Free shore access
This spot have a free shore access: you can go snorkeling there freely and without having to book a tour or pay an entrance fee.
This spot has been added by
Last updated on September 7, 2023
While it is less famous than South Beach’s southern reefs, First Bay is a classic spot in the Jordanian Red Sea. It is unfortunate that the damaged coral at First Bay are no exception to the overall state of Aqaba’s coastal reefs.
Even though the coral is in bad shape, there are still interesting species can still be seen at shallow depths, such as lionfish, stonefish, moray eels and butterflyfish.
The First Bay snorkeling spot is just north of South Beach. It faces the first beach you will encounter when arriving from downtown Aqaba.
From Aqaba, take the South Beach Highway and exit at the Camel Dive Center and Larain Plaza Hotel, less than a mile after passing the port and the aquarium. Free parking is available next to the beach.
The main current runs from north to south, so we advise you to enter the water north of the beach, just before the fence (see map). You can then snorkel along the reef slope in a southerly direction, slightly drifted with the current, and then get out of the water through the small pass located in front of the SeaStars Watersport.
You can snorkel the entire reef, which measures a hundred yards at its widest point, found in its northern part. The further south you go, the narrower the reef gets.
This spot has a typical Red Sea fringing reef profile, featuring a shallow flat (↕2-3ft) which ends in a small reef drop-off (↕12-24ft).
Like all reefs in Aqaba Marine Park, the First Bay reef is damaged overall at shallow depths. There are many areas where the coral has disappeared. Even so, pretty clusters of soft coral, massive porous coral and brain coral are still visible in some parts of the flat.
Even in the shallowest areas, keep an eye peeled for a lionfish, a stonefish or a small moray eel, in addition to the abundant Klunzinger’s wrasse.
The reef edge is not in any better condition than the reef flat. There is a majority of dead coral in areas where the depth is less than 10ft. On the other hand, superb coral bommies are still found at the foot of the drop-off, where the seabed regains its multicolored and vibrant aspect.
Even in damaged areas, there is an interesting diversity of fish to see. Damselfish, wrasse and surgeonfish are among the most common, but masked pufferfish, yellow boxfish and butterflyfish are also frequently spotted.
Another impossible-to-miss species at this location is the Red Sea clownfish, which lives in the sea anemones attached to the different “steps” of the reef.
Sea conditions and underwater visibility are generally ideal on this spot, as on the entire Jordanian coast.
An hotel and several small restaurants and food trucks are available next to the beach.
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.
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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.
Small reef drop off with colorful fish
Free shore access
Reef drop off with coral and fish
Free shore access
Immersed tank and reef drop off with coral and fish
Small patch reefs with lots of fish
Narrow fringing reef with large and colorful fish
Patch coral reefs with many colorful fish