Eilat, Israel is situated on the Red Sea within viewing distance of neighboring Jordan. Known to locals and visitors alike as the City of Eternal Sunshine, Eilat is one of the most unique resort towns worldwide for offering both a desert and seaside landscape. This diverse ecosystem is especially advantageous for thrill seekers who enjoy adventurous hikes through ancient rock formations in the cool morning and sea activities in the blistering afternoons.
Desert Adventures in Eilat
Travelers to Eilat can book either private or group wilderness tours. For those new to the area, it is suggested to hire a guide. But this won’t dampen anyone’s adventurous spirit since the professional desert trekkers are skilled at designing customized outings.
Tours range from a few hours to three weeks or more. And due to an agreement between Israel and Jordan, crossing the border is perfectly safe, albeit time consuming. Hiking through the mountains of Eilat is not for the novice trekker, but 4x4s and camels are part of many tour companies itinerary for those who want a variety of experiences.
Sites you can explore on foot in the vicinity of Eilat include the Negev Desert, the Red Canyon Shoret mountain range, Timna Valley’s rare sand and stone formations and Hai Bar Biblical Wildlife Reserve, home to various animals on the brink of extinction.
For travelers who insist on going at it alone, the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel Eilat Field School has maps of the area and offers off-the-beaten track hike suggestions.
The Red Sea is virtually without waves, with few or no currents and great visibility year round, making it an exceptional spot for scuba trips, sailing and parasailing. Of course, many of these activities are highly regulated and are only offered through tour companies.
Advanced, open water dive courses are a great option for those who want to steer clear of the tourist-choked theme tours and swim-with-the-dolphins crowd.
The Red Sea has all kinds of underwater landscapes, natural and manmade, to explore. Night dives are especially unique and provide a glimpse into the nocturnal activity of the seafloor, including feeding and spawning corals and creatures that are less visible during the day, like crab, lobster, cuttlefish and certain species of nudibranch, a night-dwelling sea slug that ranges from a well-camouflaged coral-color to neon rainbow.
Many experienced divers suggest exploring the Red Sea’s many shipwrecks, including the Satil, a well-preserved missile boat that’s at rest more than 65 feet down and serves as host to soft tropical corals that attract rays, clown fish, sea snakes, barracuda and dozens of other unique sea life.
Trip insurance is a good idea no matter where in the world you travel. It covers illness, accidents, lost luggage and damaged property. Even though Israel has a relatively low crime rate and their airline, El-Al, has an impeccable safety record, discord in surrounding countries causes regular road and border closings and, of course, conflict with Palestine keeps locals on their toes and defense forces on alert.
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