The lowest point of Earth. Several rivers end here. Once the water spills into the Dead Sea it is stuck with nowhere to flow. Given the year round sunshine and warm temperatures, the water evaporates resulting in a super-salty dense lake (the water is 10x saltier than sea water!). The main attraction here is floating in the Dead Sea. Even I, “Miss Sink Like a Rock Rey” can float effortlessly here. In fact, you can more or less “sit” in the water and remain upright. The water is so dense that while floating is easy, actually swimming is a difficult feat. Not that you would want to swim – splashing water into one’s face results in burning eyes and a salty taste.
In addition to floating effortlessly, the Dead Sea provides visitors with rich, black mud. Some say the mud has healing powers. Whether you believe it can heal all that ails you or not, there is no arguing that the mineral rich mud can leave your skin feeling very soft. The trick is to balance the healing powers of the mud with the drying nature of salt. The best way I have found might seem counterintuitive but I swear by the results! First, go for a dip in the Dead Sea and stay in for 5-10 minutes. You’ll come out of the water with a white film of salt all over – resist the urge to wash it off! Apply the mud all over yourself and then bake in the sun for approximately 10 minutes. Now return to the Dead Sea to start to get the mud off. Finish by rinsing in one of the fresh water showers the resorts provide by the water. For optimal softness, I recommend following up with a Dead Sea derived lotion. My favorite brand is Trinitae.
Sounds like a messy good time right?! Let’s talk about accessing the Dead Sea. Most of the access points are on the Jordanian shores. The only access points are via the hotel/resorts or the one public beach.
The Public Beach is the cheapest way to access the Dead Sea for the day. At time of this posting, it was 20 JD per person for access to the waters as well as public pool and locker/shower facilities. Mud costs an additional 3 JD per person. There is a café there as well that offers local fare – I have not eaten there so cannot speak to the quality/prices. If you are only going for a quick dip and moving on, this is probably the best option. Note the facilities are basic but as clean as to be expected for a public facility boarding the saltiest body of water!
Many of the hotels offer day passes as well. The Dead Sea Marriott offers a 60 JD day pass. Before you think that’s 3x more let me explain. The day pass offers access to the resorts pools, the Dead Sea access point, mud, a towel and more! The day pass includes a few 15JD vouchers that can be used at any of the hotel’s restaurants. So if you plan on making a day of it, eating a meal and using the mud this is by far the better option. The facilities are also much nicer!
Should you choose to stay overnight, any of the hotels will include access with your room rate!
Now that you have chosen an access option, let’s talk about getting in the salty waters! Expect a hike from wherever you parked down to the waters. The length of hike varies depending on which property you are using. The walk from the Marriott pool area down to the water is about 5-10 minutes. They offer both stairs (more direct route) or ramps (longer distance but no steps!). They also offer a golf cart ride down if needed.
Once at the “beach” you will need to traverse some rocky terrain. The Marriott provides water shoes that the water can easily move in/out of but protect your feet. If you didn’t bring your own don’t be a hero – where the communal shoes!!!! I cannot say “watch your step enough!” (Side note: anytime I say watch your step, my brain says “mind your step” in the British airport lady voice – just me again?!). The rocks can be very slippery and are definitely uneven. Depending on where you accessed, the rocks will continue as you wade in or might taper off to mud. Either way, don’t spend a lot of time standing – get in the water and FLOAT!!!!
Float on my friends!