The Dead Sea is an unmissable destination during a trip to Jordan, known for its extreme salinity which allows you to float effortlessly on its surface.
However, Dead Sea beaches are not sandy nor that inviting, unlike other seas. This is because the Dead Sea, despite its name, is in fact a salt lake. Being below sea level in one of the driest areas of the planet, its few tributaries and scarce rainfall cannot compensate for the high evaporation. The sea level then recedes more and more, leaving huge deposits of salt on the shores.
The situation is so critical that the Dead Sea could be destined to disappear in the medium-long term. The governments of Jordan and Israel are studying potential solutions, such as a long aqueduct linking the Red Sea to the Dead Sea.
Returning to present day, the Dead Sea is undoubtedly one of the major tourist attractions in the Israel-Jordan region. On the Jordan side there are a dozen resorts with equipped beaches where you can enter the water easily. Alternatively, walking down from Highway 65 which runs along the lake, there are some public beaches for free swimming in the Dead Sea. In these spots the sea has a less immediate but more scenographic access, with the bright white of the crystallised salt standing out in a spectacular way.
WHERE TO SWIM IN THE DEAD SEA IN JORDAN?
DEAD SEA BEACHES – PRIVATE
Let’s start with the easiest solution, the Dead Sea private beaches within the resorts. These are 4-5 star establishments, slightly dated, but with all the comforts needed to spend a day at the Dead Sea. Changing rooms, toilets and showers, on-site bar and restaurant, swimming pool, and in some cases even a shuttle bus to reach the beach, as the sea keeps on retreating and moving away from the resorts! However, prices can be excessive, ranging from €26 at Amman Beach Dead Sea, up to €150-200 per night in a resort during high season.
RAMADA RESORT DEAD SEA
Traveling in November and booking just a week before leaving, we found a room at the Ramada Resort for €55. Having arrived there sweaty after visiting the Bethany beyond Jordan site, it was a pleasure to dip in the pool at two in the afternoon. For sunset we went down to the beach, about 400 metres from the resort, accessible both on foot and by shuttle.
The beach is supervised by the resort staff. There are deck chairs, umbrellas, showers to get rid of salt, a well with beneficial mud from the Dead Sea. The small rectangle of sea in which to swim is marked with buoys and ropes, and kept clean from salt deposits. As a matter of fact, walking a few metres outside of it, you’ll start noticing the typical salt masses, which make access to the water a bit more complicated.
Step into the water and drop backwards in order to float on the Dead Sea!
If you’d rather not spend a night in the area, Amman Beach Dead Sea could be right for you. It’s a complex where you can access the equipped beach, which includes a swimming pool, bar and changing rooms, to be used before and after swimming in the extra salty waters.
Entrance to the facility is 20JD (26€) per person. It is also possible to rent towels or pay a small fee to use the mud with healthy properties. Another similar place nearby is O-Beach, slightly to the south.
DEAD SEA BEACHES – FREE
The day after our night at the hotel, we still wanted to check the situation at the Dead Sea free beaches. For those with limited time or budget, there are good alternative solutions. Relying on Google Maps helps but it’s not a guarantee, obviously it’s better to stop and look on site. But below we list the points marked on the map where we found other Dead Sea public beaches.
DEAD SEA FREE SWIMMING
Driving south, shortly after the Wadi Mujib bridge, is the spot marked as Dead Sea Free Swimming. From the parking area, which itself offers a beautiful panoramic view, just walk down to the small beach. Beware of underwater salt which can be slippery or sharp. All around you’ll notice the very white blocks of crystallized salt, a truly wonderful sight.
Shower quickly after bathing, Dead Sea salt can be harmful to the skin if not rinsed. The locals you’ll find by the huts will ask you 1-2 JD to use their improvised showers. Drink plenty of water, the 10-minute climb up from the beach back to your car, combined with the reflective white salt and scorching sun, was really dehydrating for us!
Heading on south, among the various places where it is possible to stop, we recommend the point marked as Salt Beach (set Maps in English to see corresponding names). Coming down here you’ll see the salt in grains similar to hailstones.
Be careful when entering the water as the sharpest blocks can cut the skin under your feet. Water shoes would be ideal. Again make sure there’s some local gentleman with water available in portable tanks, in order to shower yourself after dipping in.
THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT THE DEAD SEA SALINITY
- You are at the lowest point on Earth: between 390-420 m below sea level.
- Average salinity of 31% (Mediterranean Sea 3.5%).
- Do not dip your eyes, lips, hair, head. Rinse immediately with fresh water if necessary.
- Do not enter the water with fresh cuts on your body, or if you have just shaved, it will burn!
- Remove jewelry and wear a dark swimsuit, salt ruins fabrics.
- To dip in, let yourself fall backwards, your legs will “magically” float up!
- Swimming is very difficult, almost impossible, avoid diving and splashing.
- Do not stay in the water for more than 15-20 minutes at a time, shower immediately after bathing.
- Use the muds after the bath for 10 minutes, remove them in the water once dry.
- Rinse well your flip-flops, swimsuit, and everything that comes in contact with the salt.
We leave you with this short reel we created following our stay at the Dead Sea in Jordan. A once in a lifetime experience!
Below you can find more info about the Dead Sea and Jordan.
HOTEL – WHERE TO STAY BY THE DEAD SEA, JORDAN
- You can book all your stays in Jordan with free cancellation here.
- Ramada Resort Dead Sea: perfect to enjoy the Dead Sea experience.
- Movenpick Dead Sea: luxury resort and private beach.
- Comfy Stays at Dead Sea: rooms and apartments in Sowayma village.
HOW TO GET AROUND
- Car: international car rental companies are at Queen Alia Airport, slightly more expensive than the Jordanian ones which have offices 10-15 minutes away and pick you up at the airport. The cheapest options start at $25/day, petrol costs around $1.60 per litre. With an additional 20-30$ per day on average it is possible to hire a driver for your trip to Jordan.
Check out your options for renting a car in Jordan here.
WEATHER&CLIMATE – WHEN TO GO TO JORDAN?
Jordan has different regions and climates, with hills, sea and deserts. Although the sun in Jordan feels very hot, the temperature is not always high. Amman is cool in the evening especially in the winter months, being over 1,000 meters above sea level. Even in Wadi Rum the thermal shock is considerable, you will need to cover yourself well as soon as the sun sets.
In the winter months there can be severe thunderstorms and flash floods, so as to flood Petra and its canyons. Snow is also not uncommon in January or February, although it melts quickly during the day.
The Dead Sea is an inhospitable and hot place, don’t stay more than half an hour under the scorching sun. In the same way, it is recommended to take baths of less than 15 minutes due to the extreme salinity of the water.
Bring comfortable walking shoes, long but light clothes, a hat, sunscreen and plenty of water!
ONLINE IDP – INTERNATIONAL DRIVING PERMIT
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