The handful of miles along the Jordan coast of the Red Sea are lined by a reef protected by the Aqaba Marine Park. We particularly recommend this spot facing a number of economic hotels and diving clubs, 6 miles/10km south of Aqaba. On the reef drop-off you will find clownfish, moray eels, turtles and shoals of sea goldies living above an exceptional coral bed.

How to get there?

This snorkeling spot is located 6 miles/10km to the south of the Aqaba city centre. To get there, take the Saudi border road south. Leave the motorway at about 1 mile/1.5km before the Radisson Blu Resort, near the Bedouin Garden Village. It is easy to park near the public beach decorated with parasols. The setting has nothing exceptional, but there is really something special in the water.

Aqaba Marine Park snorkeling map, Jordan

Water entrance

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 underwater quickly. The reef is quite wide, and the area to explore as shown on the map can of course be extended.

Exploration

The spot to explore 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).

Snorkeler in Aqaba Marine Park, Red Sea

Although there are interesting things to see in the seagrass and on the coastal bench (lionfish, flounder, pufferfish and small moray eels live in the rocks), the spectacle takes on another dimension when you get closer to the reef drop-off. The sea bed here is exceptional: crowds of damselfish and sea goldies are drawn to the coral beds, while surgeonfish and butterflyfish with spectacular colors (several of which are endemic to the Red Sea) come and go along the reef. You will never tire of watching all the clownfish, which disappear into the tentacles of their anemones at the least sign 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 Aqaba Marine Park, Red Sea

Visibility in this spot is exceptional. The Red Sea is a particularly sheltered sea, and this spot can explored practically all the 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 cut short your exploration due to the cold.

The coast between Aqaba and the Saudi border has several other snorkeling spots of a similar kind, particularly opposite the Aqaba Marine Park reception office.

Aqaba reef flat snorkeling, Red Sea, Jordan

Restaurants & accommodation

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.



Species you may spot while snorkeling Aqaba Marine Park
COMMON NAME SCIENTIFIC NAME ABUNDANCE FISHBASE WIKIPEDIA
Red Sea clownfish Amphiprion bicinctus  
Common lionfish Pterois miles  
Green sea turtle Chelonia mydas  
Sohal surgeonfish Acanthurus sohal  
Yellowtail surgeonfish Zebrasoma xanthurum  
Diagonal butterflyfish Chaetodon fasciatus  
Eritrean butterflyfish Chaetodon paucifasciatus  
Black-tailed butterflyfish Chaetodon austriacus  
Snowflake moray Echidna nebulosa  
Scissortail sergeant Abudefduf sexfasciatus  
Indo-Pacific sergeant Abudefduf vaigiensis  
Suez fusilier Caesio suevica  
Peacock flounder Bothus lunatus  
Whitetail dascyllus Dascyllus aruanus  
Paletail damsel Pomacentrus trichrous  
Sulphur damsel Pomacentrus sulfureus  
White-spotted puffer Arothron hispidus  
Red pencil urchin Heterocentrotus mamillatus  

 

  • 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
  • Public toilets & showersNo

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.