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, when it always was dark grey). But there are still several places where you can discover amazing underwater world. Remember you can always find best recommendations on world diving spots on padi.com. The city beach does not have access for diving neither snorkeling, you would need to get yourself out the city which is very easy by well organised public transport. If you don’t have a bus card you can pay in the local bus with small money.
How to get to the best beaches in Eilat?
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 all you need to do is to take bus no 16 which goes from the city centre and take western direction to reach South Beach of Eilat – see the map. Bus going back to the city is no 15. Thanks to different numbers you will never get confused in taking 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 going there as the dolphins are kept in a limited area only only tourist attraction. You need to pay 300 shekels to enter the beach. Please remember that dolphins always look happy, event when they are sad or suffer. And trust me they do suffer being imprisoned, dolphins are only happy when free. So a better and much cheaper solution is to reach a beach located near the place, it’s free and you have a good chance to meet dolphins as well, as the others are coming to see their imprisoned relatives.
Much better option is Coral Beach. There are few shops around there, opened in Shabbat as well. I chose to dive with one of the diving companies located near the beach. They are ok, although the girl gave me the wrong size of the gear and the guy after diving didn’t even say buy or anything. Typical money makers. Prices: 190 shekels – refreshment diving, 240 shekels 2 diving a day and an insurance (if you don’t have private – but make sure you have sports included!!!) will cost you 99 shekels for 5 days and it’s recognised in Jordan and Egypt as well. Interesting fact – the best decompression chamber in the world is in Egypt. It’s because of the number of tourists that do not obey diving rules. What’s most important this is an amazing place for snorkeling. The entrance to the beach is 35 shekels but you have lockers, showers, beds, shop and changing rooms inside. I was even safe leaving my staff on the bridge when snorkeling. The access to the beach is denied, as the coral reef is too close to the shore. You have few bridges taking you into the deep. The ropes inside the water show you the swimming track which leads along the coral reef. The ropes are quite helpful for poor swimmers. Although the red sea is salty enough and you shouldn’t be aware of drowning. The dept might be even 15 metres and the visibility is still incredible and you are able to see even big colourful fishes – watch my video how stunning is the coral reef near the shore: Snorkeling in Coral Beach, Eilat. Water temperature in December was 21-22 degrees, which was much warmer than the air.
If you take a 10 minutes walk you’ll reach the Underwater Observatory Marine Park. From I saw above the entrance the ticket is something like 100 shekels.
If you go south there’s another there’s another amazing diving spot near Diver’s village – on the far end of Israel but not that far from the Coral Beach. There might be fewer people than on the Coral Beach. There’s only half kilometres from there to reach border with Egypt. The border crossing is in Taba.
Best 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 your 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 spots for diving in Aqaba. The ship, plane and a tank were sunk in Aqaba Gulf for better diving experience. The wrecks remain not far from the coastline. Personally I didn’t find the ship interesting but the diving we did on the reef on the second day was incredible. Deep diving takes you to 3 beautiful underwater canyons. You will see huge pipes connecting Jordan with Israel. Well, very good way to hide something from public eye ;). Anyway see yourself: 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.