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Coral Beach is Israel’s most popular snorkeling spot. Located in the city of Eilat, Coral Beach is renowned for its stunning coral reefs and vibrant marine life. Its coral reef, which stretches all along the beach, is a huge draw for snorkelers who want to experience its underwater life.

If you are used to free snorkeling, be aware that the Coral Beach Reserve is a protected marine area, and visitors are expected to follow specific rules and regulations to help preserve its fragile ecosystem. Unfortunately, there is no snorkeling above the drop-off and a large part of the reef flat. It can be frustrating to follow the rules of the reserve, so it is good to remember that the primary goal of these rules is to protect the delicate coral reefs and marine life.

Yellowtail surgeonfish in Eilat
A pair of yellowtail surgeonfish on the shallow reef flat (zone 3 on the map).

How to go snorkeling at Coral Beach

Coral Beach is located in Eilat, on Israel’s Red Sea coast. The beach is about four miles (10 minutes by car) south of Eilat marina, and less than two miles (5 minutes) from Egypt and the Taba border crossing. There is free parking along the road, near the Park entrance. The site can also be easily reached by bus or taxi from the city center.

There is an entrance fee to the Coral Beach Nature Reserve.  The charge is 35 shekels/adult and 21 shekels/child (2022). A shekel is about 26 cents US. Make sure that you have the local currency, as US dollars are usually only accepted in major tourist establishments. If you need to know the current exchange rate, find that here:

The park is open in summer from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday to Thursday, and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Fridays (closing 1 hour before in winter). Specific opening hours apply on public holidays and the day before public holidays. Check the park’s website for the latest updates for opening hours, which are subject to frequent changes.

Coral Beach Nature Reserve snorkeling map, Eilat

Water entrance for snorkeling Coral Beach

To snorkel the reef drop-off (zone 1 on the map), get into the water from the northernmost pontoon (pontoon 1 on the map, on your left when you are facing the sea). Set above the reef, it allows you to  enter the water directly on the drop-off without damaging the shallow reef flat.

The pontoon has wide stairs on which you can sit to put on your equipment and smoothly get into the water. You can also enter the water from pontoon 2, but then you will be swimming against the current to snorkel the north of the reef.

To snorkel the two small reef flat areas (areas 3 and 4 on the map), get into the water from the beach.

Coral Beach’s reef snorkeling exploration tips

Snorkeling in Coral Beach is only allowed in limited areas, both on the flat and on the reef drop-off.

View of Coral Beach reef from the jetty
View over the reef drop-off from the pontoon. The line of buoys prevents snorkelers from approaching the reef.

Snorkeling on Coral Beach’s reef drop off

The best snorkeling is along the drop-off, even though the line of buoys prevents snorkelers getting an up close look a the reef.

As the prevailing current runs north-south (from left to right when looking at the sea), two itineraries are recommended:

  • A short route (142 yards), between pontoon 1 and pontoon 2 (route 1 on the map);
  • A longer route (273 yards), between pontoon 2 and a natural channel dug in the reef flat to the south of the beach (route 2 on the map).

Before getting into the water, check that the water entry/exit points are open.

parrotfish on Coral Beach reef flat
The shallow reef flat can’t be snorkeled, but you can watch it from the drop-off.

Coral Beach’s reef drop-off, which falls from the surface to deeper sandy beds (↕12-15ft), is unevenly preserved. It features a diversity of hard corals, including massive coral, brain coral, fire coral and finger coral.

Soft corals are rare, even if some leather corals are found in certain areas. You will also notice unhealthy areas where the coral has bleached or disappeared.

The yellow-edged lyretail is a common sighting in Coral Beach.
The yellow-edged lyretail is a common sighting in Coral Beach.

The reef hosts a great diversity of fish, most of which are Red Sea endemic. Butterflyfish, tang and parrotfish are very common there, as well as the Red Sea bannerfish, often seen in the shade of the drop-off.

Bluespotted groupers, damselfish and boxfish are also frequently seen throughout the area. A few large yellow-spotted triggerfish, some of which some a foot and a half long, come and go along the drop-off.

Octopus in Coral Beach, Eilat
An octopus on one of the small coral patches found in the sandy beds.

Along the reef, you will snorkel over some beautiful coral heads (↕10-12ft), on which you can freedive. On the sandy bottoms that surround them, you may be lucky enough to encounter a guitarfish or a bluespotted ribbontail ray.

The pontoons are also fun areas to explore. There are hundreds of fish  there including sergeant majors, Klunzinger’s wrasse and small parrotfish. These fish shelter around the piers and in the shade of the steps.

A vibrant patch reef is found off the southern jetty.

Snorkeling on Coral Beach’s reef flat

Snorkeling on the reef flat is not allowed, except in two small areas with no corals and designated by buoys (areas 3 and 4 on the map). In these shallow areas (↕1-3fr) with gravel beds, you can see some inquisitive species, such as the yellowtail surgeonfish.

Restaurants and accommodation nearby

Coral Beach has deck chairs, showers, toilets and a small store. There are several hotels less than 500 yards from the Park entrance, including the Royal Shangri-la Eilat, the Orchid Eilat, and the U Coral Beach Club.


  • Level required Intermediate
  • Protected areaEilat Coral Beach Nature Reserve
  • Maximum depth15ft/5m after the drop off
  • Water entranceFrom pontoon or a sandy beach
  • LifeguardYes
  • Visitor numbersHigh
  • Access costs35 shekel pp.
  • Public toilets & showersYes

MAP Spot

These spots are accessible to anyone with basic snorkeling skills, and feeling comfortable in the water and with his snorkeling gear. You will enter the water from the shore (beach, pontoon, ladder, rocks) or from a boat. The water height in the sea entrance area is reasonable, but you will not necessarily be within your depth. Moderate currents can occur in the area, even when the sea conditions are good. The distance to swim to reach the most interesting snorkeling areas of the spot does not exceed 200 meters.

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.