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The handful of miles 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 10km south of Aqaba, is one of the most recommended. Although the coral has suffered from the increase of coastal tourism, you will find in the area clownfish, moray eels, surgeonfish and shoals of sea goldie living above a spectacular reef drop off.

South Beach Aqaba reef flat snorkeling
South Beach reef flat is shallow and covered with healthy soft coral.

How to go snorkeling in South Beach?

South Beach snorkeling spot is located 10km south of Aqaba city centre. To get there, take the Saudi border road south. Leave the motorway at about 1.5km before the Tala Bay complex, near the Bedouin Garden Village. It is easy to park near the public beach. The setting has nothing exceptional, but the show awaits in the water.

Two other good snorkeling spot, Seven Sisters (where you can see the famous tank, sitting on sandy beds, just off the reef) and the Japanese Garden (sometimes considered the best snorkeling location in Jordan) are located just a few hundred meters 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 accidents, put your head in the water quickly. The reef is quite wide, and the area to explore as shown on the map can of course be extended.

Snorkeling tips to enjoy the best of South Beach

The snorkeling area covers a wide area between the beach and the reef drop-off, 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 sea bed covered with soft coral (↕3-10ft/1-3m) as far as the reef drop-off (↕+20ft/6m).

South Beach Reef snorkeling, Aqaba
South Beach Aqaba reef drop off is a fantastic area 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 reef drop-off.

The sea bed here is full of life: crowds of damselfish and sea goldies swim close to the coral bommies, while surgeonfish and butterflyfish with spectacular colors, several of which being endemic to the Red Sea, come and go along the reef.

You will never tire of watching the Red Sea clownfish, which disappear 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 are shy.

Snorkeling with clownfish in South Beach, Aqaba Marine Park
Close encounters with Red Sea clownfish (Amphiprion bicinctus) in sea anemones are pretty easy at South Beach reef.

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.

Restaurants and accommodation nearby

There are a dozen economic and mid-range hotels facing the beach, on the other side of the road. Most of them have diving clubs. You can also eat there 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.