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Suyul Island, in the Qulaan Archipelago, boasts sandy beaches that gave rise to the sobriquet ‘Egyptian Maldives’. Comprised in the Wadi El Gemal National Park, it has great opportunities for snorkeling, both on the reef drop off and on the shallow sandy reef flat. Commonly sighted sea life in Suyul Island includes stingrays, anemonefish, angelfish and shrimpgobies.

Snorkelers along Suyul Island's reef.
A tour boat and snorkelers along Suyul Island’s reef.

How to go snorkeling Suyul Island?

Suyul Island is part of the Qulaan Archipelago, located off the coast of Hamata. Several local companies offer day trips to the islands, for a price starting at around 60 euros per person (2024), all included. Suyul Island is also a popular stop for liveaboards visiting the south of the Red Sea.

Suyul Island snorkeling map, Hamata
Suyul Island snorkeling map.

Water entrance for snorkeling Suyul Island’s reef

The most visited snorkeling area is along the reef that borders the island’s southern shores. Your boat will moor and drop you off directly on the reef. Most boats will moor near a split in the reef (see map), allowing zodiacs to access the island.

Suyul Island’s reef snorkeling exploration tips

The most visited snorkeling area is located on the reef that borders the southern coast of the island.

A snorkeler taking picture of a bluespotted ribbontail ray in the shallows.
Bluespotted ribbontail rays are pretty common at this location, included at very shallow depths.

Suyul Island snorkeling area comprises two different environments:

1. The shallow sandy beds, between the island and the reef drop off.

These very shallow areas (↕1-3ft/0.5-1m) are only accessible at high tide. If the reef top is too shallow, you can use the split in the reef (see map) to swim between the drop-off and the sandy areas.

This area is ideal for observing the sandy bed ecosystems, which include specific species such as pipefish, flounders, blennies and sandperch. You will also witness the symbiotic relationship between shrimpgobies and alpheid shrimps, which live together in the same burrow. Bluespotted ribbontail rays are frequently seen in this area too.

Shrimpgoby and pistol shrimp in Suyul Island
In Suyul Island, you will likely observe the mutualistic relationship between the shrimpgoby and pistol shrimp. The goby will usually sit at the entrance of the burrow, maintaining a constant vigil against potential predators, while the shrimp clears sand from the burrow.

2. The reef drop off.

Suyul Island’s reef forms a steep drop off, which outcrops close to the surface (↕1-3ft/0.5-1m) and falls on sandy bottoms (↕15-25ft/5-8m). In this protected area, the coral is healthy, with beautiful specimens of finger coral, tabular coral and fire coral.

Dozens of fish species can be seen on the reef, including several species of butterflyfish, damselfish, Red Sea bannerfish, Arabian Picasso triggerfish, and masked puffer.

Regal angelfish at Suyul Island
Suyul Island is the perfect location to take close picture of fish in shallow and sunny areas. Here, a Regal angelfish.

Hundreds of sea goldies, whose bright red color contrasts beautifully with the blue, gather on the drop-offs.

Restaurants and accommodations nearby

There is no restaurant on the islands, but most tours (and all liveaboards) include meals.

 

  • Level required Intermediate
  • Protected areaWadi El Gemal National Park
  • Maximum depth30ft/10m
  • Water entranceFrom a boat
  • LifeguardNo
  • Visitor numbersMedium
  • Access costsCost of a boat tour to the Hamata Islands
  • Restaurants nearbyNo

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.