The treasures of Jordan have beguiled visitors for centuries, from the cliff-carved city of Petra – unknown to Westerners for centuries – to the otherworldly rust-red sands of Wadi Rum.

Access to Jordan’s most popular tourist attractions, plus a whole host of other visit-worthy sites around the country, is now more affordable for travelers thanks to this program. Read on to discover why the Jordan Pass is the right decision for most visitors.

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What is the Jordan Pass?

Offered by the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, the Jordan Pass package combines a tourist visa with admission to about 40 tourist sites across the country for a discounted price. The price starts at JD70 (about US$98), with three options available depending on whether you’d like to visit Petra for one, two or three days.

A Bedouin guide leads his two dromedary camels over the tall dunes of Wadi Rum, Jordan, Middle East
Access to the Mars-like landscapes of Wadi Rum is included with the Jordan Pass © Tom Mackie / Lonely Planet

Is getting a Jordan Pass worth it?

The Jordan Pass is best suited to travelers who are:

  • traveling independently (not with a tour group)
  • eligible for a visa on arrival
  • planning to visit Petra
  • planning to spend at least three nights in Jordan 

The three-night minimum is a requirement, so if you will only be in Jordan for a day (on a side trip from Israel, for example), you will not be able to take advantage of the savings. Because the cost of the pass is based on entrance to Petra, it doesn’t make sense to buy it if you aren’t planning to spend time in the ancient city. (For the record: we think any visitor to the country shouldn’t miss this extraordinary place!)

The value of the Jordan Pass in terms of the visa fee is dependent on your nationality. Travelers from more than 100 countries are eligible for a visa on arrival. If you fit into this category, you are traveling independently and you purchase the Jordan Pass online before you arrive in the country, your visa fee of JD40 (about US$56) is waived. That alone makes the Jordan Pass a good deal, even if Petra is the only site you visit among the dozens included with the pass.

If you’re traveling with a tour operator, you are already eligible for waived fees, so the Jordan Pass is probably not worth it. Ask your operator whether your visa fees and site entry fees are included in your tour.

Standard entry fees for Petra are JD50 (about US$70) for one day, JD55 for two days or JD60 for a three-day visit. The multiple price points for the Jordan Pass align with the additional entrance fees to Petra.

Here are some tips for making the most of the Jordan Pass.

If you have only a few days in Jordan…

Hit the highlights. Plan at least one full day to cover a good amount of ground in Petra, then spend a night or two immersed in Wadi Rum, another Unesco-listed site included with the Jordan Pass. 

While one day in Petra might be enough for the casual visitor, hikers and history buffs will want to allow more time to to get off the typical tourist track. Choose the three-day Jordan Pass, and you’ll have enough time to visit the High Place of Sacrifice, make a one-day pilgrimage to Jebel Haroun (one of the best viewpoints of the region, and a site that’s said to the the burial place of Aaron, brother of Moses) and hike the back way to the Monastery from Little Petra, in addition to spending more time at the more popular Petra spots such as the Treasury and Royal Tombs.

After you’ve had your fill of Petra, enjoy the slow pace and starry nights in Wadi Rum. Hike and camp with local Bedouin or ride 4x4s through the deserts, exploring the craggy rock faces and windswept sand dunes.

A couple points to an ancient Roman arch at the archeological site of Jerash, Jordan, Middle East
The ruins of the ancient Roman city of Jerash are among the best-preserved you’ll find, and admission is included with the Jordan Pass © Irene Sánchez / EyeEm / Getty Images

If you have a week in Jordan… 

Take a road trip to take in some Jordan Pass attractions. Start in Jerash, one of the best-preserved Roman cities in the world, located less than an hour’s drive from Amman. On-site signage is limited, so hire a guide to show you around and share stories of this historic, picturesque place. 

Ajloun Castle, another attraction included with the Jordan Pass, is about 30 minutes from Jerash, an easy add-on if you’ve got some time to spare before driving south to Amman. 

Once in Amman, stop by the restored Roman Theatre, then visit the nearby Citadel for panoramic views (and sunset if you time it right) from atop the capital’s highest hill. Overnight it in the capital, then set out early the next day for Petra, allowing time for a slight detour to Karak Castle, one of the largest Crusader castles in the region and another fee-free attraction for Jordan Pass holders. 

From Karak, continue on to Petra and Wadi Rum following the tips above, and afterward add a day in Aqaba for snorkeling plus two additional Jordan Pass attractions: Aqaba Fort and Aqaba Museum.

If you’re interested in religious sites…

Be sure to include Madaba on your itinerary. It’s an easy day trip from Amman or a nice stop on the way to the Dead Sea or southern Jordan. About 30 minutes from the Queen Alia International Airport, Madaba is also a great place to spend your first day or night when you arrive in Jordan. 

Both the Madaba Museum and the Madaba Archaeological Park are included in the Jordan Pass, and you’ll also find Byzantine-era mosaics (including one of the oldest mosaic fragments in Jordan), archaeological exhibits, a preserved section of Roman road, the Church of the Virgin Mary, Ottoman buildings and more here. While in town, a visit to St George’s Church (not included in the Jordan Pass but just JD1 to enter) to see the impressive floor mosaic – and the oldest known map of the Holy Land – is a must. 

Two hikers on the Jordan Trail through rock formations in Bedouin country to the north of Petra, Jordan, Middle East
If you’re feeling adventurous, you can reach several Jordan Pass sites on foot by hiking the Jordan Trail © Justin Foulkes / Lonely Planet

If you want to get off the beaten track…

In addition to the big hitters, the Jordan Pass includes access to a number of interesting sites farther from the well-trodden tourist trail.

Off the beaten track in northern Jordan, you’ll find several intriguing archaeological sites such as Umm Al Jimal (the best-preserved Byzantine town in the region, where excavations are currently underway), the Greco-Roman ruins of Gadara in Umm Qais, and Pella, another lesser-known archaeological site near the town of Taqabat Fahl. 

If you’re staying in Amman, take a day trip to the Iraq Al Amir Cooperative, where you can enjoy lunch and handicraft workshops before catching the sunset at the archaeological site. Entrance to the site is included with the Jordan Pass, with activities at the women’s cooperative available to book separately.

If you’re traveling King’s Highway while road-tripping through Jordan, consider a stop at Umm Ar-Rasas (a Unesco-listed site where you’ll find gorgeous stone arches and very few, if any, other visitors) and Shobak Castle, the oldest Crusader fortress in the country.

One of the best ways to get around Jordan and get the most out of the Jordan Pass is to travel by foot and hike some of the Jordan Trail. Many of the sites included in the Jordan Pass are found along the Jordan Trail, such as Umm Qais, Pella, Jerash, Ajloun Castle, Iraq Al Amir, Karak Castle, Petra and Wadi Rum, among others. The Jordan Pass expires two weeks after first use; since you won’t have time to cover the full Jordan Trail, we recommend choosing a section suited to your interests.

This article was first published November 2018 and updated June 2022

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