The Dead Sea is a salt lake bordered by Jordan and Israel which stretches 50km long, and 15km wide. It is the lowest point on earth, sitting 1,407 feet below sea level, and is one of the world’s saltiest bodies of water (almost nine times as salty as an ocean). Although I didn’t know much about the Dead Sea until I started researching for my trip to Jordan, and being someone who has almost drowned on multiple occasions in my life, I’m never usually excited about large body of waters. But when I found out you didn’t even need to swim when in the Dead Sea, I was instantly excited!
Because of the high salt concentration of the Dead Sea, people can easily float due to the natural buoyancy. Not only does this make for a unique “swimming” experience, but it also contains eight times more minerals than most sea water. The water is known to cure/help with many diseases like joint pain and arthritis, but also be fantastic for your skin. On top of that, the beaches are basically an outdoor, natural spa. The mud that can be collected from the Dead Sea and parts of the shore, is known to help skin disorders with its rich mineral content that accelerates natural exfoliation and restores your skins PH levels, and the salty sand, can also be used as a scrub. Forget the expensive Dead Sea spas, just find a beach to head to for your own DIY spa treatment.
The Dead Sea is a common tourist attraction in Jordan, but don’t expect that you can just show up anywhere around the Dead Sea and hop in. Due to the receding and rocky (and salty) shoreline, it’s best to visit for a swim at the public beach (Amman Tourist Beach) or by staying in one of the resorts (many resorts offer day passes). The beach costs around 20 JD for tourists and the magical mud is an additional 3 JD. I stayed at the Ramada Dead Sea Resort which was gorgeous and offered a free shuttle that took you down to their private beach. I even cut my foot on the rocks going into the water here, so I suggest water shoes or sandals!
Once you get to the beach, don’t expect to run and dive into the water. Walk into the water until it’s up to your thighs and lean back. Use your arms to move you around, but try not to kick your legs or swim like you normally would. I was told by a local to float in the water for around 15-20 minutes, come out and wait around 5 minutes before you wash off the salt water (most resorts will have freshwater showers). When you leave the salty water on your skin, you’ll begin to feel dried up and icky.
After you rinse off, find some of the magical mud. Beaches usually have buckets of mud along the shore for you to take from but you can always venture looking for your own. Grab some mud and coat your skin with it. Don’t use a little bit, apply a thick layer in long strokes as oppose to rubbing. Leave the mud until it starts to become hard (around 5 minutes) and head into the water to rinse off. Rinse off using a circular motion with your hand, and if you put some on your face, use the freshwater shower to wash your face—getting the salt water in your eyes will actually be excruciating (believe me, it happened to me).
My experience floating in the Dead Sea was pretty surreal. Like I said, i’m not a great swimmer, so usually I avoid swimming outside of pools all together but not having to actually swim, and being able to literally kick back and relax while in the water was so cool.
Alternatively, although I don’t recommend skipping a float in the Dead Sea completely, you can also visit one of the spas in the area to get special spa treatments that use products from the Dead Sea. You can also buy some of these products all around Jordan to bring home with you. I recommend buying in a souvenir shop outside of your hotel or spa, because all the products are the same (with the exception of the labels), so there’s no point in overpaying.
Visiting the Dead Sea is a must when visiting Jordan, you should definitely not miss it, and the best part is, you don’t need weeks or days to visit, in fact, one day is often enough as there isn’t much around this area to do other than visit the sea or local spas. Perfect for people short on time like me!
Have you ever had any surreal nature experiences? Share them below! I want to hear what I should add to my bucket list.