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  • The small group
    travel experience

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What People Are Saying About Us

I have come to expect excellence from Odysseys Unlimited and have never been disappointed.

Michael E. Leahy
Oak Lawn, IL

We have been to many, many places all over the world, with many different tour companies.  None of them compare to the Odysseys Unlimited small group experience.

Nancy & William Sondervan
Sherrills Ford, NC

The small group is wonderful and the quality of tour directors is exceptional.

Bill Jones
Vancouver, WA

All that was advertised was delivered. Consider this tour to be a real value as to sites visited, itinerary, hotels, and travel between sites.

Susan & Paul Krupp
Georgetown, TX

Odysseys does everything with style, but without pretension. Beautiful meals and hotels. Excellent guides.

Barbara Schoetzau
New York, NY

Very early in the tour we saw we got much more for our dollar than anything we could have put together ourselves. The value exceeded our expectations.

Tara Malmberg
Quitman, TX

Good value for $ — accommodations, food, guide, itinerary, and [small] size of group. Have traveled with other tour groups ... and like you best.

Jean Hall
Prairie Village, KS

We like the model – small groups, excellent tour directors, solid hotels, good mix of group/independent activities.

Roger Soder
Seattle, WA

The combination of excellent hotels with a small group is the way I like to travel. I would highly recommend Odysseys to everyone I know.

Patricia Joyce
Peoria, AZ

We love the small group experience.

Dave & Alice Wilson
Williamstown, MA

Odysseys is the best company we have traveled with. You have first-rate tours at affordable prices, with great itineraries, excellent guides, and outstanding accommodations.

Jane & Ronald Decker
Chicago, IL

Odysseys tours are just right for us: great value, nice group size, complete trips, sufficient free time.

Laurin & Phyllis LeTart
Shepherdstown, WV

This trip far exceeded our expectations: the small group size, the quality of the tour director (the best we’ve ever had), the ability to have dinners on our own, the lower cost without a significant reduction in the quality of the accommodations.

Barry & Bobbi Rosner
Somerset, NJ

I thought I would not like traveling in a group but I was wrong! [Our tour director] was so good at making the group seem as one that it turned out to be the best part of the trip.

Donna Stevenson
Dublin, OH

It was the best value in travel we’ve ever had. It was a wonderful experience.

Trish Merrill & Mac White
Austin, TX

This was my 7th trip with Odysseys and they keep getting better and better.

Merle Frank
Miami, FL

Love the small group format and the ease of traveling with arrangements made for us.

Ken & Carolyn Helm
Newburgh, IN

Tour exceeded my expectations having never taken a group tour. An excellent experience – can’t wait for my next one!

Ronni Goldberg
New York, NY

Absolutely the best bang for the buck – organization, quality, consistency.

Harvey Wine
Dallas, TX

I like the small size of Odysseys tours. [You] have excellent Tour Directors, great itineraries and spend more time in areas than some of the other tour companies.

Lynn Bafaloukos
Glendale, AZ

Because of the group size and outstanding guides, you make travel easy for us!

Sharon Irwin & John Akamatsu
Kent, OH
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NEW FOR 2020!

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Small Group Tour Highlights
  • Amman sightseeing
  • Lunch in the home of an Amman family
  • Outstanding Roman ruins at Jerash
  • Madaba, “City of Mosaics”
  • Biblical Mt. Nebo
  • Three-night stay in Petra, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Petra touring
  • Sunset Jeep ride through spectacular desert landscape of Wadi Rum
  • Overnight in Wadi Rum tented camp
  • Storied Dead Sea, with chance to “float” in salt lake
  • Excursion to biblical Bethany Beyond the Jordan
Day-by-Day Trip Itinerary

Day 1: Depart U.S. for Amman, Jordan

Day 2: Arrive Amman We arrive in Amman late this evening and transfer directly to our hotel.

Day 3: Amman After this morning’s briefing about the journey ahead, we set out on a “behind the scenes” walking tour that acquaints us with this lively Middle Eastern capital. First we meet locals engaged in nature conservation at the Wild Jordan Centre then visit the King Abdullah I Mosque, with its magnificent blue mosaic dome. We continue through the busy streets and vegetable markets near the Nymphaeum fountain (ca. 191 CE); the 6,000-seat Roman Theatre (ca. 170 CE) still used today; and the Citadel, offering excellent city views. After lunch in the home of a gracious Amman family, we return to our hotel mid-afternoon. Tonight we enjoy a welcome dinner at a local restaurant. B,L,D

Day 4: Ajloun/Jerash Today we travel north through scenic pine forests and olive groves to the town of Ajloun, site of the well preserved Qalaat Errabadh (“Hilltop Castle”), built in 1184 for protection from the Crusaders, with grand views of the Jordan Valley. We continue on to the Roman ruins of Jerash, dubbed the “Pompeii of the East” for its splendid state of preservation. After lunch together here we explore the colonnaded streets, theaters, churches, and temples that comprise the largest Roman site outside Italy. B,L

Day 5: Amman/Petra Traveling from Amman to Petra today, we stop en route in Madaba, “City of Mosaics,” known especially for the Byzantine-era mosaic map of Jerusalem and the Holy Land. We see this ancient relic covering the floor of a church here then continue on to the important pilgrimage site of Mt. Nebo, where Moses is believed to have seen the Promised Land before being buried overlooking the Jordan Valley. We visit Mt. Nebo’s 4th– and 6th-century Byzantine churches then proceed to the imposing 12th-century Crusader castle at Shobak, one of Jordan’s most important early sites. Early this evening we reach the “Lost City” of Petra. B,L,D

Day 6: Petra A UNESCO World Heritage site, the archaeological site of Petra fills even seasoned travelers with jaw-dropping wonder. We set out this morning to explore this “rose-red city half as old as time,” a collection of red-hued temples, tombs, civic buildings – an entire city carved into the sheer rock face of the Sharah Mountains by the Nabataeans more than 2,000 years ago. Having prospered from antiquity to the Byzantine era, Petra then was “lost” to all but desert dwellers until its rediscovery in 1812 by a Swiss traveler. Entering through the Siq, the long, narrow rock chamber that betrays no hint of the splendor inside, we spend the day exploring Petra: the dramatic Treasury (a key backdrop in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade), the 3,000-seat theater, colonnaded streets, rock-cut tombs, and shrines. B,L

Day 7: Petra We return to the ruins at Petra this morning for further touring together. This afternoon is at leisure for independent exploration or to relax by the hotel pool or in the spa. Dinner tonight presents a special opportunity to prepare a typical Jordanian meal alongside locals and a chef at Petra Kitchen, where the furnishings, décor, and table­ware all are handcrafted by Jordanian artisans. B,D

Day 8: Petra/Wadi Rum This morning we visit nearby Al Beida (“Little Petra”), an ancient suburb whose ruins of tombs, temples, houses, and waterways carved directly into the rock walls resemble those at Petra itself. It was here during antiquity that caravans from Jerusalem and the Phoenician coast would travel to trade, and sometimes to settle, before continuing on to Petra. Following our tour we stop for lunch at a local restaurant then begin the two-hour drive south to Wadi Rum, the dramatic landscape of pink and white sands, prehistoric valleys, and towering sandstone monoliths rising from the desert floor. This is the homeland of the once-nomadic Bedouin, who now live in protected villages. And it was here that British army officer T. E. Lawrence and Prince Faisal bin Hussein set their headquarters during the Arab Revolt against the Ottoman Empire in 1917 – and where filmmaker David Lean shot parts of his 1962 epic Lawrence of Arabia. Late this afternoon we embark on a sunset jeep ride in the starkly beautiful moonscape that stands empty and silent, timeless and isolated. We dine and sleep tonight at Wadi Rum in a comfortable tented camp. B,L,D

Day 9: Wadi Rum/Dead Sea Believed to have been the site of five biblical cities, including Sodom and Gomorrah, the Dead Sea boasts a legacy of historical, spiritual, and geological import. This salt lake lying between Israel to the west and Jordan to the east ranks as the world’s deepest hypersaline lake and ­second-saltiest body of water. We learn about this rare geographic phenomenon at the Dead Sea Panorama, a geological museum with magnificent views of the Dead Sea and the hills beyond. After we reach our hotel early afternoon, we’re free to “float” in the therapeutic waters or enjoy the hotel’s spa facilities. Lunch and dinner today are on our own. B

Day 10: Dead Sea/Bethany Beyond the Jordan The Bible comes to life on today’s excursion to the Baptism Site at Bethany Beyond the Jordan, the area along the Jordan River where John the Baptist lived and Jesus was baptized. Since 1996, archaeologists have unearthed 20 churches, caves, and baptismal pools dating from the Roman and Byzantine periods. This afternoon is at leisure; tonight we gather for a farewell dinner at the hotel. B,D

Day 11: Depart for U.S. We depart early this morning for the Amman airport and our connecting flights to the U.S. B

Please note: This trip involves considerable walking on uneven or cobblestone streets and at sites of ancient ruins. You should be in good physical condition to enjoy this tour to the fullest.

B = Breakfast included L = Lunch included D = Dinner included

Tour Price Includes
  • Round-trip air transportation from listed cities
  • 9 nights’ accommodations: 8 nights in Deluxe and Superior First Class hotels; 1 night in luxury tented camp (Unrated)
  • 19 meals: 9 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 5 dinners
  • Extensive sightseeing as described, including all entrance fees
  • Services of an Odysseys Unlimited Tour Director
  • Private motorcoach transportation throughout your trip
  • Luggage handling for one bag per person
  • Gratuities for local guides, dining room servers, airport and hotel porters, and all drivers
  • $100 frequent traveler credit towards your next Odysseys Unlimited tour ($200 after 3 tours; $300 after 10 tours)
Tour Dates & Prices

2020 Tour Dates & Prices
including international airfare and all taxes, surcharges, and fees

Mar 2Mar 16
Sep 28
Oct 26
Nov 2
Apr 13
Oct 5
Oct 19
Boston, New York$3,297$3,497$3,597
Miami, Wash, DC$3,597$3,797$3,897
Atlanta, Baltimore,
Char, Chi, Detroit,
Los Ang, Orlando,
Phil, Tampa
$3,697$3,897$3,997
Cinc, Cleve, Dallas,
Den, Hou, Minn,
Phoenix, Port (OR),
San Fran, Seattle
$3,797$3,997$4,097

Please call if your city is not listed or for land only prices. Prices are per person based on double occupancy and include airline taxes, surcharges, and fees of $602, which are subject to change until final payment has been made.

Single travelers please add $795. Your $375 deposit is fully refundable up to 95 days before departure. All 2020 tour prices above (excluding airline taxes, surcharges, and fees) are guaranteed.

Business Class upgrade on round-trip Trans-Atlantic flight: $3,495 per person

Accommodations
    Grand Hyatt Amman, Amman / Days 2-4 / Deluxe

    The Grand Hyatt Amman stands in the heart of Amman’s diplomatic center, just minutes from the old city center.  This contemporary hotel offers three restaurants, two bars, lounge, and deli; fitness center; steam room, sauna room and whirlpools; indoor and outdoor pools; beauty salon; gift shop; florist; and laundry and dry cleaning services (for a fee).  Each of the 311 air-conditioned guest rooms has private bath with hair dryer, in-room safe, tea- and coffee-making facilities, complimentary Wi-Fi internet access, minibar, TV, and phone.

    Mövenpick Resort Petra, Petra / Days 5-7 / Superior First Class

    Situated right at the entrance to the ancient city of Petra, the 183-room Mövenpick Resort Petra features a host of amenities including seven restaurants, lounges, and bars; complimentary Wi-Fi internet access; outdoor swimming pool; wellness center with a fully equipped gym, sauna, massage, and steam room; and laundry and dry cleaning services (for a fee).  In addition, the hotel offers a library with books about the ruins at Petra.  Air-conditioned guest rooms have private bath with hair dryer, tea- and coffee-making facilities, minibar, TV, and phone.

    Memories Aicha Luxury Camp, Wadi Rum / Day 8 / Not rated

    A tented camp in the heart of the vast Wadi Rum desert, Memories Aicha features a central geodesic dome housing a restaurant and lounge spaces with panoramic views of the desert landscape, outdoor picnic and terrace areas, and a gift shop.  Individual geodesic tents, decorated in traditional Jordanian style with handmade furniture and patterned wall and ceiling hangings, boast a comfortable sleeping area, private bath with shower, and air conditioning.  For a true desert experience, telephone and internet service is not available on site (cellular reception is available a short distance from camp).

    Mövenpick Resort & Spa Dead Sea, Dead Sea / Days 9-10 / Deluxe

    The Mövenpick Resort & Spa Dead Sea sits on the shores of the famed Dead Sea, offering guests the opportunity to float in the salty and restorative waters here.  The hotel has nine restaurants and bars; palm-surrounded outdoor infinity pool; extensive spa with a variety of treatments; fitness center; tennis courts; complimentary Wi-Fi internet access; and laundry and dry cleaning services (for a fee).  Each air-conditioned guest room comes equipped with private bath with hair dryer, in-room safe, tea- and coffee-making facilities, minibar, TV, and phone.

Ratings are based on the Hotel & Travel Index, the travel industry standard reference.
Suggested Reading for Your Vacation

Philip Robins
A History of Jordan
An informative, brief history of Jordan and its monarchy from the 1920s to the present by a professor of politics at Oxford. Robins was previously a Jordan-based correspondent for the BBC and The Guardian.

Marguerite van Geldermalsen
Married to a Bedouin
“Where you staying?” the Bedouin asked. “Why you not stay with me tonight – in my cave?” Thus begins the fascinating odyssey of a young nurse from New Zealand who would marry and raise her family among the community of 100 Bedouin families living in the ancient city of Petra.

Jenny Walker
Lonely Planet Jordan
A practical guide in the popular series, featuring maps, tips and much sightseeing information.

Cartographia
Jordan Map
A folded, colorful map of Jordan at a scale of 1:700,000.

Kristine K. Kershul
Arabic, a Language Map
This durable, foldout card gives easy phonetic pronunciation for several hundred of the most commonly-needed words and phrases.

National Geographic
National Geographic Atlas of the Middle East
These maps graphically illustrate the history, politics, people and resources of the Middle East. With 40 photographs and 80 maps, including a two-page spread on each of the 16 nations.

G.W. Bowerstock
Roman Arabia
A remarkable history of the Romans in the Arab world. For the traveler with scholarly inclinations, this lucid book provides essential background to the Roman archaeological sites in the Middle East.

Karen Armstrong
Islam, A Short History
Armstrong brings authority and experience to this vivid, clear-headed survey of the history and impact of Islam, from the birth of Mohammad to present-day challenges.

Scott Anderson
Lawrence in Arabia
The four spies and adventurers who star in this captivating account – the British T.E. Lawrence, the German archaeologist Curt Prufer, the American oil agent William Yale and the Zionist agronomist and spy Aaron Aaronsohn – played an outsized role in the making of the modern Middle East.

Benjamin Orbach
Live from Jordan, Letters Home from My Journey through the Middle East
Orbach’s down-to-earth, eyewitness report of daily life, attitudes and politics in Jordan.

Jane Taylor
Petra and the Lost Kingdom of the Nabataeans
Petra’s history from the Stone Age to the Nabataeans (who constructed the city) through the Crusades is documented with 150 full-color photographs.

Liddell Hart
Lawrence of Arabia
A lively biography of T. E. Lawrence (a.k.a. Lawrence of Arabia), long the standard. With 17 photos and 10 maps.

T.E. Lawrence
Seven Pillars of Wisdom, A Triumph
The monumental story of Lawrence of Arabia, as colorful and long as the famous movie it inspired. Some of the action is set around Wadi Rum in Jordan.

Diana Abu-Jaber
The Language of Baklava
In this evocative culinary memoir, the Jordanian-American novelist recalls growing up with her gregarious, homesick Jordanian father, who cooked to remember the place he came from and to pass that connection to his children. With one recipe per chapter.

Anthony Sattin
The Young T. E. Lawrence
The untold story of how the young T.E. Lawrence, an awkward archaeologist out of Oxford, first fell in love with Arab culture, embarking on the journey that would transform him into the legendary Lawrence of Arabia.

Bruce Feiler
Walking the Bible, A Journey by Land through the Five Books of Moses
An account of a 10,000-mile trek through the Biblical lands of the Middle East in the company of an Israeli archaeologist. It’s part travelogue, part pilgrimage, and part quest for religious meaning.

Alexander William Kingslake
Eothen
Originally published in 1844, this sly account of journeys throughout the Middle East and Asia Minor, including Constantinople, Smyrna, Cairo, Damascus and Petra, takes the form and tone of a letter to a good friend: conversational, ironic, hugely funny and personal.

Agatha Christie
Appointment with Death
Hercule Poirot steps into the story when an American tourist on a grand tour of the Holy Land is found murdered in Petra.

Dorothy Gilman
Mrs. Pollifax, Innocent Tourist
Mrs. Pollifax must smuggle a manuscript out of Jordan, a document that encodes the shocking truth of Saddam Hussein’s reign.

Hanan Al-Shaykh
Women of Sand and Myrrh
Four women in an unnamed Arab country struggle for personal autonomy in this novel by a Lebanese author known for her beautiful and explicit prose.

Neil Folberg
In a Desert Land, Photographs of Israel, Egypt and Jordan
A stunning collection of photographs of the desert Middle East, including the Sinai, Petra and Jerusalem.

J Greenberg
Fishwatcher’s Field Guide Red Sea
This double-sided plastic card shows 64 of the most commonly encountered reef fish of the Red Sea in full-color illustrations, convenient for the boat or beach.

Richard Porter, Simon Aspinall
Birds of the Middle East
An outstanding guide to 700 species of the birds in the region from the Arabian peninsula to Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Israel, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Turkey and Cyprus. Second edition.

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