In March, Petra emerges from the cold and rainy days of winter. The rain gradually tapers off as the month progresses (rain falls on only four days this month, as an average), the sun shines more forcefully, and by month-end, the first burst of wildflowers color the dun landscape in bright pastels. Nonetheless, expect some lingering cold spells (it’s even been known to snow in early March). Petra’s temperature averages 59°F (15°C) for the month, rising to an average high of 66°F (19°C).
Pack clothing for both warm and cold conditions, and include a rainproof jacket and/or umbrella. Don’t forget a shade hat and sunscreen, and sturdy walking shoes.
Be conscious that rains often come in sudden and torrential downpours. Utmost caution is required to avoid the narrow defiles and even broad canyons because of the threat of potentially deadly flash-floods. Those channels were formed over eons by such torrents! The Siq becomes a riverbed during heavy rains, while the stones become dangerously slippery. Be prepared for the entire site to close during heavy rains.
For more on weather this month, see Jordan in March: Travel Tips, Weather, and More.
Crowds & Costs
Spring is by far the best time to visit Petra weather-wise, but visitor numbers begin to rise sharply by the end of March and by month-end you’ll have to be creative to get away from the crowds. Airfares and accommodations are at their most expensive in spring, but in early March you can still take advantage of shoulder season rates at some places. Nonetheless, it’s wise to reserve your flights and accommodations well ahead.
What to Do
Come March, the first wildflowers appear. The wadis are edged with pink oleanders, and the High Places are brightened by palettes of blood-red anemones and gorgeous black iris. The air is scented by chamomile. And bees buzz from blossom to blossom. Make the most of short-lived spring and follow the footsteps of Bedouin shepherds, crusaders and prophets by hiking the Jordan Trail from Dana to Petra. Named by National Geographic as one of the 15 best hikes in the world, the 50-mile (85 km) trek is normally done in three stages, including a night at the world-famous Feynan Ecolodge.
After hiking you’ll be ready for a soothing Turkish bath. Wadi Musa has several hammams--the Middle Eastern variant of a steam bath—to choose from. After a short stay in the steam room, you’ll relax on a hot stone slab, then enjoy a body scrub and massage, and finally, relax with mint tea. Most have separate bath areas for women, but don’t take it for granted that you will have a female attendant—check beforehand!
Four times daily the Jordan Heritage Revival Company performs dramatic historical re-enactments using actors dressed as Roman centurions or Nabateans. Although you’ll pass soldiers and monks as you walk the Siq, the changing of the guards ceremony at the Treasury is not to be missed. The show is included in the price of your entry ticket to Petra. Shows are not offered on Friday or during Ramadan. Ask at the Petra Visitor Centre about the current schedule.