Aqaba Stories and Tips

Free public beach and glass bottom boat

Glass bottom boat ride Photo, Aqaba, Jordan

Another touristy thing to do along the beach, you can catch one of these boat rides in the evening when the view is supposedly most spectacular and romantic (although it does not get any romantic at all out at sea). The "hour long" ride takes you over various coral fields and your captain will be more than happy to remove a wooden plank from under your feet to reveal a fibre glass boat bottom. How interesting… duh. Mine also took us to view a sunken war galleon and a lighthouse. Double wow. One difficulty you are destined to meet: "You not know that one hour in sea here is 45 minutes?" No, of course I don’t. Be firm and refuse to pay the full fare previously agreed on if they throw you this scam – pay 75%. With hindsight, we realised that they were very clever entrepreneurs, never once telling us that the ride was 60 minutes, but always "an hour long". Also, do not pay more than JD10,000 for all three people for a 60 minutes ride. If possible, disembark from the boat before paying or showing your displeasure at having been cheated of 15 minutes. If you have indicated that the ride is 15 minutes short and that you will not pay the full sum, they might offer to take you out again for 15 minutes. Do not ever accept this offer. A little thinking will tell you why.

The best location for these boats is 200m north along the beach from the Movenpick Hotel. You will see many locals holding on to towels and beach mats, follow them down the narrow path (flanked by tall wooden planks) which is adjacent to the main road. It at first does not seem like a probable road which leads to any beach at all, but deceptively is. At the end of this road by the beach is a café where the owners will haunt you to buy drinks or get on a boat. Avoid the first, and haggle for the second. Be reminded that this is the only stretch of beach which is free for the public. All other hotel-owned stretches charge from JD2,000 for use of their private (cleaner and quieter) beaches.

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