The Dead Sea is just so fantastically weird. The second-lowest place on Earth, its high salt content means the only way you can swim in it is to float on your back. So if you do visit, prepare to bob about like this otter stacking cups – only not as cutely (don’t get offended, pretty much nothing is as cute as this otter.)
And good news: the Dead Sea doesn’t have to cost a bomb. Below are our three steps to going on even the weeniest backpacker’s budget…
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1. Stay in Amman
The luxury resorts that line the Dead Sea coast are uniformly expensive – instead, stay in a budget hotel or hostel in Amman and visit on a day-trip.
We’ve got plenty of cheap hostels in Amman. Jordan Tower Hostel sits close to the Roman Amphitheatre in the centre of Amman, which scores 89% from other travellers. Dorm rooms: €11.83pppn, Private rooms: €12.37pppn | Book now
2. Get to the Dead Sea by bus
The dead sea is an hour’s drive from Amman. A taxi flagged down in the street will charge you around 20JD for a journey, but catching a public bus is cheaper (though less reliable). Get the bus from Mujaharin bus station to Rame (1JD) and then a taxi on to Amman beach (around 4JD).
3. Pick your beach
There are three beaches to choose from, depending on how flush you are. If you have zero spending money hit Herodus Spring, the free public beach about 10kms south of the main resort strip. There’s a natural waterfall running down the canyon here that you can use as a shower (essential for getting the salt off). The sand is admittedly rather grotty and there’s hardly any shade/privacy, but it has the same mineral mud and sea as the other beaches, ie: you can still get your floating-on-your-back-reading-a-newspaper pic. Like this…
If you’d rather splash the cash on showers, changing rooms and outdoor pools, you can pay for one-day access to the private Moevenpick Resort (around 35JD). Amman Beach 2kms south of the resort is the happy medium, charging a more affordable 15JD for a daypass. Expect to pay 3JD to access the mud and 1JD for a locker on top of this. They serve a lunch buffet as well (around 12JD) but you can bring your own picnic to keep costs down. Amman Beach has clean sand and well-maintained changing rooms, as well as outdoor pools, drinks stalls and basketball courts. If you’ve got the budget, this is your best bet.