Often overlooked as a destination due to tumultuous neighbors on every side, Jordan is actually a great place for the inquisitive traveler. With delicious regional food and wine, luxurious tours and accommodations, and plenty of historical sights, it’s hard not to enjoy soaking in the culture of Jordan. But while it's teeming with culture -- it's the incredible adventures you'll remember forever.
Canyoning in Wadi Mujib
Despite being known primarily as a desert, Jordan actually has a surprising amount of water, and even a rainy season. This helps fill many of the siqs (canyons) and wadis (valleys) with gently flowing creeks and rushing rivers. One such place is Wadi Mujib, where you can strap on a life-vest and hike in the river through the narrow canyon. Guides help with some of the more technical climbing and trekking, but otherwise it’s a self-guided experience.
Hiking in Dana Biosphere Reserve
Often passed for more well-known sights, Dana Biosphere Reserve is a must-do for any adventure traveler. The massive – nearly 200 square mile – area contains a valley that could easily rival Yosemite in both scope and beauty. There are hundreds of miles of designated hiking trails, and plenty of unofficial backcountry you can forge on your own. Like the U.S. National Park system, you’re advised to leave no trace as to preserve the area's nature.
Camping in Wadi Rum
Popularized by movies and TV, Wadi Rum is quickly rising to the top of many travelers' bucket lists. If you choose to visit, opt for a campsite where you can sleep outdoors – or at least partake in some amazing stargazing before you retreat for the night. Nights in the desert tend to get quite chilly, but with zero light pollution, the experience is otherworldly.
Ride a Camel through the Desert
There are several places where you can ride camels in Jordan, but my early morning trip through Wadi Rum was among my top trip memories. Perching six feet atop a spindly-legged dromedary is pretty thrilling, especially when they kneel down to allow you to mount and dismount. The gentle, relaxing sway as you sit high in the padded saddle makes up for it though and it'll feel like a scene right out of Arabian Nights.
Float in the Dead Sea
The most un-strenuous adventure on this list, floating in the Dead Sea is another otherworld experience as you feel yourself lifted right off your feet. Most of the resorts spread along the western shore are quite luxurious, but you can always opt to walk down to the water if you'd rather get some fresh air instead of taking the bus.
Explore Beyond the Treasury in Petra
Did you know that most pictures of Petra actually show the Monastery – not the Treasury made famous by Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade? It’s an easy mistake to make as the buildings do look very similar. What most people also don’t know is that beyond the Treasury, there are dozens of hiking trails. Many are unshaded and exposed to the elements, but offer unlimited miles to stretch your legs.
Conquer the Ruins of Jerash
Understandably, sections of the famous Roman ruins of Jerash are closed for restoration. However much of the landmark is open and available to the public – for climbing, perching, tip-toeing, and whatever other yoga pose you chose. Whether you opt to ascend the narrow staircase in the temple of Zeus or wander among the the remaining columns of the Cardo (main road), there are plenty of historical sites to explore.