OVERVIEW OF AQABA
Aqaba is a thoroughly modern and energetic resort town with a few glimpses into Middle Eastern antiquity. Visit the sandy beaches of the Gulf of Aqaba, along the Red Sea, and you're likely to encounter a fascinating mix of revelers: scores of bikinis and tanned muscles, with the occasional local in more traditional and modest Muslim garb. Explore this port city enough, and you'll find touches of the old, sleepy fishing town Aqaba once was existing harmoniously with 5-star hotels and modern shopping and dining destinations.
The One Thing You Don't Want to Miss
Created by the Nabateans, Arab Bedouin tribes who came from Arabia almost 2,000 years ago, the fortress like city of Petra became an important and very rich stronghold by protecting passing caravans. Called the rose red city half as old as time, Petra was lost to the world for centuries, hidden in the mountains of southern Jordan. When the splendor of the Roman period passed the Bedouin took over once again. In 1812 a young Swiss explorer re-discovered Petra and it suddenly became known to the world.
Diving, snorkeling, water skiing, wind surfing, fishing and a variety of other water sports are extremely popular in Aqaba.
Get a Taste of Local Flavor
Tourists flock to the Lebanese-owned Ali Baba restaurant, located in the Princess Haya Circle-Aqaba's answer to Times Square. Here, diners will find themselves intoxicated by the aroma of fresh poultry, lamb and seafood skewers grilled over open flames. Also, be sure to sample traditional mezze-small plates of Mediterranean snacks, such as mixed olives, finely chopped salads, tahini and yogurt served with warm pita bread.
Jordan's currency is the Jordanian Dinar, or JD. It is subdivided into 1000 fils, or 100 qirsh or piastres. It appears in paper notes of 50, 20, 10, 5 and 1 JD denominations. Coins come in denominations of 0.5 JD, 0.25 JD, and 100, 50, 25, 10 and 5 fils. The daily exchange rate is published in local newspapers. Foreign cash or travellers? checks can be changed at any bank in Jordan. There are also authorized money-changers in Aqaba, and you will usually get a slightly better rate of exchange at money-changers than at banks.