How to Travel By Ferry from Egypt to Jordan

Egypt and Jordan aren’t connected by land, but this doesn’t mean that you have to fly if you want to travel from one country to the next. Just last week I traveled by ferry from Egypt to Jordan. When I returned to Egypt, I traveled overland from Jordan through Israel to Egypt and will be writing a post about this later. Here’s what you need to know to travel via ferry from Egypt to Jordan.

Fast ferry from Egypt to Jordan

The only ferry departure point from Egypt to Jordan is in the south Sinai town of Nuweiba and the only port in Jordan where ferries arrive from Egypt is in the southern town of Aqaba. You can take a bus or taxi or ask a tour company to arrange for a shared minivan to Nuweiba, Egypt.

Once in Nuweiba, there are three separate ferries which can take you from Egypt to Jordan and back.

1. Charter ferry – This ferry departs Nuweiba every day at approximately 5:00 or 6:00 a.m. You can only get a ticket for this ferry through a travel agency at least 36 hours in advance. The cost is approximately 100 USD. The trip across the Red Sea will take approximately 1.5 hours.

2. Slow ferry – This ferry departs Nuewiba every day at approximately noon, although times vary. Tickets cost approximately 75 USD and can be bought at Nuweiba port. Sailing time is approximately eight hours.

3. Fast ferry – This ferry departs Nuweiba every day at approximately 2:00 p.m., although times vary. On the day I took this ferry, for example, we didn’t take off from the dock until 3:30. You need to buy your ticket at Nuweiba port. I didn’t write down the cost, but it was approximately 85 USD. I tried to buy a return ticket but was told they don’t sell them.

There are small shops at Nuweiba port where you can sit and buy food and drink while you wait for the ferry.

I took the fast ferry, which was very nice, perfectly modern, clean (even the restroom) and comfortable. They serve food and drinks aboard this ferry and do money exchanges as well, although I think the rate is not as good as at the ferry terminal in Aqaba.

Interior of the passenger seating area in the fast ferry from Nuweiba to Aqaba

At some point while aboard the fast ferry, although I don’t know about the other ferries, you will have to get in line to get your visa to enter the country or at least begin the process of getting the visa. I and other Americans as well as possibly other nationalities had to give our passports to the passport person aboard the ferry and didn’t get them back until we arrived at the port in Aqaba. Although there is a 20 Jordanian dinar fee for the visa upon arrival at the airport, at the ferry port there was no fee.

Once you disembark from the ferry you’ll walk up a hill to a building where you’ll get your passport back if they didn’t return it to you on the ferry. Whether your passport is already in hand or not, you need to go through this building to clear customs. Here you’ll find there are money exchange windows but no ATM machine.

You might want to arrange for your hotel to pick you up or otherwise arrange for transportation to take you out of the port as you’ll likely find dozens of aggressive taxi drivers waiting in the doorway as you exit the building. Apparently taxis in this part of Jordan don’t have meters, so if you want to take a taxi without being badly ripped off you will have to haggle hard. I managed to negotiate a trip to the JETT bus terminal for only 5 Jordanian Dinars.

Important Notes: The ferries seem to be somewhat unreliable. When I was returning from Jordan to Egypt, I had to go overland because there were no ferries running that day. The ferry company knew the day prior that there were probably going to be no ferries, so it was not a complete surprise to me. Be aware that you may have to go overland when traveling from Egypt to Jordan and back, even if you want to take a ferry.

It’s good to arrive at least an hour ahead of the scheduled departure time to ensure you have a seat, although with tourism in Egypt and the Middle East still at a low because of the Arab Spring, there will probably be plenty of empty seats on board.

If you need to take a taxi from the ferry terminal to the JETT bus station in Aqaba, be sure to tell your taxi driver that you need to go to the JETT station, not the bus station, because the two are not located in the same place.

Now that you’re in Aqaba, you can begin to enjoy Jordan!

19 Comments Post a Comment
  1. Regina says:

    Great, detailed description. It’s exactly what I was looking for and could not find anywhere else. Thank you so much for getting ahead of me :). I will be traveling in April so this information is very useful. Now quick question. did you make it to Petra, and if so would you make another article about it?

  2. Sabina says:

    Hi, Regina. I’m so glad I helped you! Yes, I did go to Petra for one day and will be writing one or two posts about it very soon. Please stay tuned :)

  3. Erik says:

    I chickened out of doing this in 2010. I only had a couple of days near the end of my trip, and it sounded fairly complicated. Good choice it turns out, I found out a few days later that the ferry had been cancelled due to maintenance issues the day I would have needed it.

  4. EsTeh-Aqaba says:

    Hi Sabina,

    Great post, if you don’t mind I will link to it from my website.

    The reason why you didn’t have to pay for the visa at the port is because anyone entering Jordan in Aqaba is granted a free ASEZ visa (ASEZ: Aqaba Special Economic Zone) which is valid for all of Jordan.

    And let me point out one little mistake:

    “…Apparently ferries in this part of Jordan don’t have meters, …”

    I guess you wanted to write “taxis”. :))

  5. Sabina says:

    Erik, thanks a lot for making that point about the maintenance issues. I had to travel overland when returning to Egypt because the ferries weren’t running that day. I’ve now included another paragraph in the post about the fact that the ferries may be unreliable.

  6. Sabina says:

    Es-teh, Thank you for that information!! And thank you for pointing out that mistake too. I’ve corrected it now.

  7. Jolinda says:

    Dear all,
    I would like to add some information concerning the ferry’s.
    We at Meenagate, are ‘Ferry no. 1″. However, we are not a charter, but operating the Touristic Line between Nuweiba and Aqaba, on daily basis with a fixed timetable.
    We are the soul agent of AB Maritime for this Touristic Line and arrange all from A till Z.
    For all immigration procedures in Nuweiba, we have the Pyramid Hall for our clients exclusively, meaning fast and smooth procedure. Mainly we sail with Babel, our high speed catemaran, who sails to the Royal yacht Club, down town Aqaba. The travelling time is 1,5 h.
    Bookings can be done directly by e-mail (info@meenagate.com).
    At this moment we are working at a one line booking system through our website. (under construction).

    We are working for all tour operators in Jordan and Egypt, but individual travellers are more than welcome on board!
    For any question, feel free to sent us an e-mail.

  8. Sabina says:

    Jolinda, thank you for the information

  9. Br. Michael says:

    Thanks.
    I was some times at Nuweiba and last October in Aqaba: some days later there was a fire on the ferry. Since that day they could not have the full schedule, I think.

  10. Sabina says:

    I remember that fire. Maybe that does still have something to do with the schedule.

  11. Andreas says:

    Very interesting :)
    I’m interested in visited Jordan once, esp. after reading your posts here.
    The ferry tickets are quite expensive for a rather short ride, I think…

  12. Sabina says:

    Andreas – I’m so happy that my posts have helped cause you to become interested in Jordan!! And yes, the ticket was very expensive. I couldn’t believe it.

  13. sulthan says:

    first of all i thank sabina for this wonderful guidance.

    and it was great i explored the way to amman to cairo.

    well one thing i was wondering,how long it will take to explore egypt,well the main part is river nile and giza pyramid and some places in alexandria.

    and i have a schedule for jordan like petra,jerash and amman city and dead sea.

    i have a problem in going to Israel due to the immigration problem,i should certainly take the sea route,in case what kind of a difficulties i can face like booking in advance, immigration clearance etc etc,if u guys suggest me some,,i would really thank you much for your kindness.

    regards

    sulthan

  14. Jolinda says:

    Dear all,
    The boat trip takes about 1,5 hour. And the prices include all marine fees, departure tax Egypt and a offered soft drink and snack onboard.
    You can also go overland, but note that departure tax Israel costs $ 30 per person…. sometimes you can go through customs very fast, sometimes it can take up to 3 hours….

  15. Sabina says:

    Hi Sulthan,

    Thanks for commenting. You can see the Giza pyramids in one half day or full day and Alexandria in the same amount of time.

    If you think Israel won’t admit you, then yes, take the sea route. I bought my ferry ticket just a couple of hours in advance at the port and didn’t have any immigration clearance issues, although I’m American and I take it you’re not so you might have a different experience.

    I am an individual traveler and not a tour operator and recommend you contact one or more tour companies for questions about specific areas you want to visit. I hope you have a wonderful time on your travels!

  16. Sabina says:

    Hi Jolinda – thank you very much for your comment.

  17. pat cahill says:

    I am traveling to jordan i hope to use that ferry on 4th may,3 persons,we want to travel up to annman and over into isreal we have 6/7 days….any ideas

  18. Sabina says:

    Hi Pat, thanks for commenting. Since you are traveling from Aqaba, where the ferry docks, to Amman as I did, I recommend that you take the JETT bus unless you are renting a car. It was only 7.50 JD and was clean, comfortable and perfectly safe. The terminal is located right next to the Movenpick Hotel in Aqaba. Obviously you must visit Petra for at least one day, although two would be better, and I would recommend half a day at the Dead Sea and another half a day at least at Wadi Rum. Have fun!

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