Flickr photo by Betta Design

One nasty byproduct of more people in more countries traveling every year is that the big “greatest hits” attractions keep raising admission prices and seeing how far they can push it before there’s a revolt. Here’s the worst though: throughout 2010, authorities in Jordan raised Petra admission prices three times, to the point where a day visitor to Petra now pays more than someone buying a one-day, walk-up-to-the-counter price to Disney World.

According to the official Petra park site, if you spend the night in Jordan, you now pay 50 dinars for a one-day pass, which is around $71. Ouch and double-ouch already, but if you’re one of those unfortunate people in a rush who is coming on a day trip—either from a cruise ship docking in Aqaba or on a tour bus from Israel—you will pay a staggering 90 dinars: $127.

In case you care, here’s the link to Disney World prices, but be assured it’s far less than $127—no AAA discount needed. And if we’re going to compare apples to apples, entrance to Machu Picchu is currently around $45 and Ankor Wat is $20. And while both those can make a plausible argument that they need to keep prices high to keep the crowds down to protect the monuments, Petra is not nearly as fragile or overrun. (And locals pay $1.50, so the “keeping crowds down” argument doesn’t wash.) To further put things in perspective, $127 is more than you pay to spend a week or two in the hyper-protected Galapagos Islands. The Galapagos!

Actually, I can’t think of any other archeological or natural park site in the world that tops 50 bucks for a one-day admission, so if anybody knows of one, please leave it in the comments.

Petra is one of the most fantastic places I’ve ever been, so I’m not saying don’t go. And Petra aside, Jordan is a great value. But this kind of blatant pocket-lining drives me crazy. Let’s all take guesses on where that money goes. My advice is to do what I did when I went there: find a nice little hotel, chill for a while, and buy a pass for more than one day. If you get the 3-day one, it’s only $15 more than the 1-day one. It’s a big park, so you need lots of time to explore anyway. Then at least you can amortize the cost over three days instead of busting your whole monthly budget in one day.