With about 17 miles of coastline along the Red Sea in the Gulf of Aqaba, Jordan offers excellent uncrowded spots for snorkeling. In the 4 miles of coastline protected by the Marine Park, the reef drop off is simply stunning, with amazing visibility, abundant marine life and beautiful coral formations. Just beyond the shore lie warm, azure waters, where snorkelers will easily spot clownfish in their sea anemone, captivating angelfish, sea turtles, and colonies of thousands of sea goldies.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Snorkeling is possible all year round in Jordan, where the water temperature is relatively constant, around 77°F (25°C).
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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Common on reef drop offs, including at South Beach and Seven Sisters.
Common on all spots, especially in the reef flats seagrass meadows.
Common on all spots
Uncommon; occasionally sighted on the reef slopes.
On all spots
Reef drop off with coral and fish
Free shore access
Immersed tank and reef drop off with coral and fish
Free shore access
Small reef drop off with colorful fish
Fringing reef with colorful fish
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