4 ways to (really) discover the Dead Sea in Jordan
2 February 2019
The Dead Sea is a must stop in Jordan. -340 meters under the ocean and with a salt concentration 10 times higher, the Dead Sea seems to come from another world. Floes of pure salt, oily texture, therapeutic mud, cracks, salted ponds … From the luxury palace to the isolated stroll along its salt beaches, find out 4 ways to discover the Dead Sea.
Option 1: in a “luxury, peace and pleasure” mood
For how long? between one and three nights.
How to get there? by going to Sweimah. Enjoy one of the many luxury hotels in the Dead Sea. Most of them issued from international chains. Sweimah is at the northeastern end of the Dead Sea.
How much? 💰💰💰. Between 100 and over 200 JD at night, depending on the types of hotels. Most of them are located in the Sweimah Resort. Some establishments sometimes offer promotional offers: make sure you d’ont miss anything, by browsing their website or even by calling the reception before booking. Discounts can exceed 40%.
Services? ✅✅✅. Swimming pools in almost all hotels, private access to the Dead Sea, showers, gym, spa-massages … The quality and quantity of services logically increases with the standard of the hotel (from 3⭐ to 5⭐).
Nature?: ➕.The only overview on “wild” nature (if not preserved …), is the private beach access to the Dead Sea. In the immediate vicinity, the cute Wadi Mukheiris (our debrief in french) offers a pleasant walk of 2 or 3 hours. The beginning of the hike is right in the middle of the hotels area, and it is virtually impossible to get lost inside the wadi.
Did you know? If your budget allows it, the Dead Sea can be a nice base camp to discover the surroundings, during 2 to 3 days. Less than an hour away: Amman, Madaba, Mount Nebo, Bethany beyond the Jordan (Christ’s place of baptism) … But also, a multitude of wadis: mujib, zarqa ma’in, numeira, hasa … the list is endless and we even made a specific playlist on our YouTube channel!
Option 2: in a “smart traveller” hybrid mood
For how long? daytrip, up to one night.
How to get there? By taking advantage of hotel offers “à la carte”. This formula is the best to enjoy the experience “Dead Sea, -430 m below sea level), while enjoying all the comfort possible et a reasonable price.
How much? 💰 à 💰💰.
- From 25 to 50 JOD for day-pass offers, (half price for children from 6 to 12 years old). The standard formula generally includes access to the pools, the beach, and the lunch buffet.
- Cheaper alternative (20 to 30 JOD): Joining one of the private beaches of the Dead Sea. From our experience, the big difference of standing with the hotels does not really justify the handful of saved JD, but well … your choice ! 🙂
Tip for travelers: there is often a preferential rate under certain conditions, as expats know it here. So use your negotiating skills and ask for a discount!
Services: ✅ . You are not supposed to access all the hotel services with this formula. But you can for example leave your children in a guarded room, if you wish (for a fee and if it is open). And above all, what a joy to alternate bath in the Dead Sea, shower, and swimming pool during a whole sunny day!
Nature:➕. Same conditions as before, in a fairly smooth and sanitized environment. To see more, one has to choose the third or fourth option below ! ⏬⏬
Option 3 : in a “working class” mood.
How long? : one to 2 hours
How to get there? By parking his car near Zara hot springs. Bathing in the Dead Sea with . By rinsing then in hot ponds or in the stream
How much? 0, including access to the hot springs. Hey, why do you think there are so many Jordanian families ?! 🙂
Services: 👎. Access to services is not the purpose of this option. The few coffee shops along the road offer you the opportunity to enjoy a coffee or shisha on the Dead Sea.
Nature: ➕. allright, you will see a little more coastline. But Zara is especially enjoyable, because of the atmosphere. To find the access, just park next to the police station, along the Dead Sea Road.
However, let’s be clear on two points. First, do not expect to find a preserved nature. Although the site is cleaned from time to time, it is regularly littered with empty bottles or cans, plastic bags … Respect for the environment is clearly not a cardinal virtue today in Jordan. Also, the site is mostly frequented by Muslim men…and also by families.
For this “local” option, it takes a minimum of discretion, especially clothing. Women might want to forget the mini-bikini and avoid changing themselves in the middle of the car park. It can be recommended to bath…fully dressed or at least with ample clothes..
All in all, for who doesn’t want to spend too much time and money on the Dead Sea, “Zara hotspring” offers a fair option. I will be surprised if one of the families does not invite you to share a tea or their meal, when you pass by!
Option 4 : in a wanderlust mood
How long : a few hours, until the night for the braves!
How to get there? By parking his car on a good desert spot. By walking on the shores of the Dead Sea, to discover some of its secrets: cracks, water holes, pure salt beaches … Some say it looks likethe end of the world . On the contrary, others claim ir resembles to its birth… In any case, the atmosphere down there is inspiring, when one takes its time to stroll on this surreal beach.
How much : 0 à 💰 . let’s say…5 JOD: enough to buy 2 bottles of water to rinse, and a newspaper. Except that, this option will cost you … nothing! :-). If you want to extend the experience at a low price, you can choose between bivouacking along the Dead Sea . The surroundings of Zarqa Ma’in, near the Dead Sea Panoramic Complex, are perfect for sleeping under the stars, with a breathtaking view at sunrise and sunset.
For more comfort, the B & B “Mujib Chalets“, right in front of the wonderful Wadi Mujib, offer rooms with “feet in the water”, in the middle of the Dead Sea (without swimming pool, but prices more affordable than in the big hotels).
Services: ahem, huh…Are you thirsty? We told you to take water with you !
Nature: ➕➕➕.Authenticity and nature will (should..) delight you. Fordetails, see map and photos below !
3 THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT THE DEAD SEA
The night : it is forbidden to swim in the Dead Sea after sunset, including in hotels.
Maybe to avoid swimming crossings? :-). More surely, to limit illegal night-time traffic between Jordan and the West Bank … So do not try to transgress this rule.
Flies : allright, flies also like a LOT the Dead Sea … They are innumerable as soon as they detect something other than the mineral environment where they live. Fortunately, hotels have effective techniques to repel them. On a picnic, however … Also close the windows of your car when it is stopped!
Salt: yes, ok, we know, thanks, there is salt. Salt is everywhere, and the water is 10 times more salty in the Dead Sea than in any other sea: almost 300 g per liter. If you have unhealed sores, your body will immediately order you : “Hey, get out of the water !” Similarly, avoid swimming with electronics, even waterproof … Finally, do not put your head in the water, and avoid splashing water in the nose, eyes, ears ..
- To browse eveything we have written so far on the Dead Sea, just use the search engine of the blog, at the top right of each page. Wadis of the Dead Sea: wadi Mujib, Zarqa Ma’in..all is there, or almost!
- Awesome Lisan peninsula does not appear in this post…because it definitely deserve a specific article !
- The Jordan Tourism Board website, “Visit Jordan“, is very well done with a lot of useful information. They have a page on the Dead Sea!