We had a long weekend, a birthday to celebrate (my husband’s) and a desire to go somewhere different, so we decided a jaunt to Jordan was just right.
With just three days, we knew we couldn’t see much of the country, but even just to be able to visit Petra, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, would be worth it. And boy, were we right!
We flew into Amman’s Queen Alia airport, landing around 2:00 in the afternoon and went through Passport Control. Many countries’ citizens need a visa for Jordan, which you can purchase on arrival for 40 Jordanian Dinars (approximately 56USD), and yes, that applies to children as well. Then we picked up our rental car. We did request a car seat when we made the reservation through Expedia, but the rental car company apparently didn’t see that note. Fortunately, they had one available and charged us an additional 5JOD per day for its use.
We headed straight for Petra and it was virtually a straight shot via the Desert Highway / Route 15. It was about a 3.5 – 4 hour drive. Beware that there are often police officers / gendarme doing random checks. They stopped us, asked us a couple of quick questions and then we were on our way again.
In the old (read: pre-baby) days, we would have stayed in more economical accommodations, but with the baby, we need to make sure it’s a place that has cribs available, so we stayed at the Marriott at Wadi Musa this time. It was about a 7-minute drive from Petra and had pack-n-play portable baby cots, a pool and restaurant on-site, so it was a good choice for us for such a short stay.
Because we arrived around 7pm, it was time to feed the baby and get her ready for bed, so we just stayed in the hotel that evening, but you could also take advantage of that time to go to Petra by Night if you wanted to make the most of your time.
The next day, I gave my husband the surprise birthday gift of scuba diving in the Red Sea (because I am an awesome wife :D), so I hung out with the baby at the hotel in the morning and then we all headed to Petra in the afternoon. Petra gets HOT, so if you are there in the warmer months, it’s wise to visit the site either in the early morning or in the late afternoon.
We brought all the necessities in a backpack:
- lots of water and a sippy cup or bottle
- snacks for us and the baby (fruit)
- diapers and wipes
- my breastfeeding cover
- long-sleeved thin cotton shirt for the baby
- a thin, muslin blanket
There are a couple of shops at the entrance to Petra, so you could also pick up snacks there. We didn’t even consider bringing the stroller, as we didn’t think the ground would be suitable for it and boy were we right. In the beginning of the siq, it’s a stone path, but once you get farther along and close to the Treasury and beyond, it’s all sand (and stairs if you want to climb to the Monastery), so a stroller would be very challenging. If you’re up for a workout, you could try it, but we brought the Ergo baby carrier and that was much, much easier.
I brought my big beach hat, which may have looked ridiculous, but hey, I was already wearing sneakers and a baby carrier, so I wasn’t going for any best-dressed awards. I figured the big brim of the hat would add some extra sun cover for my little one.
We spent about 4 hours there on Saturday, which was pretty much as long as our 10-month-old could handle before she went stir-crazy and wanted to get out of the baby carrier and move, move, move.
When the wind picked up and sand started flying everywhere, I closed the baby hood on the carrier and wrapped a muslin blanket (like these Aden + Anais classic swaddles) around her body.
Then we returned early Sunday morning to visit the other side of Petra and the Monastery. There is another entrance to the site that you can use so you don’t have to walk along the same path you’ve already taken. Even going by this entrance and at a reasonably fast pace, it’s still a minimum of a 2-hour trek up to the Monastery and back, so allow yourself time for this.
We had an amazing trip. Petra was unlike anywhere we had been so far and in general, Jordanians LOVE babies, so go!
- Ditch the stroller. If your baby/toddler can still comfortably and safely fit in a baby carrier, then this is the best way to see Petra.
- Avoid the prime sun (and sunBURN) hours and visit Petra in the early morning or late afternoon. Bonus: the light on the Treasury and all the other sandstone is gorgeous at this time of day.
- Get a 2-day pass. It’s only 5JOD more than a one-day pass and breaking it up over two days will allow you to cover the site on a timetable that works for your family.
- Go for the rental car with automatic transmission. The roads close to Petra especially are very hilly, so save yourself the angst of maneuvering them with a manual car.
Have you ever been to Jordan (or this area of the world) with a little one? Do you have any other tips to offer?