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The handful of miles that run along the Jordan coast of the Red Sea are lined by a reef protected by the Aqaba Marine Park. South Beach snorkeling spot, located approximately 6 miles south of Aqaba, is one of the most recommended spots. Although the coral has suffered from the increase of coastal tourism, you will still find clownfish, moray eels, surgeonfish and shoals of sea goldie living above a spectacular reef drop off.

Lionfish in Aqaba
Lionfish are common in the shallow seagrass beds facing the beach.

How to go snorkeling at South Beach

The South Beach snorkeling spot is located 6 miles south of Aqaba city center. To get there, take the Saudi border road south. Leave the motorway at about 1 mile before the Tala Bay complex, near the Bedouin Garden Village. It is easy to park near the public beach. The area is nothing exceptional, but the show awaits in the water.

There are two other good snorkeling spots. Seven Sisters  is where you can see the famous tank sitting on sandy beds, just off the reef. The other spot is the Japanese Garden  which is sometimes considered the best snorkeling location in Jordan. Both are located within just a few hundred yards of South Beach.

South Beach Aqaba Marine Park snorkeling map

Water entrance for snorkeling Aqaba South Beach

You can enter the water anywhere along the beach. A whole host of small lionfish swim near the shore. To avoid injury from their spines, put your head in the water quickly. The reef is quite wide here and the area to explore as shown on the map can, of course, be extended.

Snorkeling tips to enjoy the best of South Beach

This snorkeling spot covers a wide area between the beach and the reef drop-off, which are about one hundred yards apart. From the beach, you will cross a few dozen yards of sandy sea bed and seagrass (↕2-3ft/0.5-1m), then a seabed covered with soft coral (↕3-10ft/1-3m) as far as the reef drop-off (↕+20ft/6m).

Snorkeler in South Beach
South Beach Aqaba reef drop-off is a fantastic environment to explore.

Although there are interesting things to see in the seagrass and on the reef flat, including lionfish, peacock flounder, pufferfish and small moray eels, the reef really becomes vibrant when you get closer to the drop-off.

The sea bed here is full of life: crowds of damselfish and sea goldies swim close to the coral bommies. The surgeonfish and butterflyfish have spectacular colors and several are endemic to the Red Sea. You will be able to see them come and go along the reef.

Red Sea clownfish in Aqaba
Close encounters with Red Sea clownfish in sea anemones are pretty easy at South Beach reef.

You won’t tire of watching the Red Sea clownfish, which dart into the tentacles of their anemones in case of danger. In the deep blue of the reef drop-off, you may also have the chance to see a turtle, although they tend to be shy.

Visibility in this spot is exceptional. The Red Sea is a particularly sheltered sea, and this spot can be explored practically year-round. During the winter months, the air temperature in the region falls and the wind sometimes blows all day. Don’t forget your rashguard so that you don’t have to shorten your snorkeling due to the cold.

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

Restaurants and accommodation nearby

There are a dozen budget and mid-range hotels facing the beach, on the other side of the road. Most of them have diving clubs. You will be able to find a place to eat if you are spending the day at the site.


  • Level required Beginner
  • Protected areaAqaba Marine Park
  • Maximum depth10ft/3m on the reef flat, 40ft/12m on the reef drop-off
  • Water entranceEasy, from a sandy beach
  • Potential DangersLionfish, sometimes very close to the shore
  • LifeguardNo
  • Visitor numbersMedium
  • Access costsFree
  • Restaurants nearbyYes

MAP Spot

These snorkeling spots are accessible to beginners and kids. You will enter the water gradually from a beach, or in a less than 3ft. deep area. The sea is generally calm, shallow, with almost no waves or currents. These spots are usually located in marked and/or monitored swimming areas. It is not necessary to swim long distances to discover the sea life.

This level only apply when the spot experiences optimal sea and/or weather conditions. It is not applicable if the sea and/or weather conditions deteriorate, in particular in the presence of rough sea, rain, strong wind, unusual current, large tides, waves and/or swell. You can find more details about the definition of our snorkeling levels on our snorkeling safety page.