Travellers heading to the sole port city of the Hashemite kingdom of Jordan may well be concerned about their health and security. In recent time, there has been a tendency for a good portion of the media in some countries to overemphasise the occurrence of so-called terrorist attacks in this region, which means a lot of people tend to harbour unduly strong fears of becoming victims of such assaults if they come to the areas around Israel, the West Bank, and other Levantine locations. While there have in fact been some assaults attributed to terrorist groups in Jordan in the past decades, there are far fewer than most would imagine: generally speaking, the security statistics for tourist health in Aqaba are not bad at all.
To protect your health in Aqaba, you just have to observe much the same rules you do whenever travelling somewhere-with some particulars, of course, but we can get to those later. Pack every medication that might be necessary for your health, naturally, and be sure to stay away from tap water when dining out: most people do not complain of stomach upset just from drinking tap water, but if you really want to bring down the possibility of digestive ailments, just avoid it and go with bottled water instead. Avoid eating at seedy or run-down establishments and watch the cleanliness of the food that passes through your lips. Be extra-careful about food freshness because this is genuine desert climate you are facing: with “lows” of just below 80 degrees Fahrenheit and highs of around 100 degrees, perishables perish in a shot in Aqaba’s weather.
Given the heat, you also want to avoid exposing yourself too much to the sun. The sun here is almost never softened by clouds: it will bake you dry if you go unprotected. Bring sunscreen, wear lightweight clothing, and definitely remember to carry a bottle of water everywhere with you.
Another particular to keep in mind here due to the specific characteristics of the location would be to avoid diving expeditions after visiting some of the most popular tourist sites in the area. Few people realise it, but the stark changes in altitude and environmental pressure can endanger a person’s life if he is not careful: going to a place like Wadi Rum, for instance, and diving into the sea in the same day might lead to some unpleasant experiences given that you start your day in a place over 1,000m above sea level and end up later in a location several metres below sea level. It is best to work out your dive and travel schedules carefully, as a result.
Furthermore, regarding swimming, keep in mind that some beaches actually suffer from jellyfish. They are not year-round-the animals tend to swarm or come in force at certain months-but you still have to look out wherever you go just to be safe. Peer closely into the water before getting in: you should see small and round globes of refraction if there are indeed jellies in the water.
Fortunately for travellers, health in Aqaba is provided for quite well by the local government and facilities. There are some rather good hospitals here. The more complex cases still go to Amman, though, which is not a problem either because it is just a few hours away by car.