Editors' Picks

Snorkeling and Scuba Diving

Aqaba jordan

Aqaba, on the Red Sea, serves as Jordan’s coastal playground and its only port, which means that swimming here will probably include murky water and views of a massive tanker. The draw is access to the coral reef of the Red Sea, which offers some of the best snorkeling and scuba diving in the world. While the luxury hotels do front the sea, their beaches are not the ones with good snorkeling, so you should arrange for a half- or full-day excursion or charter a boat to one of the beaches to the south.

The city has some areas with expensive villas, since this is where the country’s elite, including the royal family, come to enjoy the seaside. While the beach is not very inviting in town, a short car ride grants access to a more picturesque Red Sea and visitors will understand why it tops scuba divers lists. With the world’s northernmost coral reef ecosystem, the Red Sea boasts hundreds of different species of corals, which attract an incredibly diverse marine life, from dolphins, turtles and sea cows to tropical fish. It’s a great spot for first-time divers—the reefs are so close to shore that you don’t need a boat for diving, the waters are warm year-round and there are many dive centers who will do PADI training and certification.

Written by Melissa Biggs Bradley

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