Exploring the Red Sea: Diving and Snorkeling in Saudi Arabia

The Red Sea, a breathtaking expanse of azure waters and vibrant marine life, stretches along the western coast of Saudi Arabia, offering some of the world’s most spectacular diving and snorkeling experiences. For those seeking adventure beneath the waves, Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea coastline is a treasure trove of underwater beauty, boasting pristine coral reefs, diverse marine species, and shipwrecks waiting to be explored. This article delves into the magic of the Red Sea, providing a detailed guide to the best diving and snorkeling spots in Saudi Arabia, along with tips and personal reflections to enhance your underwater journey.

The Allure of the Red Sea

The Red Sea is renowned for its crystal-clear waters and rich biodiversity. Its warm, saline waters are home to over 1,200 species of fish, 10% of which are found nowhere else in the world. The coral reefs, some of the oldest on the planet, are vibrant with color and teem with life. The combination of these elements creates an underwater paradise that is both awe-inspiring and accessible to divers and snorkelers of all levels.


The Best Diving and Snorkeling Spots

1. Jeddah

Overview: Jeddah, the gateway to the Red Sea, is a bustling metropolis that offers a unique blend of urban culture and underwater adventure. Its coastline is dotted with numerous dive sites, each offering something unique.

Top Spots:

  • Sharm Obhur: Located just north of Jeddah, Sharm Obhur is a popular site for both diving and snorkeling. The area is known for its clear waters and diverse marine life, including schools of colorful fish and intricate coral formations.
  • Jeddah’s South Coral Reef: This site offers an impressive array of corals and marine species. The shallow reefs are perfect for snorkelers, while deeper areas provide exciting dives for more experienced adventurers.

Personal Reflection: The first time I plunged into the waters off Jeddah, I was mesmerized by the vibrant underwater world. Swimming alongside schools of fish, each more colorful than the last, and witnessing the delicate dance of corals swaying with the currents, felt like entering another realm.

2. Yanbu

Overview: Known as the “Pearl of the Red Sea,” Yanbu is a coastal city rich in natural beauty and historical significance. Its underwater sites are less frequented, making it an ideal destination for those seeking quieter, untouched spots.

Top Spots:

  • Seven Sisters: A series of seven reefs, each offering unique diving experiences. The reefs are teeming with marine life, including barracudas, rays, and turtles.
  • Iona Wreck: A historic shipwreck that provides a fascinating dive. The wreck is encrusted with corals and attracts a variety of marine species, making it a perfect spot for both history buffs and marine enthusiasts.

Personal Reflection: Diving at the Seven Sisters was a serene experience, as the untouched reefs felt like a hidden sanctuary. The sight of a giant sea turtle gliding gracefully through the water was a highlight, a reminder of the Red Sea’s untouched beauty.

3. Farasan Islands

Overview: Located in the southern Red Sea, the Farasan Islands are an archipelago known for their stunning natural beauty and rich biodiversity. The islands offer some of the most pristine and unspoiled diving and snorkeling spots in Saudi Arabia.

Top Spots:

  • Farasan Banks: A haven for divers, the Farasan Banks feature an array of coral gardens, walls, and drop-offs. The vibrant coral formations are home to a diverse range of marine life, including sharks, rays, and colorful reef fish.
  • Qummah Island: Ideal for snorkeling, the shallow waters around Qummah Island are crystal clear, offering excellent visibility and an abundance of marine life.

Personal Reflection: The Farasan Islands felt like a hidden gem. Snorkeling around Qummah Island, I was surrounded by a kaleidoscope of colors, from the bright corals to the shimmering schools of fish. The tranquility of the place was a stark contrast to the bustling cities, providing a perfect escape into nature.

Preparing for Your Underwater Adventure

Essential Gear

  • Mask and Snorkel: A good-quality mask and snorkel are essential for a comfortable snorkeling experience. Ensure they fit well to prevent water leakage.
  • Fins: Fins help you move efficiently through the water. Choose ones that are comfortable and fit well.
  • Wetsuit: The Red Sea’s waters are warm, but a wetsuit can provide extra comfort and protection against sunburn and potential jellyfish stings.
  • Dive Computer: For divers, a dive computer is a valuable tool for monitoring depth and time underwater.

Safety Tips

  • Dive with a Buddy: Always dive with a buddy for safety. It’s crucial to have someone to assist in case of an emergency.
  • Check Equipment: Ensure all your gear is in good working condition before heading out. This includes testing your mask, snorkel, fins, and any other equipment.
  • Stay Hydrated: The sun and saltwater can be dehydrating. Drink plenty of water before and after your dive or snorkel.
  • Respect Marine Life: Avoid touching corals or disturbing marine creatures. Remember, you are a guest in their home.


Embracing the Experience

The Red Sea offers more than just visual splendor. It’s an opportunity to connect deeply with nature and experience the wonders of the underwater world. Here are a few ways to make the most of your adventure:

  • Take Underwater Photos: Capture the beauty of the Red Sea with an underwater camera. These memories will be priceless and allow you to share your experience with others.
  • Learn About Marine Conservation: Understanding the importance of marine conservation can enhance your appreciation of the underwater world. Many local organizations offer educational programs and volunteer opportunities.
  • Join Guided Tours: Local guides and diving instructors can provide valuable insights into the best spots and ensure a safe and informative experience.


Exploring the Red Sea through diving and snorkeling is a journey into one of the world’s most enchanting marine environments. Saudi Arabia’s coastline offers an abundance of underwater adventures, each with its unique charm and allure. Whether you are gliding alongside sea turtles in Yanbu, exploring ancient shipwrecks off Jeddah, or marveling at the untouched beauty of the Farasan Islands, the Red Sea promises an unforgettable experience. Embrace the adventure, respect the environment, and let the wonders of the Red Sea captivate your heart and soul.

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