Visiting the Dead Sea: Israel vs. Jordan

Are you wondering which side visiting the Dead Sea is better? Read along to find out!

I recently had the opportunity to visit Israel and Jordan and explored the Dead Sea from both countries.

In this blog post, I am going to compare the experience we had in both places. 

What is the Dead Sea?

The Dead Sea is a landlocked sea that has become popular for its high salinity levels which can make you float effortlessly in its waters.

Most of the water is brought in by the Jordan River. However, it has no way to flow out of the sea and is forced to evaporate, leaving the salt behind.

The salt and minerals of the Dead Sea are used to create skincare products that are sold worldwide. 

Where is the Dead Sea located?

The Dead Sea is located between Southern Israel and West Bank to the west, and Jordan to the east.

The closest big city in Israel is Jerusalem (about an hour away) and the closest big city in Jordan would be Amman (about an hour as well).

Therefore, it is located in the Middle East in the continent of Asia. 

Why is the Dead Sea famous?

The Dead Sea is the saltiest body of water in the world. Its salinity is almost 10 times higher than the salinity of the ocean!

Also, the Dead Sea is the lowest land elevation on Earth – 430 meters below sea level.

When we were driving to visit the Dead Sea, I could feel my ears popping from the change in pressure. That’s how low the sea is!!

Why is it called the Dead Sea?

The Dead Sea gets its name from the fact that its waters are extremely salty and create a very harsh living environment.

No animals or vegetation can survive living in it so the lack of aquatic life has led people to name it the “Dead Sea.”

However, there are small quantities of bacteria and microbes that live in the water.

Also, you will not see any ships in the Dead Sea because the high salinity will damage them. Therefore, you will see no fish, plants, or boats in the Dead Sea.

Can the Dead Sea salt be eaten?

No, it cannot. Don’t eat or lick the salt, the chemical compounds and minerals make the salt inedible. That includes cooking with it. 

Comparing visiting the Dead Sea between Israel and Jordan

Many people wonder what the difference between the two countries is and where they should go to experience the Dead Sea. Hopefully, this post will shed some light on that.

The Dead Sea in Israel

Let’s take a look at the Israel side of the Dead Sea first and what was our experience there.

What was the Dead Sea like on the Israel side?

The water of the Dead Sea appears very oily and thick. The entire sea floor was covered in these small salt balls which were really sharp on the feet.

We floated in the beach area in front of the hotel as well as at the public beach and they were very similar. There is sand before you reach the water where you can put down your towel and belongings.

However, in both places, the sea floor was made out of salt balls. The water is extremely warm and shallow. There are no waves at all, not even the slightest movement.

The temperature around the Dead Sea is usually around 30 + degrees Celcius. The day that we visited, which was in October, was 35 degrees.

Around the Dead Sea, you will see mostly desert landscapes with very few plants. On one side you will see mountains and on the other side is the Dead Sea. 

Here are two videos showing what the beach looks like.

Is it safe to swim in the Dead Sea?

Yes, it is safe to swim in the Dead Sea but you need to follow all of the safety measures when you do. You need to limit your floating sessions to 20 min max at a time.

Afterward, you need to lay down for 15-30 mins. That is due to the heat and high salt content of the water, your body will get very dehydrated.

Therefore, you need to drink plenty of water during and after the rest period.

I was thinking that the instructions were over-cautious. However, I experienced the fatigue after floating myself and would highly recommend following the rules. 

Also, you need to be careful when you enter the sea.

What is the best way to enter the Dead Sea?

Under no circumstances you should be diving into the Dead Sea! The salinity is extremely high and will hurt your eyes.

Approach slowly as some of the shore rocks can be slippery or jagged (or both). You don’t want to slip and scrape your knees (yup, I did that) because the scrapes and cuts will hurt once you dip in the water.

Once you reach the water basically just sit in the water slowly. You don’t want to make a big splash and get the water in your eyes or mouth.

Lay on your back and float with your hands behind your head. That’s it!!

You will not sink even if you try to. I can never float so this was an amazing experience for me. And if I can float so can you!!

Make sure you have sunscreen on your face and stomach area while you are floating because the sun is incredibly strong.

What are some of the Dead Sea hotels in Israel?

The hotel we stayed in for one night was David Dead Sea Resort and Spa. There is an area with resorts about an hour south of Jerusalem.

It is a small strip with a mall, shops, and a few restaurants. Overall, the hotel wasn’t too bad but make sure you ask for a renovated room and one facing the sea.

Our room had a nice balcony with lovely views of both the sea and the mountains. The dinner in the hotel was a really nice buffet with a lot of options.

There was a large regular pool as well as two Dead Sea pools. One was inside and the other one was outside.

They somehow use some of the water from the Dead Sea to fill up these pools so you don’t even have to go to the beach.

The crowd was mostly older people which makes sense considering that the sea is being used for a lot of treatments such as skin conditions and arthritis.

The hotel was about 5 minute’s walk from the beach and a while ago, it used to be on the actual shore.

However, the Dead Sea is slowly shrinking by about a meter every year which is why now you have to walk to the beach.

There are free showers by the beach so make sure you rinse yourself after floating in the Dead Sea.

David Dead Sea Resort

This is our room at the David Dead Sea Hotel. Keep in mind our room was not renovated. One of our friends got a renovated room and it looked nicer

Was there a Spa in the hotel?

Yes, there is a full spa in the hotel with a whole bunch of procedures and treatments that utilize the benefits of the Dead Sea.

The Spa was very popular and there was always a lineup to book any treatment. I did a Dead Sea mud wrap and a relaxing massage.

The mud wrap consists of the esthetician covering you from head to toe in the black mud. Then they wrap you in a warm towel and let you lay down for about 20 to 30 minutes.

You are wearing a bathing suit while they’re doing the mud wrap so don’t worry, you won’t be naked. They cover you everywhere including your face.

Experience a mud wrap when visiting the dead sea in Israel

This is the setup for the mud wrap, behind me is the shower

The only part that they don’t cover is your hair (I am guessing it’s just too difficult to wash off). Then you rinse yourself from the mud and get a nice relaxing massage.

After they do the mud wrap, your skin will feel so soft and rejuvenated. Both procedures were great and after them, I felt like a million bucks.

Highly recommend utilizing the spa packages in the hotel to book a nice and relaxing experience. It’s totally worth it!!

What are the cosmetics you can buy from the Dead Sea in Israel?

I have used products from the Dead Sea before visiting and I liked all of them. Which is why I was super excited to grab some more goodies from there.

There were a ton of options in terms of products and price points.

Some of the main brands from the Dead Sea are Ahava, Premier (pricier), Sea of Spa (affordable) and so on.

If you want to buy some online, check Amazon as well because some of the products are cheaper there.

Are the Dead Sea products good?

Yes, I love all the Dead Sea products that I have tried up to this point. My favorite is the Dead Sea mud mask, it really helps with acne and detoxifies your skin.

You can see a visible difference after using it which is rare when it comes to skincare products (usually you need to use the product for some time before you can see results).

The next best product is an exfoliator/scrub that uses the Dead Sea salt. You use it to exfoliate your body in the shower.

Also, you can buy the salt in the form of bath salt if you want to make a salty bath for yourself and recreate the feeling of floating in the Dead Sea.

I am not a bath person so I have not tried the bath salts but they are popular as well.

How often do you use the Dead Sea mud mask?

According to the instructions on the package, you should use the mud mask twice a week or at least once a week.

I have a lot of hormonal acne and the mud mask is the only thing that actually clears my face so I do it twice a week.

If you have dry or sensitive skin do it only once a week.

Travel Addicted Unicorn Tip

Because of the different currencies, buying Dead Sea products is cheaper in Israel compared to Jordan. The reason for that is that the Jordanian dinar is one of the most expensive currencies in the world. So if you want to stock up on some goodies, it will be a lot cheaper to do so in Israel.

Tips for visiting the Dead Sea in Israel

  • Bring water/swimming shoes to avoid your feet getting scratched
  • Do not enter if you have an open wound or cut because it will sting like hell
  • Don’t wear any jewelry because it can get damaged by the salt
  • You can wear your normal bathing suit because you will be in a resort and it will be all tourists around you
  • Don’t stay in the water for more than 20 min at a time, lay down afterward for at least 15 min and drink a lot of water. Otherwise, you will get really dehydrated. 

Overall experience visiting the Dead Sea in Israel

Overall, we really liked the Dead Sea on the Israel side: we floated effortlessly and loved the Dead Sea pool in the hotel which was very convenient, and overall liked the hotel.

The Israel side of the Dead Sea seems way more salty and oily than the Jordan side.

The seafloor of the Israel side was completely covered in salt balls (sharp on the feet) and we did not see any mud.

Therefore, if you are more interested in the salt, the Israel side has plenty of it.

The Dead Sea in Jordan

When we visited the Dead Sea on the Jordan side we were on the opposite side of the sea both length and width-wise.

We were on the northeast side of the sea (in Israel we were on the southwest) which is probably why it looked so different.

What was the Dead Sea like on the Jordan side?

The Dead Sea on the Jordanian side seemed a lot less salty and oily. It was still enough to float but not as concentrated as on the Israeli side.

Also, there were no salt balls present on the sea floor, only sand and mud. The temperatures were also close to 35 so it was extremely hot. 

There were no waves; the water was warm and shallow. However, it was not as shallow as the Israel side.

In Jordan, we were able to experience some of the black mud on the beach. It was collected in buckets by the shore where everyone could just go and help themselves.

Here are two videos from the beach in Jordan:

How do I apply the mud to my body?

Apply a thick layer of mud all over your body. Just use your hands and apply it as you are applying lotion. Have someone do your back.

Then take some funny pics covered in mud. Once done, sit and wait for about 20-30 mins with the mud on you. Or until it dries off and starts flaking.

However, if you have applied a generous amount it will take a long time to dry so whichever comes first. Then enter the sea and start washing it off.

It might take a moment to clean up as it is very thick. That is it!

Doing it once is enough to make your skin nice and soft. 

Can the Dead Sea mud be used on the face?

Yes, absolutely! It helps with acne and it detoxifies and purifies your skin!

I wanted to take an entire bucket home! Keep in mind that the black mud does have a distinct earthy scent to it but it is not unpleasant. 

Mud at the Dead Sea in Jordan

This is what the mud looks like and the bins that it is stored in

What are some of the Dead Sea hotels in Jordan

The hotel’s name was the Dead Sea Spa Hotel, but we did not actually stay in the hotel overnight.

Our tour group had some sort of partnership with the hotel that we would use the beach area and the changing rooms and showers.

There were more umbrellas and lounge chairs by the beach which seemed a bit of a better setup compared to the Israel side.

The hotel was beautiful and it seemed a lot newer and fancier. It had regular pools, a water slide, and shops.

We didn’t spend a lot of time in the hotel but overall it looked nice. Also, there is a spa in this hotel if you decide you want to do any treatments.

The beach along the Dead Sea in Jordan

The shore and the umbrellas along with some lounge chairs

What are the cosmetics you can buy from the Dead Sea in Jordan?

I got a few products from Jordan as well just to be able to compare them better. However, as I mentioned earlier it is way more expensive to buy them in Jordan due to their high currency.

It seemed like they had very similar products: mud masks, exfoliants, face creams, etc. I got another mud mask just to compare the two and so far I really like it.

I honestly wanted to buy a whole bucket of pure mud. However, we still had a whole bunch of traveling to do and would have to carry it around for another two weeks.

Also, the buckets of mud are very heavy so just got the mud mask.

Some of the Jordanian Dead Sea brands are Bio Spa, Dead Sea Treasures, Bloom, Sensation, etc.

Do not wear your nicest bathing suit or one that is white because the mud might stain it 

Wear the mud for 20 to 30 min max or until it is fully dry and then wash it off

The same rules apply here – no diving or splashing, do not drink the water or get it in your eyes

Don’t stay in the water for more than 20 min at a time, lay down afterward for at least 15 min and drink a lot of water. Otherwise, you will get really dehydrated. 

You can wear your normal bathing suit because you will be in a resort and it will be all tourists around you

Overall experience of visiting the Dead Sea in Jordan

We really enjoyed putting the mud on ourselves and taking silly pics with it.

My partner didn’t believe in the power of the mud but he was pleasantly surprised about its effects.

They had showers on the beach and changerooms in the hotel. Therefore, it was easy to get ready for the beach and then to get ready to go back to the bus.

We had plenty of time to float and use the mud and even swam in the regular pool a bit.   

Overall winner after comparing the Dead Sea between Israel and Jordan

The sea on both sides is extremely salty and oily but it seemed way more so in Israel. The Jordan side had more of the black mud on the shores.

You can comfortably float in both countries. In terms of the hotels, I think the one in Jordan was newer and fancier however the one in Israel had the inside Dead Sea pools and was cheaper.

I loved the spa treatments that I did in Israel. From what I saw in both countries, the hotels are resort style and they all seemed similar to each other.

If you want to purchase any Dead Sea products (and you should) it will be a lot cheaper to do so in Israel.

It is about the same amount of driving in both cases (1hr from Jerusalem or Amman).  

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

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