Marsa Alam is one of the most beautiful resorts in the Red Sea, renowned for its sandy beaches and coral reefs.
When it comes to snorkeling in Egypt, many people in fact recommend Marsa Alam as the best destination and, after having been there, I cannot say that this is NOT the case.
With beautiful coral reefs, large schools of tropical fish, turtles, stingrays, manta rays, dugongs, whale sharks and dolphins this it truly is an underwater paradise.
Although almost all beach access hotels offer snorkeling, knowing where to go, which hotels to choose and get organized first will surely make your experience better.
So I decided to give you a hand to know first what places to choose and where to stay.
La Abu Dabbab beach it is perhaps the most popular beach in the city known for its sea turtles and dugongs (sea cows).
Also The Naaba Lagoon, a kitesurfing beach is very well known, but for me the destination of the heart is without a doubt Sharm el Luly, also known as "the Caribbean of Egypt".
If you want to truly live an extraordinary experience, here is a guide to the best destinations dove snorkeling to Marsa Alam!
WHERE DID I SLEEP?
After probing, reading and analyzing all the possible solutions, I opted for a apartment at Galawa Residence.
The reasons why I chose it are:
- Lowest price
- Possibility to go out in the evening and try different restaurants
- Experience the local reality more than in an all-inclusive resort
- 1 – Sharm El Luli
- 2 - Abu Dabbab (turtle bay)
- 3 - Marsa Mubarak
- 4 – Wadi Gemal Island
- 5 – Wadi El Gemal
- 6 – Fury Shoals (Dolphin Reef)
- 7 - Hamata Islands
- 8 – Sha’ab Samadai (Dolphin House)
- 9 – Al Quseir
- 10 – Kahramana Beach
- The best Snorkeling Resorts
- Snorkeling in Marsa Alam, when is the best time?
1 – Sharm El Luli
I loved Sharm El Luli with all of myself and it is one of those places that I will always carry in my heart.
Declared one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, Sharm El Luli is a spectacular beach of fine white sand located about 60 km south about halfway between Marsa Alam and Berenice.
This small strip of coast has remained one of the few unspoiled places; with there are shops, hotels or restaurants to deface its intense natural beauty: just a couple of Bedouin tents, where to have a coffee and a few umbrellas.
The lively white sands, the thousand shades of blue of its sea make Sharm El Luli a place you cannot help but fall in love with, it is no coincidence that the beach is called "the Caribbean of Egypt" and I assure you that it really is.
The beach is also an impressive snorkeling and diving destination: the warm and crystalline water and its coral reef make it similar to an aquarium that is home to an infinite variety of fish, different types of colorful corals and you will also be able to see the tartaruga embricata, an endangered species.
If you want to do a snorkeling tour in Sharm El Luli you can find it HERE (highly recommended, from € 123)
2 - Abu Dabbab
Also called "turtle bay" due to the large presence of these animals, Abu Dabbab it is probably one of the most popular snorkeling excursions by tourists from all over the world (due to the ease), but no less beautiful than the others, indeed.
More than 14 turtles live here (it is their home) and the chances of seeing them are very high, but if you are (very) lucky you can also meet the dugongs.
The dive site is very simple, perfect for snorkeling with children. It is located in a sandy bay with no current and with little depth (maximum about 18 m) which makes it suitable even for beginner divers.
Here is Chiara's video (a beautiful girl I met in Marsa Alam)
The beach is equipped (admission 7 euros) with umbrellas and sunbeds, a diving, the buffet restaurant of the resort Queen, bars and small bazaars (and if you meet my friend Ramadan - I swear it's really called that - visit his shop and ask him for a coffee with a mocha!).
Abu Dabbab can get quite crowded as it is a very popular dive site, plus the presence of the two resorts Hilton and Malikia doesn't help, but despite everything, you can't help but go there.
RECOMMENDED TOUR ⇒ Marsa Alam: boat tour, snorkeling, turtles and lunch (from € 52)
3 - Marsa Mubarak
Marsa Mubarak it is a bay with a coral reef on either side and an easy walk (takes about 15 minutes) from the resort Three Corners Fayrouz.
The beach is not one of my favorites, but with its calm and crystal clear water, white sand and easy entry into the sea, it is perfect for families with children.
Thanks to the presence of algae on the bottom it is also the ideal place for encounters with turtles and, if you are particularly lucky, with the dugong that feeds on algae (for which it is also called the "cow of the sea").
Plenty of snorkeling tours lead right here. One of the best is undoubtedly THIS.
4 – Wadi Gemal Island
One of the most beautiful excursions you can do by boat and for snorkeling is the one toWadi Gemal island which "belongs" to the Protected Marine Park.
The tongue of white sand, the warm sea and the crystal clear waters make this place a paradise on Earth and this personally is one of the excursions that I liked the most.
The excursion to the island of Wadi Gemal is only possible from the diving center Shams Alam Beach Resort. For this it has an added value: you will not find the crowd of boats that you find on other excursions.
5 – Wadi El Gemal
Wadi El Gemal is a natural park, whose name means "Valley of the camels", which was declared a National Park in 2003.
Its extraordinary terrestrial and marine ecosystem, incredibly rich from a landscape, botanical and faunal point of view, includes numerous archaeological sites of great importance and Bedouin communities, such as the Ababda Bedouins who are trying to keep their traditions intact.
Hidden among these mountains are the famous emerald mines of the Pharaohs: the oldest in the world and the only ones known before the New World was discovered.
Still little known, this park also encompasses unspoiled nature, including beaches of fine sand that gently sink into the blue waters of the sea.
One of the most famous beaches, both for its beauty and for its ease of access, is that of Baia di Hankorab, located less than twenty kilometers south of the main hotels in the area.
A beautiful coral reef borders the north side of the beach, allowing people to snorkel or dive (this site is particularly suitable for beginners as it is protected from waves and currents).
The coral reef is rich in madrepores, among which live a multitude of coral reef fish, such as the red Anthias, butterfly fish, parrot fish and damselfish.
Further south, ad Abu Ghosun e El Qulan, there are two other wonderful beaches, less frequented than the previous one.
In El Qulan there is one of the most beautiful lagoons in the Red Sea, famous for its turquoise waters, while all around you can admire large mangroves and the acacia tree on the sea that made El Qulan so famous.
Further south, the large and beautiful beach of Wadi Lahami it houses a huge mangrove forest and is equipped with a small ecolodge and a diving center.
RECOMMENDED TOUR ⇒ Wadi El Gemal National Park Snorkeling Tour from Marsa Alam (from € 44)
6 – Fury Shoals
With the name Fury Shoals we mean a series of reefs (coral reefs) along the southwestern coast, probably among the most beautiful in the entire Red Sea.
Its hard and soft corals are pristine and are a highlight of many dive sites - an example of this is the Fury Shoal Garden.
If you want to escape from the more “crowded” snorkeling sites and dive among exceptional corals and pristine reefs, this is without a doubt the right place.
The marine life here is truly fantasticIn addition to all the usual reef fish in the Red Sea, you can come across various species of reef sharks such as the gray shark.
Pelagic fish such as Barracuda, Caranx ignobilis (commonly known as the Indo-Pacific giant trevally) and dogtooth tuna are also common in the area.
The Fury Shoals are suitable for everyone depending on their level, from snorkelling to real diving.
Various types of dive and snorkel sites are available depending on what you like and your abilities - fringed reefs, lagoons, drops or wrecks are some of the options, so you definitely won't get bored diving among these magnificent coral formations.
A very famous dive site is certainly the Dolphin Reef (Sha'ab Sataya, not to be confused with Sha'ab Samadai also known as Dolphin House due to the presence of a permanent family of dolphins and which I will tell you about later).
Here below is my video taken at Sataya Reef, swimming among the dolphins!
A pod of dolphins live here and while snorkelling there is a high chance of spotting them (practically 99,9% of the time). I have been there and it was one of the best experiences of my life: swimming among dozens and dozens of Stenelle dolphins is one of the things I will never forget!
The reef has steep walls that lead to a sandy slope littered with a large variety of coral heads.
⇒ Marsa Alam: Sataya Dolphin Barrier Snorkeling (from € 68 - the tour I did too, well organized, highly recommended!)
⇒ Marsa Alam: Sataya Reef overnight cruise (from € 200 - 2 days, overnight stay included -> allows you to snorkel in one of the most beautiful places PRIMA that other tourists arrive: you will have the sea all to yourself!)
7 - Hamata Islands
Le Hamata islands are four islands of pure white sand located off the remote and lesser known southern part of Egypt which is 190 km (118 miles) south of Marsa Alam.
They are located right next to one of the coral reefs less traveled by tourism (the ones I told you about earlier), the Fury Shoals.
Here you will find coral gardens, shallow dive sites even for those approaching this “sport” for the first time and full of large and small marine life.
The Hamata area spans 60 km (37 miles) and encompasses Wadi Lahami, Lahami Bay e Hamata Port.
There are more than 80 coral species found in this area.
Macro life is made up of a great variety of crustaceans and molluscs, ghost pipefish, seahorses and many other strange animals that I never even imagined I would ever see.
Among the most common species that you will be able to spot, there are Surgeon fish, Puffer fish, Angel, Lion, Napoleon, Barracuda just to name the most famous. Moray eels are mainly represented by the spotted "snowflake" moray eel, gray and brown.
Among the breeds, there is a high chance of seeing Giant Ray and Eagle Ray breeds, and on some occasions, you may also see rarer species such as the Red Sea Torpedo Ray.
The most typical sharks that populate the Hamata area are the gray reef shark and the black tip sharks. Especially during the months of May-August, there is the possibility of encountering other species such as hammerhead sharks.
RECOMMENDED TOUR ⇒ Hamata Islands: snorkeling tour from Marsa Alam (from €58)
8 – Sha’ab Samadai (Dolphin House)
The marine park of Sha'ab Samadai, or commonly called Dolphin House (house of the dolphins) due to the permanent presence of a family who lives here, it is certainly one of the snorkeling that most remain in the mind and give satisfaction to tourists.
It is located South of Marsa Alam, about an hour and a half away by boat and is divided into three distinct areas, in order to guarantee both your safety and that (obligatory) of the dolphins.
- Area A - Exclusively dedicated to dolphins, where no one can enter
- Area B - Dedicated to those who practice snorkeling
- Area C - Reserved for boats and divers
A dispassionate tip: sometimes the dolphins approach alone and enter the area for snorkeling or diving. If you stay still it is easier for them to come near you!
9 – Al Quseir
Al Qoseir is a small (very dirty) town located 73 km north of Marsa Alam airport.
However, the city is famous for its sandy beaches and coral reefs which make it an ideal destination for diving and snorkeling.
The city is one of those little-known places in Egypt where you can snorkel or spend a day sunbathing on a pristine beach and, at the same time, visit historical sites like the castle.
Near the Quseir there is also a compound where many have taken home (and maybe the next one will be me!)
10 – Kahramana Beach
La Kahramana beach it is 1 km long and forms two bays with a coral reef. The beach is located on two hills, Palm Bay to the north and the Blue Lagoon to the south.
Laguna Bay is common with divers, snorkelers, and swimmers, while Palm Bay is a more romantic and relaxing destination.
The beach is located just 38km south of Marsa Alam International Airport and boasts beautiful natural surroundings, stunning views and incredible sunset views.
The best Snorkeling Resorts
So far I have told you about the best places to do snorkeling in Marsa Alam, starting from the idea that you want to take part in tours.
A bit of a mistake on my part since many will instead want a week of relaxation, perhaps in one of the magnificent resorts that Marsa alam has to offer.
So here is a list of hotels and resorts to stay in that are close to snorkeling beaches or (some of them) even have their own private beach.
Three Corners Fayrouz Plaza: the best ever. The coral reef is located in front of the village and within walking distance you have the fantastic Marsa Mubarak (so you can go there even without taking a tour)!
Aurora Bay Resort Marsa Alam: This all-inclusive resort, overlooking the bay of Gebel el Rosas, offers an outdoor pool, rooms with balconies and a private beach (you have to cross the road to get there).
Malikia Resort Abu Dabbab: frequented mainly by Russians and Poles, this resort is not great (the food is not the best), but it is located directly on the beach of Abu Dabbab! If you are looking for something better in Abu Dabbab, try checking out theHilton Marsa Alam Nubian Resort which is located on the opposite side of the beach (and which offers a much superior service to Malikia).
Concorde Moreen Beach Resort: l'hotel, ad Abu Dabbab, is located on a nice beach where you can snorkel, and is one of the nicest hotels you could stay at. Some rooms have beach and pool views. The room is spacious and clean, in the evening you will fall asleep like a baby!
Shams Alam Beach Resort: located in the Wadi El Gemal Natural Park, Shams Alam is another of the iconic resorts of Marsa Alam. This is a very well run resort, with very professional and respectful staff, the beach is heavenly especially for coral and they also have a center to learn to windsurf.
Il Magic Tulip Beach Resort & Spa it is located near Abu Dabbab. If you really want to find fault it is a bit uncomfortable for the 750 meter long jetty, but the snorkeling is very nice - also from the Tulip you can swim up to the Shoni Bay and walk back.
Brayka Bay Reef Resort: The highlight of this hotel / resort is undoubtedly its stunning location on the bay with an entrance to the sand, perfect for families with children as well. It is approximately 40 minutes from the airport. Everything is close at hand, pool, restaurants, reception, bazaar, beach and the food is better than many other resorts.
Snorkeling in Marsa Alam, when is the best time?
Marsa Alam is a coastal city in Egypt. It is a relatively small city near the water with a population of 10000 people.
Il climate in Marsa Alam is sunny and dry all year round, but in the months from November to February (when I went) there is a lot of wind. The air temperature, like that of the water, varies according to the season.
The water temperature has a moderate variability all year round. The temperature varies from 22,6 ° C in February to 30,3 ° C in July.
The average water temperature throughout the year is 26 ° C and the best time for snorkeling is summer, as Marsa Alam is located in the Northern Hemisphere.
La water temperature around Marsa Alam is extremely hot and reaches 30 ° C in the months of June, July and August. During this time, in the summer, a wetsuit is typically not needed for snorkeling.
However, during the end of winter, the temperatures cool down. During these months, for most people a wetsuit may be required, but the bravest (not me who am chilly) could also be fine without it.5 / 5 ( 7 votes )