Petra is one of the most amazing archaeological sites I have had the privilege of visiting. It is not to be missed! I felt I had stepped into the movie set for Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, but then this is where the ending was filmed. Before Petra was developed as a World Heritage site, a Bedouin tribe made its home here, living in the ancient caves of Petra. As part of the development of the site for tourists, the Bedouins were moved out of the area of the ruins to a newly constructed village. Our guide told us that part of the deal was that tribal members are allowed to maintain souvenir stands, snack bars and animal rides within the site. A carriage ride in and out, to the Treasury is included with your ticket, but a tip is expected at the end of the the ride. You will constantly be asked if you want a donkey ride, but we found the offers to be polite and good humored. At the end of the gorge is a large, clean restaurant managed by Crowne Plaza which has a nice buffet. There were modern bathrooms spotted half way in and by the restaurant, at the end. At the halfway WC, the author of I Married a Bedouin (Margarite de Geldermalsen) has a jewelry stand where she sells jewelry and other items crafted by local Bedouin women. She'll also sell you her book, or you can buy it from Amazon or download it to your Kindle before you leave.
After lunch at the Crowne Plaza restaurant, after a long, hot day of trekking through the ruins with a bit of climbing thrown in, we were glad to have a donkey ride back to the Treasury. It was just more of the adventure. But be sure to negotiate price in advance. My only regret is that we decided to walk the rest of the way from the Treasury to the entrance rather than taking the carriage ride out. The hike out seemed far longer than it had been coming in.
As you exit to the main road, right across the street is the Moevenpick Hotel. After a long, hot, dusty, though amazing day in the ruins of Petra, there is nothing like a delicious ice cream cone from the ice cream shop at the Moevenpick Hotel. They even have an outdoor window and seating in the shade of their patio. The quality of the ice cream is superb and they have free wifi for texting home on Viber to let the folks at home know what a great time you're having.
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