February 9th 2014
Whether you’re an underwater enthusiast or an absolute beginner, if you’re looking for a place to admire Israel’s impressive little corner of the Red Sea coral reefs, then the Coral Beach Nature Reserve is the ideal destination. Coral Beach is located just south of the city of Eilat, offering snorkeling and scuba diving experiences and a beautiful beach. For those who want an up-close and personal view of over 650 species of exotic, colorful fish and sea creatures swimming among 100 kinds of coral, Coral Beach is unparalleled.
Here, visitors can rent snorkels, masks and fins. Of course, if you’re an experienced snorkeler and have your own gear, you can certainly use it at Coral Beach, where the clear water and tremendous visibility enhance the experience of floating underwater. Some years, Coral Beach’s water temperature is comfortable even during the winter months.
Beginning snorkelers are encouraged to stay in a well-marked lane in order to better preserve the coral and exotic fish life. This degree of security helps beginners feel safer, because it’s impossible to lose track of where you are if you stay within the markers. The marked lane also has places to rest without having to remove your gear and leave the water. Other lanes are available for snorkelers and divers with more experience. In all cases, snorkelers start at the north end of the reef and walk back around on a path that runs parallel to the shoreline to go again.
Although Coral Beach reef is relatively shallow and scuba diving isn’t necessary to take advantage of the underwater safari, Coral Beach does offer beginning scuba divers a way to try diving while remaining connected via breathing tubes to a small raft. Participants are thereby exempt from wearing their own oxygen tanks! Instructions are provided and a typical session lasts 90 minutes. There is a fee for this activity, called “snuba diving.”
If you’re staying in one of the many tourist hotels in Eilat, it’s simple and inexpensive to hop on a local bus that runs between Coral Beach and downtown Eilat every 30 minutes. Lockers are available here – as are beach chairs, showers and changing rooms. There’s a modest grocery store just across the street.
The beach offers a quiet respite from the more popular, resort-flavored Eilat beaches, although the sand here is not as fine. Lots of shade is provided by umbrellas and beach huts. Keep in mind that renting gear requires a 100 shekel cash deposit. Also, we recommend that you always wear water shoes in order to protect your feet from pointy sea creatures!