The Dead Sea is nestled in between Israel and Jordan. Due to it’s size, this “sea” is actually a lake. With banks located deeper than 400 meters below sea level, the beaches are considered the lowest point of dry land on planet Earth. This large lake is more than 8 times saltier than an ocean, preventing all life from living there (plants and animals included).
I visited the Dead Sea, twice, both times on the Israeli side. I was 12 years old during my first visit and do not remember much. I do not remember much other than I had huge cut on my leg from one of my first attempts shaving (whoops!). I recall it stinging pretty bad, but I suffered through it in order to experience the healing powers of the Dead Sea.
My second time was while on Birthright. After sleeping in a Bedouin Tent in the Negev Dessert and climbing up and down the Masada, our group was brought to swim in the Dead Sea. The experience was amazing, I was able ton float in the dead sea with 40 of my new friends. I was so exhausted, however, that I didn’t get to fully enjoy it.
I have compiled a list of 9 tips for visiting the Dead Sea:
Avoid shaving for at least 48 hours prior to swimming in the Dead Sea. Any cut, open pore, or sore will sting like nothing you could ever imagine… you’ll be sure to learn the meaning behind “putting salt in one’s wound”. Cover cuts and burns with antibacterial gel (such as triple antibiotic or neosporin) to prevent this stinging sensation.
Come dressed to swim, but make sure to rinse off after. You won’t want to spend time in the changing rooms at the Dead Sea. They are dirty and not secure. However, it is absolutely a MUST that you rinse off after. Your skin will suffer tremendously from lengthened exposure to salt!
Rotate floating with friends- valuables should not be brought with, due to lack of secure storage and high volumes of people. I recommend that you take turns swimming so that someone can watch your belongings and take pictures.
Leave cameras out of the water. The salt in the air will cover your lens with what appears like a thin sheet. Permanent damage can occur. When I went, a friend brought in her GoPro. While there was no permanent damage, the pictures were not clear at all.
Keep your hair, eyes, and mouth out of the water (and the water out of them!). The salt will sting if it gets in your eyes, and I am 100% certain you do not want to taste the water. Hair should be protected in order to not damage it (it will get dry) and not ruin the color (blondes this is for you!). Precautions to take include putting goggles on children, avoiding attempting to swim in order to not accidentally splash, and just enjoying an energy free float.
Wear water shoes. The bottom of the sea is full of sharp rocks and is muddy. Water shoes are highly recommended if you want to avoid cutting your feet.
Speaking of mud, play in it! By covering your skin in this mineral mud, you are setting yourself up for an amazing after glow. Spas in the area feature services that allow you to be wrapped in the mud and then sit in a sauna type room for twenty minutes.
Avoid the gift shops. Gift shops seem like a good idea, but visiting the AHAVA store ensures you are receiving natural, harmless products (unlike the stuff sold in gift shops, which is filled with harmful chemicals)