What to Know About Visiting the Dead Sea

Floating in the Dead Sea is a bucket list item. The buoyancy of the water is unlike anything else on Earth, and the scenery surrounding it is just phenomenal. Before you head to the Dead Sea, make sure you’re prepared with these tips!

The Dead Sea in Jordan

1. Remember the Dead Sea is the lowest point on land on the planet.

Yes, this is a somewhat “duh” comment, but this can be incredibly relevant for anyone with sinus problems. I went to the Dead Sea straight after landing in Jordan (and had quite the sinus infection from India), and by the time we got there, I thought my sinuses were going to explode. If you even have a little bit of congestion, I highly recommend taking a decongestant before starting the drive down to the Dead Sea.

Covered in mud at the Dead Sea

2. You will want to go to a resort of some sort.

I feel like before I went there, I had this idea that the Dead Sea was sort of like a normal lake. I imagined just going into it, floating and then getting out. While I didn’t think that one through too well, luckily my guide insisted on getting a day pass to a resort.

You don’t have to stay overnight at a resort, but having a day pass for the facilities will let you use their showers after. Another important thing is that they will likely have mud-applying places for you. When they talk about the properties of the “Dead Sea mud” it’s not just a simple procedure to pick it up from the bottom. It has to be collected, so the resorts will have it in places for you to use.

Amanda Plewes at the Dead Sea

3. The Dead Sea is incredibly hot.

I went in July, so this is to be expected. I definitely expected heat. But I didn’t expect the Dead Sea itself to be as hot as it was. It makes sense when you really stop to think about it. We add salt to water when we want it to boil faster – thus, the Dead Sea is going to be hotter than your normal body of fresh water.

Be aware, especially if you have children, that the Dead Sea can get so hot it’s uncomfortable for them. The area around it, and the Sea itself are heat magnets! Don’t expect a refreshing swim.

Amanda Plewes floating in the Dead Sea

4. Floating is harder than it looks.

Perhaps it is just me, but there’s no chance I would have been floating and reading a newspaper without it getting incredibly wet. The buoyancy of the water is such that I found myself flopping over quite a lot!

Floundering while floating in the Dead Sea

5. The salt water will sting your eyes quite a lot.

Again, this was one that should have been intuitive but was a bit of a surprise for me. I think of saltwater swimming pools as the ones that are easier on your eyes, so I think I expected the Dead Sea to be like that. It’s not. If the water gets in your eyes, it stings like crazy. There also aren’t too many places with fresh water to wash it out. (This is another reason you’ll want resort facilities!)

It’s easy for the salt water to get in your eyes when you’re applying the Dead Sea mud to your face. If you have super sensitive eyes, consider wearing goggles or something to protect them.

Amanda Plewes at Lot's Wife near the Dead Sea

6. There is not a lot else to do at the Dead Sea.

Originally, I thought I’d need at least a full day with an overnight at the Dead Sea. The guide I hired talked me out of that. He was right to do so! Unless you’re wanting time to truly unplug, unwind, and disconnect, there is not much to do at the Dead Sea. You’ll be at your resort, and spa treatments are great. But beyond that, there’s basically nothing. You can easily experience the Dead Sea in an afternoon and then head on to Petra or another area.

Amanda Plewes at the Dead Sea in Jordan

7. Pick Jordan or Israel, and don’t expect it to be easy to go back and forth.

The border with Israel is a contentious one in the Middle East, and it’s not terribly easy to go back and forth on. It’s definitely do-able, but you’ll want a rental car. Check with your car rental company that it’s ok to take the car across the border. And once you go across the border, you probably won’t want to cross again. There can be long lines and more.

The good news is, the Dead Sea experience is the same on either side. So you’re good with whichever you pick!

Amanda Plewes floating on the Dead Sea

8. It is an experience worth doing!

Floating in the Dead Sea is truly unlike anything else. The landscapes around the Sea are so stark, and so beautiful, that it’s a breathtaking thing to behold. And floating in the water is an incredibly cool sensation. It can be a bit out of the way from other sites in Jordan and Israel, but the Dead Sea is absolutely worth making time for!

Amanda Plewes looking at the landscapes around the Dead Sea

8 Tips for Visiting the Dead Sea

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