Temperatures continue to fall sharply as November progresses, and this is definitely a month to pack a warm jacket. Average high temperatures reach only 68°F (20°C), with many days significantly colder—the average low temperature is 46°F (8°C). The first biting winds of winter begin to sweep the ridgetops and siqs (canyons). And nights can be bitterly cold and close to freezing. Pack your cold weather clothing, along with lighter summer clothing for the diminishing warm sunny days.
The chance of cloudy and rainy days also increases as autumn turns to winter. The good news is that on average Petra receives only two days of rain in November, and most days boast bright blue skies. So it’s still wise to bring sunscreen, plus a shade hat, sunglasses, and comfortable yet sturdy walking shoes.
For more on weather this month, see Jordan in November: Travel Tips, Weather, and More.
Crowds & Costs
Despite the increasingly cool weather, November is a transitional month and you can expect the “Pink City” to be fairly crowded in early November. But visitor numbers gradually diminish, permitting a more intimate experience. In any event, November is nowhere near as crowded as spring.
Hotels rates and tourist excursions in Wadi Musa begin to fall as local entrepreneurs try to capture the diminishing number of visitors. It’s wise to book flights and reserve accommodations well in advance for early November, but late November is a good time to take advantage of winter bargains.
What to Do
The low, clear sunlight and crystal-clear air of November spell nirvana for photographers, Jordan's rose-red city offers a spectacular kaleidoscope of color and texture, enhanced by the play of light and shadows. This cooler month allows longer periods of time spent outdoors shooting. The best time to shoot is usually the hour after sunrise and hour before sunset, when the light warms the sandstone hues (colors are at their juiciest) and creates shadows that add depth.
At the Treasury (which is built deep in a canyon) wait until the midday sun has passed and light bounces off the opposite wall accentuating the rich hues. At any time of day, work the angles to capture memorable fresh perspectives that avoid and improve on well-worn clichés. Get up high for wide-angle shots down over the Treasury or Monastery to give a sense of scale and location. And getting a clear view of the Treasury as seen from the Siq can be challenging at the busiest times of day: Try a slow shutter speed on a tripod to blur the flow of visitors.
Early November offers some of the most agreeable weather of the year—perfect for long hikes. For example, the 8-mile (13 km) desert trail from Little Petra to Petra is invigorating and easily done by anyone in reasonable physical condition. And you’re rewarded by a spectacular entrée as the descent from Jebel al-Deir spills you out at The Monastery via the back door.
Most sites in Petra require a good deal of walking (sturdy and comfortable shoes are essential), and climbs to the must-visit Monastery and High Place of Sacrifice, for example, require plenty of stamina. If you’re infirm or lacking in energy, you can hire a carriage from the Visitor Center to the Treasury (this is an easy downhill walk, so you might save this ride for the return), where donkeys, mules, and camels are available to take you to more distant and uphill sites.
Mawlid or Mawlid al-Nabi al-Sharif: Jordanians celebrate the birthday of the Islamic prophet Muhammad in the third month of the Islamic calendar. Low-key festivities involve feasts, and singing plus poetry readings.