Egypt is one of the top diving locations in the world. The Red Sea is remarkably clear and the coral reefs are stunning. Several locations are popular for diving, and come with different types of dives and environments. The main four towns are Dahab, Sharm el Sheikh, Hurghada, and Marsa Alam. We chose to dive in Dahab and loved it.
Where to Dive
There are two areas to dive in Egypt, the lower Sinai or the eastern coastline. Dahab and Sharm el Sheikh are located on the southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula, Hurghada and Marsa Alam are situated along the eastern coastline of Egypt.
Diving around the Sinai is known for famous coral reefs. One of the best wreck dives in the world, Thistlegorm is accessible from this area. Dahab has many shore dives and is known as a budget friendly option. For those looking for a resort town with diving, Sharm el Sheikh and Marsa Alam are the best options. Dahab and Hurghada have larger towns which can cater to most travelers. We chose to go to Dahab because it is backpacker friendly and close to several famous sites.
Home to the world famous Blue hole, Dahab is a snorkeling and diving paradise. Most dive locations are accessible from the shore making it budget friendly. Dahab has a laid back scene and is backpacker friendly.
Famous Dive Locations
Ras Um Sid
Shark and Jolanda Reef
Picking a Dive Shop
Dive shops in Egypt are either independent or located inside a hotel. If within a hotel, there are often packaged rates for diving and hotel stays. This is common in Sharm el Sheikh and Marsa Alam. Hurghada and Dahab have the most selection of independent dive shops. With many options to choose from, it is important to find a dive shop that you are comfortable with.
Dive shops are struggling for business in Egypt due to low level of tourism, so deals can be made. Dahab has the best prices in Egypt. We preferred to dive with the very highly rated and fun group at Octopus World Dahab.
Here are some expected diving costs:
Fun Dive 200 – 300 E£ (~$14.00)
Open Water Diver 3,200 E£ ($180)
Advanced 2,400 E£ ($135)
Divemasters 10,000 E£ ($550)
Thistlegorm day trip $110 three boat dives and two meals
How to Get There
One option is to fly to Sharm el Sheikh, a 45 minute drive from Dahab. The other option is to take one of the several buses from Cairo. Typically departing four times daily the journey takes 8 to 12 hours depending on the class of transportation. Buses can range from local economy class to VIP tourist buses. Before entering the Sinai at the Suez, there is a military checkpoint that is a very thorough (all baggage will be checked). Private shuttles can be arranged with some hotels.
Cost: Economy buses start from 100 E£ and the VIP buses range in price from 190 E£ to 230 E£.
Where to Stay
Seven Heaven, a backpackers favorite, has great room prices, good food, and a dive shop on site. If any courses are taken with their dive shop, they offer a free stay in their dorms or 20 E£ off a private room. We didn’t feel comfortable diving with them because there was usually one instructor for 8-12 divers.
Cost: Dorm rooms cost 30 E£ per night and private double rooms cost between 60 E£ and 80 E£.
Where to Eat
Seabride Seafood restaurant – pick your fish, shrimp or calamari and choose between fried and grilled (grilled is amazing). Comes with an assortment of mezze plates. Costs between 60 E£ – 90 E£ per person.
Nemo Restaurant – Our favorite along the boardwalk, Nemo has excellent service and fresh seafood. Pick from an assortment of fresh seafood for around 60 E£ per person or order some pizza off the menu for 35 E£. We were able to negotiate the prices.
Mariem – In the town center where locals eat and do their shopping, there are several seafood restaurants. Mariem was our favorite, where 50 E£ per person will be a feast. Prices may seem the same as the boardwalk restaurants, but the plates have almost 50% more food.
Everyday Cafe & Restaurant – Offers mouth watering cheesecakes and chocolate cakes. Cost 25-30 E£.
Tip: With Egypt hurting due to low tourism, many restaurants negotiate down the prices. It never hurts to ask.
Day Trips from Dahab
Saint Catherine Monastery and Mount Sinai
Mount Sinai is a pilgrimage sight for many christians. For the rest of us, it is the famous for sunrise or sunset. Tours originate from Dahab leaving at 11pm, to start hiking at 2am for an incredible sunrise, and arrive back in Dahab at noon. While this is more common we like our sleep, so we recommend going for sunset. Find a group of 3-5 people and hire a private car for the day. Arrive before noon to visit the Monastery before it closes, followed by a hike to the summit for sunset. The hike took us less then two hours each way.
Cost: Night tours cost 110 E£ including transfer and entry costs. Private cars can be hired for 500 E£, entry ticket costs 25 E£ and mandatory guide costs 100 E£.
While not at all are traditional, we had a great time at the Bedouin dinner. The meal was delicious and we danced under the stars around a campfire. We also hiked to a overlook to see the ocean.
Cost: 125 E£
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Visited in November 2016.