Scuba Diving - Aqaba, Jordan

Diving in Aqaba – Going Underwater

Diving in Aqaba is exciting and filled with many things to see and experience. The impressive Cedar Pride wreck and beautiful Japanese Gardens alone are worth a few trips…

We entered Aqaba 3 days ahead of schedule, escaping a dust storm that made visiting Wadi Rum impossible at the time. Being out of doors was impractical because the dust was so thick – thankfully it didn’t matter because we were lodged in the beautiful Kempinski hotel.

small orange fish swimming, hard coral
Aqaba has over 500 different types of soft and hard coral with plenty of fish living in them

After several days of trekking in the dust through Dana Valley, and then later Petra, I was glad for some time to relax by the sea.

Hawksbill turtle, underwarter, japanese gardens, aqaba, jordan
Hawksbill turtle swimming around the Japanese gardens

Like many royals, King Abdullah of Jordan is a huge fan of adventure sports, including diving. The dive sites in Jordan are treasured and well maintained, with beautiful reefs and impressive wrecks. Combined with the warm water and great visibility, diving in Aquaba was an integral part of our visit to Jordan.

clownfish, nemo, Japanese Gardens, aqaba, jordan, review diving in aqaba
Cute clown fish seen in the Japanese Gardens in Aqaba

Our dive boat was pretty packed when we headed out the next day due to the Easter weekend and the dust storm. Everyone on the boat was in good spirits though, and we were excited to begin our Advanced PADI license at the Cedar Pride wreck, one of the best sites in the Red Sea.

lyretailed hogfish, bodianus anthiodes, wrasse, aqaba, jordan
A group of lyretailed hogfish (Bodianus anthiodes), a type of wrasse, in the Japanese Gardens

This wreck was our first, and a thoroughly impressive one to boot. Our dive instructor told us rumour has it that the ship was set alight in an insurance scam. Nobody knows the truth of it, but it was King Abdullah that had the great idea to sink it after no one stepped up to take the responsibility for it after it was burnt. The wreck, even for experienced divers, is an impressive one. For us first-timers, it was truly breath-taking. It’s a big wreck, with lots to explore, so if you use air quickly, definitely ask for a bigger tank!

You can also go diving at night in Aqaba, which is a very exciting activity. Although getting to the location after dark is a bit more trouble then during the day due to curfews, it is well worth the trip for the experience. More on the night dive in our post “Night Diving in Aqaba, Jordan“.

The other two popular sites are the Japanese Gardens and the Rainbow Reef. We didn’t have time to visit them both and settled for the Japanese Gardens. Its defining features are the two beautiful coral pinnacles filled with Lionfish and shoaling Basselets. For a more detailed review of the Japanese Gardens and the dive centre that took care of our trip, see our post “Diving in Japanese Gardens, Aqaba, Jordan

cephalopod, squid, review diving in aqaba, jordan
A cephalopod somewhat camouflaged into its surroundings

We were very glad to be able to dive before we came to Jordan and felt that it was a big component of experiencing the country fully. The dive sites here are plentiful, and we would definitely come back.