Diving the Red Sea in Aqaba, Jordan

Diving the Red Sea in Aqaba, Jordan

The #RedSea in #Jordan ended up being my favourite #diving experience ever. Why? Jordan does an amazing job of protecting its part of the sea. The bright colours, the #active sea life and the clear visibility underwater are all unsurpassed. My stay was hosted by #Radisson Blu Tala Bay Resort, a gorgeous property along the quiet Tala Bay.


As we descend into the depths of the Red Sea, the strong waves and whipping winds are replaced by clear-as-glass water and a kaleidoscope of colours. Marine life of all sizes and characteristics surround us. As Barbara and I slowly make our way through the sprawling coral gardens, we spot hundreds of different fishes and corals.

Through my mask, it’s hard to see the excitement on my face underwater, but I’m shrieking like a child in a candy store. Swimming close to the corals, we see the cute orange-and-white anemone fish slithering among bubble-like corals, the rainbow-colored parrot-fish nibbling on plants and the rather amusing-looking masked puffer-fish seemingly half awake.

Aqaba Underwater
Aqaba Underwater

Colourful Marine Life

We’re diving just metres away from the shore of Aqaba, Jordan, along a reef that slopes down from 10 to 18m deep (rather shallow for divers); yet we’re already surrounded by the richest marine life I’ve ever seen. 

We're already surrounded by the richest marine life I’ve ever seen

The visibility is also nothing like I’ve ever seen. This dive site, known as the Japanese Garden, is famed for its colourful array of fauna and collection of hard and soft corals.

from  $56

Snorkeling in Aqaba, Jordan

Active
 Aqaba Gulf, Aqaba, Jordan
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Barbara, my trusty dive buddy, is the expert, she knows where to spot the good stuff. With her guidance, I wriggle my finger through the soft flurry hairs of the tree coral and glide by the cube box-fish while staring into its eyes. 

Just before making our ascent, Barbara guides me towards the bottom of the coral gardens. There, hidden within the coral fans, is the gorgeous, flamboyant lion-fish; all coy and wary but stunning nonetheless. 

the gorgeous, flamboyant lion-fish; all coy and wary but stunning nonetheless

That just about made this my favourite diving experience ever.

The sea is a colourful environment
The sea is a colourful environment

Protected Marine Reserve

As a veteran diver who’s chalked up over 300 dives, Barbara is a German doctor who splits her time between home and the Red Sea. Now working for Sea Guard Diving, she spends her summers showing divers some of her favourite diving spots in the world. 

Back on land, she tells me why she chose Jordan, “Four countries share the Red Sea: Egypt, Jordan, Israel and Saudi Arabia.” 

I nod. Floating in the Red Sea, I can see the four distinctly different beach towns in the near distance. 

“Amongst the four countries; Jordan does the best job of protecting its part of the Red Sea. 

Jordan does the best job of protecting its part of the Red Sea

Its entire 30-km long coastline is a marine reserve, where fishing and other human activities are prohibited. Compared with Egypt, Jordan is not over-run by dive operators and you often get a more personal and exclusive experience here rather than other parts of the Red Sea.”

Barbara has me so convinced that I’m pretty sure I’ll be back in the Red Sea pretty soon.

Essential Information

How to Get there: Aqaba is a one-hour flight away from Amman via Royal Jordanian Airlines. It’s also accessible by fast boat from Nuweiba or Taba in Egypt. If you’re coming from Wadi Rum or Petra, it’s just a short bus ride away (approx 1 hour).

Where to Stay: There’s a wide selection of hotels and guesthouses in Aqaba. My stay was hosted by Radisson Blu Tala Bay Resort, a gorgeous property along the quiet Tala Bay. I highly recommend it for those looking to splurge and unwind.

from  $160

Hotel Radisson Blu Tala Bay Resort

 P.O. Box 982, South Beach, Tala Bay, Aqaba, Jordan
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Scuba-diving info: Sea Guard Diving provides leisure dives as well as PADI open-water courses for those interested in getting certified. 

This trip was made possible by Jordan Tourism Board and Sea Guard Diving, but all opinions are my own. Read more about my travels in Jordan here. Photos above were provided by VisitJordan.

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