The two Middle East cities of Eilat and Aqaba sit just a few kilometres apart on the northernmost point of the Red Sea, yet the journey can take you some time as there’s an international border to cross from Israel to Jordan.
In this handy travel guide, we will explain exactly how to get between these two Red Sea resort cities and cross the Yithak Rabin/Wadi Arava border (sometimes called Wadi Araba).
Yithak Rabin/Wadi Arava Border Opening Hours
Note that the border crossing point is not open 24 hours before heading into Jordan. You will need to plan your travel from Israel to Jordan accordingly. At the time of writing, operating hours are:
- Sunday to Thursday: 6:30 AM to 8:00 PM
- Friday and Saturday: 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM
The terminal is closed on Yom Kippur and Muslim New Year – religious dates are variable on the Gregorian calendar.
Tours From Eilat to Aqaba
There are no day tours from Eliat just to the city of Aqaba; the attraction of crossing the border from Eilat to Aqaba is to visit the Lost City of Petra, a little less than 2 hours north of Aqaba along the Desert and King’s Highways.
You can tackle this as a single-day trip or a multi-day trip, including other stops in Jordan.
- This tour from Eilat includes border crossing to Aqaba and takes you onward to Petra.
- While this tour also adds on an overnight stay in the Wadi Rum desert
Jordan Shuttle – Bus Services Eilat to Aqaba
You can be transported from hotel to hotel or to Aqaba Airport. The services requires pre-booking and costs $25 USD.
Travelling From Eilat to Aqaba Independently
If you are not in a tour group yet and don’t have your own vehicle, there are still public transport options to cross the border, assuming you have arranged your Jordan Visa in advance. Travelling from Eilat to Aqaba involves three steps:
- Take a taxi from the city of Eilat to the Jithak Rabin Border. This should only take 5 to 10 minutes, depending on your starting hotel and cost approximately 30 to 40 NIS ($11-$14 USD).
- Cross the Israeli border, paying your exit fee, and then walk about 300m to the Jordanian border crossing with your appropriate documentation (visa and passport – see more below).
- Take a further taxi from the Jordanian border crossing point to your destination in Aqaba. It only takes 5 to 10 minutes to reach Aqaba central hotels/resorts or around 20 minutes to reach Tala Bay.
Driving From Eilat to Aqaba
Some professional driving services offer transfers between Eliat and Aqaba with border crossing, for example:
- This private transfer service takes you from Aqaba Airport to Eilat, crossing the Arava Border with an English-speaking driver.
- This round trip services assists visitors across the Wadi Arava Border
It should be noted that only those who own their own private vehicles can cross the Eilat/Aqaba border by car.
As part of an Israeli-Jordanian agreement, visitors cannot bring rental cars (nor bicycles or motorbikes) across the border. If you have a rental car in Israel, this can be parked at the border crossing car park, and you can collect it on your return back from Aqaba to Eilat.
Visas And Passport Conditions For Entry To Jordan
Crossing international borders can make even the best of travellers slightly nervous, so here’s what you should know before approaching the Israel/Jordan border.
Note, the need for a Jordan Visa depends on where you are from.
- If not included with a tour, you will need to pay an Israeli exit fee in NIS – current entry fees here (from many Middle East countries, you will need a VPN to access Israeli websites for further information)
- Not that they will not stamp your passport on exit from Israel.
- If you have already applied for and got your Jordan Pass, you do not need a further Visa at the Jordanian border; there should be a separate window at border control for Jordan Pass holders to proceed to.
- If you are travelling with a reputable Israel-Jordan tour company, they should be taking care of your Jordan visa for you, if required, as part of your package, but do read the fine print.
- If you need to purchase your own visa for Jordan, be mindful that you must have a Visa for all members of your party (even infants); children may otherwise be discounted or free on tours depending on age and if they’re sitting on laps.
- A single-entry tourist Visa is 40 JOD (valid for one month).
- Citizens of many Middle East countries, European countries, North America, South America, Australia and New Zealand, amongst others, are eligible for a Visa on Arrival – check the list here.
- If you are eligible for a Visa on Arrival, you can get these at the land border Yitzhak Rabin/Wadi Araba border but NOT the land border Allenby/King Hussein Bridge.
- You should have six months of validity left in your passport and at least one blank page.
Continuing Your Jordan Journey
Now you’ve crossed over to Jordan, let’s take a look at how to continue your journey in Jordan:
- Handy advice on what to wear in Jordan – the Kingdom of Jordan is more conservative in some respects than Israel, so do mind how you are dressing.
- Our suggested 5-day highlight itinerary – you can change the order of our suggested itinerary to start in Aqaba and still take in the highlights of Wadi Rum, Petra, the Dead Sea and Amman.
- As well as a day trip to Petra, don’t miss the incredible Petra by Night for a unique Jordanian experience; stay overnight in Wadi Musa.
- Why you won’t want to miss off a night at a desert camp in Wadi Rum
We continue our detailed Middle East transport series to help you independently navigate around Jordan, up next is:
We also explain in much more detail how to self-drive in Jordan if you are thinking of hiring a car in Aqaba to complete your journey through Jordan.
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