Marsa Alam diving guide | The best dive centers, dive sites and liveaboards

Blue fishes and corals in the Red Sea, Egypt

Marsa Alam is one of the best scuba diving destinations in the south of Egypt. Located on the southeastern end of Egypt, Marsa Alam is facing the crystal clear waters of the Red Sea. It has a climate favorable for divers all-year-round.

Marsa Alam has an international airport, which makes it easier for divers to reach it. There are also buses to Marsa Alam from other nearby airports like Hurghada and Cairo. Liveaboards are available in Marsa Alam Egypt throughout the year and are strongly recommended for the best diving experience. Note that most of the Liveaboards are leaving from Port Ghalib, which is located in front of the Marsa Alam international airport.

Recommendations | Scuba Diving Marsa Alam

Scuba diving can be done all year round in Marsa Alam. However, diving during the summer months (June – August) is the most comfortable. Below, we have included our recommendations for a Marsa Alam Liveaboard and diving center. For a full overview of our recommendations, refer to the section ''Liveaboards'' and ''Diving Centers'' below.

Liveaboard Marsa Alam

For a trip to the Marsa Alam area and the south of Egypt, we recommend the Blue Liveaboard. This vessel offers great facilities including different styles of accommodations (e.g. a Master cabin), free internet and Nitrox, and nice relaxing areas. It should be noted that most of the Marsa Alam liveaboards are leaving from Port Ghalib (although some of the liveaboards are leaving from Marsa Alam).

Price: a trip with the Blue Liveaboard starts from EUR 123 per day. The latest prices and availability can be checked here.

Diving center Marsa Alam

If you would like to go diving from Marsa Alam (shore diving or a day trip), we recommend the diving center ‘’Marsa Diving Center’’. Marsa Diving Center is a PADI diving center, located in Marsa Alam and offers scuba diving courses, shore diving and day trips to dive sites such as Elphinstone.

Latest prices and availability can be checked with Marsa Diving Center here.

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Best dive sites Marsa Alam

Depending on your needs, dive sites around Marsa Alam offers you one of the best diving destinations in Egypt. Leaving from Port Ghalib/Marsa Alam, you can explore the deep soute route to the St. John's dive sites. More closer, you will find Elphinstone and Daedelus Reef. Below, we have outlined these destinations in more detail.

Dive site 1: Elphinstone Reef (Sha’ab Abu Hamra)

A Marsa Alam Diving trip is never complete without a trip to the famous Elphinstone Reef. Elphinstone Reef is located about 30 kilometers from Marsa Alam and can easily be reached with a day diving trip.

Elphinstone Reef is a relatively small plateau, about 350-400 meters long and 30-40 meters wide. The depth at Elphinstone Reef can reach to +100 meters, but you can dive on the different plateaus between 3 – 40 meters. In addition, you can also explore the beautiful walls on the sides.

Elphinstone reef is famous about its Oceanic Whitetip Sharks. However, you can also encounter the Hammerhead Shark if you are lucky enough. Furthermore, you will find various other marine life such as Turtles, Barracudas, and different species of corals. Sometimes, a pod of Dolphins also visit the reef.

Be aware of very strong currents at Elphinstone Reef. We highly recommend to dive only on Elphinstone Reef if you are an experienced diver.

Beautiful soft corals and fish on Elphinstone reef underwater in the Red Sea
Soft corals and fish on Elphinstone reef, Red Sea, Egypt

Dive site 2: Daedalus Reef

Daedalus Reef is located around 80-85 kilometers from Marsa Alam and can be reached by a liveaboard. Deadalus Reef is about 400 meters long and 75-100 meters wide. Daedalus Reef can easily be recognized by its lighthouse on the island.

It’s also a famous dive site as the reef is in good conditions due to its remote location. Due to the fact that there are often strong currents, you have the chance to encounter various shark species such as the Hammerhead shark, Oceanic White Tip, and Grey reef sharks. Barracudas, Tuna, and Manta’s can also be encountered during your dive!

Due to the strong currents and waves, we recommend to dive on Daedalus Reef only if you are an experienced diver.

The lighthouse on Daedalus Reef, Red Sea, Egypt
The lighthouse on Daedalus Reef, Red Sea, Egypt

Dive site 3: St. John’s / the Deep South route

A diver explores the caves at St John's, Red Sea, Egypt
Cave diving at St John's, Egypt

St John’s / the Deep South route is definitely the best diving destination of south Egypt! The St. John’s area is closely located to the southern border with Sudan and can only be reached by a liveaboard.

The St. John’s area covers about 280 – 300 km2 and consist of multiple stunning dive sites. It takes about 1-2 days by a liveaboard to reach St. John’s (depending on your itinerary). Note that the boat trip to St. John’s can be a little turbulent, especially during the winter months due to wind and waves.

When diving in this area. you will be surprised by the marine life and the geographic elements such as caves, overhangs, walls, and tunnels. Depending on the dive site, you can encounter Oceanic Whitetip shark, Thresher sharks, and Hammerhead sharks. Other predators include Barracudas, Tuna, and Trevallies. In addition, you can also find Macro marine life such as nudibranchs and shrimps.

The depth of the dive sites varies between the 0 – 40 meters and visibility is generally between 20 – 30 meters. St. John’s also include a few dive sites which a great for night diving!

The most popular dive sites at St John’s include:

  • Habili Gaffar;
  • Habili Ali;
  • St. Johns Caves;
  • Shark Point; and
  • Dangerous Reef
A grouper at the St. John's reef, Red Sea, Egypt
A grouper at St John's, Red Sea, Egypt

Dive site 4: Abu Dabbab

This dive site is closely located to Marsa Alam, about 25-30 kilometers to the North, and in front of the Malikia Resort Abu Dabbab. Diving at Abu Dabbab is all about exploring the sandy sea bottom, full of sea grass to find the Dugong (‘’Sea Cow’’) and Turtles! Besides the Dugong and Turtles, you might also encounter a Guitar Shark.

Abu Dabbab is quite a shallow dive with a maximum of 18 meters. As this dive site is located within Abu Dabbab bay and close to the shore, there are little to no currents. Therefore, this dive site is perfect for beginners.

As the diving conditions are normally great, diving can be done all year round. Abu Dabbab can easily be reached by a boat (day trip) from Marsa Alam. The dive site can also be accessed from shore. However, we recommend to go into the water only with a local dive guide.

A Dugong is looking for food at the sandy sea bottom
A Dugong is searching for food

Dive site 5: Dolphin House (Sha’ab Samadai)

As it is in the name, the Dolphin House is home to a large family of spinner dolphins. When jumping into the water, just look around into the blue as spinner dolphins might approach you or are passing by. Although most people go to Dolphin House to encounter the dolphins, Dolphin House also offers a reef with soft coral, a few caves and pinnacles.

Diving conditions (e.g. currents) are normally good, so this dive site is suitable for all level of divers. However, note that there might be currents as this reef is located offshore, a few kilometers from Marsa Alam.

Depending on your certification, the maximum depth is 40 meters.

Dive site 6: The Hamada Wreck

If you are in for wreck diving at Marsa Alam, you should definitely visit the Hamada Wreck Marsa Alam.

The Hamada Wreck can be found at a depth of 10 – 20 meters and is located about 70 kilometers from Marsa Alam. The Hamada ship was a cargo vessel and sunk in June 1993 when it was heading towards Suez.

The wreck is still in good condition so you may be able to enter the wreck depending on your certification and the conditions at that time. From the outside, the masts and propellor are still intact. Around the wreck, various marine life species can be found such as butterfly fishes, parrot fishes, corals and shrimps.

How to get to Marsa Alam Egypt

Option 1: By airplane to Marsa Alam International Airport

The fastest and easiest way to get to Marsa Alam is by airplane to Marsa Alam International Airport (RMF). Note that is about 1 hour travelling by car to Marsa Alam from the airport.

The marina of Port Ghalib, from which most of the liveaboards leave, can be reached in about 15 minutes. Tickets to Marsa Alam International Airport can be checked here.

Option 2: By car/bus

Marsa Alam is also accessible by bus via Cairo, Luxor, or Hurghada. Depending on you’re the location in Egypt, you can book a taxi or a transfer via a travel agency. Note that travelling by car/bus can take quite some time in Egypt.

Recommended accommodations Marsa Alam

Below, our recommendations for a hotel/resort in Marsa Alam are included.

Accommodation 1: Jaz Lamaya Resort

Jaz Lamaya is a Moroccan-styled 5-star resort in Marsa Alam. Jaz Lamaya Resort offers a spectacular view of Coraya Beach. With a high review rating, Jaz Lamaya is considered one of the best places to stay while diving at Marsa Alam.

The resort features two swimming pools with slides, a spa, a fitness center, and a gorgeous beachfront. In addition, various accommodation styles are available such as superior twin rooms, family rooms, and junior suites.

Price: A night in Jaz Lamaya starts at EUR 186. The latest prices and availability can be checked here.

Accommodation 2: Hilton Marsa Alam Nubian Resort

Located on the Abu Dabbab beach, the Hilton Marsa Alam Nubian is a village-like resort with four outdoor pools.

Hilton Marsa Alam offers great facilities such as a 24-hour gym, restaurants, Bedouin-themed rooms. Accommodation styles include standard and deluxe rooms. They also offer diving trips to the reef of Abu Dabbab.

Price: A night at the Hilton Marsa Alam Nubian Resort starts at EUR 180. The latest prices and availability can be checked here.

Accommodation 3: The Three Corners Fayrouz Plaza Beach Resort

The Three Corners Fayrouz Plaza Beach Resort offers divers a great place to stay in Marsa Alam. This resort offers a lot of great facilities and includes multiple swimming pools and access to the beach.

Available accommodations include premium two and three persons rooms.

Price: a night at the Three Corners Fayrouz Plaza Beach Resort starts at EUR 145. The latest prices and availability can be checked here.

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