Go snorkeling in Israel’s Red Sea
What is your favorite place in the world you’ve traveled to and why? Israel. I lived there from 2011-2012, and recently returned from a one-month sojourn where I rented an apartment on the beach in Tel Aviv. The Miami of the Middle East, this tiny country has skiing in the north, and snorkeling in the Red Sea in the south, with camels and metropolitan cities in between. Just go. – Samantha Prince
Coral Beach Nature Reserve, located at the northern tip of the Red Sea, just outside Eilat, Israel, is a national park with more than 270 species of coral and 2,500 species of marine life. Here, the rocky coastline meets the turquoise sea, so it’s a popular hotspot for snorkelers. The 1,200-meter coral reef is a cornucopia of color, with shiny butterfly fish and parrot fish swimming close to the shoreline. This stretch of the Gulf of Aqaba, a 15-mile wide gulf that straddles the coastlines of Israel, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan, is known for its biodiversity. Octopi, dolphins, whale sharks and sea snakes live among the water plants and atoll reefs.
Getting to Coral Beach Nature Reserve is easy: Visitors can make the five-mile journey from Eilat, Israel’s southernmost city, to the national park by rental car via Route 90. Snorkeling equipment can be hired at the nature reserve. Travelers who want to discover more about underwater biology can visit the Coral World Underwater Observatory, the largest public aquarium in Israel, less than a mile along the coast. Entrance to the Coral Beach Nature Reserve costs $9 for adults and $5 for children; reservations by phone are required for groups of 30 or more.
Address: Coral Beach, Eilat, Israel