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Diving Info and Prices
We will show you the very best that underwater Eilat has to offer: coral reefs, wrecks, and lots of the exotic and very diverse sea life that the Red Sea is famous for. You'll enjoy our top-notch diving gear, personal service and hassle-free diving.
In May 2017 we introduced our custom-built dive boat Ashira, to add a new dimension – and new dive sites – to our daily dive excursions. Whether you choose to enjoy boat diving or shore diving, we select the best sites every day in accordance with your interests and preferences, and your level of certification and experience.
Diving Info and Prices
If you would like to dive with us but you're not a certified diver, please visit our Discover Scuba Diving page.
We go out for two-tank boat and shore dive trips every morning in small groups – usually no more than 4 certified divers per guide. We always do our best to match up divers by certification level and experience.
The day starts with pick-up at your hotel or other accommodation, generally starting at 9:00 am. If you've arranged to come on your own, please arrive between 9:00 and 9:15. The first stop is our dive center, where on your first day we'll deal with paperwork and get you fitted with equipment. Then relax for a little while until the staff gets everything loaded on the boat, or on one of our vehicles if you're shore-diving. All of the dive sites are about 5-15 minutes away by car or 15-20 minutes by boat. Our boat docks about 100 meters (300 ft) from the dive center.
Our dive times depend on your air consumption, and hour-long dives are not uncommon. After the first dive we take an hourlong surface interval on the boat or the beach with mineral water and snacks while we switch your tanks, then it's off to a second dive site. We're usually back at the dive center by 2:00 or 2:30pm, where you're free to use the freshwater showers and change, and log your dives while perusing fish ID books.
Single shore dives, afternoon dives and night dives must be arranged in advance and may require a minimum number of divers.
The fine print: please read our section on Israeli diving law to learn about insurance requirements, minimum age, and maximum depths.
‘Refresher’ DivesThe Israeli Diving Authority requires divers who haven't dived in 6 months to undergo a ‘refresher’ dive consisting of a few underwater exercises and checking that you can reasonably maintain your buoyancy. (If you have 50 dives then it's 12 months, and if you're a Master Scuba Diver or dive professional then you're exempt.) We do not charge for a separate 'refresher dive' – if necessary we'll do the exercises at the beginning of your first dive, and you'll still have plenty of air left for a great dive.
Diving Prices, updated July 2017Prices include complete equipment, including a dive computer; free nitrox for nitrox-certified divers; hotel pick-up and return; mineral water and between-dive snacks.
For many travelling divers, there's nothing like hopping on a boat and heading out to sea for a day of scuba diving. We offer daily two-tank dives
Our dive boat Ashira offers a comfortable, shaded ride for up to two or three small groups of divers, and a stable platform for entering and exiting the water. At present, all of our dives take place at moored dive sites.
A Few Restrictions
If you need a 'refresher dive' under Israeli diving regulations (see the section above), then you may not be able to go out on the boat on your first day. A couple of boat moorings are close enough to shore to allow
a surface-swim from the boat to shallow water for the refresher exercises, but we don't go there every day and generally don't know in advance.
Also, if you haven't dived with us previously and you're a PADI Scuba Diver or equivalent, or an Open Water Diver with no more than 10 total logged dives, or a diver with modest experience who hasn't dived for at least a couple of years, we probably won't let you go out on the boat on the first day. Please don't get mad at us – your safety really does come first, and because the moorings themselves are a bit deep, we want to be sure that you'll be able to handle the open-ocean entry and maintain neutral buoyancy on descent.
These restrictions apply even if you specifically booked boat dives!
The Gulf of Eilat developed as a premier shore diving destination because of the incredible proximity of the reef to the shore. Most
shore entries in Eilat are surprisingly easy: you'll be wearing diving boots and we will be there to lend a helping hand when you walk into the sea.
Diving from the beach is especially suited for beginners who can still feel some land under their feet until they disappear under the water surface for the first time, but many experienced divers also enjoy the relaxed approach of diving from the shore.
If you need assistance with your equipment, don't be embarassed to ask – we'll gladly carry your scuba unit in and out of the water, and provide whatever assistance you need.
For dives from the pier in the Coral Beach Nature Reserve (Dive site No. 11 below), entry and exit are via the stairs at the end of the pier. Depending on the tide, which in Eilat is less than a meter either way, you can walk in or jump in. When exiting the water, your dive guide will go up first so that you can hand up your weights, or even your entire scuba unit if you prefer.
Nature Reserve Pier
We dive along the 14km (9 mi) of Israeli coastline at the northern end of the Gulf of Eilat, a narrow extension of the Red Sea bordered by Egypt, Israel, Jordan and Saudi Arabia. Without exaggeration, nobody knows these reefs better than we do. We visit some dive sites that nobody else goes to, either because they're unfamiliar even to experienced Eilat dive instructors, or because they're only suitable for more advanced divers.
What You'll SeeFun things that are very often seen include many species of moray eels, all kinds of scorpionfishes, stonefishes and lionfishes, octopi, shrimps and crabs, and various nudibranchs and shelled molluscs. We may occasionally encounter turtles, blue-spotted stingrays, frogfishes, eagle rays and ghost pipefishes, but they are not everyday sightings. Besides the dozens of species of colorful reef fishes, we'll occasionally see predators like jacks, both large and small barracuda species, dogtooth tunas and Spanish mackerels.
Dive sites are listed below in north-to-south order. Advanced sites are marked with one of the following: AOW means the site is limited to divers who are at least Advanced Open Water certified because of maximum depth of 30m (100 ft). AOW/N means that the advanced site is best dived on Nitrox. DEEP means that we can only take divers certified to dive to 40m (130 ft), either as a Deep Diver, tech diver, or dive professional.
Northern Dive Sites
The northern sites are located 'in town' or just outside of it, and offer a variety of unique underwater experiences as well as easy-access dive training opportunities.
The venerable Sunboat had a long and diverse history on the water, including time spent as the first liveaboard diving boat in Sinai.
It was donated to the diving community as an artificial reef by its colorful owner, longtime Eilat sea captain Shimshon Mashiach, and was purposely sunk in 2010 almost 300m (1,000 ft) off the north shore of the Gulf, between Herod's and the religious (single-sex) beach.
Unfortunately, the location for the sinking was poorly chosen by the authorities, as the boat sits in silty sand that limits visibility, and the situation gets worse every year because of storm runoff from the Arava Valley into the sea. The 30m (100 ft) wreck sits at a depth of about 13m (43 ft) and would be accessible to all divers but for the silty conditions which can make diving the lower-deck living quarters very challenging.
3. Underwater Restaurant
The Red Sea Star underwater restaurant was a grandiose engineering project and spectacular business failure. Twice.
In recent years, much of the coral growth on and around the structure has been trampled to death by an unregulated underwater 'scooter' attraction. Nevertheless, this site makes a very enjoyable second or third dive, with a maximum depth of about 14m (45 ft) and lots to see.
2. City Reef
We come here often for Discover Scuba dives when the visibility is good, and also for Open Water Course training dives. The site features a pleasant mini-reef dropping off from about 2m (6.5 ft) down to about 5-6m (15-20 ft) at a distance of about 20m (65 ft) from the beach entrance. Farther out there are several nice coral pinnacles with a surprisingly diverse fish population. Dives here are to a maximum of 7-8m (23-26 ft).
4. Dekel (Palm) Beach
Dekel Beach is a great training site with a number of healthy coral pinnacles surrounded by colorful fishes. This is one of our favorite site for Discover Scuba Diving programs as well as confined water dives (and initial open-water dives) in Open Water and Scuba Diver courses. We usually dive here to a maximum of 12m (30 ft).
5. Song of the Sea Canyon
AOW/N BOAT OR SHORE
At the southern end of Dekel Beach, this advanced dive site has a landscape unlike any other in Eilat: a sandy channel sloping down from 18m (60 ft) to over 30m (100 ft) is flanked on both sides by coral-covered canyon walls that slope up to a healthy and diverse coral reef plateau on both sides.
Coral Beach Area
The northern sites are located 'in town' or just outside of town, and offer a variety of unique underwater experiences as well as easy-access dive training opportunities.
6. Sufa Missile Boat (Satil)
BOAT OR SHORE
One of the most popular dives in Eilat, the Saar 3-class missile boat Sufa (Storm) was removed from active service in the Israeli Navy after 25 years and sunk in 1994 as a dive attraction.
Standing upright in 25m (82 ft) of water, this 48m (150 ft) long steel-hulled former warship is accessible for all levels of divers (except Scuba Divers). The deck lies at a depth of 20m (66 ft) and so the entire superstucture and soft coral-bedecked instrumentation mast rising to a depth of 12m (40 ft) can be enjoyed by everybody. More advanced divers will enjoy a little bit of exploration in the below-decks areas opened to the sea.
The history of this ship is no less fascinating than the dive itself. The Sufa was one of the famous Boats of Cherbourg (link to wikipedia page) liberated from that French seaport in a daring 1969 Israeli operation, following an export embargo imposed by French president De Gaulle.
We often use the site for a Wreck Adventure Dive as part of an Advanced Open Water Course, and it's perfect for planning and executing all of the dives of the PADI Wreck Diver Specialty Course. The grassy part of the slope leading down to the wreck is also a premier location for night dives featuring nudibranchs, sea hares (in late winter), cuttlefishes and lots of other interesting invertebrates.
There are a number of routes to explore through healthy corals and spectactular underwater scenery east and north of the Yatush, all of them deeper than 30m (100 ft). East of the Yatush (further down the slope) is a natural amphitheater of sand surrounded by an oval bowl of dense corals, giving the area its name.
The sandy bottom of the amphi is at 45m (147 ft) but a good view of the area can be had by looping around at a maximum depth of no more than 40m (130 ft). The amphi is actually one of several deep ‘amphis’ in a chain but at this site we're more likely to want to explore an area of dramatic coral formations on the dropoff from 30m to 40m (100 ft to 130 ft).
Beyond (east of) the Satil lies a seemingly endless field of dense hard corals with average depth of about 27m (90 ft). This is a nice advanced dive to do on nitrox, and if you've got good air consumption we can combine this site with a tour of the Satil on a single dive.
8. Netz Patrol Boat (Yatush)
Netz-class patrol boats saw service in the Israeli Navy in the 1970s, but having been built by the US for riverine warfare in Vietnam were not well suited to the rigors of the open sea. This retired Netz-class boat was purposely dropped on the reef during the 1980s at 30m (100 ft) just north of Site No. 7, Coral Beach. It's popularly called the Yatush because at some point in time it was misidentified as one of the Yatush-class patrol boats that had been stationed on the Dead Sea and the name, inexplicably, stuck.
Students of American politics will recall the controversy in the 2004 presidential election surrounding candidate John Kerry's Vietnam War-era service aboard a US Navy ‘Swift Boat.’ This is your opportunity to dive to one!
However, at a length of only 15m (50 ft) and endowed with an aluminum hull on which nothing grows, the Yatush is not a very interesting wreck dive. We occasionally use it for the deep dive of the Advanced Open Water Course or upon customer request, in which case we try to add some exploration of the coral slope south of the boat to make an outing of it. We also may visit as part of a deeper dive in the area – read on...
10. Coral Beach
The Coral Beach area is where the large Eilat dive centers are concentrated, just north of the fence marking the northern border of the Coral Beach Nature Reserve. We do training dives here but not guided dives (except occasionally to head out to the Yatush or Amphi sites) because the area is dominated by large sandy expanses and a lot of student divers.
Coral Beach Nature Reserve
Dive Sites |
The 'closed' part of the Coral Beach Nature Reserve is accessible from shore only by paying an entrance fee, or by boat. Shore access is from a wooden pier with broad stairs leading down to the water. While the nature reserve actually extends south all the way to the Egyptian border, this fence-enclosed area contains some of the healthiest and most diverse sections of coral reef. Because of the sensitive nature of the enviroment, we can't take inexperienced divers here on their first day of diving with us.
11. Nature Reserve / Moses Rock
The area south of the entrance pier comprises a couple hundred meters of dense reef – it's really a continuation of the northern Japanese Gardens site – highlighted by a coral-rich ‘mini-wall’ dropping off to 39m (127 ft) which makes it a favorite dive site for both AOW and Deep-certified divers.
There is a small surcharge for diving here to cover the entrance fee.
12 and 13. Japanese Gardens —
South Beach Dive
The South Beach sites are located over several kilometers just north of the Taba border crossing with Egypt. This is an area of diverse coral reefs, lively shallow coral pinnacles (bommies) and eel gardens, deep coral fields and lots of interesting fish life. Although not closed off with a fence, the South Beach is still a part of the Coral Beach Nature Reserve and the rules of the reserve still apply here – keep your hands, legs and fins off the environment!
14. Lighthouse Reef
This stretch of reef can be dived to any depth. A shallow, colorful, sunlit reef gives way to a slope that drops off to more than 30m (100 ft).
Unlike the sites further south where the shallow areas are characterized by coral pinnacles extending nearly to the surface from a mostly sandy bottom, Lighthouse Reef has a broad shallow expanse densely covered with small hard coral heads. The corals are full of small damselfishes and many other colorful reef fishes.
The slope, which flattens out somewhat below a depth of 30m (100 ft) is also interesting and often yields surprises.br>
AOW or DEEP SHORE
The deeper area off the slope of the Three Sisters site features dramatic underwater scenery marked by large hard coral colonies. A dive to 40m (130 ft) here is highly recommended for any appropriately certified divers, but even when starting from a depth of 30m (100 ft), the reefscape is impressive. We'll generally sweep south over the deep landscape and then make our way back up to the slope and to the adjacent ‘Caves’ site as described earlier. More often than not, a gentle north-south current will help us along the way. On rare occasions the current will be going in the other direction and we'll head north in the direction of Lighthouse Reef. Currents in Eilat cannot really be predicted with any accuracy because tidal flows are so minimal, but gentle north-to-south currents are the most common. Strong currents are rare.
18. Veronica Rock
Veronica Rock is a typical South Beach site with a shallow sandy area dotted with small coral pinnacles, and a slope that falls off from about 6m (20 ft) to about 27m (90 ft). The Veronica Rock is a pinnacle at 10m (33 ft) that offers a lot of fish action.
This is a pleasant dive site for Open Water divers, with lots to see at moderate depths.
20. Twin Peaks
Twin Peaks marks the southern end of the Ridge with two unique coral pinnacles literally buzzing with fish life. We used to dive this site from shore (with Nitrox-certified divers only), but since we instituted daily boat diving there's no need to work so hard!
The area we'll explore is a mostly flat expanse of hard corals beginning at a depth of around 25m (80 ft), and if time permits (meaning: depending on your air consumption) we'll dive through some of the adjacent Neptune's Tables site.
22. Neptune's Tables
BOAT OR SHORE
The southernmost dive site in the State of Israel! This area, south of the Princess hotel and north of the entrance to the Taba (Egypt) border terminal, has long been known (and named) for the impressive acropora tables found in the deeper sections of the site.
But this site, one of our favorites, offers much more: The shallow reef table (3-6m, 10-20 ft) includes healthy sunlit coral pinnacles loaded with diverse sea life, and the largest colony of garden eels in Eilat. On the patch reef slope (6-25m, 20-80 ft) are large and small coral pinnacles with colorful reef fishes swimming through holes in the coral. Eventually the slope flattens out to grassy meadows that extend to 30m (100 ft) and beyond, punctuated by large acropora tables and other corals. It's not uncommon to see colorful nudibranchs here in winter.
15. Three Sisters
This is a versatile site with a number of underwater routes available to us. The name speaks to the three beautiful coral pinnacles spaced out along the shallow sandy-bottomed reef table to the south.
Very often we'll turn a dive that starts here into a one-way tour (or even a mild drift dive if there's some movement in the water). In this case we'll exit at the adjacent ‘Caves’ site which is used by other Eilat dive centers for their shallow ‘intro’ dives, and your dive guide will walk back to bring the vehicle and pick you up at the exit with your gear.
The area around the entrance of this site is the only place on the South Beach where the Nature Authority allows dive training for beginner divers, so we'll sometimes come here either for Discover Scuba Diving programs or for one or more confined-water dives of the Open Water course.
17. Coral Hill
Coral Hill is the northernmost of a number of South Beach boat moorings that take us to areas of dense coral away from the onshore reef.
In addition to the deep 'coral hill', we can dive the slope and explore the shallow, sunlit areas here as well.
19. The Ridge
The Ridge is another great South Beach site where we begin our dive away from the comfort of the onshore slope and explore the reef beyond.
TThe reef lying beyond the bottom of the Veronica Rock slope is a seemingly endless, undulating expanse of diverse hard corals, at depths mostly between 25 and 27m (80-90 ft). The Ridge extends both north and south, but unless there's a strong current coming from the north we'll go south to visit the densest and most interesting sections.
21. Princess Beach
The area between and south of the two swimming piers of the (now-closed) Princess Hotel offers a fine area for deep exploration with an average depth of about 25m (82 ft), and sunlit coral gardens no more than a few meters deep. It can also sometimes be interesting to discover what sealife is sheltering under the two piers.
Nudibranch dives! (February-May)
Contact us for more information
We have to mention these because people ask us all the time. There's so much incorrect and outdated information on the internet that it's hard to keep up. Here are the ones we get asked about most:
DOLPHIN REEF is not a dive site. It's a privately owned attraction where people can book diving and snorkeling experiences with captive Black Sea dolphins. You can also just pay for entrance to their beach, and you may even see a dolphin while enjoying their beach.
THE EEL GARDEN is a shallow patch of sand in the Coral Beach training area with some garden eels. There are more impressive eel gardens that we can visit as part of some South Beach dive sites like Neptune's Tables.
TAMAR REEF (Shunit Tamar) is an ugly chunk of concrete a small artificial reef structure at 6m (20 ft) in a barren, sandy area of the Coral Beach training site. Marine biology students glue corals on it every year to make it look alive, though it has attracted a permanent fish population.
UNIVERSITY is an extension of the Lighthouse Reef dive site (No. 14) where the students at the adjacent interuniversity marine institute have set up coral-growing experiments, most of which appear to have failed. We think it's ugly and uninteresting.
THE CAVES comprises a very shallow section (3-4m, 10ft) of reef table with a couple of holes in the coral. There aren't any caves! It's heavily used for intro dives for non-divers. It's a nice, colorful area and worth a few minutes of your time (but not a whole dive), so we often exit here on a dive starting at Three Sisters, Wonderland or Coral Hill.
Snorkeling in Eilat can be a lot of fun because you can see most
of the colorful Red Sea reef fishes right on the shallow sunlit
We offer guided snorkeling trips to the best snorkeling beaches in Eilat (in our opinion): Princess Beach and Lighthouse Beach. Guided snorkeling trips include all the equipment you need, and an experienced guide. Equipment includes mask and snorkel, boots and fins (we go in from the shore, so you'll appreciate the boots), and wetsuits (we recommend a shorty in summer and a full-length suit for winter), which help keep you both warm and afloat. We have a couple of optical masks available at no extra charge on a first-come, first-served basis. On double guided snorkeling trips we'll take you to 2 different snorkeling beaches (generally the two mentioned above) and provide a little snack in between.
We also rent snorkeling equipment to accompanying non-divers who want to do some independent snorkeling while their diver pals are underwater. Please note that if we are diving in the Coral Beach Nature Reserve, accompanying non-divers will have to pay the full NIS 33 entrance fee.
Sorry, we generally can't take snorkelers out on our boat because the boat moorings are outside the buoyed safe swimming and snorkeling zones.
Snorkeling PricesGuided snorkeling prices are per group and include full equipment (mask, snorkel, fins, diving boots and wetsuit), hotel pick-up and return, and mineral water.