Tel Aviv, Israel
Petra is a mesmerising relic of the past, well worthwhile spending a whole day exploring.Unfortunately, the Viator organised trip disappoints due to the time wasted crossing the border and travelling within Jordan.Be prepared to wait/queue for up to 1hr for the Israeli customs desks to open so that you can have your passport stamped. Once over the Israeli border but still in the intercountry fenced-off zone, we waited for nearly another hour on the Jordanian side, without being informed of what caused the delay. It transpired that the Jordanian tour counterparty waited for a large American group (30+people) to join our relatively small international party (10 people) despite us having turned up good 40min before them and having submitted our passports for inspection. Seeing the paid Jordanian "passport helpers" assist many other groups before ours despite us having arrived first was infuriating. The rain and cold did not help either.
Once we set off, our journey was punctuated by the mandatory tourist trap visits and was protracted by the driver being extremely careful not to exceed a speed limit of 40km/h.
We arrived at Petra at 13:00!! This left us with 2.5 hrs to explore a tiny part of it so that at 16:00 we could have the included lunch. You could imagine we had starved to death by then. After the meal, we were leisurely driven back to the border (3.5 hrs), where we nearly missed our 20:55 flight back to Tel Aviv.
A word of advice: book a tour to Jordan, drive to Petra and stay overnight there. The 2.5 hrs in Petra are definitely not worth $1000 for two travellers and the cross-border hassle.
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