Jordan is desert. Well… there is the Dead Sea, spectacular and beautiful, and oversaturated with salt. Breathtaking nature, but harsh environment for life. But that’s not all Jordan has to offer – there is one small edge, where Jordan reaches the Red Sea shore. It’s Jordan’s very south, the bay of Aqaba. It’s where the ocean meets the sand.
One of Jordan’s must see areas and a melting pot of different environmental, cultural and political ingredients. Certainly not forgetting Lawrence’s heroic conquest and the place’s great history. But… as you might already know, my blog is not much about history and politics – enough is said by just mentioning the four different countries and two continents sharing the small coastal strip around the city of Aqaba. Its Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Israel and Egypt, connecting Asia and Africa. All in one view.
The city itself may have its attractive sides and history, no doubt, but whenever I ‘hunt’ towards Aqaba it’s for the nice beaches, sea, sun and fun. You’ll mostly find me at Tala Bay, a small shore extent little outside of Aqaba city, with many fancy hotels, a nice Marina and beautiful sunsets, of course.
Quickly noticing, the Red Sea differs from the Dead Sea in landscape and life. Strange fishes inclusive. I really learnt to love this place having beach life in view, but the historic and geographic complexity in mind, while watching the magnificent coastlines with its rugged mountains and palm trees in front. Each time I am stunned by the transition of the desert hills into the sea. The differently shaded and colored mountains, rocky and bare, and the playful sea with all its creatures and life.
When in Tala Bay, I usually enter via the Mövenpick hotel Tala Bay, or the Radisson Blu – in former times – now it was taken over by another hotel brand. I enjoyed the infinity pool and the human-made transition to the sea life too ,). It’s perfect for an ice cold beer and chillaxing. In case relaxation gets too strong… which surprisingly can happen after two or three days, Aqaba offers all kinds of water sports and entertainment stuff such as jet-skiing or scuba diving. I am not a big diver, but I explored sea life through a touristic submarine tour – important to know what’s going on behind the borders of the infinity pool (irony).
Nowadays, I see that times start changing in whole Jordan, tourism starts to set in again after the struggling years. But throughout my visits, Aqaba has always been a place with plenty of space – even though its tininess. The ‘Marina’ of Tala Bay is modern and nice, stuffed with fancy sailing boats and restaurants. If you were looking for rush or tourist floods you were at the wrong place, but a cold drink and good finger food under beautifully flowering trees, for example at Suzana’s restaurant, was always the right decision. For evenings there is nothing better than watching the sunset over Sinai from the hotel’s sea front. Nightlife? Maybe there is, but I always preferred staying around the Marina for a good glass of wine and a night walk at the beach.
Aqaba is well connected by public transport with Amman. You can go by JETT bus – the trip takes around 4 hours. It’s a long ride, but definitely worth. A good Irish pub will welcome you after the long ride, in case you can wait some more minutes for the beaches. After the refreshment, just go down south the desert roads and you will meet the ocean. Just like the sand.
Cheers with sunbeams.