EXPEDITION to Federal Iraq March 2022

Against the Compass EXPEDITIONS, exploring off the beaten track destinations across Central Asia, the Middle East and the Caucasus region.


Against the Compass EXPEDITION 2022 to Federal Iraq

Dates: March 5th – March 13th
(9 days, 8 nights)

We will visit Ancient Babylon and Iraq’s most important archaeological sites, but this EXPEDITION will be mainly focused on getting immersed into Iraq’s culture, and also learning everything about ISIS legacy and the people’s struggle for going back to normality.

The oldest mosque in Mosul, today destroyed


Tour dates

From March 5th to 13th (9 days, 8 nights).

Group size

We are aiming to be 12-13 people.

And, who can join?

Anyone, from 18 to 99+ years old, who wishes to travel with a group of open-minded travelers.

We don’t discriminate by age or nationality but we are just looking for people who are willing to have fun.

9-day Tour Itinerary

Note that we always keep the itinerary flexible, and it may be subject to change, depending on the political and COVID-19 situation.

  • Day 1 – Arrival
  • Day 2 – Baghdad full day
  • Day 3 – Ancient Babylon + Karbala
  • Day 4 – Lunch with Bedouins + Nasiriya
  • Day 5 – City of Ur + The Mesopotamian Marshes
  • Day 6 – Back to Baghdad
  • Day 7 – Samarra + Hatra
  • Day 8 – Mosul
  • Day 9 – Erbil


Day 1 – Arrival in Baghdad

The first day is a day to take things easy.

We will be welcoming you throughout the day, picking you up at the airport and checking in the hotel.

Once everybody is settled, in the evening we can all go for a drink or dinner but officially, the sightseeing tour starts on day 2.

Overnight in Baghdad.


Day 2 – Full day in Baghdad

The guided tour starts on the second day, day which we will spend exploring the city of Baghdad.

We will discover the old book market, the leather and copper bazaars, the historical Shabandar café, and all the old city highlights. We will also visit the Martyr’s Monument and, depending on the political situation, we might also try to get into the Green Zone, let’s see.

In the evening, we will all go to Dar Al Atraqchi Heritage Cafe, a traditional but pretty modern café and restaurant.

Overnight in Baghdad.

Shabandar café Baghdad


Day 3 – Ancient Babylon and Karbala

Ancient Babylon used to be the first great civilization in the world, believed to be the first city to ever reach a population of more than 200,000. World wonders such as the Hanging Gardens and the Tower of Babel used to be within these walls.

Today, Babylon is an archaeological site, featuring a mind-blowing replica of the Ishtar Gate and an actual Lion of Babylon.

Ancient Babylon

We will also visit the former Sadam Hussein Palace, today overlooking the ancient city of Babylon.

After lunch, we will head to Karbala, the holiest city in the world for Shia Muslims, a surprisingly touristic city visited every year by, literally, millions and millions of pilgrims.

We will check out the two jaw-dropping shrines, and spend the evening wandering around the lively streets of Karbala.

Overnight in Karbala.

Karbala at night


Day 4 – Lunch with Bedouins and Nasiriya

The drive from Karbala to Nasiriya is going to be a long one, especially because we will take the longer route, since we will be visiting a very off the beaten track area of Iraq inhabited by actual Iraqi Bedouins.

We will learn about their culture and have lunch with them.

Our evening will be spent in the high-secured city of Nasiriya, home to the American-built Al-Hoot prison, a maximum-security prison today filled with ISIS fighters. Nasiriya is also the gateway to The Mesopotamian Marshes.

Overnight in Nasiriya.

The City of Ur


Day 5 – City of Ur and the Mesopotamian Marshes

Before going to the Marshes, in the morning we will visit Ür, one of the oldest cities in the world (3800BC) – even older than Babylon – and believed to be the birthplace of Abraham.

Then, we will drive to the town of Chibayish, home to the Arab Marshes, a wetland ecosystem in south Iraq, an aquatic landscape in the middle of the desert, home to a distinct cultural group named the Marsh Arabs.

We will spend the entire day getting immersed into their culture by visiting their villages, eating with them and also staying with them.

We won’t stay in a hotel but we are going to camp on that day, in one of their villages.

Overnight in the middle of the Marshes.

A Marsh Arab


Day 6 – Back to Baghdad

Driving day, since the way back to Baghdad is a long one.

In the evening, we can all go for dinner or drinks, and discover the modern part of Baghdad.

Overnight in Baghdad.


Day 7 – Samarra, Hatra and Mosul

Samarra is a city controlled by a Shia Militia, a city practically impossible to visit for independent travelers but thanks to our expert local guides, hopefully, we won’t be running into any issue.

The city is famous for holding the spiral minaret of Malwiya, a UNESCO Heritage Site and one of the most famous landmarks in Iraq.

Then, on our way to Mosul, we will stop in Hatra, a very well-preserved ancient Mesopotamian city, and also a former ISIS training camp.

Overnight in Mosul.

The spiral minaret


Day 8 – Mosul

Mosul is the second most important city in Iraq and one of the oldest cities in the world, the place where ancient Niniveh was found.

In 2017, the city was liberated from ISIS, and people already started to come back.

Yes, we will explore the war-torn old city and all its destroyed buildings, but we will also discover Mosul’s most human side by witnessing all the reconstruction, getting to know kind-hearted locals, and also checking out all the lively bazaars.

Overnight in Mosul.

Reconstruction in Mosul


Day 9 – Bakhdida and Erbil

On the last day, we will all head to the city of Bakhdida, the largest Christian town in the Middle East, visible in the abundance of churches, liquor shops, and independent women.

A priest in Bakhdida

We will wander around town and also visit a restored Catholic church that was burnt down by ISIS. The Pope visited it in March 2021.

Then, we will drive to Erbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan. The tour finishes upon arrival in Erbil.


Tour cost

The total tour cost is 2,250€ per person, with a minimum of 12 people.

Why is this expedition more expensive than others?

No, we didn’t increase prices but hotels in Iraq are double the price, entry tickets to archaeological sites are very expensive, the trip is one day longer, and arranging anything in Iraq is just pricier. However, we are ensuring the best quality and service for this expedition.

What’s included in the price?

  • 8 nights accommodation in mid-range hotels (twin shared)
  • Professional camera man and filmmaker, who will document all our trip
  • Breakfast and lunch (not on day 1)
  • Entrance fees to all sites listed in the itinerary
  • Private transportation and driver around Iraq
  • English-speaking knowleadgable guide
  • Airport transfer in Baghdad

What’s NOT included?

  • International flights
  • Single supplement ($50 per night)
  • Dinner
  • Travel Insurance
  • Visa fees
  • PCR test

Payments

In order to secure your spot on the tour, we require a NON-refundable 500€ deposit.

The deposit can be made by Standard Bank Transfer.

The remaining balance must be paid no later than February 1st, also via bank transfer.


Need to know about Coronavirus

The situation might be different in March 2022 but as of today, travelers are required to present a negative PCR test result (72 hours).

A PCR test for leaving the country is also required.

COVID-19 Cancellation policy

In the hypothetical case Iraq shuts down its borders due to COVID-19, or the trip can’t take place because of COVID-19, the trip will be postponed.

If for whatever reason, you can’t join in the new tour dates, we will give you a full refund (including the deposit) minus 150€, as we need to cover basic costs related to vendor payments we already made.

Regular cancellation policy

When it comes to our regular cancellation policy, keep in mind that the 500€ deposit is non-refundable

  • 31 days or more prior to departure: full refund
  • 29-15 days before departure: 25% refund
  • Less than 15 days: no refund

Do you have any further questions about the tour?