Petra Now More Expensive Than Disney World

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.

  1. Asa

    We visited the Sinai in Egypt last year and contemplated taking a trip over to Petra but honestly the prices kept us from adding it to our trip. Once you add in the Visa and travel fees to get there (ferry, bus, taxi, etc.) it didn’t seem like it was worth it. However, it looks like it will only get more expensive, so maybe we “missed” our chance while we were so relatively close. I respect your idea to spend several days exploring, but when I see obvious price gouging I tend to have the opposite reaction and refuse to visit at all. Egypt put us over the edge with tourist entry fees. The fees really start to add up, and honestly, unless you’re super into archeology a lot of it goes over your head. I’d rather spend the day wandering around a town or city admiring architecture and doing people watching for free, sampling small cafes and restaurants. $127 buys you a lot of meals out in Egypt or Jordan.

  2. Holiday Abroad

    Jordan is such a wonderful place to spend your holiday! I’d go back there in a minute :)

  3. LowCo

    I’d definitely pay more to visit Petra than Disney. It’s an incredible piece of history and architecture that more people should visit. Jordan on the whole is a fantastic place to visit on holiday.

  4. Charles McCool

    Nice tip to buy the 3 day pass for only $15 more. Might as well spend as much time visiting Petra as possible.

    • tim

      I agree. It’s almost a crime to go there for just a couple hours, as most of the tour groups do. Some sites take two hours just to get to from the gate! Water, snacks, good shoes, and a 3-day pass. That’s the way to really see Petra.

  5. Incotu

    Petra is more important than Disneyland, so I guess it’s pretty obvious why it’s more expensive!

  6. Jack - eyeflare travel

    That really is quite a lot of cash for an entry pass… Same thinking as extra levies on car rentals or hotel nights though, “why not gouge the tourists, they’re all rich anyway”.

    When are any of these people going to realize that raising fees far above inflation will only hurt them down the line?

  7. Just back from Petra

    I went to Petra with my sister and a friend just last week, and we took a private car, and didn’t stay at a hotel. It was only 50 dinar entrance to Petra. So it seems they have abolished the 90 dinar fee. This may not have prevented us from seeing it, but is certainly too much money. Before seeing this post I was joking with my sister that we could go to Disney twice for that amount of money. Petra was amazing, but I’d have to say that you need at least a full day to see it. We found ourselves at the end trying to run uphill to get back to the car. We had originally planned to stay overnight at a hotel, and we all felt we needed more than 4 hours. Petra was amazing. Even though we all griped about the entrance fee, we were all glad that went.

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