- Eilat Dive Sites
- Other Dive Sites
- Where To Stay In Eilat
- When To Go To Eilat?
- History of Eilat
Placed in a channel of the Red Sea, Eilat is likely Israel’s largest tourest attraction, and for good reason.
From it’s gorgeous light blue water to unique and endless shopping malls it’s no wonder so many people come to Eilat each year.
A great feature about diving in Eilat is that due to most of the sites proximity to the shore, a boat is not always needed. Most dive charters in Eilat don’t use a boat for their daily tours.
Eilat is a great option for those wanting to dive in the Red Sea, but don’t want to go to Egypt. Israel’s culture is pretty different to other places, and is highly reccomended for people to see.
Eilat Dive Sites
Now that you have a bit of a background on Eilat, and why this is such a great place to scuba dive, let’s jump right into some of the most famous dive sites.
Northern Eilat Dive Sites
Sunboat was one of our favorite wrecks in Eilat due to its diverse wildlife and structure. At the site, there’s the main sunboat wreck and then lines that connect to other smaller shipwrecks making it easier to navigate.
One issue with the site is its poor location that collects massive amounts of loose silt and sand. The boat was once used as a liveaboard but was decommisioned and sunk.
Next time any of you plan to sink your boats, please put more thought in the location.
Regardless of the poor visibility, it’s an amazing dive that we highly reccomend.
As far as sea life, expect to see endless lionfish, sea urchins, and reef fish.
Moses and Joshua Rock
These rocks are another popular dive site in the Coral Beach area that can be accessed by boat. Moses rock sits around 10m and is a soft coral formation with incredible visibility.
Closeby, you’ll find Joshua Rock which is covered in harder corals and wildlife.
Due to the relatively high traffic, there is a required maintenance fee for all divers. If you’d like to contunue this dive site a bit deeper, you’ll make your way to the Japense Gardens.
Japenese Gardens are one of the largest dive sites in Eilat covering half a mile. Throughout the dive site you’ll notice a large amount of sealife.
One issue with this dive site is it’s difficult to get to from the shore. If you’d still like to go to this site, it’s reccomended to go with one of the dive charters we list lower in this article.
Southern Eilat Dive Sites
Neptunes Tables is a dive site near the border of Egypt and Israel. It’s a popular dive site from dive charters due to it’s range of depths, great visibility, and endless tables of acropora.
Upon entering the dive site around 5m, you’ll notice a beautiful shallow reef formation and a large concentration of sea life. Expect to see plenty of eels, triggerfish, and more.
Due to the relatively low depth, this is a common place for open water and beginner divers to visit.
As you go deeper to around the 20m level, you’ll notice several pinnacles with swarming sealife, beautiful meadows, and more acropora.
Nudibranches are often spotted here, although it’s more common in the winter months.
While this dive site can be accessed from the shore, it’s reccomended to do from a boat.
Other Dive Sites
Sufa Shipwreck Dive
This is likely the most incredible dive site in Eilat. Sitting around 25m deep, the INS Sufa is a Sa’ar 3-class missle boat that has it’s place in world history.
The boat is part of the Cherbourg Project, an Israeli military operation that took place in 1963 in which the Mossad recovered five embargoed war ships from the French.
The story behind this ship is truly fascinating, but we won’t go into too many details here.
The historical ship was sunk in 1994 in order to create a dive attraction. Similar to some other dives mentioned in this guide, the dive site is able to be visited from boat or shore.
If you’re feeling adventurous and have the proper experience, navigating through some of the wrecks lower decks is a must.
Where To Stay In Eilat
Eilat is home to some of the most interesting and impressive looking hotels in the world.
As you’d expect, due to the location they often fetch a pretty high price tag.
Many of the beachfront higher end hotels will cost anywhere between $150-$500+ a night.
We reccomend a service like Booking.com in order to find the perfect place for you.
We know this may not be realistic for everyone, which is why we also reccomend an AirBnb or Hostel.
AirBnb’s have a pretty large price range but can be extremely affordable for solo travellers or groups. What’s great about them is that they have a very homey feel and help give you a feel of what it’s like to live in a city.
As far as hostels, Eilat doesn’t have too many.
Hostelworld is likely your best bet for finding the best hostel for you. In my experience, most hostels in Eilat we’re somewhat low quality with issues such as no lockers or poor air conditioning.
When To Go To Eilat?
Eilat is pretty busy all year round, but that’s certainly not to say that some months aren’t better to visit in than others.
Budget also plays a pretty large role in when to come to Eilat. June-July are likely the cheapest due to the extreme heat in Eilat.
If price isn’t a large factor, then Eilat can be enjoyed the most between August to September.
History of Eilat
Eilat’s name is derived from the Hebrew word Ayil, meaning ram. During the time of Abraham (circa 1800 BCE), rams survived on mainly grass diets in the region of Eilat.
Notable historical figures such as King David (1010-970 BCE) drew historical attention to the region when he formed his Southernmost defense line in Eilat, subsequently paving the line for his son, Solomon, to build the famous Holy Temple in Israel.
Solomon furthermore developed the area by building a Navy to transport gold and spices from Ophir through use of port’s.
After hearing of Solomon’s accomplishments in Eilat, the Queen of Sheba was said to have passed through Eilat on her way to visit the King in Israel.
During today’s age, Eilat continues to be partly characterized by it’s ports that draw tourists for shopping, restaurants, as well as excursions such as scuba diving.
Eilat’s ports additionally provide a great opportunity for sightseeing/dolphin watching if you’re in a more relaxed mood.
King Jehoshaphat of Judah was recorded in history for his efforts in building an additional Navy in Eilat after Solomon.
Previously mentioned shipwreck’s such as Suboat and Sufa shipwreck draw Scuba Diving crowds in today’s modern era.
Ancient records point to Jehoshaphat’s Navy having suffered a similar fate as it was lost in a storm.
Eilat’s port’s eventually led to historical conflict. This makes sense as port’s are often the center of political conflicts regarding coastal management/use.
As the history of Eilat unfolded, international relations and markets shifted.
In more recent Israel history, after the nation’s victory in it’s war of independence in the year 1948, as well as 1967, Egypt placed a blockade on the Strait of Tiran from the Red Sea into the Gulf of Eilat.
This proved problematic as Israel’s connection to Africa as further East regions were subsequently severed.
This conflict provoked Israel to go to war with Egypt in the Sinai Campaign of 1956, as well as the Six-Day war of 1967.
Eilat’s relations with nearby nations such as Jordan have been less bitter. In 1994, the Israeli-Jordanian Peace Treaty was signed, leading to positive contributions such as projects to protect the Gulf region.
Tourist visas are required to visit Jordan from a region north of Eilat.
If you’re looking to experience the rich history of Eilat up close and personal, your best shot is exploring the various shipwrecks the region has to offer for Scuba Divers.
These sites offer perspective into a past time while being surrounded by the area’s Marine life.
Try to be selective in which dive sites you select as it has been noted that some retired ships have been purposely sunk with the hope of attracting divers.
For those looking for a more modern glimpse of underwater Eilat history, check out the Eitana wreck. Eitana,a former tugboat, sunk in 1996 and remains largely intact with a variety of marine life present in the vicinity.