Snorkeling Hurghada in the Red Sea gives the visitor a great variety of underwater sites to choose from. Once a tiny fishing village, Hurghada has now transformed into a bustling tourist metropolis with huge beachside hotels and an even huger roster of potential excursions. Hurghada snorkeling offers plenty of reef sites, both near and far from shore, from little islands to submerged pinnacles. The Hurghada tourist scene also extends along the coast into quieter bays, so if the hustle and bustle of the city isn't for you, it's easy to find a peaceful option that's still close to the amenities in town.
Marine Life in Hurghada
A snorkel trip to Hurghada puts you face to face with the Red Sea Riviera's exceptional marine life in almost impossibly clear waters. Egypt snorkel spots are world-famous for visibility, which can reach up to 70 meters in some places! The country's desert coast and desert islands are dramatically different from its underwater landscape, which explodes in diversity and abundance of colorful creatures and topography. The Hurgada reefs are typically shallow and sloping, making them suitable for beginner snorkelers. All a snorkeler's favorite reef inhabitants can be found in Hurghada waters - parrotfish, surgeonfish, butterflyfish, anemonefish (Nemo), pufferfish, sweetlips, colorful wrasses, morays, stingrays, and turtles. As a bonus, it's common to see dolphins on Hurghada boat trips between the shore and your snorkel sites.
Best Snorkel Sites in Hurghada
Giftun Island National Park in the Paradise Islands, especially Mahmya Beach, is one of the most-visited snorkel sites in Hurghada. This desert island lies a 45 minute (and dolphin-frequented) boat ride from the Egyptian coast. The clear waters around Giftun hold multiple reefs for snorkeling where calm conditions and easy access allow everyone to enjoy the plentiful fish and colorful corals. Sunbathing on the beach makes a very tempting complementary activity for many visitors.
A snorkel tour in Hurghada may also include Abu Ramada Island and the Magawish Islands, where divers and snorkelers alike can find morays, nudibranchs, rays, barracudas and turtles. There are multiple reefs to visit here, some areas of which have excellent coral and a chance at some special sightings like Napoleon Wrasse.
Along the coastline south of Hurghada city are the bays which offer the best snorkeling in Hurghada's mainland area. (Unfortunately, the reefs fronting Hurghada city itself have been destroyed by hotel construction- a real shame.) Of these bays, Makadi Bay is the snorkel site in Hurghada most renowned for coral reefs. In Makadi, you'll find the pink, purple, and blue stubby branching corals (Pocillopora sp.) which typify healthy reefs of the area, along with massive corals and swaying soft corals, all decorated with a rainbow of flittering reef fish. Makadi's clear waters also hold turtles, rays, puffers, barracuda, octopus, and morays.
Soma Bay is another area with ample offerings for snorkelers; the colorful corals in Soma also host the full range of fish life, including gatherings of Raccoon Butterflyfish with their black eye-patches, Blue-spotted Stingrays, sweetlips, and multi-patterned wrasses. Just offshore, Soma Bay also holds a couple coral pinnacles which divers and snorkelers can both enjoy.
Sahl Hasheesh Bay has a lagoon filled with reef creatures and coral, including lionfish and octopus. Tours to this area often include dophin-watching - and may even give you the chance to (safely and cautiously) jump in the water with these amazing animals.
Best Time to Snorkel in Hurghada
Hurghada snorkeling can be enjoyed year-round. In Egypt, the main seasonal variation concerns water temperature, which can cool to 21 C in the winter and heat to 30 C in the summer. However, as a snorkeler, you will always be in the surface layer of the ocean, which is the most warmed by the sun. If you are concerned about getting cold, consider bringing a wetsuit along on your vacation. It's also very easy (and much less bulky) to buy or rent a wetsuit in Egypt, once you've asked your tour operator for the most up-to-date information on water conditions.
Note that some recommend avoiding the hottest time of year (July and August). If you're a person who doesnít like to sweat, or who is prone to heat exhaustion, May through June (Springtime) or September through November (Autumn) are the best seasons to visit.
How Do I Get To Hurghada?
Hurghada has its own international airport, frequented by Air Berlin, Air Cairo, Austrian Airlines, Condor, Corendon Dutch Airlines, easyJet, Monarch, Thomas Cook, and Thompson Airways, among others. If you can't find a convenient flight straight to Hurghada, get to Cairo first and then transfer to a domestic flight; Cairo is an international hub to which major airlines fly from all over the world. The arrival tax in Egypt is 25 USD.