Temperatures gradually subside to more comfortable levels as September progresses. Still, the average high temperature is a very warm 88°F (31°C), with some days significantly higher. And rain remains totally absent. Even clouds rarely show, and the sun shines brightly all day long (in fact, September 1 is the clearest day of the year on average).
Hence, humidity is extremely low. The air is dry, making hiking quite tolerable even on the hotter days. However, if you’re traveling with children (or older people), early September may still prove to be unbearably hot.
Start your visit early—as soon as the entrance opens at 6 am—to take advantage of the morning's lower temperatures. And do as the locals do: regard early afternoon as a time to relax in the shade, such as the restaurant toward the far end of the ancient city, near the entrance to the uphill hike to the Monastery.
Pack a lightweight, loose-fitting wardrobe that protects against the sun; bring your shade hat, sunscreen, sunglasses; and be sure to drink lots of water.
For more on weather this month, see Jordan in September: Travel Tips, Weather, and More.
Crowds & Costs
By mid-September visitor arrivals turn sharply upwards after the mid-summer lull, marking the beginning of the autumn high season. Visit Petra as early in the month as possible to avoid the crowds that begin to arrive in earnest by month-end.
Airfares, hotel prices, and tourist packages and excursions are also no longer at bargain prices by mid-month. It’s wise to book flights and reserve accommodations well in advance, especially for the latter part of September.
What to Do
With autumn’s relatively milder temperatures now the norm, serious long-distance hiking is more amenable and tempting. There are plenty of trails at Petra itself, but if you love hiking and/or seek an adventure experience, consider the 3-day section of the “Jordan” Trail from Dana to Petra. The 50-mile (85 km) trek was named by National Geographic as one of the 15 best hikes in the world and includes a night at the world-famous Feynan Ecolodge. The path-less-followed rewards you with a tour bus-free entrée at the “Rose City” via the back door.
You’ve experienced “Petra by Night” (if not, you should!), so now check out the Henna Fantasia “Jordan Folklore Night”—a cultural show at the Old Village Resort, in Wadi Musa. This fabulous performance by a local music and dance troupe also features an informative cultural video that highlights Jordanian history, traditions, and culture from the Nabataeans to modern times. It takes place nightly, 8:3-10:30 pm.
Speaking of Wadi Musa, you can choose to overnight at any of scores of home-stays to deluxe resort hotels. But for a more authentic experience, reserve a tent at Ammarin Bedouin Camp, near Little Petra. You’ll stay with a genuine Bedouin community, which includes folkloric music and dance and such traditional activities as bread-baking and Kohl production in its cultural programs. Set in a soft sandy enclave hard up against protective mountains, it’s the perfect base, too, for horse trekking or a camel caravan along the ancient Frankincense Route. Plus, you can hike to Petra along the trail from Little Petra.
Petra Desert Marathon: Challenge yourself to a desert run (or cheer on the runners) through ancient history as runners tackle this annual full and half-marathon through the ruined city and open lunar-like desert. Runners begin at the Street of Facades and finish in Wadi Musa.