The Rea Sea is truly an aquatic wonderland that is enjoyed by beginners and advanced divers of all ages. The best place to immerse yourself in the heart of the Red Sea is via the small coastal town of Aqaba. Identified by its expansive white, stony coastline and crystal clear waters; Aqaba is the gateway to a multitude of breathtaking dive spots and snorkel sites. You reach them right from the shore which leaves you with unforgettable memories of your time in Jordan.
What to expect in Aqaba?
Located in Jordan’s south, Aqaba is a 3,5hr drive from Amman. It is dotted with over 20 various resorts and dive centers that offer SCUBA and snorkelling services. Starting from downtown Aqaba and stretching to South Beach and Tala Bay, your opportunities for dive certifications, wreck, shore and boat dives, and discovery adventures are endless. The rule in Jordan however is simple: you get what you pay for. This means you pay a large sum for a 5 star PADI dive resort experience, or a lower price for a standard service. But be warned: not all dive centers in Aqaba operate according to international dive standards.
Signs of a reputable and safe dive center
An example of a good dive center is Sinai Divers, which you find in the 5 star Moevenpick Tala Bay. Or visit the Bait Al Aqaba Dive Center in South Beach which I launched with my partner a year ago. Key signs of a safe and reputable dive operation like these examples include:
- Always providing an official dive instructor or divemaster to go in the water with you
- Equipment is not less than two years old and is free of damage and holes
- The dive package is inclusive off all essential gear, such as a wetsuit, boots, fins, a sealed mask, a regulator, ECD, and a full tank of oxygen
- Investigation of your medical disclosure statement to insure that you are fit and safe to dive
Dive sites in Aqaba
Aqaba has only recently caught the attention of international tourists so the diving sites are relatively quiet and open to explore. With the position of Aqaba nestled in the north-east corner of the Red Sea, the waters are calm and shallow all year around. It makes of the dive sites accessible from the shore. This makes Aqaba an ideal haven for beginners and kids keen to take their first dive down under!
The Seven Sisters and Japanese Gardens sites are two shore dives that comprise of beautiful reefs where coral and fish are in abundance. For experienced divers, the Cedar Pride Wreck is one of the most popular sites in Aqaba. Resting 26 meters below the surface, the old 78 meter long Lebanese freighter is still largely intact. Its deck is now colonised by various hard and soft corals and smothered by urchins, shrimps, crabs and fish. For a drop off, the Power Station has a very lively coral plateau sloping from 12 to 20 meters. Here you see moray eels and coral pinnacles.
Because of the geographic location in the Gulf of Aqaba and the shallow waters, coral reefs tend to grow fast in Jordan. A great place to visit is the Marine Park for a different ‘underwater garden’ experience. Corals from the harbor are relocated in the Japanese Gardens. Here you recognize the pieces on the tags that are still on there.
A place to relax and rejuvenate
So what if Aqaba’s 20 underwater sites appeal to your family but diving is not your thing? Next to relaxing at the beach or swimming pool, there is a good amount of excursions to make from Aqaba, including sites like the World Wonder Petra, and UNESCO heritage Wadi Rum desert.
There really is something for everyone in Jordan!
Do you want more information? Feel free to contact me with questions or to get you an offer for a diving holiday at the Red Sea.