Aqaba Stories and Tips

Aqaba-Nuweiba border crossing

There are two crossings available – on the fast craft (65 minutes) and on the slow ferry (up to 200 minutes). The former costs USD15 while the latter about USD10. The departure point is NOT at the Aqaba Port but at the Passenger terminal further south. There are local buses that go down south as far as the Passenger Terminal and the Royal Diving Centre, but I would recommend taking a taxi (JD1,500). The taxi ride from downtown takes about 15 minutes, depending on traffic.

The fast craft leaves Aqaba at between midday and 1pm. You should arrive at least 90 minutes prior to the departure to secure tickets. The Terminal does have huge signs indicating where to purchase your fasts craft tickets from, but through experience I know that they often go unnoticed! The booth is on the second floor of the Terminal and you can pay in either USD or JD. When you purchase your ticket, they will issue you a receipt. With that receipt, you must proceed to one of the four bank booths directly opposite, to pay the fare in cash. There are at least four bank branches, so take your pick – the fare remains the same whichever you choose! Make sure they initial on your receipt for payment received. Then, you will see a table where pink immigration forms are available. Fill out one of these and join the line to clear customs. I joined one of the three long lines, but before long, seeing that I was a fairly ‘exotic looking’ tourist, one of the police guys came and motioned me to go to the head of the queue. The rest in line, mostly of Middle Eastern origin, were visually unhappy, but I am not about to complain! With the receipt paid, and customs cleared, turn back to the ticket booth and exchange all these documents for your boat ticket. You will be told to leave the building and wait at an open-air shed along with numerous other locals. A bus, which probably should have been scrapped a decade ago, will arrive about 30 minutes prior to departure to ferry passengers to the embarkation point. Just squeeze your way up the buses… they get impossibly crowded and we all know that queues do not work in this region. The buses will return to ferry more passengers. If possible, do not leave your luggage with the loaders. Bring them along with you as you board the craft, and leave them by the side. They are safer this way, and far more convenient.

Snacks are available on board, as is a foreign exchange booth offering terrible rates. Wait till you get to Nuweiba where there are several booths around the bus terminal providing better rates. Be sure to use the bathroom on the fast craft before disembarking because the facilities at Nuweiba port are revolting. Immigration clearance and customs inspection at Nuweiba is also absurd, so expect long lines. Leave your civility behind. Try to be first off board and first in line. For further information, proceed to the Egypt journal.

Been to this destination?

Share Your Story or Tip