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Last updated on September 7, 2023
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. Thousands of brightly colored fish live on the coral drop-off.
The crystal-clear waters and excellent visibility make it an ideal spot for snorkeling, allowing you to witness the beauty of the underwater world up close.
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.
Complying with these rules ensures that this unique ecosystem remains preserved for future generations to appreciate and learn from. Before visiting, it’s advisable to check with local authorities or the reserve management for any updates or changes in rules and regulations.
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: https://www.xe.com/
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.
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.
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, 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:
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), 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Sandy beds with coral patches and reef fish
Free shore access
Narrow fringing reef with large and colorful fish
Small patch reefs with lots of fish
Deep sandy beds with dolphins and pillars colonized by marine life
Patch coral reefs with many colorful fish
Small coral patches scattered on sandy slopes