“Ancient Jordan & Futuristic Qatar, a Journey Through Time”
Sept 7-16, 2024 Small Group
Seeking a unique experience of 2 diverse destinations in one vacay? This has it all for you, from the ancient kingdom of Jordan to the uber-modern emirate of Qatar. Our new AFS 9-day memory maker is for a small group of privileged travel lovers who want a high-end tour, yet still affordable and September is the best time to go. There’s nothing like Arabian hospitality. “Alhalan wa Sahlan” or ‘ you are most welcome ‘ is a phrase you’ll hear everywhere you go.
We begin in the capital of Amman or “Philadelphia“ in Roman times to explore the Citadel and historic city of Jerash. Continue to visit the biblical wonders of Mt Nebo and Madaba. On to the World Heritage Site of Petra. Towering monuments, tombs and temples here always fill travelers with awe. Our Petra by Night tour will leave you spellbound.
We head south into lunar- like ‘scapes of Wadi Rum with dramatic sandstone mountains that make a perfect backdrop for major blockbuster movies. This UNESCO site is trending at the top of thrill seekers must-see places. The Rum ‘now claims to be the “glamping capital of the world. “ You’ll LOVE our luxury camp set in surreal moonlike surroundings. Camp like a Bedouin in our glamour domes that we booked a year in advance for you to get incredible Instagram photos! Sunrise to sunset, you can experience a camel trek, jeep safari and even hot air ballooning. Each night, camp lights dim for our celestial star gazing.
We then descend into Jordan’s Rift Valley to the lowest place on earth for pampered relaxation. Immerse yourself in the therapeutic benefits of the Dead Sea at our five-star resort.
Next, fly to sparkling Qatar, the more sophisticated sister of Dubai. The vibrant capital of Doha is a jewel of modern architecture with breathtaking skyscrapers against the backdrop of ancient dhows. Our tours delve into Qatari history of thrilling camel racing and the coolest new sites. Visit the extraordinary “ Pearl”, man-made island wonder filled with enticements. Bargain for spices at bazaars in the Old Port. Words can’t convey our elegant home here for refined travelers. The new lux Fairmont hotel, dramatically shaped like two swords, is a gleaming landmark overlooking the Arabian Sea. The lobby, laced with 18k gold, holds the world’s largest chandelier. Lavish yourselves in the pools and spa. Service is beyond impeccable. The concierge will remember your name.
Start dreaming and prepare to be smitten by both Jordan and Qatar. We know these lands well with many past groups. AFSers want a story to tell. Our experiences here lend cherished memories for years to come. Your camel awaits!
Our Glorious AFS Itinerary
Click here for the Trip Tips. (Fitness level 4 – Must be fit to walk 2 miles on uneven landscape.)
Sep 7 – Depart USA and fly to Amman (Air details coming and trip tips)
Sep 8 – Welcome to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan
The capital of Amman is a fascinating city of contrasts from old to new, set high in hills facing the Jordan Valley. It’s the largest city of 4 million residents but has an inviting atmosphere perfect for a warm welcome and easy to explore. (We get one airport transfer. Details to come and trip tips.)
Check into Movenpick for a rest or walk in its lovely shaded neighborhood. Our guide will greet us for a briefing, followed by a Welcome Dinner to get to know your fellow AFS Travelers.
Overnight: Movenpick Amman Jordan D
Mövenpick Hotel Amman offers an airport shuttle (available 24 hours) for JOD 46 per vehicle one-way. Great location, free Wi-Fi, several restaurants, spa with hot stone massage and body scrubs. This luxurious hotel also features a poolside bar, a health club, and a fitness center.
Sep 9 – Exploring Jordan: From Amman to Petra
After breakfast, we begin with a city tour. The Citadel and Roman Theatre in Amman, a must-visit. Immerse yourself in the rich history of Jordan as you explore these ancient landmarks. The Citadel stands tall atop Jebel al-Qala’a, offering panoramic city views. Discover the ruins of the Roman Theatre, a marvel of ancient engineering and reflect how the gladiators once performed here.
Then we travel to the well-preserved ancient Roman city of Jerash, once biblical Gerasa to admire its ruins, including the Oval Plaza, streets, baths, and temples. Jerash is steeped in ancient history. This captivating site offers a glimpse into the grandeur and opulence of the Roman Empire. As you wander through the well-preserved ruins, you’ll be transported back in time, marveling at the impressive architecture and intricate details that have stood the test of time.
Later, we transfer 3.5 hours to the lovely town of Wadi Musa, gateway to Petra, which is one of the 7 world wonders and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Step back in time and explore the mesmerizing Red Rose city of Petra, home of the Edomites, Nabateans and Romans. This ancient site leaves tourists spellbound as they wander through its captivating ruins and marvel at its architectural beauty.
Check-in to our hotel, a favorite of all tour groups. AFSers love meeting up in the Cave Bar for happy hour and the Terrace for sweeping views of Petra. The small boutique property is just steps away from the entrance of Petra. This evening we had out on our special “Petra by Night” tour. There is no better way to experience the Treasury than seeing it lit up by hundreds of candles and music. It will truly be a magical experience, with the rose-colored rock sparkling with hundreds of tiny dancing flames lighting our way throughout. (Must be able to walk 1 mile at dusk on uneven pavement.)
Overnight: The Petra Guest House Hotel B
Sep 10 – Enchanting Land of Petra: A Journey Through Ancient History B
After breakfast, our guide will lead us into Petra. We’ll start on a journey into the heart of a once-thriving ancient civilization that held sway over Arabian trade routes for centuries. The mesmerizing world of the Nabateans awaits.
We begin at the Visitor’s Centre. Our walking journey starts with the narrow Siq, a gorge that offers the first glimpse of the vibrant sandstone, leading you to the breathtaking Treasury at the end. We’ll continue on the Street of Facades to discover the Royal Tombs, the Theatre, Qasr Al Bint and more. After commentary on the major sites, free time is given for you to go deeper and higher into the more hidden areas. It’s an awesome fall day tour!
Accommodation: Petra Guest House Hotel
Sep 11- Journey Through the Red Region of Wadi Rum B,D
After breakfast, we drive to Wadi Rum, which takes about 2 .5 hours. Wadi is “Valley of the Moon”, featured in films from Indiana Jones, Dune, Transformers and more. For centuries it’s been home to nomadic Bedouins and now a World Heritage Site and the best place on the planet to unplug off the grid in this peaceful place.
Check in at the beautiful Aicha Camp for a memorable night. The name Aicha means “to live” in Arabic. The staff will brief you on all the fabulous amenities and activities at this luxury camp. Options include a jeep safari, hiking or hot air ballooning with Bedouin guides. There’s a huge tented restaurant, outdoor barbecue, and terrace bar with Shisha pipes. Later we embark on a sunset camel ride. The breathtaking landscapes, towering sandstone cliffs, and peacefulness of the desert make it special.
After dinner, enjoy guided Stargazing to witness thousands of stars due to the low light pollution in this rare location. Our camp even switches off all lights at 10:00 pm, ensuring an optimal stargazing experience.
Accommodation: Memories Aicha Camp B,D Memories Camp Website
We’ve seen a fair share of the luxury campsites but Memories of Aicha is something truly unique. Tucked into the red valley whole site resembles more Mars colony than a camping site. Domes are very spacious and comfortable, with AC (important!), bathrooms and running water. Thanks to the transparent roof you can watch thousands of stars at night right from your bed.
Or admire the Martian views during the day from your private deck – only oriental furniture will remind you that you are still on Earth.
Sep 12 – Exploring the Views of Mount Nebo and the Dead Sea
(Optional hot air balloon in experience over stunning lunar landscape may be considered. $265.) After breakfast, we coach to Mount Nebo. This is the believed burial place of Moses (Deuteronomy 34:1) with breathtaking views of the Jordan Valley and the Dead Sea. Jerusalem and Jericho can often be seen on the other side of the border. We continue to Madaba to appreciate the Byzantine and Umayyad mosaics, particularly the mosaic map of the Holy Land from the Byzantine era. Then we visit the magnificent St. George Church, home to the Mosaic Map of Jerusalem painted on the floor.
Next, we’ll drive to the Dead Sea for free time at the lowest point on earth. Check into our 5-star resort, a lush oasis in the desert for relaxation and pampering. Group dinner tonight is buffet style with Jordan’s best dishes.
Accommodation: Movenpick Dead Sea B,D https://movenpick.accor.com/en/middle-east/jordan/dead-sea/resort-dead-sea.html
Free Wi-Fi, 5 restaurants, 4 swimming pools. Luxuriously decorated rooms have a view over the Sea, pool or beautiful gardens.
Sep 13 – Day Free to Enjoy The Dead Sea
The Dead Sea is a natural wonder 427m below sea level and perfect place for wellness travelers. The warm sea water rich in minerals keeps you so buoyant, it’s impossible to sink. In ancient times, King Herod and even Cleopatra came here for treatments. Get yourself a salt scrub and mud soak.
Accommodation: Movenpick Dead Sea B, D
The luxury Mövenpick Resort & Spa Dead Sea is designed like a traditional village setting nestled amongst lush gardens. With your well-being and balance in mind, this 5-star resort is an oasis of tranquillity. It offers five swimming pools, a huge spa, several cafés, restaurants and bars. Explore a delectable variety of cuisines catering to all tastes from laid-back al fresco dining to our traditional Italian restaurant.
Sep 14 – Depart for Amman airport for our flight to Doha
Note – Flight QR #403 at 2:55 PM on Qatar from Amman to Doha is additional cost. All must be on same flight. When booking your international air round-trip from USA on Qatar, you can include this leg for essentially free and they have great rates to this area! For those using other airlines, you can book this as a separate ticket, around $550. We will present Group Air later in trip tips when flights open for reservations on this leg. Please be patient and wait.
After breakfast short drive to Amman to Queen Alia Airport for flight to Doha. Welcome to Qatar! Doha, capital of the peninsular Persian Gulf country Qatar, is a modern city on Doha Bay. Lining its downtown waterfront are numerous parks and the Corniche Promenade. Our Guide greets us on airport arrival and transfers us to the 5-star Fairmont Hotel & Spa on the Persian Gulf! Upon arrival check in hotel.
Accommodation: Fairmont Doha B https://www.fairmont.com/doha/
Located in the heart of the hypermodern New City, history is being made in this sumptuously appointed hotel. Enjoy the six restaurants, spa, pools and award winning concierges here who can arrange anything for guests. With world-class service and dedication to curating unrivaled experiences personalized to each guest, your stay here will be truly unforgettable. Supremely luxurious guest rooms for everything a connoisseur of travel desires, every contemporary amenity, the latest in room tech and spectacular views of the Arabian Gulf.
Sep 15 – Discover Doha Day
This morning head out of town to witness how Qataris loved their camels. Welcome to the thrilling world of camel racing at the famous Al Shahaniya Camel Racetrack. It’s a virtual camel city here with countless camels for some incredible selfies! Even on non-race days, guests are encouraged to witness the camels’ training sessions by stopping each morning.
We then head to Doha for a city tour. Our first stop is the Corniche, a traditional dhow harbor to see the traditional dhows and enjoy the view of Doha’s skyline. Next is the Katara Cultural Village is a new complex and largest multi-dimensional cultural project in the country. Get a glimpse of the cultures of the world as we wander through this extraordinary venue of exhibitions, galleries, concert halls, films, even water sports.
Next, visit Box Park, a vibrant and Instagram-worthy location that opened at the Old Doha Port. Built using recycled shipping containers, the Box Park is home to food trucks and offers a stunning view of Stadium 974, also constructed from shipping containers. The colorful Mina District is our perfect lunch stop with a variety of cafes and restaurants such as Ergon, Exit 55, Santa Nata, and even visit the seafood market for the freshest catch of the day.
Continue to the incredible Pearl Qatar, an extraordinary man-made island shaped like an oyster. The Pearl has set the standard for luxury offering an unparalleled experience of opulence, home to millionaires with high-end stores and great outdoor cafés.
Finally, we visit the ancient Souq Waqif, a traditional bazaar where you can admire the authentic architecture and browse through stalls selling gold jewelry, spices, textiles, perfumes, and traditional handicrafts. Visit the Falcons Souk, dedicated to the birds of prey so revered by Qataris. Falconry is a sport throughout Qatar history. See the handlers sell them and get a photo with the falcon perched on your arm.
Back to hotel. Doha comes alive at night with a pulsing nightlife that rivals Dubai.
Accommodation: Fairmont Doha. B
Sep 16 – Depart for Doha airport for flight home
After breakfast, we depart for the airport for our flight home.
Land price $3195 pp twin share (price based on 25 participants) Limit 2 single supplement Plus $1450
Payment schedule.: 2nd deposit due May 7th 50% and final due on June 7th
$95 pre-paid gratuities will be added to your final invoice later for guides, drivers and local staff for your convenience.
Included- 8 nights deluxe accommodation, 8 buffet breakfast and 4 dinners, 1 bottled water per person per day in coaches, guided tours in Amman, Jerash, Madaba, Mount Nebo, Petra and Petra by Night, camel ride and stargazing in Wadi rum, guided city tour in Doha with camel race track, Tour Director throughout, AFS GTL, entrance fees to all monuments per program, all taxes and service charges.
Not Included – Air from USA, travel insurance, internal flight from Amman to Doha. Details soon.
Itineraries are prepared up to a year ahead and things can change. Modifications may be made. All rooms are run of house.
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