Aqaba is an ancient city in Jordan that dates back to 4000 BC. Located in the country's far south, Aqaba is the only port in Jordan and these days also a popular Red Sea tourist resort. The beaches and the waters are obviously the main attraction, perfect for snorkeling and diving. But there are also some stunning historic attractions to see, such as the first purpose-built Church in Christian history, Aqaba Castle and the ruins of the Islamic City of Ayla. If you intend to see the sights and foray into the Wadi Rum, you will need to hire a car in Aqaba.
Start your tour by visiting the tourist information center located downtown on Al-Hammamat Al-Tunisyya Street. You should have your rental vehicle with you by now, assuming you booked a car for hire in Aqaba beforehand. If not, then better do it right now. The hotels district in Aqaba offers a lot more than just hospitality. It also happens to be the site of the ancient Islamic port city of Ayla. Also downtown is the site of the Purpose Church, said to be Christianity's oldest known purpose-built Church. From there, you can continue to Aqaba Castle and the Archeological Museum. Other must-visit attractions are the bird observatory and the home of Al Sharif Hussien Bin Ali, who led the Arab Revolt. If you are having lunch, you must try the local Syadeyeh, which is a coastal Arab rice dish cooked with fish, vegetables and spices and served with salads.
For the best beach experience of your life, head straight for Aqaba Marine Park. There are grills for a beach BBQ and you can build up an appetite with beach volleyball or go snorkeling in the crystal clear waters. You can take a swim and than doze on the beach and soak in the sun or read a book. One unique aspect of a trip to Aqaba is a ride on one of the glass bottomed boats, which pick up tourists from all the hotels and public beaches, and from the marine park.
History lovers will want to visit the Al Humayma site en-route to Petra. An expedition into the timeless and stunningly beautiful landscape of the Wadi Rum is recommended as an adventure. This is where Prince Faisal and T.E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia) setup the headquarters of the WW I Arab Revolt against the Ottomans. Follow the Israeli border along Route 65, and you will soon enough land up in Petra and then Karak. You can even drive a bit more to Madaba or the capital city of Amman. If you do not have problems crossing over into Egypt, then the Red Sea Resort of Sharm el-Sheikh is even more spectacular and historic.
There are two sets of providers offering a car rental in Aqaba for travelers. One lot is located at the marina park, and the other lot is in downtown around the hotels district. Travelers arriving at Aqaba King Hussein International Airport (AQJ) should compare all these agencies online beforehand. Choose the best deal you can find and book your vehicle right now.
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