All About Diving in Eilat
This page contains information relating to diving in Eilat, including the Israeli Diving Law and how it might impact you. I've also included some information on Eilat's non-diving activities.
Click here for info on the Israeli Diving Law
Click here for the medical form (worthwhile before you come)
Click here for info on non-diving activities
What makes Eilat such a great place to dive?
The short answer: Warm water, beautiful coral reef, easy shore entries, wide choice of accommodation options, reliable weather.
Here's the longer answer:
• Warm water
Water temperatures here in Eilat allow you to dive comfortably all year 'round. In summer the water temperature goes up to 27 °C. (80-81 °F) and down to around 21°C (70 °F) in winter. I'll provide the appropriate wetsuit for every season to make sure that you're comfortable.
• Easy shore entries
In Eilat, we simply walk into the sea and the coral reef
is right there. All entries are easy. This is especially
nice for beginners who can still feel some land under their feet until they disappear under the water surface for the first time.
• Lots to see — corals, fishes and wrecks
In Eilat, we have a coral reef with vibrant and exotic fish life and lots of other interesting creatures like crabs, octopuses and even occasional turtles. In fact, the Red Sea is renowned for the richness and variety of fish species and invertebrates. There are also 2 wrecks which attract a lot of sea life. All of the photos on this site were taken in Eilat by me or my diving partner.
• Reliable weather
The sun shines and the sea is calm nearly every day of the year. Even winter has only a few cloudy days.
• Resort atmosphere
Eilat is a resort town and offers lots of activities for non-diving family members. There are plenty of restaurants, kosher and otherwise, something for every taste. Visitors to Eilat enjoy the beautiful landscape of a deep blue sea surrounded by colorful mountains.
• Wide range of accommodations
In Eilat, you can choose from a wide range of
accommodations to suit any budget. Hotels range from the
fanciest hotels in the country to simple hostel-type
By the way, taxis are cheap (and Eilat is small), and note that tipping is not expected since taxis are considered a form of public transportation. Always remember to ask taxi drivers to turn on the meter and ask for a receipt. (This applies everywhere in Israel.)
What you need to know about the Israeli Diving Law
- Diving insurance is mandatory by law for every certified diver who wants to dive in Israel.
This includes certified divers enrolled in Advanced Open Water or Specialty courses.
This does not apply to students in Open Water Diver
or Scuba Diver courses, as well as Discover Scuba
Diving program participants.
Don't panic - If you don't bring proof of diving insurance,
we can arrange it for you when you get here. Short-term insurance
for 5 days, covering the period of your trip, can be had
on the internet for about $25. I would recommend, however, that any traveling divers take out insurance before leaving home.
Also travel insurance or any other insurance you may
have, may cover diving. In this case, no additional
diving insurance will be necessary. Please check it
out before your trip. Divers Alert Network (DAN) offers excellent insurance coverage. The money you pay DAN will be used for medical research in diving and for assisting divers all over the world. See the websites of DAN America and DAN Europe as appropriate.
If decide to take out the short-term Israeli diving insurance only valid for the time you are diving in Israel, here's
- The minimum age in Israel for all diving is 12.
- We are not allowed to take divers deeper than their certification level. If you are an Open Water Diver with diving experience below 20m (66ft) you can sign up for PADI Adventure Dives to explore the deeper reef to 30m (100ft) at no extra cost - but since Israeli law considers it a course environment, requirements for a medical statement (or clearance) apply.
Medical Statement - Read before you go
All course participants must submit a complete medical statement form before beginning the course. If you'd like to read over the form (and possibly consult with your physician) before you come, you may download the form here (adobe pdf).
Please note that if you are over 45 years of age, Israeli regulations require that you obtain a physician's OK to participate in the diving course - and taking care of this at home (i.e., bringing a medical statement form signed by your personal physician) is highly recommended.
What to do in Eilat when you're not diving
Other than eating and sleeping, there's lots to do in Eilat when you or your traveling companions are not diving. Here's a brief overview of my recommendations.
Snorkeling: best in the Coral Beach Nature Reserve (with admission fee, or free from the fence at Ben-Harush Beach opposite Isrotel Manta if you don't mind finning the 400 meters/yards to the famous Moses Rock) or at various places along the South Beach, especially at Lighthouse Beach (migdalor in Hebrew), opposite Snuba, or opposite the Princess Hotel. Be sure to use sun protection - a lycra shirt is best. In the winter months you might want a light wetsuit.
Hiking: The area around Eilat is blessed with natural beauty that isn't found in too many places in the world. Colorful hills and rock formations, canyons, and marked hiking and walking trails make for a wonderful hourlong, half-day or full-day excursion from November to April, when the weather is fantastic for walking. You can go hiking in May or October in the early morning, but unfortunately it can be too hot from June to September, even at dawn.
Even if you don't have a car, there is magnificent hiking right opposite the South Beach, leading up to Mt. Tzfahot with fantastic views - ask me for directions. You can also hire a guide to take you to the amazing Timna Park only half an hour north of Eilat. Some nearby popular hiking destinations are appropriate for the entire family. I recommend the Red Canyon and Amram's Pillars. You can get there by car or with a guide, and enjoy outworldly scenery without too much effort.
People used to enjoy taking a day-trip over the border to visit Petra but the Jordanians recently and inexplicably decided to double the entrance fee for day-trippers, putting it beyond the reach of many.
Attractions: The most popular attractions in Eilat are the Coral World Observatory and the Dolphin Reef. The Coral World Observatory is an Eilat landmark and features a look out on the coral reef through underwater windows. The facility also includes typical and atypical aquarium exhibits, including live feeding shows. It may not be the ideal day activity in the summer, as most of your time will be out of doors, but otherwise it can be an enjoyable experience, especially for the non-divers in your group. The Dolphin Reef houses a pod of captive dolphins in an underwater enclosure and offers snorkeling and diving experiences in the presence of dolphins. The beach is very nice and the landscaping pleasant. Dolphin Reef is a private enterprise and only their own personnel can conduct diving and snorkeling there. Snorkeling with dolphins as opposed to diving with dolphins generally gets higher ratings among our clients.
Other attractions in Eilat include ice skating at the new and fabulous Ice Mall near the main hotel area. There is also a movie theater and the Eilat Museum.
For those who have never experienced a camel ride, you can do that at the Eilat Camel Ranch. They take you out into an adjacent wadi (Nahal Shlomo) where you can have a great desert experience. It is a well run outfit where getting on and off the camel can be done easily and safely.
Windsurfing is also popular here - on most days the wind is mild enough to take an introductory lesson.