the location of the country’s international airport (Queen Alia International Airport) and you’ll likely find a Petra day tour operator quite easily.
However, I think there’s something exciting about planning your own trip and I think visiting Petra without relying on tour groups is so much more fun because you can decide on pace, length of excursion and level of adventure!
Much of the information I came across in my research is often in Arabic and sometimes Google Maps doesn’t have all or the right names, so it’s really helpful to compare your information with as many different sources as possible. Given the informal nature of the way public transportation is run in Petra, there will be changing information around cost, pick-up location, and schedule of said transportation so I am summarizing my experience in Jordan from late 2017 to give you a more up-to-date information!
There have been some improvements in recent years on the public transportation to take independent travellers (which is also the cheapest way to get from Amman to Petra) to this timeless ancient city. Don’t be intimidated because it seems hard – I think that’s part of the fun!
It is worth noting that the Archeological Site of Petra is located nearest to the town of Wadi Musa which is why you will find references to the town and Petra together. When I went to Jordan in 2017, I had to stay in Wadi Musa (about a 5-minute drive, also walkable but quite hilly) as the only option of staying nearer to Petra was at the Movenpick Resort Petra hotel (USD$470 or CAD $610 per night) – way too expensive and bougie for my budget even though it’s located right at the doorstep of this immense archeological site.
Conveniently, a number of quality hotels and hostels have begun operating near to the Petra site – some operate metres away from the Petra Visitor Centre (the “entrance” to this incredible site!) which I’ve shared further below.
How to go From Amman to Petra
Generally speaking, if you’re not comfortable taking the public transit or local buses/shuttles on your own, your options are 1) taxis and 2) private drivers. When booked on the spot, they are less expensive compared to taking a private transfer from Amman to Petra booked online (which is often charged in USD and costs almost 2-3x more).
Taxis are available in abundance throughout the country so it’s very easy to quickly flag one down. Keep in mind that taxis are generally not in the best condition and the drivers smoke a lot too. It’s best to negotiate your fare before getting in so that there’s no surprises – not all taxis have working meters either.
If you want to hire a private driver, ask your hotel / tour operator to arrange it for you rather than flag one down in the city! It’s usually less dicey and the hotel will have the incentive to make sure you’re with a courteous / English-speaking driver so it’s a more comfortable experience.
Freelance / private drivers are the best folks that balance safety, price, and availabilities. There is always an availability, they generally drive their own car (safer, cleaner option) and routes / pricing are negotiable. The best way to book private drivers is through your tour operator/hotel. They likely have friends who are private drivers and can take you around easily.
How Far is it to Go from Amman to Petra?
The distance from Amman to Petra is 230km / 143 miles which is around 2.5-3 hours or so of a drive via the Desert Hwy./Route 15/Route 45M. It is possible to rent your own car and do the relatively short drive on your own but in this post, I’ll share alternative options as renting a car can be an expensive choice for budget travellers.
Flying from Amman to Petra is not a very common option as the closest airport is the Aqaba airport (King Hussein Airport, AQJ) in the south. From Aqaba, you can expect a 1.5 hour drive to reach Petra.
From my own experience, I took the taxi once (couldn’t stand the smoking) and had a private driver the rest of the trip to go to Jerash from Amman, then to Wadi Musa from Wadi Rum. It was no more expensive than flagging my own taxi but definitely could have been less expensive if I have travel partners to split the cost with.
Try to remember / know the Arabic name of the destination so there is no confusion with the driver. If you can, take a screenshot of Google Maps or your hotel confirmation as not every driver speaks fluent English!
Petra Entrance Fee & Hours
The Petra entrance fee is very expensive for a day trip (JD90 / CAD$180); this is a destination where the longer you stay, the cheaper it gets. For example a 2-day pass is JD55 and a 3-day pass is JD60. Petra day trip tours and Petra tours from Amman often include the entrance fee along with the other amenities of getting you there and from your hotel.
An alternative to lower the cost of the entrance fee is by getting a Jordan Pass which not only includes the cost of all the key destinations in Jordan (including Petra, Wadi Rum, Jerash and so on) but also waives your visa fee for a total cost of JD70.
How Much to go from Amman to Petra
1. The JETT Bus – JD10
If you are travelling from Amman, you can take the tourist JETT Bus which leaves daily from Amman at 6AM for a mere JD11 (C$22). Purchase your tickets in advance (where possible get the blue ticket slip as proof of purchase if booking in person). The JETT website has been improved quite significantly since the last time I was there so it’s quite easy to make reservation / booking online. You can find the full list of the service schedule on this page.
Pro Tip: Book your seats ahead of time and try to get a printed confirmation of booking. The online booking link didn’t work for me so if you have time in Amman to go to their office, this is your best bet as you may be turned away without booking if the bus is full.
You can book a seat online but it is not guaranteed to secure your spot. There are several offices/bus stations in downtown Amman that JETT stops by so double-check ahead of time which bus stops you will be departing from. The four stations (that I’m aware of) are:
- Tabarbour (North Terminal Bus Station)
- 7th Circle
- Al Wehdat (South Terminal Bus Station)
I highly recommend booking ahead of time if you can – during my research, I read that you can book the ticket on the spot. However since this is a highly popular route with only 1 bus operating each way, it gets full very quickly. I showed up without prior booking and got lucky since I was a party of 1 and they could slot me in. A group of 4 ahead of me were turned away as there weren’t enough seats. This may have been a one-off situation on a particularly busy day, but it’s something to keep in mind.
Journey time is from Amman to Petra and vice-versa around 3.5-4 hours. You will arrive at Petra around 10-10:30AM. These daily bus only depart once from Amman and once from Petra, so do not miss your bus.
You can take the same bus back to Amman. The bus departs at 4:30PM in front of the souvenir shops. You need to walk over to the parking lot that has all the tour buses, spot the blue one that says JETT on it and buy your ticket. If you need to purchase your ticket separately, you can buy the return ticket directly from the driver. He will give you a slip and assign you a seat number.
2. Take the Public Transit – Minibus / Shuttle from Amman – JD1.50-5
There are a number of shared minibus / shuttles also called servees that departs from specific bus stations in Amman and goes outside a city. This is the same minibuses that the locals take so you’ll likely be the only tourist on it. The bus that departs to Wadi Musa, Wadi Rum, and Aqaba that departs from the South Bus Station (Al Wehdat Bus Station or “Mujemma Al-Janoob” in Arabic).
The shuttles / minibuses don’t have a specific departure time – they only leave when the bus is full. I didn’t wait for too long (maybe around 30 minutes) since the shuttles only take 12-15 people. The shuttles that head south of Amman depart from this station. For exact coordinates, and latest information, I find this particular website to be very helpful.
Pro Tip: For destinations SOUTH of Amman (i.e. Wadi Rum, Petra), your bus will depart from the “Al Wehdat Bus Station” (South Terminal Bus Station). To go NORTH of Amman (Jerash/Al’Joun Castle), you need to depart from the “Tabarbour bus station” (North Terminal Bus Station)
The minibuses depart from 9-4pm from the Amman station and from Wadi Musa/Petra between 6am-1pm. The fee for the minibus may vary – various sites indicates JOD5 (C$10) as the base price, but I paid JOD3.5 (CAD$7) which also covers the cost of my luggage. There are no specific stops so if you need to get off the bus, just knock on the side of the car to let the driver know you want to stop here.
Fun Fact: Men and women don’t sit together (unless they’re married); so expect to be moved around a little bit. Your luggage will be stored at the back!
3. Hire Taxis or Private Drivers – JD80-85
There are taxi drivers that can drive you between Amman and Wadi Musa/Petra. You can also hire drivers for the day and they are more than happy to work out a better pricing for it. If you’re travelling as a group, the private driver is your best bet. Pricing between major routes is quite uniformed and almost identical from different providers.
Alternatively, if you are booking a tour, you can ask for them to help arrange a taxi for you. You’ll likely get a better deal that way and won’t get charged an obscene amount as a tourist. You can prebook the taxi’s ahead of time so they pick you up from the hotel. Generally one-way from Amman to Petra costs JOD80-85 (C$160-170) and payment is payable directly to the driver.
Cash is king in Jordan – best to bring enough Jordanian Dinars for your entire trip as ATMs are scarce. There are a number of black market currency exchange spots near the main tourist areas for USD/Euros if you’re in a pinch
I recommend booking with Saleh Al-Qaisi (Phone: 0798297971) or ask the owner of Sydney Hotel (Tariq) for Saleh, the driver; he was my driver in Amman and drove me around to Jerash and eventually to the King Hussein / Allenby border to Israel. His pricing is very reasonable and I booked him through my hotel (Sydney Hotel in Amman)
Where to Stay in Petra / Wadi Musa
Budget // Wadi Musa
Perfect for an authentic experience of sleeping in goat-hair tents like the Bedouins; camp is located 15 mins away from Petra.Book Here
Comfort // Wadi Musa
Located steps away from the Petra Visitor Centre, this is one of the best hotels with a fantastic location and views overlooking the Wadi Musa mountains.Book Here
Comfort // Wadi Musa
Another newly built hotel located near the entrance of the Petra archeological site (200m from the Visitor’s Centre); excellent value for the location.
How to Get to go from Wadi Rum to Petra
1. Tourist Shuttle Bus from Petra to Wadi Rum – JD7-10
If travelling from Wadi Rum, you can take one of the independently run shuttle bus between Wadi Rum and Petra. It looks like the one below. Cost is JOD7 / CAD$15 and it picks you up from Rum Village at around 8:30AM. It also operates the other way around, departing from Petra/Wadi Musa to Wadi Rum at around 6AM.
The best way to arrange this transportation is to as your hotel operator/tour organizer to book this service for you. They will call the driver who will let you know what time to be ready. This is a tourist bus so you’ll be picking up a few people before departing.
Don’t be late for the pickup – not only will you be angering the other tourists on the bus, but they don’t wait too long at each pickup location either.
2. Taxi or private transfer – JD40-45
You can also take a taxi between Wadi Rum and Petra if you need to arrive by a specific time. Taxis cost JOD40-45 (C$80/85) for a one-hour journey per vehicle. It’s much cheaper if you can split the cost with other guests.
How to get to Petra from Aqaba / Eilat (Israel)
If you are coming from Aqaba, you’ll need to get to Wadi Rum first via taxi. Alternatively, you can take the servees that serves the Amman to Aqaba route in the opposite direction and get off at Petra / Wadi Musa.
How to get to from Tel Aviv to Petra
I’ve detailed the best way of going from Tel Aviv to Petra in this post but if he most convenient, safest, and easiest way to tour Petra from Israel is through an organized tour.
The most budget-friendly, and highly rated option I came across during my trip is Abraham Tours. They have tours that go to Egypt in addition to Jordan, and departs from Tel Aviv or Jerusalem.
Have you been to Petra or Jordan? What are your best tips to get to Petra from surrounding countries/cities?
Essential Reading for going from Amman to Petra
- Cash is king – be sure to bring extra dinars and USD/Euros just in case you need to exchange them. ATMs are not very common but black market exchange houses are readily available
- Enjoy the Bedouin tea, especially the unsweetened version!
- Jordan’s Tourism Board website is a fantastic resource to plan your trip – it outlines the entry requirements to enter Jordan, border hours, and embassies for various countries
- Consider getting a Jordan Pass if you plan to stay in Jordan for longer than 4 days/3 nights; here is my review of the Jordan Pass
- Here’s everything you need to know to go from Tel Aviv to Petra including tips on border crossing and costs
- Here is a sample itinerary I did of my 6-day trip throughout Israel and Jordan
- Discover more of my travels in Jordan and Israel
Where to Next
- Make time to visit Jerash, home of the best and most well-preserved Roman ruins outside of Rome
- Here’s how you to plan your trip to Petra to make the most of your time!
- Here are a couple of female solo-travel approved transportation options to get around Jordan!
- Here’s an updated review of Wadi Rum Bedouin Camping with Bedouin Directions
- Here’s how much it will cost to travel in Jordan