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Diving Aqaba | Jordan | The Red Sea Coast

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Soft and hard corals

At the northernmost tip of the Red Sea is the miniscule stretch of coast that belongs to Jordan. Marked by the rapidly expanding city of Aqaba, this tiny segment of the Red Sea sees far fewer scuba divers than the busy and popular resorts further south in Egypt or even neighbouring Eilat.

Jordan's Red Sea coast is just 27 kilometres long yet there is some surprisingly good diving around the shallow hard coral gardens that are just moments from shore. The reef structures are generally in good condition, made up of hard corals decorated by a scattering of brightly-coloured soft corals and often edged by sloping seagrass beds.

There all the usual Red Sea creatures and a high percentage of critters like stone and scorpionfish, pipefish and nudibranchs and far more frogfish than are seen elsewhere in the Red Sea. In fact, the Aqaba seagrass beds are about the closest you will get to muck diving without heading a lot further afield. The most famous dive is the wreck of the Cedar Pride, which was scuttled to make an artificial reef some years back, and there is also the wreck of a military tank and a very unusual dive over the power cables that lead across to Egypt.

Aqaba dive photo gallery Scuba diving features

Marine Life hard coral pinnacles
Top dive site The Wreck of the Cedar Pride
Seasons All year
Visibility 10 – 35 metres
Water temperature 21 – 26º C
Deco chambers Aqaba
Flights on Royal Jordanian via capital city, Amman. The connecting flight is only 30 minutes but you may need to stop overnight. EasyJet now fly from the UK to Amman.
Dive operators & accommodation Seastar Watersports and Captain's Hotel

Jordan is a short hop from Europe at just 5 hours flying time from many major capitals. From further away, connections on Royal Jordanian are frequent and good but scheduling means you are likely to need an overnight stop in Amman, a perfect excuse to see some of the countries outstanding land attractions, such as the World Heritage site at Petra and ancient Roman Jerash.

Aqaba diving is constantly compared with neighbouring Egypt but to be fair, they are very different destinations. The reefs and marine life may be similar but because getting to Egypt is so much cheaper, it is also very busy. Jordan is more expensive and that gives it an air of exclusivity. Each of Aqaba's 18 or so dive sites can be enjoyed away from the crowds so you get the time, space and the chance to discover more of the marine life like the range of cryptic bottom dwellers that are rarely seen in other parts of the Red Sea.
We first went to Aqaba in 1989 and did some of our formative diving there. We enjoyed it so much we went back a year later. 20 years later and naturally, things have changed – but only in some ways. The dive style is still much as it was back then and the reefs are still under-dived and quiet. If you even see another diver (apart from those you came with) it will be an unusual thing.

DIVING VIDEO | Underwater Aqaba

RESORT REPORT | Seastar Watersports and Captain's Hotel

LAND TOURS | Explore Jordan's historical sites

Pegasus sea moth
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Complete reports on this area are in
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