A number of operators run tours to Petra that you can reserve in advance from Eilat. They're an excellent option to see the highlights without worrying about what can be rather complex logistics.
Arkia. Several times a week, Arkia Israeli Airlines offers one-day guided tours in which you fly from Tel Aviv to Eilat, then drive to Petra in an air-conditioned bus. You return the same evening. 03/690–2255; www.arkia.com/petra-day-tours-c182. From $375 for 1-day tour to Petra from Tel Aviv.
Desert Eco Tours. Consistently friendly and professional service is why Desert Eco Tours is a popular choice for travelers who want a tour. In addition to Petra, the company can arrange other tours in Jordan, as well as more extensive travel to Egypt and the Sinai Desert. Eilat, Southern District. 08/632–6477; desertecotours.com. From $249 (excluding $125 for visa, taxes, and tips) for 1-day tour to Petra from Eilat.