a VirtualTourist member from Oslo
We have booked a 1 week tour from Oslo to Aqaba. Norwegian tour operator offers trips around but we think they might be overpriced?
So We plan to visit Petra and the Dead Sea. How can we best do it on our own? And how much we shall expect to pay?
I am sure that from Aqaba you will be able to book day or two day tours with a local operator. Have a look on the net, there are almost certainly people you can get prices from.
People on holiday in Eilat have the chance to book coach tours to Petra by bus. The only restriction I remember there being was that you had to spend at least on night in Jordan. This was an economic/political restriction so that people were forced to spend some money in Jordan rather than just coming in as day visitors with their own food and drink and then contributing little to the local economy. Since you're starting in Aqaba I don't imagine that will be an issue.
Petra is a very big site with a significant walk in and out. Whilst the road up to Wadi Musa from Aqaba is excellent, it is fair distance. If you can spend a night at Wadi Musa I would suggest you do, but if not, don't be put off. Petra is worth any/every effort. There are some fantastic hotels in Wadi Musa, but the place itself is worth spending a bit of time in too if you have chance. It's a real pity that most visitors just arrive, visit Petra and leave straight afterwards.
The Dead Sea is somewhere that's worth visiting and is a much more relaxing experience. You can't actually spend too long in the water - it's not very good for you. You must visit at a location with fresh water showers to wash off afterwards. Any local tour will take you to one of the resorts. If you like that sort of thing you will enjoy the experience. I've been in the Dead Sea from both sides. It's good fun but I'm rather out of place in holiday resorts. Have a look at a map though, it's around 200km each way from Aqaba. Day trips from Eilat to the dead sea and Jerusalem often actually fly back from Tel Aviv because of the distance.
You can definitely rent a car and do the trip yourself, depending on what you're looking for. The drive from Aqaba to Petra is really easy down a main highway, and if I recall it was about 2 hours or so with traffic. The Dead Sea is almost another 2 hours from Petra, depending on what route you take (and about 4 hours back to Aqaba). So, you can definitely do it on your own, but you'll want to make sure you plan enough time.
For cost comparisons, rental cars are normally about 40 JD/day, the entrance fee to Petra is 50JD per person (expensive, but totally worth it), and a day pass to a resort at the Dead Sea is between 20-30 JD per person. So, that should at least be a good basis for pricing (just make sure to confirm if your package includes the entrance fee to Petra). Cheers!