Eilat is the southernmost point in Israel and home to some of the only scuba diving in the country. After arriving in the city, the first thing you’ll notice after stepping out of the airport or bus is the extreme heat.
Hitting 40°C in July and August, Eilat is one heated place to be. If you want to dive in some neighboring countries as well, trips to Jordan and Egypt can easily be made as they are a short drive away.
The History of Eilat
Like most places in Israel, Eilat is rich in history dating all the way back to 7 CE. It’s been held at one point by each the Romans, Syrians, and Egyptians, and well Israelis!
In 1949, the town began to grow as it was officially handed over to Israel and a port opened up allowing for trade and flow of immigrants. In modern times, Eilat is a tourist madhouse with some of the most unique malls and shopping areas available.
Diving in Eilat, Israel
If you can look past the heat, and make it into the water, you’ll begin to see just why so many divers from Israel and around the world decide to take their dive vacations here. For the geographically challenged, Eilat is based on a small channel of the Red Sea which is home to some of the most unique and beautiful marine life out there.
From the whale shark that frequents the area, endless dolphins and vibrant nudibranchs, Eilat has it all.
For the most part, the diving conditions in Eilat are rather beginner-friendly. Due to the relatively consistent weather, you can expect a pretty similar water temperature.
Best Dive Sites in Eilat
Diving at the Sunboat Shipwreck
The sunboat shipwreck is one of the most interesting dive sites in Eilat as it features one main wreck connected to many smaller wrecks. This site is crawling with infinite lionfish and other reef fish using the wreck for protection. There’s even a famous turtle that lives inside the boat. Once a liveaboard and now an artificial reef, this dive site is sometimes victim to poor visibility due to its poor placement. Other than that, this dive site is a must-see! If you’re lucky, you may even see a crocodile fish.
Diving at the Sufa Shipwreck
What makes this dive site so unique is that it’s a part of history. You can learn more about why here, but this boat was once an Israeli military boat that was “stolen” by the French. It’s a complicated story and we won’t choose sides, but it’s an interesting read. The site is around the 25-meter mark making it a good fit for intermediate to advanced divers.
If you decide to traverse the lower levels of the wreck, you may need to have certain shipwreck certifications for safety precautions. It’s truly an incredible dive site and story.
Diving at the Neptunes Tables
Neptunes Tables is another interesting one that takes place towards the border of Israel and Egypt. While it can be accessed from the shore, it’s a bit of a swim. This site is around 15 meters deep but hits close to 40 at some points. The more advanced a diver you are, the better this site will be for you. Featuring endless tables of Acropora, a stony looking coral, this dive site is pretty unique. Here you’ll find plenty of eels, reef fish, and if your lucky some rays.
Dive Shops in Eilat
When it comes to picking a dive center, you have a few options. Shulamit’s Eilat diving adventures is the one I used and is likely the most popular. They are one of the few in Eilat with their own boat. Other options include Nautilus diving, Ahla diving, and Snuba diving center.
Generally speaking, Israel is a relatively expensive country. As far as dive pricing goes, diving in Eilat isn’t that pricey comparatively.
Expect to pay these prices for the following certifications and excursions:
- Open water certification: 1650 NIS ($470)
- Advanced certification: 1200 NIS ($340)
- Nitrox: 525 NIS ($150)
- 2 Tank Boat Dive: 400 NIS ($115)
- Night Dive: 200 NIS ($55)
Diving in Eilat is an incredible experience not done by many due to its location. While diving here, you’ll not only see the beautiful sea life the Red Sea has to offer, but some remarkable history to go along with it.