The Dead Sea is one of the highlights of any trip to Jordan. Of course, the main reason anyone visits is for the surreal experience of being able to float in that salty water, but there is plenty of other things to do to keep you busy for a few days.
Here's our guide to the best things to do in the Dead Sea in Jordan.
Things to do in The Dead Sea
The Dead Sea is the lowest point on earth and sits at nearly 500 metres below sea level (yeah, figure that one out!). Its high salinity - or salt levels - are the reason that you are able to float in the water and it is one of the saltiest lakes in the world.
The majority of resorts are based in the northern part of the Dead Sea and it is only a one hour drive from Amman (the capital of Jordan).
What to do in the Dead Sea Jordan
Dead Sea mud has several health benefits and supposedly can improve the condition of your skin. The process is to cover yourself in mud, let it do its work for 15 minutes to half an hour whilst you bake in the sun and then wash it off in the sea. We both felt the positive effects of the mud, really smooth skin, so maybe they're onto something?!
There's no way to describe the feeling when you get into the Dead Sea for the first time. The water feels thicker than anywhere else and as soon as you try lie flat you suddenly float. It takes a little practise to stay steady (going on your front is not a good idea) but after a while you'll be floating as if you've been doing it all your life.
Catch a sunset
Going to the Dead Sea at sunset was one of our favourite experiences. The air is cooler, the light is beautiful and it is likely that you'll be the only one there. Sadly we didn't get the flat conditions that you often experience, but it still beautiful, just watch out for the waves hitting your eyes. The stinging is on another level.
Helpful Tip: Make sure you don't shave for at least a few days before getting in the Dead Sea and try to cover any cuts or wounds. It's also a good idea not to spend too long in the water at any one time (say over 30 minutes) and make sure you wash the salt water off with fresh water as soon as possible.
Adventure into Wadi Mujib Canyon - Siq Trail
Venturing into Wadi Mujib was one of our favourite things to do in the whole of Jordan, not just the Dead Sea. Anyone who is unafraid of water can do at least some of the hike, but the more adventurous can explore the entire Wadi, climbing up small waterfalls and rocks using ropes and rungs to the very end.
There are several trails you can do, but we chose to do the Siq Trail as it is known as the easiest (and we'd never been canyoning before!).
Even if that sounds daunting, we highly recommend doing at least some of Wadi Mujib, even if it is a short distance. It is a really beautiful place with stunning canyon walls and a cool air you don't usually get in the middle of the summer in the Dead Sea. It's completely shady so you don't even need sun cream or sunglasses.
The adventure starts with the water ankle deep (the water still flows surprisingly fast at this point). As you go further into the canyon, the water gets deeper until you reach small sections where you need to swim.
After this you'll reach the small waterfalls where you can decide to carry on (this is the halfway point where you reach the first fixed ropes), or just take in the pleasant surroundings and head back.
Entry costs 21 JD (about $30 USD) per person. You can choose to take a guide if you want to explore the whole route, but it isn't needed if you just want to go as far as you feel comfortable doing or you are comfortable with this kind of thing.
We didn't make it right to the end and still had the most amazing time.
Getting to Wadi Mujib
Wadi Mujib is a short drive south from the Dead Sea Resorts along the Dead Sea Highway. You simply watch for the signs and turn left into the Adventure Centre.
Check out the Panorama Dead Sea Complex...
The Panorama Dead Sea Complex is a good place to spend a couple of hours. It has a museum that takes you through the history and formation of the Dead Sea, a restaurant that has stunning views and is the start of the short cliff top walk.
It is a windy road all the way to the top, but is well worth it!
We visited in the middle of the day and wished we'd realised how amazing the view was and gone for sunset and dinner. We'd highly recommend that above visiting in the day if you have the option.
...and take in the views
The views all along the highway and the coast are beautiful, especially in the early morning. If you get really still conditions you'll see perfect reflections of the sky.
However, some of the best views can be seen from the Panorama Dead Sea Complex. Simply walk to the restaurant and you'll see a viewing platform. From here you'll look out to miles across the Dead Sea to Palestine.
Hike the cliffs
The Zara Cliff Top walk is short but sweet, offering cliff top views of the Dead Sea throughout. It is about 1km return, and completely flat, though fully exposed to the sun.
The walk starts at the southern side of the Amphitheatre at the Panorama Dead Sea Complex. Just find the sign and keep walking.
Indulge at the Movenpick
We stayed at the Movenpick for two nights and wished we'd stayed longer! It was the perfect base for exploring the area with its own beach access to the Dead Sea (including mud to slap on) as well as two - YES TWO - stunning infinity pools to admire the sunset views.
The rooms are really comfortable and spacious, and the hotel is built in a traditional style and set around beautifully manicured gardens.
The Dead Sea is well known to have several health benefits (some health funds send their patients here for the benefits of the climate and atmosphere). The Movenpick also has one of the best spas in the Middle East (Zara Spa) for you to take advantage of all the minerals and health benefits that the Dead Sea can offer.
Amman to the Dead Sea (how to get there)
It takes approximately one hour to get from Jordan's Capital Amman to the Dead Sea. We'd strongly recommend hiring a car from the airport and driving as this gives you freedom to explore the other attractions in the area. We wouldn't advise driving around Amman though as the streets can be congested and the driving can be tricky. We spent three days in Amman and then went back to the airport to pick up our car for the rest of the trip.
Weather in the Dead Sea
The Dead Sea is one of the hottest parts of Jordan and is warm even in the winter. In the summer the temperatures can reach the mid-thirties and above, but this makes floating in the Dead Sea (in the cooler parts of the day) and exploring Wadi Mujib even more pleasant.
In general, the Dead Sea is about 10C hotter than Amman.
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