Some comments after a lovely week in Akaba.
The Intercontinental was the correct choice for us. Nice beach and pool area. The Kempinski beach and pool area is smaller. The hotels in the center without their own beach can of course use the public beach, but this wasn’t so nice. Great breakfast buffet. Surprisingly few people around. No problem in finding sunbeds in the morning. Not very much action in the evenings. Very few in the restaurant, a few more in the outdoor bar. Would choose the same hotel again.
The lowest temperature we experienced was 19° Celsius on our balcony before sunrise. In daytime around 30°, in the evenings still over 20°. Lovely. On Sunday the 18.11 first some clouds and then even rain for a couple of hours. Otherwise sun every day, a few occasional clouds. Water around 25° Celsius, no high waves.
Food and drink:
Great hummus, tabbouleh, Baba Ghanouj, grilled halloumi, mixed grill, kebab, seafood, lamb in all the places we tried. An average appetizer was from 2 JOD, which is a little more than 2 €. A main dish from 6 JOD and up (from 8 €). A bottle of wine from 20 JOD (22 €). This was of course in the restaurants. You can for sure get much better prices in the small local “cafes/shops” downtown, but we didn’t try that as we want to sit and relax for a few hours. Our favourites were Ali Baba, Floka, Romero and Captain’s – all in the center. Great food and service in all of them – and other people = nice atmosphere! The three first ones are both indoors and outdoors and Captain’s was only indoors. The three first ones also serve beer and wine while Captain’s doesn’t. A beer is about 5-6 JOD (6-7 €). A bottle of wine in the supermarket was around 9 JOD (10 €). No stomach problems whatsoever.
Having been to Petra (which is a must!) before, we didn’t go around much this time. A 10 minutes taxi drive (fixed price: 10 JOD) to South Beach & Japanese garden (=for snorkeling) was at first sight a big disappointment. A completely empty beach, nobody and no service. We still decided to snorkle for a while and that was compensation enough. Beautiful fish and corals just a few meters outside the beach. We then walked a few minutes south to Tala Bay, which was also completely empty. No people, one café was open, but no customers. November seems to be a total off season. We were happy that we didn’t choose to stay in Tala bay even if it was an option. Maybe if you are really into snorkeling and diving, but not for us. The taxi driver then suggested a quick glance at the Saudi Border which we accepted. The driver seemed to know what he was doing and got us very close to the border. It’s impossible to cross the border, but it indeed felt exotic enough being 2 m from Saudi-Arabia! Wadi Rum and the Dead Sea we left for next time.
Out on the town:
Not much shopping, only very small local shops. Didn’t bother us since we don’t care much for shopping. The locals tell you “Welcome” once and then let you go. Very safe environment. Some camels, some horses. Traffic was not hectic. Taxis are available everywhere.
Overall a great holiday, I would love to go back and I can certainly recommend Akaba to those who like some lazy days in the sun.