Virtuoso Life - September/October 2017 - 190
Five ways to see Jordan - and beyond.
Guides who have escorted dignitaries such as Bill Clinton and Bono
lead Abercrombie & Kent's private
eight-day tour of Jordan. Their local knowledge makes for intimate
encounters, including a stop for
kanafeh, a goat-cheese dessert specialty, at the country's oldest purveyor, and a feast of zarb, a Bedouin
barbecue of lamb and beef cooked
under the dunes at Wadi Rum.
Departures: Multiple dates through
December 10; from $4,395.
To complement Jordan's famed
circuit, Cox & Kings' 12-day
private tour starts in Egypt with
a visit to the Great Pyramids and
a Nile cruise - including a stop in
Luxor to see the tomb of Ramses
VI. Before heading off to Amman,
Petra, and the Dead Sea, travelers
can opt to drift through the Valley
of the Kings in a hot-air balloon.
Departures: Any day through
December 31; from $6,495.
Lakani World Tours' seven-day
privately chauffeured trip from
Amman hits Jordan's UNESCO
highlights, with exclusive experiences such as a horseback tour of
Petra. Bedouin guides lead Jeep
tours of Wadi Rum before travelers
From top: Approaching the
Treasury in the Siq and local spices.
Opposite: Teatime on the dunes.
V I RT U O S O L I F E
spend a full day luxuriating in the
therapeutic salts and minerals at a
Dead Sea spa. Departures: Any day
through 2018; from $3,550.
Explore famous biblical sites such
as Mount Nebo, where Moses is
said to have died, and Bethany
Beyond the Jordan, site of John
the Baptist's work, during a 14-day
escorted trip from Tel Aviv to the
Dead Sea with Globus. Israeli
sites such as Bethlehem's Church
of the Nativity and the Garden of
Gethsemane, where Jesus prayed
before his arrest and crucifixion,
make this itinerary a veritable
pilgrimage. Departures: Multiple
dates through November 5, 2018;
G Adventures adds adrenaline
to Jordan's sites on its eight-day
active itinerary. Among the highlights: trekking through the nearby
nature reserve at Ajloun Castle
and canyoneering water-choked
sandstone gorges that empty into
the Dead Sea. In Wadi Rum, groups
explore the desert setting in fourwheel-drive vehicles - as well as on
the backs of camels. Departures:
Multiple dates through December 14,
2018; from $1,499.
high and choke to only ten across, turning the view into a rose-tinted
sand painting beneath a shoestring of blue. In 1812, Johann Burckhardt, the Swiss explorer who brought Petra to Western eyes, must
have nearly fainted when the keyhole passage led to the Treasury, the
140-foot-tall carved mausoleum that now defines Petra. Even knowing that it's coming, I still swoon slightly when it materializes.
The Treasury is impressive, but hundreds of similar chambers,
used both as tombs and homes, tunnel through 20 square miles of the
surrounding landscape. And the serpentine watercourses carved from
the cliffs to funnel into mansion-size cisterns are just as striking - the
Nabateans' ability to adapt to the desert is all that kept them alive. Before visiting, I'd imagined that UNESCO's declaration of Petra as "one
of the most precious properties of man's cultural heritage" was likely