Egypt, Jordan & The Holy Land Pilgrimage
Spiritual Director: TBA
Group Leader: Tessie Garcia
October 16 - 31, 2023
Your trip includes
- Round-trip airfare from Tampa (TPA)
- All airport taxes & fuel surcharges
- Hotel accommodations (or similar) in double occupancy
- ~ 3 nights: Oct 17 – 20: Sofitel Hotel, Cairo, Egypt
- ~ 3 nights: Oct 20 – 23: Landmark Hotel, Amman, Jordan
- ~ 1 night: Oct 23 – 24: Herod’s Hotel, Tel Aviv
- ~ 2 nights: Oct 24 – 26: Hotel Sofia, Tiberias
- ~ 5 nights: Oct 26 – 31: Hotel Olive Tree, Jerusalem
- Breakfast and Dinner daily
- Lunches in Holy Land
- Transfers as per itinerary
- Transportation by air-conditioned motor coach
- Free Wi-fi on motor coach in Holy Land
- Whisper headsets where needed
- Assistance of a professional local Christian Guide(s)
- Sightseeing and admissions fees as per itinerary
- Mass daily & Spiritual activities
- Egypt Visa fee (U.S. Citizens: Visas will be obtained at the border. Non-U.S. citizens: please contact the Egyptian Embassy)
- Crossing Jordan and Israel border fee
- Luggage handling (1 piece per person)
- Tips to hotel staff, restaurants, luggage handlers
- Flight bag & Digital PDF confirmation of all travel documents
- Meals and Beverages not mentioned, Tips to your guide & driver
Day 1 | Monday, October 16: Depart for Cairo
Your life changing pilgrimage begins this evening as you board your overnight flight to Cairo. Your meals are served on board.
Day 2 | Tuesday, October 17: Arrival Cairo
You arrive in the land of the Pharaohs, Jacob, Joseph and Israel during the famine! Upon arrival in Cairo you will meet your guide and driver who will transport you to the hotel for dinner and rest for the remainder of the evening. You will relax tonight as you prepare for the adventurous travel ahead.
Day 3 | Wednesday, October 18: Marah, Amalekites, Mt. Moses
This morning you will depart Cairo with stories of the "Land of Goshen" to the north and travel the southward route of the Exodus through the Wilderness of Shur. You will learn of the terrain and the history of this region en-route as you stop at Marah (Springs of Moses), the Wilderness of Sin, and further to the south, the Oasis of Feiran. For those who are able, will climb a small hill to the ruins of an ancient chapel that overlooks the palm tree valley where Israel battled with the people of Amalek. One may have his picture taken with arms raised in remembrance of God's victory as Moses' arms were held high by Aaron and Hur. Arriving in the afternoon to the hotel at Mt. Sinai (Mt. Horeb). Those who desire and are physically fit will depart for a memorable walk up Mt. Moses. You may choose to ride a camel part way, stop at one of the stations to take in scenery along the climb to the summit (750 steps) for a sunset to remember. Once at the top, enjoy a time of reflection and praise before departing down the mountain.
Day 4 | Thursday, October 19: Cairo Pyramids & Tutankhamen’s Treasures
Today you will travel back to ancient Egypt with a full day of touring to the wonders of the ancient world, some of which date back to 1000+ years prior to Abraham. You will spend time at one of the seven wonders of the world- the pyramids. Cheops, with an original height of 496 feet, is the most colossal pyramid ever built. Today, you will also see the Sphinx and tour the Egyptian Museum, location of Tutankhamen's treasures and ancient remains.
Day 5 | Friday, October 20: Cairo - Amman
Breakfast and transfer to the airport for your flight to Amman, Jordan. Upon arrival in Amman, make your way to the baggage claim area and collect your luggage. Proceed to the Arrival's Hall, where you will be greeted by your tour guide and/or driver. Transfer to the hotel in Amman for check-in and enjoy dinner at the hotel before retiring for the evening.
Day 6 | Saturday, October 21: Amman - Petra – Excursion – Amman
This morning, you will transfer to the "lost" city of Petra! This city is located amongst rugged desert canyons and mountains. Enjoy a walking tour of the former capital and trading center. Your first stop will be a visit to the Siq, a mile-long gorge that contains a number of magnificent structures that are carved into the mountains. The walk will culminate with a visit to the Petra Museum. The Museum holds numerous artifacts from the Neolithic period of the Nabataean history. The museum also contains architecture from the Romans as well as, a Byzantine chapel. Spend this afternoon at your own leisure; feel free to shop. Return to Amman for dinner and overnight.
Day 7 | Sunday, October 22: Amman - Excursion Kerak - Madaba - Mt. Nebo – Amman
Today, after breakfast travel to the Castle of Kerak; the largest castle among mountain-top crusaders. Following this visit, transfer to the "City of Mosaics," Madaba. While in this city, you will visit St. George's Church, home to a true treasure of Christianity. This Church houses the oldest map of the Holy Land which includes Israel, Palestine, and Southern Egypt. Later, visit Mt. Nebo, the most revered holy sites of Jordan. This mountain was mentioned in Deuteronomy 34, "Then Moses climbed Mount Nebo from the plains of Moab to the top of Pisgah." While here, you will tour the Holy site where Moses died and was buried. Following your visit to this Sacred place, return to Amman before dinner and an overnight.
Day 8 | Monday, October 23: Amman - Jerash - Tel Aviv
Following breakfast, you will depart for Jerash. Nestled in a quiet valley among the mountains of Gilead, Jerash is the grandeur of Imperial Rome, being one of the largest and most well preserved sites of Roman architecture in the world, outside of Italy. To this day, its paved and colonnaded streets, soaring hilltop temples, handsome theaters, spacious public squares and plazas, baths, fountains and city walls pierced by towers and gates remain in exceptional condition. Later today, you will be crossing the Jordanian border into the Holy Land and continue toward the Mediterranean Coast to Tel Aviv for dinner and an overnight.
Day 9 | Tuesday, October 24: Tel Aviv - Ceaserea - Stella Maris (Haifa) - Nazareth - Cana - Tiberias
Theme: The Annunciation
Depart Tel Aviv to Caesarea Marítima, one of the three largest ports in the Roman world, next to Alexandria and Piraeus “Athens”, which were built by Herod the Great between 21 B.C. and 9 B.C. It was in Caesarea where St. Peter baptized the first gentile convert Cornelius, and where St. Paul gave his defense of the church. From here, we will see the Roman Theater, Herod’s Palace, view the Hippodrome, and the harbor from where St. Paul sailed on his journeys. Continue north to Haifa, located on Mt Carmel, where we will visit the Carmelite Shrine dedicated to Our Lady of Mt Carmel, and pray at the cave which Elijah the prophet took refuge. Continue on to Nazareth for lunch, and then visit the Church of the Annunciation. Visit the museum and archaeological garden where we can see the remains of Nazareth at time of Christ, as well as St. Joseph’s workshop – which is now known as St. Joseph’s Church. Within the Church of the Annunciation, you will make our way down to the Grotto to see the remains of the house of the Blessed Mother, and where the Angel of the Lord announced the good news to Mary. Celebrate Mass in this Church, and then continue on to Cana. It was here that Jesus performed His first miracle, changing water into wine. During your visit at the Wedding Church, married couples will have the chance to take part in the ceremony and renew their wedding vows. From there, we continue on to Tiberias, located on Sea of Galilee, for dinner and overnight.
Day 10 | Wednesday, October 25: Tiberias: Sea of Galilee
Theme: The Ministry of Christ in the Galilee
Today, begin with breakfast at the hotel, followed by a boat ride on the beautiful and scenic Sea of Galilee (Luke 5:1). Upon docking the boat, you will have the opportunity to view the remains of a boat that dates back to the time of Jesus. Following the Sea of Galilee, we continue to the Mount of Beatitudes, where Jesus proclaimed His great Sermon on the Mount (Luke 6:20-49). Near the Mount, is Tabgha, one of Jesus' miracle sites. At Tabgha, Jesus fed the crowd of 5,000 people from five loaves of bread and two fish (Luke 9:10-17). Also, in Tabgha is St. Peter's Primacy where Jesus bestowed church leadership upon Peter (John 21:9). Continue to visit the birthplace of Mary Magdalene in Magdala. During the time of Jesus, this village was a prosperous fishing village that exported fish and garum (a fish sauce reduction; popular in Roman cooking). Your day concludes at Capernaum, the launching place of Jesus' ministry. In Capernaum, see the Synagogue where Jesus taught (Mark 1:21-29) and gave His sermon on the Bread of Life. Return to the hotel for dinner and an overnight.
Day 11 | Thursday, October 26: Jordan River - Mt. Tabor - Jericho - Jerusalem
Theme: The Transfiguration
After breakfast, drive to the site of the Transfiguration, Mount Tabor (Matthew 17:1-50). At this site, you will have some time to reflect on Christ's Humanity and Divinity. Celebrate Mass at the Basilica of the Transfiguration and then continue south towards the Jordan Valley, to the oldest inhabited city in the world, Jericho (Joshua 6:12-25). In Jericho, you view the exact location, the Mount of Temptation, where the Devil tempted Jesus during his forty-day fast (Luke 4:1). Following the visit to this mountain, continue to Jesus' baptismal site on the River Jordan (Matthew 3:13-17). After some time at the Jordan River, you will transfer to Jerusalem to check-in to your hotel for dinner and overnight.
Day 12 | Friday, October 27: Jerusalem: Temple Model - Ein Karem - Bethlehem
Theme: The Visitation and Nativity
This morning, enjoy breakfast before we start our day in Jerusalem, which houses the temple to which Jesus was Presented (Luke 2:22). Visit a model of the Second Temple as it was in the time of Jesus. Following this visit, you will take a short drive to the village of Ein Karem, the birthplace of John the Baptist. It is known that there are two churches in Ein Karem, representing the two homes of Zechariah and Elizabeth. The first is in a valley where the birth of St. John the Baptist is commemorated (Luke 1:39-80) in the Church of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist. The second is on a hill where Elizabeth spent five months in seclusion (Luke 1:24) at the Church of the Visitation. You will have a chance to visit both of these churches and have the opportunity to pray the Mystery of the Rosary as you walk up the hill to the Church of the Visitation. In the afternoon, transfer to Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus. In Bethlehem, you will have the opportunity to view the Shepherd's Fields (Luke 2:8). In the caves of these fields, you are still able to see the soot marks of fires that shepherds lit to keep warm. The tour concludes at the Manger Square, which stands in front of the Church of the Nativity. As you enter the Church, you will proceed down to the Grotto of the Nativity which marks the spot of Our Savior's birth (Matthew 2:1-18). Beneath the altar, there is a silver star and a Latin inscription that states: HIC DE VIRGINE MARIA JESUS CHRISTUS NATUS (Here Jesus Christ was born to the Virgin Mary). Following Mass in this Sacred space, return to the hotel for dinner and an overnight.
Day 13 | Saturday, October 28: Bethany - Dead Sea
Theme: Early Years in Jerusalem & the Wilderness
Following breakfast at your hotel, you will travel down the Jordan Valley to Qumran. Qumran is made up of 2,000 year old ruins from the days of the Second Temple and also the site where the Dead Sea Scrolls were written and discovered (Ezekial 47:8-10). These writings have helped further the understanding of Jewish background in Christianity. Time and weather permitting, you will have the opportunity to take a float in the Dead Sea, the lowest and saltiest spot on Earth. Continue as you travel through the Judean wilderness, the site where Jesus spent His 40 days of fasting. The day of touring culminates with a transfer to Bethany. Bethany is the site where Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead which foreshadows His own Resurrection (John 11:38-44). Return to the hotel for dinner and an overnight.
Day 14 | Sunday, October 29: Jerusalem: Mt. Of Olives - Gethsemane - Mt. Zion (Upper Room) - Western Wall
Theme: Palm Sunday and the Agony in the Garden
After breakfast, you will make your way to the Mount of Olives, where you will be able to take in the beautiful, panoramic view of Jerusalem. Historically, the Mount of Olives was a mandatory transit point for Jesus during many iconic moments. Visit the Pater Noster Shrine where Jesus taught His disciples the Lord's Prayer (Pater Noster) (Luke 11:1-4). You will have the opportunity to stop at Dominus Flevit which is a Church that commemorates where Jesus wept for Jerusalem (Luke 19:41). Continue on to Gethsemane, a garden at the foot of the Mount of Olives. Jesus brought His disciples here to pray the night before He was crucified (Luke 22:29- 53). The Garden still contains trees with roots that date back to the time of Jesus. Your next stop, the Church of All Nations, is built over the "Rock of Agony". This is where Jesus prayed alone on the night of His arrest. Throughout this time, you are invited to remain in prayer and to reflect on Christ's agony that He experienced. You will have the opportunity to visit the Western Wall, which is the last remnant of the Jewish Temple after it was destroyed in 70 A.D. Continue with a visit to the house of the High Priest Caiaphas (Church of St. Peter in Gallicantu). This Church commemorates where Jesus was examined and eventually imprisoned before the Council in Jerusalem. It also commemorates Peter's Denial of Christ (John 18:15-18), Peters' repentance, and Jesus' forgiveness of Peter. You will also visit the Upper Room on Mt. Zion. The Upper Room is where Jesus and His disciples celebrated the Last Supper (Matthew 26:17-30) and where Jesus appeared to His disciples after His Death and Resurrection (Mark 16:14). In addition, visit the nearby Benedictine Church of the Dormition. Tradition tells us that this Church is where Mary, the Mother of Jesus, "fell asleep." At the end of this prayerful day, return to your hotel for dinner and an overnight.
Day 15 | Monday, October 30: Jerusalem: Via Dolorosa - Holy Sepulchre
Theme: The Way of the Cross, The Crucifixion, The Resurrection
This morning you will have a very early wake-up to begin the Via Dolorosa (The Way of the Cross) at the Antonia Fortress. This is the spot where Jesus was condemned to death by Pontius Pilate (John 18:28-19:16). Following His condemnation, He was taken (on the Road to Calvary) to His place of Crucifixion. Reflect upon the Stations of the Cross as you travel through the markets of the Old City to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher (Luke 23:26-33). This sacred destination is the site of Calvary (Jesus' crucifixion place) and His tomb (Luke 23: 50-55). Celebrate Mass at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Following Mass, we will return to the hotel to enjoy breakfast. You will continue your day with a visit to the Church of St. Anne's, the home of Jesus' maternal grandparents (Anne and Joachim); and the Pool of Bethesda, where Jesus healed the crippled man (John 5:1-9). This afternoon enjoy a revisit to the Old City. Following this visit return to the hotel to enjoy dinner and an overnight at your hotel.
Day 16 | Tuesday, October 31: Return Flights Home
After an early breakfast and heartfelt farewells, transfer to the Tel Aviv airport for return flights home.