Saturday, March 3, 2018

Travel Talk Essential Jordan Tour, Part 5: Dead Sea and Kerak Castle

After our tour stops in Wadi Rum and Petra, we left Wadi Musa to stay in Amman again, with a couple of day trip/ stops in between. The Dead Sea and Kerak Castle trip actually took place on two different half days.

After our morning Petra run, we left Wadi Musa for Amman, stopping to see Kerak Castle in between. As with other castles here, Kerak sits on top of a hill with a nice view of the city.
Kerak castle
Kerak is a Crusader castle that was constructed in the 1140s (fairly young compared to all the other stuff we've seen!). In the 1180s the castle was captured by the muslim Sultan, Saladin. Then it was captured by rebels. Then by the Egyptians. It was also the site of a terrorist attack. Quite the tumultuous history, no?
Kerak castle
The next morning we went to Dead Sea. Travel Talk took us to a private beach and we had to pay extra for it. It was 20 JD I believe, and included a lunch buffet (lunch is typically not included on our other day tours). Some of the tour participants did complain about this sudden, unexpected extra expense as it wasn't mentioned ahead of time, but I was tired of the rest stop sandwiches and would rather pay the 20 JD for a real lunch!

We stopped at the sea level marker on the way down.
Dead Sea
Things you should know before going to swim in the Dead Sea: do not shave within 24 hours of going there. Don't cut yourself or somehow get an open wound. Of course, I scraped myself on a rock in the Dead Sea, oops. and yeah, it kinda stung. Luckily it was only a scrape. The beach was quite rocky so don't expect to run around on soft sand. In fact, bringing water shoes or flip flops would be a good idea.
The high salt in the Dead Sea does mean you float!
Dead Sea
We played around in the sea for about an hour. Some also got mud to rub all over themselves (costs extra, 3 JD, but they did claim their skin felt soft after). The facility has shower (no hot water) for those who want to rinse off after.

The lunch buffet wasn't, it had a quite a few options - my favorite being the chicken and rice.
I ordered a blended drink of mint lemonade (extra charge).
I don't know what I was eating but I tried all the desserts.
After the Dead Sea we returned to Amman for the Amman Citadel and Roman Theatre tour. It was New Year's Eve and some of us went out to dinner after, followed by a short trip to a club and left the next morning. It was a pretty quick trip but filled with a lot of great sites in Jordan!

I have not done many group tours, so I don't know how Travel Talk Tours compares. I think certainly communication and food options could be better, but I did choose Travel Talk because it was the cheapest option, so we get what we pay for! Travel Talk is still a great option for solo female travelers like me who don't want to spend a lot of money on tours, I think. I met a lot of great, fun people on the trip and the itinerary was perfect for me in terms of all the things I wanted to see.


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