Best diving and snorkeling sites in Israel – Eilat.
Israel has a tiny access to Red Sea famous for it’s beautiful coral reef. Eilat – the only Israeli port is located on the Gulf of Aqaba. Global climate change and the rise of the sea temperature causes severe bleaching to the coral reef of the Red Sea (Cornet fish is the best example – you’ll see a picture below of a bright grey cornet fish, it always used to be dark grey). But Red Sea is still a leading diving destination and there are number of scuba spots meeting this amazing underwater world of coloured corals and fish. You can always check best diving recommendations on padi.com. You need to travel outside Eilat city for best diving or snorkeling places. Public transport in Eilat is very well organized so this will be easy. It’s best to get a bus card but if you don’t have one you can still pay in the bus.
South Beach and Coral Beach Reserve.
Coral Beach Reserve spreads over couple kilometres along the Red Sea cost. To reach one of the diving or snorkeling spots you need to take bus no 16 which goes from Eilat city centre western direction toward South Beach – see the map. On the way back from South Beach to Eilat city centre you will need to take no 15 (not 16!) Thanks to different numbers you will never get confused in the right direction.. Bus no 16 goes from Eilat to Dolphins Beach, Coral Beach and the Underwater Observatory Marine Park.
These buses run even in Shabbat! The first beach is Dolphins Beach. Although I would never advise visiting places like this, where dolphins are kept for tourist attraction. One thing very unusual with dolphins is that they always look happy – which may be confusing for visitors. Even when they suffer their look expresses happines, which is hurting. Trust me, dolphins like any other captured animal, suffer while imprisoned, dolphins are only happy when free. Entry fee to Dolphins Beach is 300 shekels.
Coral Beach Reserve.
Coral Beach is one of the best snorkeling spots in Red Sea. There are few shops in the area, opened also in Shabbat. This is where I did my first dive in Israel. The diving centre was located just on the beach, so I though it will be convenient to dive from the shore. Hovewer the experience was average, they gave me the wrong gear size and they guide wasn’t interacting too much. He didn’t even say buy after the dive. Money makers. The only reason they have clients is because of the convenient spot. Don’t pick them. The prices were as follows: 190 shekels – refreshment dive, 240 shekels 2 dives a day and + insurance (if you have your travel insurance – make sure you have underwater sports included!!!). The insurance with a diving centre will cost you 99 shekels for 5 days and it’s recognised in Jordan and Egypt as well.
DID YOU KNOW – the best decompression chamber in the world is in Egypt, due to the highest number of diving accidents. Every year thousands of tourists with very little diving experience come to swim in spectacular waters of Sharm El Sheikh (Egipt).
Coral Beach is the most amazing place for snorkeling, ranging from dolphins, sharks, sea snakes and most beautiful coral reef I’ve seen. The entrance fee is 35 shekels but there are brilliant facilities available for visitors: private lockers, showers, beds, shop and nice changing rooms. It felt so safe on the beach that I left my staff on the bridge and went snorkeling. Direct access to the sea is denied from the shore, because is a protected coral reef area. You can only access the sea from the bridges. In water there are safety ropes, swimming tracks, leading along the coral reef.
Besides Red Sea is salty enough to protect you from drowning. Sea dept near the bridge is 15 metres but the visibility is unbelievable! Things you get to see near the bridge are more fascinating than most of my dives! Watch my video from snorkeling with a tropical marine life: Snorkeling in Coral Beach, Eilat. Water temperature in December was 21-22 degrees, which was much warmer than the air temperature.
If you take a 10 minutes walk you’ll reach the Underwater Observatory Marine Park (entry ticket is something like 100 shekels).
Diver’s Village over the Red Sea.
If you walk south direction from the South Beach there’s another there’s another amazing diving spot near Diver’s village. It’s a far end of Israel, only 1 km from the Egipt border in Taba. There’s definitely fewer people than on the Coral Beach.
Red Sea diving and snorkeling places in Jordan.
Aqaba, is the only port city in Jordan. Aqaba offers lots of diving centres but as for me International Diving Centre run by Mohammad is the best place for an underwater adventure. Guys are nice and professional. The centre was previously run by Mohammad’s Grandfather and has lots reviews on Tripadvisor. There are many interesting diving spots in Aqaba – you can chose from a ship, plane and a tank wrecks, which were sunk in Aqaba Gulf for better diving experience. The wrecks remain on the bottom of the sea not far from the coastline. Personally I didn’t find the ship interesting but the second dive on the reef was incredible.
You will dive from the shore (no boats) iacross three amazing underwater canyons. You will see huge pipes connecting Jordan with Israel (good way to hide something from public eye ;). Anyway watch yourself what you can expect from this tropical diving adventure: Diving near the ship on the bottom of Gulf of Aqaba and Deep diving in Red Sea in Jordan. Take a look at the amazing free diving in lava tunnels in Isla Isabela, Galapgos islands: Isla Isabela lava tunnels tour. I dived in waters of South-East Asia, Canary Islands, South America and Bermuda, Red Sea diving is so far the best diving experience /apart from Galapagos islands/.