The Dead Sea is a must-do experience if you are in Jordan. Located just an hour away from Amman, you can explore it on a day trip.
There are two geographical fun facts about the Dead Sea. First, it is landlocked, and it is not an actual sea, more like a very salty lake. Second, it is 422 meters below sea level, the lowest place on earth you can actually visit.
The lake shares its shores with Israel, Jordan, and the West Bank.
Day-tripping to the Sea is a popular weekend activity among Amman locals too. You can spend just one day by the Sea, but it is recommended to stay for longer and explore other sights in the area.
While the high saline levels and beautifying Dead Sea mud are supposed to be good for your skin, it is just fun to float carefree on the water.
The easy floating is why people are obsessed with the Sea. The salinity is about 34%, almost 10 times saltier than the Atlantic or Pacific Oceans.
The water levels in the Sea are decreasing by 1 meter every year. Only the Jordan River flows into the lake, but recently due to agricultural activities and the growing population, the water is directed to other places.
There are efforts to protect the water, but the Dead Sea might not be around forever. Try it while you have the opportunity.
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Here is a guide on how to get the most out of your trip to the Dead Sea.
Getting to the Dead Sea
Visiting the Dead Sea on a day trip is easiest by taking a taxi. Just hail one by your hotel or order an Uber. Depending on traffic and surge prices, your bill will come to around 20-25JD ($28-35) one-way.
When taking a taxi, always agree on the price before heading off. It is also good to negotiate for a return trip. See if the driver can take you back to Amman.
Otherwise, it is difficult to get a taxi back to Amman and the return way will be pricy if you take one of the hotel taxis.
It takes about an hour to get to the Sea. The route will take you through small villages.
Jordanian public transport is not exactly the best and most efficient, but it is the cheaper way to get around.
JETT (Jordanian Express Tourist Transport Company) is running buses between Amman and the Dead Sea. However, the timings and locations depend on the season and it is subject to change. The cost for a return bus ticket will be around 16JD ($22.50)
It is always best to check timetables before you plan your outing and ask for confirmation from your hotel receptionist just to be sure.
If you are up for an adventure, you can choose to take the local bus. It is the cheapest option, but its schedule is not exactly reliable.
You can catch the bus from Mujaharin station. The closest stop where the bus will drop you to the Dead Sea is Rame, from there you need to hail a taxi. The bus ticket will cost around 1JD, and the taxi is approximately 4JD.
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Where to Go for Beaching
The Dead Sea has a long coast in Jordan, however, it is not allowed or recommended to just pitch up anywhere for a dip in the water.
There are public beaches around which is the cheapest option for visiting the area. Some might cost 10JD to enter.
They are not as looked after beaches, there is a fair bit of litter around. Some locals are not used to seeing women in bathing suits, which might trigger uncomfortable looks and comments.
It is recommended to book a hotel as they have private beaches where tourists can freely enjoy the water.
Hotels also offer day passes which are handy if you don’t want to spend a night by the Dead Sea.
You will find hotel resorts in all price ranges from budget to luxury accommodations.
The private beaches are cleaner, and they have comfortable sun loungers where you can spread out for sunbathing.
As the water is very salty, you have to rinse yourself off after every dip, otherwise, your skin will be very itchy from the salt. Showers are provided on all private beaches.
What to Expect From the Dead Sea
Due to the extreme saltiness of the water, you will float however hard you try to go under or sink.
It is best to avoid putting your head in the water because the salt will burn your eyes.
The water is rich in chloride salts of magnesium, sodium, potassium, bromine, and other minerals. The buoyant water is warm all year round, hence attracting people from everywhere.
It is called the Dead Sea because literally, everything dies in it from saltiness. So, you don’t need to worry about anything biting your feet.
The water has different layers, the top layer is clear water which is colder than the rest. Below the water is jelly-like and the further in you go, the thicker it gets.
It is recommended to stay in the water for 10-20 minutes at a time, as it is difficult to swim due to the high salt content and it can irritate the skin after a while.
Hotel beaches also provide Dead Sea mud in a pit on the beach. You can cover your whole body, wait for it to dry, then wash it off in the sea or use the showers provided.
Other Attractions Near the Dead Sea
If you are up for an adventure, go on one of the Wadi Mujib trails. Be aware that it is not open all year round, only from April until October, so check the availability online before you go.
Wadi Mujib is a natural reserve with diverse plants, waterfalls, and hot springs. Wear comfortable hiking shoes and make sure you have enough water with you.
The Siq Trail is best described as a waterpark-hike, located about a 30-minutes drive from the Dead Sea resorts. You will hike through river canyons which lead to a picturesque waterfall and swimming pond. Don’t forget to take your water shoes.
It is one of the most picture-worthy places in Jordan. This will not be your usual retail workday.
Going through water and climbing rocks can be physically demanding, and you need to be careful of slippery rocks. Yet, you will be rewarded for your efforts with the beautiful landscape.
If you are not a Jordanian citizen, you will have to pay 21JD, which includes a mandatory life jacket.
For those interested in history and culture, the baptism site of Jesus Christ is halfway between Amman and the Dead Sea. This is one of the holiest places in Christianity.
It is believed that John the Baptist baptized Jesus Christ in this place.
For non-Jordanian citizens, there is an entry fee of 5JD upon arrival.
If you want to get your adrenaline pumping, check out the Royal Aero Sports Club of Jordan. They offer different types of aviation experiences over the beautiful Dead Sea landscape.
Just to mention a few, you can try a hot air balloon, go skydiving, or fly in a gyrocopter.
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