For years, Jordan has mesmerized tourists with its stunning UNESCO World Heritage Sites, beautiful desert landscapes, and rich, vibrant history.
However, history isn’t the country’s only draw – there are plenty of attractions for the modern tourist too, like the lively streets of Aqaba, world-class diving in the Red Sea, or the bustling nightlife in downtown areas of Amman.
Also, despite being sandwiched between the conflicted nations of Israel, Iraq, and Syria, Jordan has always stood out as a tourist haven that’s safe to visit.
With its fascinating duality between new and old, Jordan has become the next location of choice for Mindvalley’s A-Fest 2020.
Here are the most compelling reasons why Jordan is one of the best countries to visit next year.
1. Jordan is a Safe, Hidden Gem that Promotes Tourism
With its progressive nature and tolerance towards the endless waves of incomers, Jordan is considered a safe haven from the conflicts of its neighbors.
In fact, over the past decade, the Jordanian government has made tourism its primary focus and invested heavily in tourism and security – with no terrorist incidences in nearly 15 years.
With the flood of revenue earned from its tourism industry, Jordanians now collectively want to maintain Jordan’s reputation as a safe destination.
Consequently, its tourism industry has experienced a growth spurt, and today, Jordan remains one of the safest countries to experience the quintessential Middle East.
2. Petra Is One Of The New Seven Wonders Of The World
In 2007, millions of people around the world voted to make the sandstone city of Petra one of the New Seven Wonders. And it’s not hard to see why.
Dating back to some 2,000 years ago, the vast, ancient city is a maze of caves, temples, tombs, and monuments carved out from pink sandstone.
The most iconic of all structures in Petra is the Treasury, a stunning rock façade about 150 feet tall and 100 feet wide, featured in Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade.
However, there’s much more to be discovered in Petra – it’s recommended to spend at least 2 days in the city to hike through and marvel at the secret tombs and wonders the city holds.
3. You Can Sleep Under The Stars In Wadi Rum
Wadi Rum, also known as the Valley of the Moon, is a valley cut into the sandstone and granite rock in southern Jordan.
It’s well known the world over for its otherworldly landscapes, with dramatic mountains, rock formations, and arches. In fact, it’s often used as a filming location for movies that feature landscapes of the moon and Mars.
Wadi Rum is also historically home to the Bedouins, the nomads of the Arab deserts. In fact, one of the most popular and unique things to do in Wadi Rum is to stay at a Bedouin camp, in traditional yurts made out of wool.
Overnight excursions typically include a full-day jeep safari or perhaps a camel safari, all meals, and a night’s sleep in the silent and vast deserts of Jordan. Now, who can say no to that?
4. The Dana Biosphere Reserve Is A Hiker’s Ultimate Dream
The Dana Biosphere Reserve is Jordan’s largest nature reserve, spanning about 320 square kilometers. In the reserve, you’ll find rugged landscapes comprising soaring mountain ridges, desert plains, and exotic vegetation dotted throughout.
The reserve is also the country’s most diverse in terms of both habitats and species – amazingly, over 800 plant species can be found there, 3 of which have only ever been seen in the reserve, and nowhere else in the world.
Naturally, with the varied landscape and diversity in flora and fauna, the Dana Reserve boasts some of the best hikes in Jordan.
There’s a hiking trail for everyone there – whether you’d like to walk for just a few hours or go on a full adventure over a few days. The most extreme hikers can even hike from the Dana Reserve to Petra, a thrilling adventure that takes 4-5 days!
5. The Dead Sea Is Nature’s Best Spa
Mention the Dead Sea, and chances are you’ve conjured the image of someone floating serenely in the ocean, with newspapers in hand.
While that’s a shot you’ll definitely want to get for your Instagram feed, the Dead Sea’s benefits go far beyond Instagram-worthiness.
The Dead Sea is a saltwater lake located between Israel and Jordan. Its position at the lowest sea level of any body of water on earth, and surrounded by mountains, makes the mud and silt around it rich with minerals such as magnesium, sodium, and potassium.
In fact, many people use Dead Sea mud to treat various health conditions. Treat yourself to a natural spa experience by slathering your face and body with it, baking it into your skin under the sun, and rinsing it off in the mineral-rich sea.
6. You Can Step Back In Time At The Ancient Roman City Of Jerash
Just under an hour’s drive away from Amman are the ruins of Jerash, the most well-preserved site for ancient Roman architecture outside of Italy.
The vast complex dates back some 6,500 years, with certain parts like the imposing arch of Hadrian’s Gate going back as far as 129AD.
There are many beautifully restored structures such as the Temples of Artemis and Zeus, the Forum, and North Theatre, which will give you a sense of what life was like when it was bustling with 20,000 people during the time of Alexander the Great.
Another fun thing to do at Jerash is to catch the historical re-enactment; Roman soldiers will put on a military drill, followed by a gladiator fight, and finally a chariot race around the hippodrome.
7. Amman Is A Captivating Mix Of Old And New
No visit to Jordan would be complete without a stop at Amman, the lively capital city with a history that dates back to the 13th century BC.
There are two sides to this vibrant capital; first, there’s the historical side, where you can find Greek and Roman ruins and old markets that have been operating for hundreds of years.
But on the other side, Amman is now a city that’s constantly developing – one that is quite westernized but with plenty of Middle Eastern flavor. It’s also a city where you can find restaurants, bars, shops, and a thriving art scene with exhibitions from artists around the region.
8. You Can Feast On Mediterranean And Middle Eastern-influenced Cuisine
In Amman, Middle Eastern, North African, Persian and Mediterranean influences all come together to create a fantastic range of dishes that are bursting with flavor.
When you dine in Jordan, you can expect to start with different mezze dishes – small plates of food such as traditional hummus, meat plates, and baba ghanoush.
For main courses, the mansaf is a must-try. Also known as Jordan’s national dish, this dish is made from lamb, fermented yogurt, rice, and spices. It’s served at many social events, and is healthy but definitely filling.
Keen on greens instead of meat-based meals? That’s alright – should you be visiting during the summer, you’d find colorful fresh salads like tabbouleh too!
Every year, Mindvalley holds an exclusive, invite-only event for like-minded visionaries looking to impact the world with their ideas. A-Fest was first held in 2010, and since then the event has been held in different exotic countries across the globe.
With only up to 400 individuals invited for this event, every A-Fest event is bound to be one that will bring you closer to brilliant-minded individuals, providing you a powerful learning experience and giving you unique opportunities to expand your horizons.
A-Fest 2020 will be the 10th anniversary of this major annual event, and will be held from 15th to 18th October 2020, with the theme of ‘Art of Human Connection’.