Looking to visit the Red Sea resort town of Aqaba on your trip to Jordan?
Sitting approximately 330 kilometres (205 miles) south of the capital, a trip from Amman to Aqaba can easily be worked into a Jordan family vacation itinerary. After all, who wouldn’t want to experience swimming in the beautiful waters of the Red Sea?
Although there is a small international airport in Aqaba – AQJ – most international flights to Jordan come to the capital’s main airport in the north, Queen Alia International Airport – AMM and you’ll need to transfer to Aqaba.
Here we’re going to talk you through all your options transiting between these two important Jordanian cities.
Amman to Aqaba by Bus
The easiest and most accessible way to get between Amman and Aqaba is using the frequent daily coach service, offered by JETT Bus.
During the day, services run every 30 minutes from either 7th Circle (close to the airport), Tarbarbour (north of the city), Al-Wedhat (south of the city) or Abdali to Aqaba. The Abdali pick-up location is closest to downtown if you’ll be visiting and staying in Amman before travelling south.
The journey by bus takes 4 to 5 hours, and you must pay for each adult and child (10.00/7.60 JOD for “Express” services).
The service is fairly comfortable, with air-conditioning and reclining seats. Each passenger can bring one piece of luggage up to 25kgs, and there are bathrooms on board.
Note there’s also a daily ‘VIP” service, departing 8:30 AM; this costs a little more but is the quickest and most comfortable bus route taking only 4 hours (20.00/14.20 JOD each way).
Flying from Amman to Aqaba
If the idea of a 4-hour bus journey with the kids feels slightly terrifying with the kids, not to fear!
Royal Jordanian offers domestic flights between Amman and Aqaba, around 6 flights per day. The flight itself takes less than an hour, but do allow time for pre-boarding and baggage at either end; your total time saving may not be so great but it’s much less sitting still for small children.
It’s recommended you book in advance as last-minute fights can be costly between the two cities. You may be able to package your domestic flight with your international flight using Royal Jordanian or their partner airlines.
Rental Car and Self Drive Amman to Aqaba
If you’re a confident driver, by far, the easiest and most convenient way to get from Amman to Aqaba is by hiring your own private vehicle. It will cost more than the bus, but with multiple passengers, it will give you so much more flexibility in your journey around Jordan.
Hire cars can be easily picked up from AMM airport or in Downtown Amman. You can expect a typical small family-sized rental car to cost around 30-40 JOD per day.
SUV’s and larger vehicles are much less common (compared to neighbouring Middle East countries where they are extremely common as family cars) and cost a lot more. Do factor in cost vs luggage and people space when choosing a hire car in Jordan.
If you plan only to use the vehicle one way, do expect to pay a one-way drop-off fee.
- Make sure you’re aware of some of the nuances of driving in Jordan – it’s not difficult to self-drive in Jordan (beyond Amman, at least!), but there are a few things newcomers should know before they get behind the wheel.
Go with a Guided Tour Amman to Aqaba & Beyond
If you plan to see much more of Jordan beyond just visiting Aqaba and the Red Sea, you may find it better to hire a private guide and driver for the duration of your journey.
Whilst this is the most costly option, it gives you the greatest convenience and flexibility as a family. No need to worry about navigating road rules in a foreign country and dealing with the daily drive; a knowledgeable driver and guide can really enhance your Jordanian experience, not just take care of your transportation.
Costs can vary greatly, but expect to pay, as a very rough guide $150 USD per person, per day, plus a sleeping/meals fee for your guide $50 USD per day. There may be discounts for kids and larger groups.
Important! Ensure your driver/guide is licensed by the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities.
Driving Distances from Aqaba
Once you are in Aqaba, there are many famous parts of Jordan that are more accessible from the south than Amman.
We encourage first-time visitors to start their Jordan experience by transferring straight to Aqaba, then slowly make their way back up the country.
- Aqaba to Wadi Rum – 75kms/47 miles (1 hour)
- Aqaba to Petra (Wadi Musa) – 124kms/78 miles (1 hour 50 minutes)
- Aqaba to Dead Sea Resorts – 273km/170 miles (3 hours)
Handy resources for planning your Jordan family trip
Where you only have a few days to capture the highlights or several weeks to enjoy everything that this fascinating Middle East country has to offer, you may find these resources handy:
- Plan Your Trip to Jordan with Kids – start plotting your family trip to Jordan. Here we share all the important planning points to consider.
- The Best Times to Visit Jordan – seasons, religious events, and micro-climates are looked at in detail to plan the perfect timing for your Jordan trip.
- What to Wear in Jordan – helping you decipher the Middle East dress code with packing tips for men, women and children.
- Perfect 5-day Jordan Itinerary – how to squeeze in the highlights of Jordan over a long weekend.
- Best Petra Tours From Amman – perfect those tight on time to see the highlights within 1 to 3 days
- The Jordan Pass is likely going to be one of the best investments you make! It includes your Visa plus access to many of the country’s most important historic sites, including Petra.
Jordan Guide Book
For a first-timer looking to visit Jordan, we can highly recommend you download the Step Into Jordan Guide & Itineraries.
This handy digital guide is just $19.99USD and includes:
- An interactive downloadable map
- 36 detailed pages of planning guidance
- Multiple suggested itineraries (10, 7 and 3 days)
- Tips from an expert
- Accommodation recommendations