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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.

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

How to go snorkeling in Coral Beach?

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.

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 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.

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 to approach the reef.

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:

  • A short route (130m), between pontoon 1 and pontoon 2 (route 1 on the map);
  • A longer route (250m), 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/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 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 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.

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/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.

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 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.

Restaurants and accommodation nearby

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.


  • 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.