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Coral Beach is Israel’s most popular snorkeling spot. Its coral reef, which stretches all along the beach, is famous for its vibrant underwater life. Thousands of brightly colored fish live on the coral drop-off. If you are used to free snorkeling, be aware that the Coral Beach Reserve can only be snorkeled at the cost of many constraints, including a ban on snorkeling above the drop-off and a large part of the reef flat. If we understand the will of the authorities to protect the most beautiful of the (rare) coral reefs in the country, the experience can nevertheless be frustrating.
Coral Beach is located in Eilat, on Israel’s Red Sea coast. The beach is about 6.5km (10 minutes by car) south of Eilat marina, and less than 3km (5 minutes) before 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.
Entrance to the Coral Beach Nature Reserve is charged 35 shekels/adult and 21 shekels/child (2022). The park is open in summer from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. from 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 last updates about opening hours, which are subject to frequent changes.
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 entering the water directly on the drop-off without damaging the shallow reef flat.
The pontoon has wide stairs on which you can sit to wear your equipment and smoothly get into the water. Alternatively, you can 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.
Snorkeling in Coral Beach is only allowed in limited areas, both on the flat and on the reef drop-off.
Snorkeling on Coral Beach’s reef drop off
The best snorkeling is along the drop-off, despite the line of buoys preventing snorkelers from having a 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:
Before getting into the water, check that the water entry/exit points are open.
Coral Beach’s reef drop-off, which falls from the surface to deeper sandy beds (↕12-15ft/4-5m) 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 places. You will also notice unhealthy areas, where the coral has bleached or disappeared.
The reef hosts a great diversity of fish, most of which 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 easily seen throughout the area. A few large yellow-spotted triggerfish, some of which some 50cm-long, come and go along the drop-off.
Along the reef, you will snorkel over some beautiful coral heads (↕10-12ft/3-4m), 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: hundreds of fish, including sergeant majors, Klunzinger’s wrasse and small parrotfish shelter around the piers and in the shade of the steps.
Snorkeling on Coral Beach’s reef flat
Snorkeling on the reef flat is not allowed, except on two small areas with no corals and delimited by buoys (areas 3 and 4 on the map). In these shallow areas (↕1-3fr/0.5-1m), with gravel beds, you can see some inquisitive species, such as the yellowtail surgeonfish.
Coral Beach has deckchairs, showers, toilets and a small store. There are several hotels less than 500m from the Park entrance, including the Royal Shangri-la Eilat, the Orchid Eilat, and the U Coral Beach Club.
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.
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Snorkeling spots are part of a wild environment and their aspect can be significantly altered by weather, seasons, sea conditions, human impact and climate events (storms, hurricanes, seawater-warming episodes…). The consequences can be an alteration of the seabed (coral bleaching, coral destruction, and invasive seagrass), a poor underwater visibility, or a decrease of the sea life present in the area. Snorkeling Report makes every effort to ensure that all the information displayed on this website is accurate and up-to-date, but no guarantee is given that the underwater visibility and seabed aspect will be exactly as described on this page the day you will snorkel the spot. If you recently snorkeled this area and noticed some changes compared to the information contained on this page, please contact us.
The data contained in this website is for general information purposes only, and is not legal advice. It is intended to provide snorkelers with the information that will enable them to engage in safe and enjoyable snorkeling, and it is not meant as a substitute for swim level, physical condition, experience, or local knowledge. Remember that all marine activities, including snorkeling, are potentially dangerous, and that you enter the water at your own risk. You must take an individual weather, sea conditions and hazards assessment before entering the water. If snorkeling conditions are degraded, postpone your snorkeling or select an alternate site. Know and obey local laws and regulations, including regulated areas, protected species, wildlife interaction and dive flag laws.
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