From the beginning, Jordan gave me a very expensive impression. This is partly because at the time of our visit, the Jordanian Dinar was at parity with the Euro, which mean 1 Dinar = $1.50 CAD. (I just checked the latest exchange and it’s now 1 Dinar to $1.75CAD. Yikes!). And it didn’t help that the numbers on the tab were similar to what you’d see in Vancouver and we were eating humus and pita every day. But all in all, Jordan has a special place in my heart. Here is a breakdown of the costs during our 2 week stay. All numbers in CAD.
Food – $14.10/pppd
We had plenty to eat but we did not treat ourselves to anything fancy. We were actually in Jordan during Ramadan, where locals fast from sunrise to sunset for a month. During this time it is actually illegal to be seen eating or drinking in public. At the beginning we just stuffed ourselves at breakfast so that we could skip lunch, but after a few days we learned to look for restaurants with signs that say “we’re open for lunch.” And of course, Paul had to give up beer during our time here, one because of the price, and two, because it was not as readily available.
Although our hotel in Aqaba didn’t have a kitchenette, we visited the local grocery store almost everyday. It was our daily 45 minute walk in 40 degree heat, but it was the cheapest place to find food, and easiest during Ramadan. We seriously ate cereal, hummus, eggplant dip, pita every day. We had McDonalds and KFC on the 2 days we got lazy and didn’t want to walk to the grocery store.
In hindsight, it would have been beneficial if we had committed to finding a grocery store in Amman. Since we weren’t eating anything super fancy anyway, I’m sure we could have whipped up something decent on our own. For next time!
Again, we stayed in budget hotels during our two week stay in Jordan. I don’t quite remember why we didn’t book hostels but usually we found budget hotels to be on par with a private room in a hostel. Wifi and free breakfast were ‘must haves’ for us especially since it was hard to find food during the day. We had a good stay at Arab Towers Hotel in Amman and would recommend.
It was also important to find a hotel that was walking distance to local sites because taking taxis in Amman takes a lot of work ie: negotiating and trying not to get ripped off. More on this later.
Activities – $23.80
As with other countries, activities made up a huge portion of our total spend. The bigger items in Jordan included a 3 day pass to Petra ($90/pp), which I highly recommend, scuba diving in Aqaba (Amazing!!), entrance to Dead Sea private pool and Wadi Mujib, as well as a 2D1N excursion of Wadi Rum. We also paid an additional $30 on top of the Petra pass to visit the Treasury at night, which was magical.
So even though we were over budget in Jordan, I can’t think of any activity I would cut out to save money.
Travel – $2.04
Travelling up and down Jordan is quite simple and affordable. A lot of hotels also organize ride shares with private taxis so if you made new found friends at the hotel, you can travel together quicker and more comfortably and pay just a tad more. We took a bus from Amman to Petra and from Aqaba back to Amman, both trips at around $15/pp each way.
We shared a taxi with 2 other people on our Wadi Rum tour to Aqaba and we paid $20 total for our share. I think the AC in the car was worth any extra cost.
Other Travel – $7.51
City transport ended up costing more than domestic travel because we had to taxi around a lot in Amman. The bus station and airport were both fairly out of the way and we hired a private driver ($90) for one day to take us to the Dead Sea, Wadi Mujib and Mt. Nebo.
ADVICE... My first words of advice for anyone travelling to Jordan is to do your homework first! Although generally most Jordanians are welcoming and nice, taxi touts can be quite aggressive. Someone tried to charge us 20 Dinar for a 3 Dinar ride from the bus station to our hotel. Check tripadvisor message boards, email your hotel, do whatever you can to find out how much you are expected to pay so you don’t end up paying nearly 10 times more.
ALSO, ask your hotel to write out some addresses, bus stations etc, for you in Arabic before you flag down a taxi. Many drivers don’t speak great English and we certainly didn’t speak any Arabic. We once got dropped off at the wrong bus station because we couldn’t clearly state where we wanted to go.
ALSO… contrary to popular belief, paying by the ‘meter’ is not always the best way. The drivers will take you on a tour of the city to make up the kilometers. From experience, it was better to set a fixed amount, at least in Jordan anyway.
Other – $4.66
The only big item here was the Visitor Visa on arrival which was 40JOD (around $60 CAD) per person.
And that is all for Jordan! You can check out more of our photos from Jordan here.