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From virtually any perspective, this city fascinates and delights

For more than 5,000 years, Aqaba, Jordan has held prominence in some of history’s greatest tales. It is the site of many biblical events, the Great Arab Revolt of 1917 and, more recently, the setting of the final scenes of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. It is both ancient and progressively modern, expansive desert landscape and boutique resort chic. And whatever your preferred style of travel or area of interest, Aqaba has layers upon layers of discoveries that will captivate you. Here, we highlight three distinct experiences in Aqaba that provide perspectives as unique as travelers themselves. Which point of view calls to you?

Scuba Diving Red Sea
Scuba adventures among the colors of the Red Sea.

Aqaba, from the past.

What once was lost has been found, and is perhaps Jordan’s most famous site. The Rose City of Petra – a UNESCO World Heritage Site carved into red sandstone that was concealed for hundreds of years – is located approximately halfway between Aqaba and Amman. It was once the pinnacle of the trade route in Arabia, dominated by the Nabataeans. History buffs will revel in the estimated 9,000-year-old heritage of this massive place, its iconic treasury, theater and temples. Spend a full day here, arriving at the Siq – a narrow carved path leading into the city – by horseback or on foot, echoing the ways of millennia passed and explore the roots of Jordan.

Aqaba, from beneath the sea.

The 16 miles of Red Sea coastline prevent Jordan from being landlocked entirely, and also lead to some of the region’s best scuba diving. Water conditions are ideal for longer or multiple dive sessions, as temperatures rarely dip below 71 degrees (F), and visibility is regularly excellent. Which means that the display before you is one of vibrant, healthy, colorful reefs teeming with fish. If scuba diving is your thing (and we mean really your thing, as participants must show their PADI certificate to explore the deep here), an excursion to Berenice Beach is the place for you. It’s known as one of the best diving launch sites on the Red Sea gulf and is the beginning of your underwater adventures for the day. After two dives along the active reefs, enjoy a three-course lunch on a private beach.

Aqaba, from the table.

It’s no secret that one of the best routes to the heart of a destination is through a well-cooked feast of local specialties. And what better way to acquaint oneself with the traditional cuisine of Aqaba than to learn its origins and prepare it yourself? Your day’s kitchen is located at the Mövenpick Aqaba Resort, where you’ll learn techniques and ingredients of classic Jordanian dishes. You may choose to make Maqluba, an upside-down casserole of chicken, vegetables and rice, which dates back to the 12th century, or Sayyadia, fresh fish with rice and onion sauce – an Aqaba specialty. Afterward, sit down to feast with your fellow chefs, sharing the tradition of culture and cuisine that has endured forever.

Aqaba is a featured destination Crystal Symphony’s “Arabian Nights & Amalfi Sights” voyage from Dubai to Rome, which also visits Muscat and Salalah, Oman an Sorrento, Italy. More than a dozen Destination Discoveries showcase the complex history and beautiful present of this city. Reserve your voyage today!

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