Diving in Aqaba - Everything You Should Know About Wreck Diving

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Despite Jordan's small coastline, Aqaba is well known for being a fantastic location for diving and snorkelling. There are about 25 dive sites available, many of which are found inside Aqaba Marine Park. No matter what level you are at, Aqaba will have something for you. Some of the Red Sea's best dive sites can be found there.

Why Dive in Aqaba?

Aqaba is an amazing place with wondrous sights and numerous reasons why it is the perfect spot for your diving experience.
  • Massive coral and marine life: The region is home to 500 different species of coral, 1200 different fish, and more than 1000 different mollusc and crustacean species.
  • Diversity: There are both soft and hard corals in this area. The sites range in size and shape, with slopes, drop-offs, canyons, and flat bottoms along with the inhabitants. 
  • Mild weather all year long: In the summer, the water in Aqaba is about 25–28°C, and the wintertime temperature never falls below 20–22°C.
  • Accessibility: The famous diving locations in Aqaba are close to the city and are reachable from the shore. 
  • Seabed Attractions: Divers can find wrecks as well as stunning coral reefs among the seabed's attractions. The Hercules C130, the Lockheed Tristar, the Cedar Pride, a Lebanese freighter, and an underwater military museum can all be discovered here.

Best Time for Diving in Aqaba

There are usually two high seasons in a year; the first is around April-June, and the second is September-November. Despite the year-round warm temperatures that never drop below 18C, winter is not the most suitable time for diving due to strong winds that stir up the waters and reduce visibility. Months from March to April face a similar issue due to plankton blooms. The Jordanian summer is famous for high temperatures, so the best seasons for diving in Aqaba are May to June and September through October.

Dive Sites in Aqaba

Segregated into three bays, namely North Bay, Visitor's Bay, nicknamed "Shipwreck Bay," and South Bay, these can be found along the entire coastline. Below is a list of the dive sites located in each of these bays:
North Bay: First Bay – North, First Bay – South, Eel Garden, Power Station
Visitors’ Bay: Gorgon 1, Gorgon 2, King Abdullah Reef, Rainbow Reef, Cedar Pride, Tarmac Five, Black Rock, Cable Reef, Japanese Gardens
South Bay: The Tank and Seven Sisters, New Canyon – Oliver’s Canyon, Yellowstone Reef, Blue Coral, Kiwi Reef, Moon Valley & Puffer Rock, Paradise, Coral Garden

1. Wreck of Cedar Pride

Ship Wreck
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The most well-known dive site in Aqaba is the Wreck of Cedar Pride, which is undeniably a must-do. It is an artificial reef that was formed after the late King Hussein sank the Lebanese freighter Cedar Pride about 30 years ago. Divers of all experience levels can enjoy diving to see the shipwreck located at a depth of 26 metres. It is surrounded by beautiful marine and coral life and rests on a bed of two coral gardens. Those who are fortunate enough might even come across a few giant Napoleon wrasse or a magnificent sea turtle. 
Level: Beginner to Advanced
Depth: 5-26 metres 
Accessibility: Shore and Boat

2. Blue Coral

Corals
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Only reachable from the shore off Tala Bay, it's a photographer's dream. The Blue Coral dive site features a gorgeous reef valley encased in stunning pinnacles. You can see various marine life, including sting rays, turtles, sea horses, and different nudibranchs, as well as the lovely soft coral growing on the jetty.
Level: Beginner to Advanced
Depth: 5-30 metres
Accessibility: Shore and Boat

3. Paradise

Corals
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"Ashraf's Grotto" is another name for this dive location. This is a stunning location, even though you can only get there by boat as of now, and it's excellent for underwater photography. There are numerous tiny coral pinnacles that make up this reef, and many fish can be seen swimming in the shallower depths. You will eventually reach a short wall and an intriguing-looking cave as you continue to descend the slope.
Level: Intermediate to Advanced
Depth: 20-30 metres
Accessibility: Boat

4. Kiwi Reef

Corals
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Marine life can be found in a wide variety of forms at Kiwi Reef. It's famous for having wide coral growth. At first, a lot of grass would be noticeable, but as you dive further, the sea starts to reveal its secrets. Here you can find stingrays, octopuses, turtles, and nudibranchs. You might also see some other underwater creatures. This is regarded as one of the best locations for underwater photography.
Level: Open Water Diver and above
Depth: 5-30 metres
Accessibility: Boat

5. Seven Sisters

Corals
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Although this dive site in Aqaba is only five metres below sea level, its rarity makes it attractive. This location is home to scorpionfish and stonefish and is surrounded by a few fairly large pinnacles that are overflowing with marine life. The Seven Sisters and Fairy Ring are regarded as outstanding examples of coral pinnacle typography and are highly recommended for visiting. The Seven Sisters are accessible by boat as well as from the shore. This site is perfect for those who want to try diving for the first time.
Level: Beginner
Depth: 5-12 metres
Accessibility: Shore and Boat

6. YellowStone Reef

Coral
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The Yellowstone reef, a fantastic reef for divers of all levels, is made up of three sizable coral gardens and a fantastic pinnacle in the shallow area that is brimming with red sponges and nudibranchs. This location is reachable by boat and from the shore, though diving from Tala Bay is the easiest option.
Level: Beginner to Advanced
Depth: 5-25 metres
Accessibility: Shore and Boat

7. The Wreck of Al Sharouk

The Wreck of Al Sharouk
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One of the best technical dives in the area that can only be accessed by boat. In order to create a site for tech divers, this wreck was deliberately placed here in 2008. Due to its depth, there is not much coral growth on it. However, it is quite a sight to behold in the deep blue waters.
Level: Advance to Technical 
Depth: 35-60 metres
Accessibility: Boat

8. Rainbow Reef

Diving
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This reef has a rainbow-like shape. Thus the name. It is reachable by boat or from the shore. The reef begins at a depth of about 6 metres and descends to about 18 metres. Starting as far north as you can on this reef and diving across the eight suspension cables that run over to Egypt, you'll come across a nice coral garden with a variety of healthy coral and fish.
Level: Beginner to Advanced
Depth: 3-18 metres
Accessibility: Shore and Boat

9. Japanese Garden

Coral
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This is one of Aqaba's most popular dive sites. It is conveniently accessible by shore or boat. It is situated on the same beach as the wreck of the Cedar Pride. Due to the coral and other marine life that can be seen even at shallow depths, this location is well-liked by snorkelers. It is regarded as one of Aqaba's most beautiful dive sites.
Level: Beginner
Depth: 6-30 metres
Accessibility: Shore and Boat

10. Power Station

Coral
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Aqaba's only wall site Technical divers like this location because it has a maximum drop of more than 200 metres (656 feet). The dive site is reachable by boat. The spectacular drop-off and the abundance of marine life make it a spectacular wall dive. The fact that there is so much to see at the top of the wall at a depth of no more than 30 metres makes it a great dive for recreational divers as well.
Level: Intermediate to Technical
Depth: 5-200 metres
Accessibility: Shore and Boat

11. Black Rock

Fish near Corals
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This site is right in front of Club Berenice's private beach. There is a diverse variety of corals below the water's surface, making this a fantastic location for both snorkelers and divers. There are some valleys and slopes covered in vast black coral forests. Along with the common reef fishes, this area is home to emperor fish, snappers, lyretail, scorpionfish, lionfish, small triggerfish, and parrotfish.
Level: Beginner to Advanced
Depth: 10-25 metres
Accessibility: Shore

12. First Bay (North)

Underwater Marine Life
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The dive begins on a sandy bottom with a few patches of coral heads at the northernmost part of First Bay. You can go as deep or as shallow as you like on this sloping reef, which gradually descends from 12 to 30 metres. There are some wonderful coral pinnacles to enjoy, and they are teeming with marine life and soft red corals.
Level: Beginner to Advanced
Depth: 5-15 metres
Accessibility: Shore and Boat

13. First Bay (South)

Marine Life
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You can get to this dive either from the shore or by boat. It is frequently used for drift diving training. The dive is vibrant, with patches of coral heads that are home to a variety of smaller marine life. Although the majority of this dive site is suitable for amateur divers, there may be strong downward currents near the edges of the sand gullies. These currents can carry you down to a depth of 100 metres or more. This site is popular among technical divers because of the incredible coral that can be found below 40 metres. This deep dive site is nicknamed "Death Valley" by tech divers.
Level: Intermediate to Technical 
Depth: 5-30 metres
Accessibility: Shore and Boat

14. Eel Garden

Garden Eels
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The dive site is a sandy slope that descends to a depth of about 20 metres and is home to one of the largest populations of garden eels in the Red Sea. The garden eels' heads can be seen poking up through the sand if you approach slowly. There is a magnificent display of black coral, followed by a breathtaking pinnacle. This pinnacle is home to a wide variety of reef fish. The colourful fish light up the reef like a shining jewel. The area is also overflowing with soft corals. Watch out for moray eels, harlequin shrimp, ghost pipefish, and stunning lionfish while you're here.
Level: Beginner to Advanced
Depth: 5-24 metres
Accessibility: Shore and Boat

15. Gorgon 1

Sea Fan
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Divers and snorkelers consistently cite this location as one of their favourites. The large gorgonian sea fan coral at the location, which divers love visiting, is where this site gets its name. The large Gorgonian sea fan is situated between three pinnacles. These pinnacles have an incredible ecosystem of their own, along with cleaning stations. There is also a good variety of corals to adore, including huge cabbage corals. Along with emperor fish, sergeant major fish, stonefish, and lionfish, you can also see hawksbill turtles in this location.
Level: Beginner
Depth: 2-16 metres
Accessibility: Shore and Boat

16. Gorgon 2

Coral Reef
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Both divers and snorkelers highly recommend this location. The location is appropriately named because it has two Gorgonian fan corals. The first is 20 metres away, while the second is 29 metres away. There are many pinnacles and reefs on this site. Be cautious around the fire corals at the beginning of the dive. They can burn you severely. Enjoy the vivid green colour of the table corals, raspberry corals, and cabbage corals. It is best known for its enormous gorgonian corals and the two pinnacles extending to the ocean floor. Still, the abundance of soft and stony hard corals also makes it home to a wide variety of beautiful fish and other marine life.
Level: Beginner to Advanced
Depth: 3-21 metres
Accessibility: Shore and Boat

17. Underwater Military Museum

Underwater Military Tank
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An incredible collection of vintage military equipment can be found at the World's First Underwater Military Museum. Divers and snorkelers are welcome to explore military weapons on both shallow and deep coral reefs. Everything is arranged to resemble a tactical war formation. A total of 19 military artefacts are present, including two Cobra helicopters, an army crane, an ambulance, tanks, and a troop carrier.
Level: Beginner to Advanced
Depth: 7-28 metres
Accessibility: Shore

18. King Abdullah Reef

Corals
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King Abdullah II inspired the name of this well-known reef. It is home to a wide variety of healthy corals and numerous common reef fishes. Large schools of pennant coral fish, the occasional torpedo ray, and foraging turtles on the seagrass have also been seen by divers. Large shoals of fish can be found in the gorgonia forest, which can be found at deeper levels. Underwater photographers have ideal conditions for taking some fantastic pictures because of the crystal-clear waters and the weak current.
Level: Beginner to Advanced
Depth: 5-20 metres
Accessibility: Shore and Boat

19. Tarmac Five

Corals
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 In 1996, the barge Tarmac Five was purposefully sunk to create a base for coral growth and repair the damage that the cable lines to Egypt had caused. Due to its distinctive appearance and relatively shallow depth of 15 to 30 metres beneath the surface of the water, it is currently one of the most visited locations in the Aqaba Marine Park. It's a great place for photography because it's shallow enough to let sunlight through. Still, it's also a place where a variety of marine life can be seen because the water current is good enough for plants, coral, and various crustacean species, and plants to thrive.
Level: Advanced Open Water to Technical Extended Range Diver
Depth: 12-50 metres
Accessibility: Boat

 20. Cable Reef

Underwater Cables
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The dive site at Cable Reef was created in 1996. Large structures can be seen all the way across the canyon. These are there to safeguard the 400 kV power cables that run the length of the canyon and link the Egyptian grid to Jordan's. The reef has been strengthened on both sides to avoid collapsing onto the cables. The hard corals are extremely abundant and dense, and they offer a perfect habitat for tonnes of shrimp and lobsters, in addition to soft corals and sponges. Even at a depth of 30 metres, there is plenty of sunlight here, making it a great location for photographs.
Level: Beginner to Advanced
Depth: 5-30 metres
Accessibility: Shore and Boat

21. New Canyon (Oliver’s Canyon)

Corals
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Following the 1983 Aqaba Earthquake, this deep canyon with coral walls was formed. Although it is very old, the location is sometimes referred to as "New Canyon" in honour of the German PADI Instructor "Oliver Wolf," who stumbled upon it by accident. There is plenty of life around each of the pinnacles present on this site. On September 1, 1999, the Jordanian Royal Ecological Diving Society scuttled an American M42 Duster to be used as an artificial reef. The tank has become naturally covered by corals of various colours due to the temperate climate and gentle sea currents, making it hardly recognizable and overflowing with marine life. 
Level: Beginner to Advanced
Depth: 5-30 metres
Accessibility: Shore and Boat

22. Moon Valley & Puffer Rock

Corals
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Moon Valley is a fantastic dive site for underwater photography, with incredibly rich soft corals. It is a safe haven for hawksbill turtles, octopuses, wrasse, unicornfish, various ray species, and fusiliers. Occasionally, there are sharks and huge pelagics as well. The area is ideal for taking artistic photos because there are so many soft corals here. From the main valley, you can explore to the left or right. Then proceed up to the shallows, where you will find yourself surrounded by fairly large shoals of fusiliers and sardines. Moon Valley has more than 20 metres of excellent visibility and a gentle current. This dive site can accommodate divers of all skill levels, thanks to all of these factors.
Level: Beginner to Technical
Depth: 10-50 metres
Accessibility: Shore

23. Coral Garden 

Corals
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This dive site in Aqaba can be reached both by shore and boat. The area resembles a coral forest more than a garden. You'll be surprised at how great this site is for photography despite the medium-strong current sweeping relatively flat topography. Diverse and vibrant fish and coral species are present. Numerous marine life, including reef fish, sea horses, and moray eels, can be seen here.
Level: Advance
Depth: 18 metres
Accessibility: Shore and Boat

24. Ras Al Yamanya

Corals
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Ras al Yamanya is a fantastic location to practise your diving abilities. A flat, sandy bottom makes it simple for divers to stand there without having to worry about damaging any nearby coral. Additionally, there is a good variety of fish and eels to see here. All of the reef fish species, including lionfish, pipefish, and vibrant nudibranchs, can be found in this area.
Level: Beginner to Intermediate 
Depth: 6-30 metres
Accessibility: Shore and Boat

25. Hercules C130

Plane Wreck
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In 2017, a Hercules C-130 transport plane sank in Aqaba in an easily accessible location, making it an interesting dive site. The M42 tank and the Cedar Pride are both located nearby. Unfortunately, the aircraft was destroyed in March 2020 by a rare storm with gale-force winds. The Hercules is currently in pieces. However, it is still a fantastic dive site with a variety of soft coral and abundant marine life.
Level: Beginner to Advance
Depth: 12-17 metres
Accessibility: Shore and Boat

26. Tristar Wreck

Plane Wreck
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The Lockheed TriStar L-1011 is a wide-body passenger plane. After some failed business initiatives, it was abandoned at King Hussein airport. Late in 2019, the Tristar aeroplane was sunk. It was placed in flat, sandy areas far from coral reefs. Additionally, there is some seagrass in the vicinity. One day, this enormous aircraft will be covered in coral reefs that will draw fish and other marine life. Divers worldwide enjoy swimming through this enormous plane in the water because it is such an amazing sight.
Level: Intermediate to Advance
Depth: 9-26 metres
Accessibility: Boat

27. Taiyong Wreck

Submerged Crane
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The Taiyong wreck was discovered by technical divers in 2004. It is a large crane barge that was formerly used to unload ships in the Gulf of Aqaba. The crane's length is 27 metres, and the barge is 36 metres long. At 57 metres, the barge's deepest point is located. Although there isn't much life here, black coral and gorgonians have taken over. The crane's descent to 50 metres is an amazing sight to behold. Only technical divers should attempt this dive.
Level: Advanced Open Water to Technical Extended Range Diver
Depth: 35-57 metres
Accessibility: Shore and Boat 

Best Diving Centres in Aqaba

For a seamless diving experience, here is our selection of the best diving centres in Aqaba. All these centres are PADI certified and famous for providing excellent diving adventures.

1. Aqaba Leaders Dive Centre
Email: [email protected]
Mobile: +962-78-888-5362

2. Deep Blue Dive 
Email: [email protected]
Mobile: +962-79-540-0555

3. Aqaba Moon Divers Diving Club
Email: [email protected]
Mobile: +962-78-103-7235

4. Coral Garden Diving Centre
Email: [email protected]
Mobile: +962-79-001-5103

5. Aqaba International Dive Centre
Email: [email protected]
Mobile: +962 (0)796949082

6. Ahlan Aqaba Scuba Diving Centre
E-mail: [email protected]
Mobile: +962 795592095

7. Seastar water sports
Email: [email protected]
Mobile: +962-79-666-1137

8. Arab Divers
Email: [email protected] 
Mobile: +962-79-641-2032  

9. Aqaba Adventure Divers
Email: [email protected]
Mobile: +962-79-907-8450 / +962-79-694-7185

10. Red Coral Diving Centre
Email: [email protected]
Mobile: +9627 9620 9798

Tips for Diving in Aqaba

  • Go through a medical checkup and ensure you're fit to dive before your trip. 
  • Only dive with a certified diving school with experienced instructors and well-maintained equipment.
  • Double-check all your scuba gear before you go into the water.
  • Make sure that you get to travel and scuba diving insurance beforehand.
  • Do not forget to carry your policy number, medical information and emergency contact list. 
  • Make sure that you do a buddy check prior to your diving session
  • Don’t physically over-exert yourself.
  • While diving, keep an eye on your air gauge.
  • Do not descend below your expertise level, and stay aware of where your guide and buddy are.
  • Equalise your ears frequently as you go deeper.
  • While ascending, go slow, and avoid rushing to reach the surface.

This post was published by Yashita Singh

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