Diving Aqaba

Home  |  Locations  |  Middle East & Red Sea  |  Jordan  |  Aqaba

Aqaba, Jordan

Copyright Ahlan Aqaba Scuba DC
IMG2072IMG2936IMG3314IMG4764

Beginner Intermediate Expert

Shore Day Trip Live Aboard

Family Friendly

Country: Jordan  Area: Jordan

Water Temp: 21 - 26°C (70 - 79°F)

Visibility: 20 - 60m (66 - 197 ft)

Depth Range: 2 - 40m (7 - 131 ft)

Book A Diving Trip Online
 

Aqaba lies on the tip of the Red Sea on the border of Israel, and was historically connected to the city of Eilat. Today, this unique Jordanian town is the country’s top diving and snorkelling destination. In addition to offering up sensational marine adventures, the city is also rapidly developing to better accommodate tourism.

Book A Dive Center Online

Aqaba is Jordan’s access point to the Red Sea. Here you can experience some of the best snorkeling and diving in the world. The mild climate makes it an ideal year-round location with water temperatures around 26 degrees Celsius (79 degrees Fahrenheit) during the summer dropping to 21 degrees Celsius (70 degrees Fahrenheit) in the winter with over 12 hours of sunlight and fantastic visibility every day to keep you occupied in the deep blue.

Aqaba is Jordan’s access point to the Red Sea. Here you can experience some of the best snorkeling and diving in the world. The mild climate makes it an ideal year-round location with water temperatures around 26 degrees Celsius (79 degrees Fahrenheit) during the summer dropping to 21 degrees Celsius (70 degrees Fahrenheit) in the winter with over 12 hours of sunlight and fantastic visibility every day to keep you occupied in the deep blue.

Diving in Aqaba, Credit

It is home to 500 species of corals (150 of which are hard and 350 are soft), 1200 species of fish, and 1000 types of mollusks and crustaceans. Aqaba is well known for scuba diving, with easy access to some prominent and interesting dive sites.

From graceful Hawksbill turtles to fluorescent Nudibranches, the Red Sea is home to over 1200 species of fish. There are over 20 gorgeous sites along our coastline (and if you include the Tec dive sites more than 30) most of which are located in the Aqaba Marine Park. Each dive site varies heavily in topography and vibrant marine life, completely veiled with flourishing colorful corals. It is a paradise for photographers and sea critter lovers alike. 

In addition to marine activities, Aqaba is also an excellent base to experience the surrounding famous sights which include Petra, the Dead Sea and Wadi Rum on short day trips. There are also a number of local attractions, including the market, a fortress and a local market.

Marine Conservation

The dive centers in Aqaba and the Aqaba Marine Park work closely with the Royal Marine Conservation Society of Jordan as they run educational projects. Preventing rubbish from getting in the sea in the first place is the key and acting in the local community to change attitudes and disposable plastics use is priority. There are also regular clean up dive activities to preserve the reef.

Bannerfish, Credit

Climate

Aqaba has a desert climate with warm winters and hot dry summers, which makes it an ideal year-round diving destination. Water temperatures are around 26 degrees Celsius (79 degrees Fahrenheit) during the summer, and they drop to 21 degrees Celsius (70 degrees Fahrenheit) in the winter. Visibility remains good year round.

High season for diving generally occurs between April – June and September – November.

Other Year round Marine life

There is an abundance of scorpion (small scale, devil, bearded) and lion fish (common, clearfin). Typically in these areas schools of glass fish exist. In certain areas stone fish abound. Other common fish include: Red Sea needlefish, cornet fish, squirrelfish, little dragonfish sea moth, spotted shrimpfish, guilded pipefish, double-ended pipefish, anthias, dottybacks, snappers (one-spot, Red Sea, Bigeye), fusiliers, goat fish, butterfly fish, angel fish (regal, emperor, yellowbar, Arabian, Red Sea), damsel fish, anemone fish, wrasses (Napolean, Bluespotted, Broomtail, Clown Coris), parrotfish (bicolor, Red Sea steephead, Bullethead, bridled), gobies, unicorn, surgeon fish, barracuda, tuna, trigger fish, flounder, trunkfish, puffer (starry, whitespotted, masked), and porcupine fish (yellowspotted, orbicular, spiny balloonfish).

Eels include: giant moray, yellow margin moray, grey moray, snowflake moray, and peppered moray.

 
Read more…
Hide content

Wildlife Calendar

           
           

Didn't find the information
you we're looking for?

Ask a question

Most questions are answered by our
diving community within 24 hours

See Dive Centers

Shore Diving

The gulf is very narrow and deep, which means that virtually all dive sites listed below can be accessed from shore. There is variation between local operators on how they prefer to access them – with some opting for exclusive shore dives, while others opt from exclusively boat dives. That said, it is generally quicker to access the dive sites by road rather than by boat.

Boat Diving

As mentioned above, the following dives can almost all be accessed by boat or by shore. Most have depths that range from 0 – 40m, and are located on sloping shores. Currents are generally weak, making these great sites for recreational divers.

Goldsaddle goatfish, Credit

The Cedar Pride wreck is one of Jordan's most popular and celebrated dives. A former Lebanese freighter, the ship sustained extensive damage during a fire in 1982. Following a request from the King, the ill-fated vessel was deliberately sunk approximately 150 m offshore as an artificial reef for divers. Lying on its port side at a maximum depth of 27 m across two reefs, the wreckage has been colonized by numerous hard and soft corals. The uppermost starboard side is at 10 m, and so provides a great site for both novice and experienced divers alike. The outstanding feature is the crow's nest, which is covered with a profusion of colorful soft corals and stands out against the clear blue water. As you continue further towards the hull, you pass mushroom ventilation shafts and the main mast. Here in the deeper water, the soft corals are more dispersed but are replaced by hard corals and schools of fish, including the odd barracuda. As you swim back along the uppermost starboard side, you can find plenty of hard corals and small animals that have made their home on the hull, including anemones, table corals, pipefish and clusters of acropora. This makes for an excellent night dive. The deck is smothered with lots of critters, including urchins, shrimps, Spanish Dancers and soft coral crabs.

The Tank Lots of interesting invertebrate life in the shallows... Swim through the pinnacles and then turn in towards the shore to another set of pinnacles "the Fairy Ring".... Continue south at 8 m where patchy coral makes way for grass and sand till you will see in 5 meters an M42 anti-aircraft tracked vehicle ("The Tank") scuttled in September 1999 to create an artificial reef.

Anemone in Aqaba, Credit

 Power Station dive site has a very lively coral plateau slanting form a depth of 12 – 20 m with a steep wall drop-off dropping to deeper than 70 m. Several large hump-head wrasse and moray eels are often sited here. The site is named after a power station located just East of the dive site.

Japanese Gardens Located just to the south of the Shipwreck. One of the best dive sites worldwide with very good conditions for diving and snorkelling. Lyre Tail Groupers, Royal Angelfish, Moray Eels, big Clam Shells are also very common here. 

King Abdullah Reef one of the longest dives and a very popular dive. The reef has some very beautiful fan colours and large shoals of Pennat fish. Torpedo rays and Hawksbill turtles are also a common sight. The site has very high densities of coral coverage and is ideal for underwater photography.

Emperor Angelfish, Credit

Liveaboard Diving

Because Aqaba is such a small and narrow bay, there are no liveaboards operating exclusively around Jordan. There are however operators that sail through the Red Sea more broadly, and generally depart from towns in Egypt.


 

 

 

 

Didn't find the information
you we're looking for?

Ask a question

Most questions are answered by our
diving community within 24 hours

See Dive Centers

How to Get There

By air:  Royal Jordanian offers daily flights from Amman to Aqaba; flying time is about 45 minutes. Some regularly scheduled and charter flights offer direct flights to Aqaba from Europe.

By bus: Several companies offer charter bus tours and regular tours between Amman & Aqaba, including JETT: tel. (06) 5664146 and Alpha Daily Tours: tel. (06) 5855196.

By car or taxi: Aqaba via the Dead Sea road is about 3 hours drive from Amman, along the Desert Highway 4 hours, and the scenic Kings Highway 5 hours.

By ferry: The journey with the fast boat or ferry between Taba and Aqaba takes cca. 25 to 75 minutes. You can get from Taba to Aqaba by Sindbad XPRESS, a fast ferry service operated by Sindbad. Besides the regular slow and fast ferries operated by AB Maritime on the Nuweiba-Aqaba route, there is now a new Aqaba ferry to Egypt. This touristic line is a recently added service, offering a first class travel experience to passengers between Jordan and Egypt. This ferry sails between Taba, Sinai and Aqaba.

Via Eilat: The Wadi Araba Border Crossing is an international border crossing between Aqaba, Jordan and Eilat, Israel. The terminal is open from 6:30 to 20:00, Sunday through Thursday, and from 8:00 to 20:00 on Fridays and Saturdays, every day of the year except for the holidays of the Islamic New Year and Yom Kippur.

Nudibranch! Credit

Didn't find the information
you we're looking for?

Ask a question

Most questions are answered by our
diving community within 24 hours

See Dive Centers

Where to Eat & Drink

Restaurants in Aqaba tend to serve classic Jordanian dishes, with a special emphasis on incorporating fish. Local specialities include anything from falafel and shawarma right through to slow cooked lamb and rice dishes. Syrian Palace and Ocean Restaurant are two particular favourites – and their mansaf, maqloobeh and sayadeya seafood dishes are not to be missed! There is also a handful of restaurants that serve international fare and fast food (Royal Yacht Club, for example).

Most locally owned restaurants will not serve alcohol on the premise. However, there are still a number of bars in town that cater to international visitors. Rovers Return is one that is particularly popular – and it also happens to serve up western food.

To experience a more local style of nightlife, it is also worth popping by a traditional coffee shop where you can smoke Shisha and sip on a Turkish coffee, sweet tea or a freshly squeezed fruit juice.

Peppered Moray Eel in Sea Grass, Credit

Didn't find the information
you we're looking for?

Ask a question

Most questions are answered by our
diving community within 24 hours

See Dive Centers

Other Activities

There are many other watersports available here such as waterskiing, kite surfing and windsurfing. Or if you wish to relax when you are not diving the Marine Park has long public beaches for you to enjoy the sun on.        

Miniatus grouper, Credit

There are many historic sites to be explored within the area, including what is believed to be the oldest purpose-built church in the world and a 13th century fort. Some stories in the famous Arabian Nights Tales also refer to adventures Sinbad had that started by leaving from the port city of Ayla (former name of Aqaba). TE Lawrence (also known as Laurence of Arabia) also had his fair share of exploits here when he fought the Battle of Aqaba (1917).

If looking for some rest and relaxation, a Hammam is certainly a place to visit. Here, you can receive a traditional Turkish bath – which includes a massage and scrub down.

Shoppers will definitely want to swing by Souk – the local market place. Here, you can find crafts, souvenirs, spices, teas and coffees.

Day trips from Aqaba are also an option. Popular destinations include Petra, Kerak, Wadi Rum and the Dead Sea.

Beach in Aqaba, Credit

Didn't find the information
you we're looking for?

Ask a question

Most questions are answered by our
diving community within 24 hours

See Dive Centers

Tips

If you arrive to Jordan via Aqaba the 30 days visa is free of charge. The price for the visa is 40 JD if you enter via Amman or any other border crossing, except Aqaba.  The 30 day visa can be extended for another two months for free.

Some visitors stay in Tala Bay area not knowing that it is located about 20 minutes drive with a car to Aqaba. If you want to go to Aqaba and back to Tala Bay you have to catch a taxi for around 10 JD each way.  Almost all the activity is located in the city and not close to the Saudi border where Tala Bay is located. Accommodation is generally less expensive in the city rather than the outline areas.

Summers in Aqaba are very hot, and the city relies heavily on siesta times. If visiting during this period, keep in mind that nearly everything closes from about 3pm to 6pm.

Aqaba, Jordan, Credit

Aqaba is slated for rapid commercial development in the coming years.  A number of large tourism-focused projects are already in the pipeline, and more are likely to follow. If planning a trip, be sure to check with local operators for the most up to date information.

Dive operators tend to be located in South Beach, roughly 10 kilometers outside of Aqaba Marine Park. Operators will offer either boat or road access to the various sites, the latter of which is often quicker.

There is quite a lot of variation in quality between dive centers. Due your research before booking.

There is a hyperbaric chamber in Aqaba. It is located at the Princess Haya Hospital.

Dive Reports

X

Write a Dive Report for Aqaba

Attached files
No files attached
X

Share a tip about diving in Aqaba

X

Ask the dive community a Question

Delete comment?

This will permanently delete the comment. Are you sure?

Your Dive Report has been published.

Would you like to share it on Facebook or Twitter?

Share it on Twitter Share on Twitter

Share it on Facebook Share on Facebook

No thanks - just show me the report

Sign up now and join in!
Sign up now and join in!
Sign up now and join in!