If you are planning a trip to Dead Sea, we have to tell you – it’s one of the most unique places we’ve visited around the world. You get to enjoy this other-worldly landscape, float on water without making any effort and gain a few health benefits along the way. But as cool as this place is, it can also be dangerous if you are not careful. So we put together our 10 Tips for swimming in the Dead Sea that will help you learn a little more about it and enjoy it safely.
This Is Not Your Typical Beach Vacation
Yes, it’s called a “sea” and it can look very tropical and inviting in pictures. However, the Dead Sea is actually not a sea but a lake, and a beach here is very different from a typical beach. There is no sand in most areas. The shores consist of a thick layer of crystals that are not particularly soft on your feet. Instead of cool and refreshing, the water feels thick and warm, almost a little oily from all the minerals it contains.
So swimming in the Dead Sea is not at all like swimming in a tropical sea! You have to know what you’re getting yourself into.
The Dead Sea Deserves Its Name
The conditions here can get pretty extreme. The water is so rich in salts and minerals that it’s impossible for any living thing to survive. There are no microorganisms, plants, fish, etc. in the water at all. It can be uninviting for humans as well, if you don’t know how to experience it. So don’t think of it as a beach vacation but more of a spa experience.
This is not the kind of place where you bring your kids to play in the water while you relax on the sand with a book in hand and take a dip or two when you get too hot. After reading the tips below you’ll understand why.
Swimming In The Dead Sea
You can do it even if you can’t actually swim!
The high concentration of minerals (about 30%) makes the water’s density higher than that of the human body. That’s why you can float easily even if you don’t know how to swim. You don’t need to make any effort, just lie down in the water and enjoy!! In fact, you may actually need to make an effort to get your feet to touch the bottom.
People often take a picture reading a newspaper in the water. It’s easy to take our hands out of the water as you don’t need them to stay afloat. It is a really fun and unique experience that you need to try at least once in your life.
The minerals in the water have some healing properties too – mainly, they’re great for your skin. Some of these minerals can’t be found anywhere else in the world! Bathing in this water can be beneficial for your skin in numerous ways, including: reduced roughness, detoxification, improved circulation. Soaking in it can also help with many conditions like psoriasis, eczema, acne, arthritis, etc.
So let’s get to the most useful part…
Our 10 Dead Sea Swimming Tips:
Tip 1: Best Time To Visit The Dead Sea is in the spring or fall – either March/April or October/November. The summers in that part of Israel are extremely hot – temperatures are routinely around 40 degrees Celsius. So it is really not advisable to go between May – September. On the other hand, in the winter (December through January) the water can be too cold to swim in.
Tip 2: Best Time To Get In The Water is early in the morning or late afternoon. Don’t plan to be outside between noon to 4-5pm when the sun is too strong.
Tip 3: Protect Your Feet. Due to the layer of crystals covering the entire shore and bottom of the sea, walking in and out of the water can be challenging if you’re barefoot. It might be a good idea to bring water shoes or hiking sandals to protect your feet from sharp edges. A pair of rubber flip flops would work too. Just don’t bring your nice sandals.
Tip 4: No Splashing. You definitely don’t want to get that water in your eyes. Dead Sea water is almost 10 times saltier than that of a typical sea. So if you think getting some sea water in your eyes is unpleasant, imagine what 10 times more unpleasant feels like!! It hurts. A lot.
Tip 5: Don’t Swim Face Down And Definitely Don’t Dive. The only safe way to swim here is on your back for the same reasons we described above. Splashing some water in your eyes can be so painful that you’ll panic and have a hard time getting out of the water. Don’t get your face wet at all, it can be quite dangerous.
Tip 6: Be Generous With The Sunscreen. The white crystalized salt that covers the bottom and shores of the sea reflects sunlight strongly so it can be very harsh on your skin if it’s not protected. Use a good sunscreen with a high SPF and bring a hat!
Tip 7: Don’t Shave. The water is so rich in minerals that they can cause you a lot of pain if you have any cuts or open wounds. Try not to shave a day or two before bathing in the Dead Sea. Think of it as putting A LOT of salt into the tiny cuts shaving can cause on your skin. Even a small cut can make you cry here.
Tip 8: How Long Can You Swim In The Dead Sea? Don’t stay in the water longer than 10-15 minutes. Because of the salts and minerals, your skin will get very soft and you can get cut on the crystals easily. It can also be an overwhelming experience for your body as a whole. You can get out and go back in but each time should not be longer than 10-15 minutes. Rinse off with regular water as soon as you get out.
Tip 9: Do A Dead Sea Mud Bath! You can buy a pack of Dead Sea mud anywhere along the shore. Apply the mud to your body, let it set in for a while, then rinse it off in the water. The minerals absorb through your skin and will do wonders for it! It also had an amazing effect on our hair – it felt nice and soft for a couple weeks after that. Just make sure you wear an old or dark colored bikini set for this as the mud stains.
Tip 10: Be Careful With Your Equipment. Leave your phone and expensive equipment home. Even your waterproof camera or GoPro are not safe in the extremely salty water. So be sure to keep any electronics away from the water.
Where To Stay In Dead Sea
Choosing a hotel here is important because not all parts of the Dead Sea shore are welcoming or easy to get into. A good hotel will provide you with the proper amenities to enjoy this place to the fullest. It might be a good idea to stay somewhere with a pool too. You will find it frustrating to stay near a sea where you can only get in the water for 10 minutes at a time.
Click here for our 10 Day Israel Itinerary.
Be safe and enjoy!