Wably Travel

The Dead Sea: 12 Tips to Make the Most of Your Visit

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the dead sea in Israel

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Visiting the dead sea is an amazing experience, but these 12 tips will help you enjoy it even more.

  1. Try not to shave… anything… for a day or so before dipping in the Dead Sea. The water is very salty and you WILL feel the burn! The same goes for skin scrapes and cuts. While salt water can actually speed up healing, the burning sensation is not a treat.
  2. Don’t believe the guidebooks. Fair skinned people CAN and DO get sunburned at the Dead Sea. What the guidebooks should say is that the atmospheric conditions are such that one can be out in the sun longer before getting burned. It’s best to come prepared with a brimmed hat and a t-shirt to wear while in the water. (Decisions about sunscreens are up to you – we’re just saying that a shirt and hat are helpful.)
  3. The marvelous thing about the floor of the Sea is that it’s composed of large, pointed salt crystals… which means that walking in the water can be an “ouch!” Bring plastic shower or outdoor sandals with ankle straps and you’ll thank us!
  4. If you’re style conscious, wear your best bathing suit, but if you’re a more practical type, bring an old one. The heavy mineral content and oily nature of the water can be hard on delicate fabrics.
  5. Remember to bring your sunglasses.
  6. Some of the hotels are tight-fisted about towels, giving you one at a time. You’re welcome to call them on the carpet for that practice, but also consider bringing a few extra towels with you. That will make it easier to cover your lounge chair and yourself.
  7. Bring a cover-up – a light shawl or fabric to drape over yourself while you’re relaxing. It will offer a measure of privacy and serve you well in case you lose the “one towel” argument mentioned above.
  8. Mud up with friends. Beaches often have a large vat of the Sea’s famous black mud available for all to use – free. Some hotels don’t provide free mud, but they all sell packages of mud in their convenience store or gift shop. Hit the beach and smear with friends from head to toe. Let the mud dry in the sun and then shower off at the outdoor freshwater showers. As the mineral rich mud dries, it pulls toxins from the body and softens the skin. Quite an amazing treatment!
  9. Pick up a couple of packages of black mud and sea salt to bring home. Prices are very good at the source. Also, check out the wide variety of mud and salt-based cosmetics available in local shops.
  10. Bring an empty plastic bag. Put all of your trash in it… and later deposit the bag in an appropriate trash receptacle. The Dead Sea is one of the most delicate and precious places on Earth. It’s very important to care for it as it deserves. Even better, bring a bag that’s larger than you need – gently offer it to others in an act of thoughtfulness that will benefit all!
  11. Yes, you can float in the Dead Sea in winter. The weather varies from the 60’s to 70’s in January through March, to the 80’s to 100’s the rest of the year. Public and private beaches are in use year-round. The water is a bit chilly in January, but still pleasant. Alternatively, area hotels and resorts offer indoor heated pools of the salty sea water. Some have hot sulfur pools, as well. Most hotels offer a “day pass” (“yom kef” in Hebrew) to use their facilities, often combined with a massage.
  12. Check to be sure a life guard is on duty in the area where you want to “dip.” The water can be deceptive – there are dangerous undercurrents. Be careful not to swallow the salt water and seek help immediately if you do. Slow, relaxed movements in the water will work better than trying to swim in the traditional sense. Chill out and enjoy the amazing buoyancy!

Sue Schoenfeld
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