The Dead Sea - Jordan Bucket List
Floating on the Dead Sea is easily the single most unique and surreal experience of my life.
The Dead Sea is devoid of any form of marine life and it is pretty much how it got its name.
The Dead Sea borders Jordan and Israel and lies 401 meters below sea level thus making it the lowest point on earth. Unfortunately, the Dead Sea is receding rapidly and it is said to be losing more than a meter of water annually. This is due to the fact that there is a shortage of freshwater flowing into the Dead Sea. In recent years much of the freshwater has been diverted by Jordan, Israel, Syria, and Palestine to cater to the ever-growing agriculture, irrigation, and drinking needs.
The Dead Sea is actually a lake with a highly saline body of water, the water is ten times saltier than the ocean. The Dead Sea is also laden with minerals that are said to have miraculous healing properties. As a result, the Dead Sea is very buoyant and you will naturally float. You will never sink here.
The Dead Sea is located about an hour away from Amman. As I have mentioned earlier, the best way to get around and experience Jordan is by renting a car. The drive along the Dead Sea view is absolutely scenic with spectacular views of the pristine coast.
If you look closely you will see pretty salt-encrusted crystals deposited along the shoreline. I highly recommend taking a nice slow drive along this route.
You will find various luxury and budget-friendly hotels nestled along the beachfront. Most hotels have direct access to the Dead Sea which is very convenient.
We stayed at the Hilton Dead Sea Resort and Spa. We thoroughly enjoyed our stay here as the service was top-notch. The stay includes direct access to its private beach with shower facilities to wash away the salt and mud.
The most ideal time to go for a swim at the Dead Sea is between March - April and October to November. The weather will be perfect for a dip during this time. You will also be able to avoid throngs of tourists if you visit during the off-peak season (summer). We made a trip to the Dead Sea in February and had a great experience albeit the weather was a little chilly.
I recommend that you go for a swim early in the morning or just before sunset. We opted to take a dip during the golden hour and boy we were rewarded with a stunning panoramic view of the sun descending while floating on the soothing waters. This will go down as one of the best experiences of my life.
It is not recommended to soak in the Dead Sea for more than twenty minutes because the high salinity of the water can cause dehydration. As I mentioned before, you cannot swim or dive in the Dead Sea; so you will by default float. The best way to maximize this experience is to lie on your back and just relax. You will float effortlessly. Make sure not to get any of the water in your eye as it will sting like a B*TCH!
So once you have soaked for a good 15 minutes or so, you should slather yourself generously with some Dead Sea mud. This mud is rich in minerals such as magnesium, calcium, potassium, and iron which work miracles for the skin. The mud has healing properties and it is said to be able to cure all kinds of skin ailments. It also acts as a detoxifying agent to remove toxins and impurities from the skin.
Since we stayed in Hilton, we enjoyed some additional perks in this regard. Two staff members were stationed at the mud section to help guests effectively lather the mud over their bodies. They also gave us a nice massage while they were at it.
After that, you just sit back, relax and wait for it to dry. In our case we had a full fledge photo shoot going on. Haha. It is not every day that you are covered in mud you see! hehe, We took a ton of photos and videos to solidify this memory.
Once the mud is dry, go back into the sea to wash off all the mud, and remember never to wash your face with the Dead Sea. Trust me I learned it the hard way - I got some of the saltwater in my eye and it was not pleasant, to say the least! IT IS EXTREMELY PAINFUL! I thought was going to temporarily lose my sight or something.
The next step of this regiment is exfoliation - the said staff members scrubbed our entire now semi-mud-covered bodies with some Dead Sea Salt and let me tell you that this process HURTS but it is SOOOOOOOOOOOO worth it.
Lastly proceed to the shower area for a final rinse. Voila! Feel your skin - so soft and supple like a baby's bottom! By the end, we were all glowing! My skin felt so rejuvenated and healthy.
I could not help but wonder how my skin must feel after a week of pampering and spa treatment using the dead sea mud masks/wraps.
Tips for soaking in the Dead Sea
Cuts, abrasions, or wounds will evoke a stinging sensation
Do not shave before soaking in the Dead Sea
Do not splash the Dead Sea around and do not get any of it in your eyes or mouth. It will momentarily blind you.
Be mindful of the sharp salt rock crystals while entering the dead sea. You can hurt your feet if you are not careful
Do not wear your favorite swimwear, especially if you are going to cover yourself in the magic mud.
Wear a dark-colored suit if possible as the salt fades out the color of your apparel
Keep track of time - it is not advisable to soak beyond 20 minutes as it is very dehydrating
If you want to soak in the Dead Sea, get there at least an hour before sundown because the Sea is only accessible when the lifeguard is on duty i.e. till 5 pm.
If you are spending the night at the resort and you want to purchase some souvenirs or get some food/snacks, you can check out Samarah Mall. The mall is located close to the string of resorts along the coast. It is not a very big mall but there are several restaurants, cafes, and shops selling Dead Sea products and souvenirs.
Rovers Return, a charming old-school English Pub located within the mall is a must-visit. It has a cozy ambiance and a selection of great food and drinks. I am a big fan of their blueberry cheesecake - pure creamy, tangy melt in your mouth goodness!
Day Trip to the Dead Sea
For those of you who do not intend to spend the night but would still like to experience the Dead Sea, you can consider booking a Day Pass. Most resorts have this option and the price differs according to the exclusivity of the Resort. The price ranges between 20 Jordanian Dinars for affordable or mid-range resorts such as The Dead Sea Resort, Movenpeak and 40 Jordanian Dinars per person for higher-end resorts such as Marriott and Hilton. I would suggest that you contact the respective resorts to confirm the price and the information as to what the Day Pass entails.
Alternatively, you can visit the "public beaches" i.e. Amman Beach or O Beach. I personally find this description misleading, because visitors are imposed an entrance fee of 20 JDs to access them. Reviews on Amman Beach are pretty disappointing so I would not recommend this option because it is certainly not value for money.
If your schedule does not permit you to get your money's worth or if you are on a budget but do not want to miss out on the Dead Sea experience - there are several free swimming spots available.
However please note that these places lack amenities such as shower facilities, changing areas, mud tubs, deck chairs, or other facilities that a resort might otherwise provide. Privacy is also a cause for concern. Bear in mind that you will need a lot of water to wash the mud and salt off your body, so please bring a lot of water to wash up.
Either way, the Dead Sea is an experience that should not be missed if you are visiting Jordan. Come and immerse yourself in the saltiest lake, slather on some mineral-laden mud, float on the soothing water, rinse, and be ready to GLOW! Enjoy all of this with a side of a gorgeous sunset.
This trip will go down as one of my favorite trips to date!
Next up - Wadi Rum Desert adventure! Stay tuned to see what my glamping experience looked like.
Till next time, toodles!