Gulf of Aqaba, Jordan

Orange lyretail anthias swimming on the reef, Gulf of Aqaba
Orange lyretail anthias swimming on the reef, Gulf of Aqaba


LOCATION The Gulf of Aqaba borders Jordan, Egypt, Israel, and Saudi Arabia

SCUBA DIVING The shallows boast patches of reef while the deeper waters have coral-coated slopes

DAYTIME TEMPERATURES Jan: 55°F (12°C); Apr: 91°F (32°C); Jul: 98°F (36°C); Oct: 78°F (26°C)

The city of Aqaba sits at the top of Jordan’s small share of the Red Sea coast, but drive a short way toward the Saudi border and you’ll find pretty and uncrowded coral reefs that run right up to the shore. “Bommies” (coral outcrops) decorate the sand here like flowerbeds.

Anthias, damselfish, and lionfish are common sights, while prehistoric slipper lobsters are more unusual. The wreck of the cargo vessel Cedar Pride, which sank in 1982, adds a fascinating dimension to diving in the area. And for those who like a dash of ancient history to balance their days at sea, no place is quite like Jordan.

Emerge from the reefs at the top of the Gulf of Aqaba and head inland to the rose-red city of Petra – the perfect foil for the underwater realm.

Practical Information

Getting There and Around Flights land at Aqaba airport but few are direct – most go via the capital city, Amman. Aqaba is small enough to explore on foot. Dive centers provide transportation to the sites.

When to Go Diving is available all year round, but July and August can be unbearably hot, with temperatures reaching up to 122°F (50°C) at times.

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