Visiting the town of Eilat
We spent two days in Eilat, Israel, the southern most tip of the country. A beach town with plenty of high-rise hotels, restaurants and tax-free shopping. The beach is rocky, the sand hot, water a perfect blue and the water temperature just right. When facing the ocean if you look to right, you can see the town of Aquaba in neighboring country of Jordan. Look a bit further out across the strait, to your left, and you’ll see the, the mountains of Saudi Arabia. On your right are the town of Taba and the the mountains of Egypt.
Best Place to Snorkel
Due to the topography of the Red Sea, most snorkeling, and for that matter, scuba-diving is done right off shore. This makes it convenient for an easy drive; you won’t need to rent out a boat tour company for a day and sail out to a reef.
Coral Beach Nature Reserve– located ½ mile from the border of Egypt is coral reef reserve where visitors can snorkel right off the beach. There is a small fee of 35 NIS per adult (about $10 USD) and 21NIS per child to enter the park.
- The Nature reserve is great place for families. The park is set up with a shop renting out gear as well as offering some beach supplies for sale and small sundries for sale. Upon exiting the shop visitors will find shaded area with picnic tables where you can stop to get everything prepared for your snorkel adventure. There are also clean restrooms with showers for public use.
- All along the beach are shaded stands and chairs where visitors can leave their bags or sit for a while for a snack and drink. Leave your shoes/flipflops on as the sand can be incredibly hot. You can wear them all the way out to the water.
- The Israeli government has roped off the actual reef system for protection and regeneration of the reefs. In the past, the reefs have been severely damaged, but now are making a comeback. Thus, you cannot swim right through the reefs, but can swim around the outermost edges and there are some outcroppings of reefs that you can swim around.
- Piers will bring you right to snorkel area. You can wear your shoes to the very end and leave them in a designated shoe area. The bridges have stairs straight into the water, which is great for younger, less experienced kids. It makes it easier to ease your way into the water and get used to the temperature, although not cold.
- Throughout the snorkeling area, you can hold on to buoys that you can hold onto if you need a break or want to spend more time looking at a particular piece of color or fish. Mind the rope demarcating the preserved reef. If you do swim under it, the guards on the beach will quickly call you out over a loudspeaker.
- The entire reef system is over one kilometer, which is quite a bit of swimming for younger snorklers. We found it was not crowded at all when we went. You share the reserve with scuba divers as well.
- You will see a wonderful array of beautiful fish and coral. The water is perfectly clear. There is colorful coral and some damaged. We spotted a giant clam, surgeonfish, sergeant fish, parrotfish, butterflyfish, cornetfish, clown croris, and many species of wrasse.
What to bring
- Bring towels and plenty of sunscreen. The sun is hot and chances are you will need to re-apply multiple times depending on your length of stay
- Bottles of water. Although they sell water in the store, it’s much cheaper to bring your own
- Kids get hungry quickly after snorkeling
- Change of clothes. Since you have to get back into your car, taxi, it may be more comfortable to travel in dry clothing
- If you have your own snorkel gear. Bring it. This will cut down on costs of renting.