Floating in the Dead Sea is one of the most popular bucket list items. This is because the Dead Sea is the only place in the world where the salt content in the water is so high that it actually keeps you afloat. Israel and Jordan are the only countries were you can take the plunge (or the float) in the Dead Sea. I was lucky enough to get to experience this phenomenon during my exchange at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 2016. After my course was complete, I travelled around Israel with 25 other students, and got to explore all corners of this beautiful country. One of the highlights of my trip was getting to float in the Dead Sea.
The area we went to is called Ein Bokek, which is loaded with luxury hotels, restaurants, and tourists looking to get their float on. The entire area feels like a spa; everyone was very quiet and peaceful and the water is so still it almost feels like a swimming pool. The area has free beaches; just remember to bring a towel and a beach chair. We forgot towels, and had to convince the concierge at one of the hotels to lend us some. There were also plenty of stores where you could buy Dead Sea merchandise, such as body lotions, face creams, and mud masks. We treated ourselves and bought mud masks to slather all over our bodies, which made for a great photo op. It didn’t have any noticeable results and made a giant mess on our borrowed towels (whoops). You can also use the mud off the floor of the Dead Sea to get the same effect. The beach area does provide free showers, which was key to scrubbing the salty residue off.
My Israeli roommate, Margalit, said that it’s believed that the water has healing properties. Her grandparents make the journey to the Dead Sea each year to combat their arthritis. She also warned me to not shave my legs for a couple of days before we got there, as the water will sting any open skin. This may be a given – but don’t put your head under the water as it will leave your eyes stinging for days and your hair a salty mess. It’s difficult to stand up in the Dead Sea, as the water pushes you up to until you’re floating. It’s a bizarre sensation that’s nothing like I’ve ever felt in my life. That being said, if you have long hair, it would be best to put it up to avoid getting it wet. Many of the women I went with didn’t stay in the water too long, as the water also tends to sting down there (if you know what I mean)…
Before we went floating in the Dead Sea, we made the hike up Masada at sunrise (another great thing to do in the area). Someone I was with took a tumble on the hike, and gashed up their knee. Although the dip in the Dead Sea later that afternoon was extremely painful, they still took a quick float in the water. When would you be back to the Dead Sea next? Moral of the story – be careful in the days leading up to your visit.
Have you been to the Dead Sea? Let me know if you have any tips for experiencing this unique place!