Israel may be a great tourist spot to visit for both cultural and historical reasons, but it’s rich in natural treasures worth visiting as well, particularly those found at sea. With its great collection of coral reefs, marine wildlife and wreckages you can explore, scuba diving Israel is certainly an experience you won’t soon forget.
But there’s more to enjoying Israel’s diving spots than simply visiting the country and picking out the ones with the best reviews. You’ll also have to consider when the best time is to go scuba diving Israel, and for that, you’ll need to look into the season, the location, and even which wildlife are available in any particular part of the year.
Israel is flanked by two different bodies of water: the Mediterranean to the east and the Red Sea to the south in the Gulf of Aqaba. This means that the country has two very different diving scenes to choose from, each with their own types of wildlife and unique scenery you can enjoy when scuba diving Israel. A huge majority of Israel’s population lives on the Mediterranean side, making it a bit crowded during the tourist seasons between June to September.
Eilat to the south on the other hand is generally quieter, with the diving high season in July and August, and with September and October being the off season for diving, making things even less crowded and quieter for scuba diving Israel. Visiting the dive spots in Eilat on September and October generally gives you the least crowded conditions without forcing you to endure the colder winter months between November and January.
The temperature in Israel also varies greatly depending on where you are. The cities on the Mediterranean, such as Tel Aviv, typically has a cooler climate, with long and hot summers punctuated by cold, rainy winters. The southern area, particularly in Eilat, have a more arid climate, where it gets very hot and dry during summer, with short, cooler winters with little rainfall.
Water temperature also varies greatly between the two locations, with Mediterranean waters ranging from 63°F in winter to 83°F in summer. It’s slightly hotter in the Red sea, with temperatures varying going anywhere between 68°F and 86°F.
Because rainfall is generally heavier during winter, the waters are also less calm, making it the least optimal time for scuba diving Israel, with the heaviest rainfall in the months of November to February. Visibility will also take a huge hit because of this.
The warmest months for visiting the dive spots are between April and October, with the temperatures peaking at July and August, at about 83°F. While it’s best to visit Israel during the start and the end of the diving high season when it’s least crowded and the visibility is at its best, you’ll have to check with your diving operator if the conditions are right for scuba diving Israel, as the conditions will vary greatly.
One of the biggest attractions when you’re out scuba diving Israel is the marine wildlife. Because you have access to two different bodies of water in Israel, the types of animals you get to see will also vary greatly. The Red Sea generally has animals all-year round, most of them you wouldn’t be able to find elsewhere, such as lionfish, rays, different species of eels and sea turtles. Sea turtles in particular can be seen here between February and October, with the highest chances of encountering them between March and June.
The Mediterranean on the other hand, has its own set of unique creatures, and generally has a higher variety of them. The coral formations on this side of Israel are usually home to smaller fish species, though the waters here can also be home to much larger wildlife as well, including dolphins, sharks and whale sharks. The wildlife here mostly congregates in the reefs for most of the year, with barracudas, clownfish, parrotfish, frogfish, groupers, octopus and seahorses being the most commons species.
The common dolphin is easily seen most of the year between February and October, even during winter months when the water is at its coldest. Whale sharks will also make an appearance here, though very rarely. They tend to migrate to this area between March and August, with a higher chance of seeing them in May and June.