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The Red Sea is home to some of the best snorkeling and diving in the world. Its vibrant coral reefs, crystal-clear waters, and abundant marine life make it a paradise for divers and snorkelers alike. After living on the shores of the Red Sea in Saudi Arabia, we were able to see some of the most amazing dive and snorkel sites in the world.
Whether you’re an experienced diver or just getting started, the Red Sea is a great place to explore. With its diverse array of marine life, fascinating shipwrecks, and stunning coral reefs, the Red Sea deserves it’s reputation as the best diving in the world.
What Makes The Red Sea So Good For Snorkeling?
The Red Sea is one of the best places in the world for snorkeling and diving, thanks to a combination of factors that make it an ideal environment for marine life to thrive. Here are some of the reasons why the Red Sea is so good for snorkeling:
Warm waters: The Red Sea has warm water temperatures year-round, which is ideal for many species of marine life. The warm water helps to promote the growth of coral reefs, which provide a habitat for a diverse array of fish and other marine animals.
Clear visibility: The water in the Red Sea is incredibly clear, with visibility often exceeding 30 meters. This makes it easy to see the colorful coral reefs, schools of fish, and other marine life that call the Red Sea home.
Diverse marine life: The Red Sea is home to a wide variety of marine life, including over 1,000 species of fish, as well as sharks, dolphins, sea turtles, and other animals. This diversity of marine life makes snorkeling in the Red Sea a truly unique experience.
Vibrant coral reefs: The coral reefs in the Red Sea are some of the most vibrant and diverse in the world. The warm water temperatures and clear visibility help to promote the growth of healthy coral reefs, which in turn provide a habitat for a wide variety of marine life.
Whale Sharks in the Red Sea
While we lived in Saudi Arabia, my husband worked at an international university, KAUST, that specializes in marine biology and conservation. As part of their research efforts, they lead groups of people to go out and snorkel and dive with whale sharks so that they can gather data about the fish from the photos and videos that people take.
My son and I went on one of their highly popular snorkeling trips and it was incredible. Over the course of 2 days, we snorkeled with 6 different Whale Sharks and it was absolutely AMAZING!
Whale sharks are the largest fish in the world and are a highly sought-after sight for snorkelers and divers in the Red Sea. These gentle giants can grow up to 12 meters in length and can weigh up to 21 tons. Here’s what you need to know about whale sharks in the Red Sea:
Distribution: While whale sharks are found in tropical and subtropical waters around the world, they are a rare sight in the Red Sea. Most sightings occur in the southern part of the Red Sea, near the border of Saudi Arabia and Yemen.
Seasonality: Whale shark sightings in the Red Sea are highly seasonal and are most common between March and May. During this time, whale sharks are attracted to the area by the abundance of plankton in the water.
Snorkeling opportunities: Snorkeling with whale sharks in the Red Sea is a popular activity, but it is important to do so responsibly. Some tour operators offer whale shark encounters, but it is important to choose a reputable operator that follows best practices for responsible tourism. This includes keeping a safe distance from the whale sharks, not touching them, and not using flash photography.
Snorkeling with Kids in the Red Sea
With so many easily accessed reefs, the Red Sea is ideal for snorkeling with kids. Unlink many other places where you can snorkel reefs with kids, in Saudi Arabia, kids can view reefs just offshore.
Read: Best Snorkeling Sets for Kids
The shallow waters and clear visibility make it easy for young children to get a good look at the amazing marine life that call the Red Sea home. In many areas, you can kayak or paddleboard a few hundred feet offshore (or swim if you want) and easily access coral reefs for snorkeling. This is much easier than taking large boat excursions with kids. We always took a couple of kid sized kayaks out with us.
Here are other reasons why the Red Sea is great for snorkeling with kids:
Warm Temperatures: The warm temperatures of the Red Sea make it perfect for snorkeling with kids. The water is the warmest from May-December, though it’s still a nice temperature the rest of the year (in the 70’s). In the fall, the water temperatures are in the mid 80’s and in the summer they get over 90 degrees. In December and January, our young kids wore wetsuits there, but for older kids and adults they’re never needed.
Little to no boat traffic: Most popular snorkeling destinations have a large amount of boat traffic, but Saudi Arabia has very little.
Great Marine Life: The variety and amount of marine life we saw while snorkeling in Saudi Arabia was astounding. We saw dolphins, turtles, manta rays, and so much more. The coral reefs were especially vibrant with a wide variety of fish species.
Calm Water: very rarely are you going to encounter waves while snorkeling in the Red Sea. This is because there are a huge number of reefs that break down all the waves, so kids can snorkel in incredibly calm water. These conditions are ideal for kids learning how to snorkel since waves can be scary for kids just learning how to snorkel underwater.
Red Sea Snorkeling in Jeddah Saudi Arabia
One of the best spots for snorkeling in Saudi Arabia is right outside of the city of Jeddah. All along the Saudi Coast are coral reefs that can quickly be accessed from shore. Jeddah offers one of the most spectacular displays of coral reefs in the Red Sea. Divers and snorkelers can explore a wide array of underwater life, including tropical fish, colorful corals, dolphins, and more.
Snorkeling in Jeddah is particularly popular among tourists due to its easy access from shore. Visitors can either take a boat out to the reefs or simply walk right up to the beach and start snorkeling.
Most popular are the beach clubs north of Jeddah that offer a private resort experience for foreigners. Here, women can wear what they want and visitors can have great access directly to the reefs. Entrance to the resorts is around $20-$50 USD a day, and most Jeddah beach clubs have their own dive shop and dive instructors and tours. The visibility in Jeddah is excellent, with visibility ranging from 15-30 metres depending on the time of year and weather conditions.
Jeddah is also home to some of the best dive shops and tour operators in the Red Sea, offering equipment rentals and guided tours for snorkelers of all levels. There are also several dive centers located around Jeddah that offer courses to help visitors learn about the local marine environment and safety tips for snorkeling.
Snorkeling on the Coast in Saudi Arabia
Most people don’t know, but you can snorkel all along the coast in Saudi Arabia. Take a good look at Google maps aerial shots and you’ll get a good idea of where the reefs are closer to shore and where easy access points are (no, I’m not going to share all our secret snorkeling places in Saudi Arabia).
Most of the time you’ll get to the beach and just want to leave because it’s so gross and dirty. Saudi’s notoriously leave their garbage everywhere (the curse of a culture that pays imported workers to clean everything up for them), and the coastline is no exception.
In fact, you’ll probably see garbage for about 100-200 feet out into the water. Trust me that you need to keep going. Most Saudi’s don’t know how to swim and are typically scared of the water. They never leave the shore which leaves the reefs untouched. We typically go out about 400 feet from shore to snorkel and the conditions are PRISTINE!
It’s like snorkeling in a different world.
We have snorkeled and dived all over the world and have yet to find reefs as good as what we find in Saudi Arabia.
Best Places to Snorkel In The Red Sea
The Red Sea is one of the most popular destinations in the world for snorkeling and diving, thanks to its crystal-clear waters, warm temperatures, and incredible diversity of marine life. Whether you’re an experienced snorkeler or a beginner, there are plenty of places in the Red Sea to explore. Here are some of the best places to snorkel in the Red Sea, and what makes each area unique.
Ras Mohammed National Park, Egypt
Located at the southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula, Ras Mohammed National Park is one of the most popular snorkeling destinations in the Red Sea. The park is home to a diverse array of marine life, including colorful corals, tropical fish, and sea turtles. The park has several snorkeling spots, including Shark Reef, Yolanda Reef, and Ras Ghozlani, which offer a range of depths and marine life to explore. The Shark Reef is particularly popular among snorkelers, as it is home to a large number of reef sharks, including blacktip and whitetip sharks.
Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt
Sharm El Sheikh is a popular resort town that offers access to several excellent snorkeling sites, including the Blue Hole and Shark’s Bay. The Blue Hole is a deep, circular sinkhole that is home to a diverse array of marine life, including schools of fish, octopuses, and moray eels. It is also known for its unique underwater topography, with vertical walls that plunge down to depths of up to 130 meters. Shark’s Bay, on the other hand, is a shallow, sheltered bay that is home to a range of colorful fish and corals. It is a great spot for beginners, as the water is calm and the marine life is easily visible.
Aqaba is a Red Sea port city that offers some of the best snorkeling in Jordan. The coral reefs here are home to a wide variety of marine life, including colorful fish, sea turtles, and even dolphins. The Marine Park at South Beach is a popular snorkeling spot, as it is home to some of the most pristine coral reefs in the region. Snorkelers can also explore the Japanese Garden, a shallow coral reef that is home to a colorful array of marine life.
Eilat is a popular destination for snorkeling and diving, thanks to its warm waters and clear visibility. The coral reefs here are home to a wide variety of fish, as well as sea turtles and even reef sharks. Coral Beach Nature Reserve is one of the best places to snorkel in Eilat, as it offers access to a range of different habitats, including sandy areas, seagrass beds, and coral reefs. The reserve is also home to several unique species, including the giant clam and the blue-spotted stingray.
Yanbu, Saudi Arabia
Yanbu is a Red Sea city that is home to several excellent snorkeling sites, including the Coral Garden and the Fish Market. The Coral Garden is a shallow reef that is home to a diverse array of coral species, as well as a range of colorful fish, including butterflyfish and angelfish. The Fish Market, on the other hand, is a deep coral reef that is home to larger species, including moray eels and barracudas. There are several amaxing shipwrecks that you can dive near Yanbu.
Each of these snorkeling destinations in the Red Sea is unique, with its own set of marine life, underwater topography, and snorkeling conditions.
7 thoughts on “The Ultimate Guide To Red Sea Snorkeling: Saudi, Egypt, Jordan and Israel”
Nice! What kind of camera did you use for the underwater shots? Brilliant color!
We have a Nikon Coolpix AW 100, and really like it. The pictures also look super great because the water is the most beautiful shade of turquoise here!
Okay. I have a confession. I’m jealous. That looks spectacular! I think you MUST get your scuba certification while you’re over there.
Debbie- Andrew actually just starting doing his book work for his certification and will do his classes and dives next week. Me, well I’ll have to wait until I don’t have a baby attached to me. Hopefully in the fall when I can leave him for a little longer so I can go do my dives!
Nice article. Keep it up.
I like your article, Its really well organise,interesting. Your photo is very professional, simple and interesting in same time. Its great to find something such your blog as it tell us more about Saudi Arabia without being dull over detailed also it highlights on things to do and places to visit their and that work as strong guide to expats and all Saudi Arabia visitor.The best thing about your article that it discovers one aspect of interesting adventure under the sea in Saudi Arabia your photos are about to talk from its beauty
good job am waiting your next blog
best article keep it up