A relatively short coastline, but home to one of the most beautiful marine parks in the Red Sea

There are about a dozen snorkeling spots in Jordan. Most of them are located in the Aqaba Marine Park, which protects the coral reefs that line the Gulf of Aqaba coastline. This protected area stretches for approximately 4 miles between the Aquarium and the ferry terminal to the north, and Tala Bay seaside resort to the south.

Snorkeler in the Japanese Garden shallows
The shallow reefs, like here in the Japanese Garden, make Jordan a great location for surface snorkeling.

All snorkeling spots have shore access. Sadly, most of Aqaba’s reefs have been seriously damaged during the last decade, and you will find many dead coral areas in the shallows.

Jordan’s most popular snorkeling spot is South Beach, located in the heart of the Marine Park. This is where the coral reef bordering the coast is the widest. Its reef drop, easily accessible and still quite healthy, is a great place to explore.

Bluetail trunkfish in South Beach
A bluetail trunkfish in South Beach.

In the same area, just a little further north, the Japanese Garden offers a similar profile, although the reef is narrower here. The small drop-off allows you to observe dozens of reef fish and invertebrates.

Located a few hundred meters south of South Beach, Seven Sisters is home to the famous tank that was sunk in the bay, which has now become an artificial reef full of life.

Seven Sister's tank.
The Tank, located at Seven Sisters snorkeling spot, is Jordan’s most famous underwater scenery.

In the northern part of the Marine Park, two locations are recommended: First Bay , which is located in front of the Sun Hotel Aqaba and the Camel Dive Center. At First Bay you can snorkel along the reef that extends to the south. The second recommended location is Yamaniya Beach.

If you are looking for a hotel with a house reef, the Berenice Beach Resort, less than a mile north of South Beach may be the best option.

Sea goldies near coral in Aqaba
A group of goldies near coral at First Bay snorkeling spot.

In Tala Bay seaside resort, you’ll find a few seaside resorts, including the Grand Swiss-Belresort, the Tala Bay Resort and the Movenpick Resort And Spa. There are no coral reefs on this part of the coast, making the snorkeling just decent, but not very exciting.

If you are in the city center, you can try snorkeling Al-Ghandour Beach, which has almost no coral but there are a few fish.

Stonefish at Camel Dive snorkeling spot, Aqaba.
Stonefish can be occasionally seen in Aqaba shore waters. Here, photographed at First Bay snorkel site.

What will I see while snorkeling Jordan?

The waters of the Red Sea, protected from oceanic currents, are particularly calm and warm. These conditions have allowed the development of lush underwater life, dominated by soft corals, and marked by a high rate of endemism.

With more than 200 species of corals (8% endemics), more than 1,000 species of fish (17% endemics), and 1,000 species of invertebrates, Jordanian waters will amaze snorkelers with its variety of marine life.

Snorkeler facing a Red Sea anemonefish in South Beach
Endemic to the region, the Red Sea clownfish can easily be seen on the drop-offs. Here, at South Beach.

In the Aqaba Marine Park, you may encounter at reef clownfish in their anemones, yellowtail surgeons, and klunzinger wrasse. There are also several species of butterflyfish, including the Eritrean and the Red Sea raccoon butterflyfish. Snowflake morays, lionfish and stonefish are occasionally seen on the reef flats.

Jordan is not a recommended destination if you want to swim with sea turtles, but lucky snorkelers may encounter a green sea turtle in the blue or in the seagrass beds.

When to go snorkeling Jordan?

Snorkeling is possible all year round in Jordan, where the water temperature is relatively constant, around 77°F (25°C).

Shore snorkeling in Aqaba.
All snorkeling spots of Jordan are accessible from shore. You’ll then have to swim to the drop-off , where the sea is darker as pictured above, (taken in South Beach) to enjoy the most vibrant marine life.

The climate, which is dry and hot in this part of Jordan near the Arabian desert, becomes sweltering from mid-June to mid-September when the temperatures can get up to 105°F (40°C).

In winter, snorkeling can be trickier because of the wind and the air temperature, which is cooler (don’t forget your rashguard!). April, May, September, and October are the best months to explore the region.

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