Swimming in the Dead Sea in Jordan

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You don’t really go swimming in the Dead Sea, you float. I did not believe Lina when she told me about being able to float in the Dead Sea in Jordan and I was determined to put this rumor to the test. I just couldn’t fathom how it would be possible to float as people say.

If you ask Lina, she calls me a water baby. I love playing in the water and I love spending my days sitting in the water. After spending the past days exploring the rose-red city of Petra and sleeping under the stars in Wadi Rum, we were in need of a slower travel day with some rest and relaxation.

The Dead Sea is the perfect spot to sit back and enjoy this natural spa. Besides, why not do it floating on the water?

** This is the tour we took ** Book your own adventure in Jordan: 8 Day Jordan Explorer


Swimming in the Dead Sea: Jordan Experience Tips

Dead Sea shore, Jordan

What is the Dead Sea Exactly?

The Dead Sea isn’t very big. It is only 67km long and 18km wide at its widest point. However, it is very deep at 77m (1,237 ft). The Dead Sea is the deepest ultra salty lake in the world. Where we were floating, it was about 7km wide with a clear view of Israel on the opposite bank.

The Dead Sea has an astounding salt level of 33%. To give you an idea, the ocean has a salt concentration of only 3.8% in comparison. That is almost 10 times saltier than the ocean.

People flock from around the world to this natural spa for skin treatment and a chance to float on the water’s surface.

Dead Sea Jordan

At 423 meters below sea level, the banks of the Dead Sea of Jordan are indeed the lowest point on earth.

The Dead Sea is shrinking and is one of the wonders of the world you should see before it’s gone. It was surprising to see how much it has shrink just in a few years. Some hotels have miles of waistline where the seashore used to be.

The hotel we visited had signed up showing where the sea levels used to be in years prior.  They are currently working on measures to stop the shrinking.

** This is the tour we took ** Book your own adventure in Jordan: 8 Day Jordan Explorer

America's adventure travel couple floating in the Dead Sea, Jordan -Divergent Travelers

Swimming in the Dead Sea: Our Experience

We made our way down to the beach to see what all the hype was about at the lowest point on earth. I placed my items on a bench and stumbled down to the rocky shoreline. Lots of people were in the water, floating around like they were sitting on lounge chairs. Some were even reading newspapers and magazines.

This excited me even more as I stared in disbelief. With each step I got deeper, the water felt nice and had an oil-like consistency. Imagine having the feeling of the water being thick, yet perfectly clear.

It was heavier then any other body of water I have swum in before. I was getting ready to take that plunge in when Lina quickly yelled out to not jump in, to just sit back.  I turned around looking at the beach and simply laid back.

Check out: The Great Arab Revolt in Wadi Rum

Guy (David Stock) floating in the Dead Sea, Jordan

It was like nothing I have experienced before. I was truly floating in the water. It kind of felt like I was a piece of Styrofoam floating on the surface and was a crazy sensation that everyone should try at least once in their life.

The afternoon continued as we spent our time acting like superman and floating in the water with our arms out. I will say that it is not recommended to float on your stomach.

People drown all the time in the Dead Sea floating on their stomachs because they can’t get turned around. If you are not a strong swimmer, just stay on your back.

** This is the tour we took ** Book your own adventure in Jordan: 8 Day Jordan Explorer

Guy covered in Dead Sea mug, Jordan

Using the Dead Sea Mud Spa

Time to mud up! As I climbed out of the water, I felt incredibly heavy. I made my way to the fresh mud bucket that the guy on the beach had just filled for us. Our guide had him get us a fresh bucket of black mud that felt like grease.

You can’t visit the Dead Sea without mudding up your entire body.

It would be wrong to not give it a go so I started to cover every part of my body. Reaching into the bucket and pulling out huge clumps, I worked the mud onto my skin until I had turned myself black.

This magical mud from the shores of the Dead Sea has healing powers that people swear by and after you wash yourself off,  your skin is supposed to feel soft like a baby’s butt.

Dead Sea MUD face

Travelers come from all around the world to take advantage of the healing benefits of the Dead Sea. I let the mud sit on my skin for a bit before jumping back into the water to begin rinsing some of that magical mud off.

It did not come off as easy as it went on and I probably should not have rubbed it onto my face.

Whoops! I really had to scrub and the mud went everywhere. It even went into my mouth, I thought maybe I should try to start a new fad, you know, the brown mouth fad for whiter teeth. I could only get so much off in the Dead Sea so I had to rinse the rest off using those showers provided on the beach.

** This is the tour we took ** Book your own adventure in Jordan: 8 Day Jordan Explorer

Reading a Magazine while floating in the Dead Sea Jordan

Survival Tips for Floating in the Dead Sea

  • Forget your swimming instincts, you are here to float on your back. Don’t try to swim, just get in the water sit back and enjoy the float.
  • Don’t kick the water to move, just use your hands. If you don’t know how to swim it’s ok, you’ll be fine.
  • Don’t splash. It’s extremely painful and stings to have the water get in your eyes. Your mates will probably not like to get splashed in the face.
  • Don’t taste the water, even though I did. The water is way too salty, it tastes horrible and becomes poisonous if too much is ingested.
  • If any water gets on your face, don’t try to wipe it off with your wet hand, this will be your instinct but you would only make things worse. Get out of the water and grab that hose on the beach.
  • It is recommended to only stay in for 10-15 minutes, otherwise, the more sensitive parts of your body will start burning. Lina can testify to this one…

People floating in the Dead Sea, Jordan

After Floating in the Dead Sea

  • A shower is advised right after getting out. You can always go back in the sea for another 10-15 minutes, but the shower in between if you don’t want to have your skin become irritated.
  • Any cuts or nicks will sting for a few days.
  • Enjoy your baby soft skin.

This was just one of the great adventures we had during our time in Jordan. It was an experience, unlike any other water experiences we have had in our lives. You can really float in the waters of the Dead Sea.

Don’t forget to try out the mud on your skin, it’s 100% natural and will make your skin feel soft. Who knows, maybe the stories of the magical healing rumors are true, I will keep you posted.

** This is the tour we took ** Book your own adventure in Jordan: 8 Day Jordan Explorer

Where to Stay at the Dead Sea Jordan

Staying near the Dead Sea is the best way to experience swimming in the Dead Sea. Most of the hotels will offer packages that include spa use, products from the Dead Sea and special access to the sea itself. 

This can be a good thing if you don’t want to share your Dead Sea experience with random tour groups during your visit. 

We recommend that you stay in one of these two properties to have the best experience possible, this is, after all, a once in a lifetime experience! 

The Kempinski Hotel Ishtar Dead Sea and Movenpick Resort & Spa Dead Sea are both higher-end hotels, as you will find with most properties on the Dead Sea, and they both offer unparalleled accommodation and comfort for your time spent here. 

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About David Stock

I have always been an outdoorsman so becoming an adventure traveler was just the next natural step. I love nature, I love to get off the beaten path and I like to explore. I enjoy scuba diving and cars. And yes, Lina and I have a naked dog.



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6 thoughts on “Swimming in the Dead Sea in Jordan”

  1. Thanks for another great post. Your warnings that the water will burn your eyes and that you should fall backwards is sound advice. However, most people (if I can indeed generalise from my own experience) do not expect to start drifting as they wade into the water, and as you start loosing secure footing, falling forwards is “natural”. And, as you stumble forwards, you “naturally” start splashing to prevent falling face first into the water. Of course, splashing means you do get some water into your eyes, and it does burn horribly. However, this burning is nothing compared to the looks of disgust you get from those who were peacefully drifting around you – and into whose eyes you are also now splashing water.., Perhaps one should consider walking backwards when first entering this Sea. And when you do fall backwards, don’t splash. You will drift ‘on top of’ the water, rather than in it. It’s indeed a magical feeling!

    Reply
  2. Try not to shave anything for a day or so before dipping in the Dead Sea. The water is very salty and you WILL feel the burn! The same goes for skin scrapes and cuts. While salt water can actually speed up healing, the burning sensation is not a treat.

    Reply
  3. I’m considering Jordan next month. I hear it’s bit of a physical vacation with lots of walking. Mainly, I want to check out the Dead Sea and Petra.

    Reply
    • Petra is a huge site and requires many miles of walking during your visit. Some of that will involve climbing up stairs to the Royal Tombs. Visiting the Dead Sea is pretty easy. If you visit Mt Nebo, any of the crusader castles, Amman Citadel or Jerash, there is quite a bit of walking involved there too. It’s a great trip though!

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