I must confess: If I had known that scuba diving in Sharm El Sheikh in the Egyptian Red Sea was that amazing, I would have made an annual scuba holiday in Egypt a tradition. And I owe apologies as I thought it wouldn’t be able to hold a candle to Indonesia or Mexico. Turns out that it absolutely CAN. Well, better late than never, right?

Recently (March 2024), we returned from a recce trip and compiled our essential tips and advice for a memorable diving holiday in Sharm El Sheikh and Dahab. In this guide, we’ll dive deep into everything you need to know to make the most of your time diving in Sharm El Sheikh and Dahab.

From vibrant coral reefs teeming with marine life to mesmerizing underwater landscapes, these destinations offer an unforgettable diving experience for both novice and experienced divers alike. However, amid the beauty lies the need for caution, as tourists may encounter scams that can ruin their experience. Join us as we explore the wonders of these underwater paradises while equipping you with essential tips to navigate potential pitfalls.

Sharm El Sheikh Diving: The Jewel of the Red Sea

Sharm El Sheikh is strategically located between the Sinai Mountains and the Red Sea with access to world-class dive sites teeming with marine biodiversity. From the famous Ras Mohamed National Park to the colorful coral gardens of Tiran Island, there’s a dive spot for every level of expertise. Oh, and the renowned SS Thistlegorm Shipwreck is a true highlight worth visiting again and again!

The good thing about Sharm El Sheikh is the myriads of accommodation options to suit every budget, and the broad range of dive sites within reach on day trips. In fact, I used to believe that all the top dive sites in the Northern Red Sea would only be accessible on liveaboard trips, but given the convenience of Sharm El Sheikh, there is no need to spend the entire time on a safari boat.

Sharm El Sheikh boasts the healthiest corals in the Egyptian Red Sea accessible both by land and boat with a vast number of dive sites to keep you busy for one month proper. Compared to other parts of Egypt, the dives here are more adventurous and varied. From graceful sea turtles gliding through the water to schools of playful dolphins dancing in the currents, every dive is a chance to encounter the wonders of the Red Sea.

Top Dive Sites in Sharm El Sheikh

Ras Mohamed National Park

Ras Mohamed National Park showcases a stunning array of marine life and underwater landscapes. Encounter colorful coral gardens, turtles, swirling schools of fish, and even the occasional reef shark. Don’t miss the dive sites like Shark Reef and Yolanda Reef for unforgettable diving experiences. There is arguably no diver who wouldn’t want to visit this one of the top rated dive sites over and over again. The Shark & Yolanda reef site features walls, different species of corals, the possibility of seeing sharks, manta rays, tunas and so much more. You will also see the remnants of a cargo ship sunk with loads of toilets… yes, toilets galore!

Ras Mohamed National Park is an uninhabited area and in season (March to November) it is possible to camp and dive in solitude from the shore. As it is a protected area, the corals are breathtakingly beautiful, colorful and full of life.

The Straits of Tiran

Situated at the entrance of the Gulf of Aqaba, Tiran Island is a diver’s playground teeming with marine biodiversity. Explore iconic sites like Jackson Reef, where you can witness mesmerizing coral formations and encounter fascinating species such as barracudas, moray eels, eagle rays, and reef sharks. It is also home to several shipwrecks like the Panamanian cargo ship Loullis or the awesome Million Hope. The sea conditions are not always favorable to dive the Million Hope, but when it does we make sure to dive this awesome wreck on our scuba trips in the area.

Local dive sites

Though not as famous as the aforementioned dive spots, so-called local dive sites of Sharm El Sheikh are nothing short of amazing. While the local dive sites are usually considered good for check-dives or training dives, sometimes you can see more interesting marine critters here than at the other dive spots.

My list of spots to dive in Egypt didn’t include the local dive sites in Sharm El Sheikh at first, because I am hard to impress after so many dives in Indonesia and Mexico. But then we did dive at Far & Near Garden and I was surprised that it turned out better than the dive site visited in Tiran that day. So trust your local guides, as they know the conditions better than anyone and don’t refuse to dive the local sites based on some “top places to dive list”. Warning: Not all guides are trustworthy, some may be out to make a quick buck.

The SS Thistlegorm Shipwreck

For history enthusiasts and advanced divers, a visit to the Thistlegorm shipwreck is a must. This British cargo ship, sunk during World War II in 1941, now serves as a remarkable underwater museum, offering a glimpse into the past with its well-preserved wartime artifacts and cargo of military vehicles, motorcycles, trucks, ammunition, guns, cars, tanks, spare parts for equipment, rubber boats, tires, and more that sank with it. The ship with a length of 126m lies at 30 meters depth and can be explored on longer day trips from Sharm El Sheikh. On the first dive you take a look at the ‘Old Lady’ from outside, and on the second dive you explore the ship from inside.

It is such a special place to dive that a dedicated post about diving the SS Thistlegorm wreck will follow soon. Trust us, once is not enough and it’s absolutely worth the long boat ride! This is exactly the dive you do and when you finish you are absolutely sure you will return to the ‘Old Lady’.

Get ready for a dive full of surprises!

Dahab: A Hippie Haven Underwater

Dahab offers a more laid-back and bohemian atmosphere compared to its upscale counterpart, Sharm El Sheikh. Here, travelers can immerse themselves in a vibrant diving community while exploring unique dive sites like the Blue Hole and the Canyon amidst a backdrop of desert landscapes and Bedouin culture. While Sharm El Sheikh is the better option for the sole purpose of scuba diving, Dahab is home to some notable dive sites, plus myriads of top-side adventures where you can easily spend a week without getting bored.

Reminder: On our scuba tours in Sharm El Sheikh, we include a day trip to Dahab on the last day, so that you can experience Dahab as well, and those with more vacation days at hand can extend their holiday. While we work on diversifying our itineraries, keep in mind that your dream trip might be just in the pipeline. Simply get in touch with us to find out. We always have an ace up our sleeve!

Best Dive Sites in Dahab

The Blue Hole

One of the most famous dive sites in the world, the Blue Hole (not to mix it up with the Great Blue Hole in Belize) is a natural wonder that attracts divers seeking adrenaline-pumping experiences. The Blue Hole’s allure also comes with its risks. It’s known as the divers’ cemetery, because many divers attempt to dive its underwater archway at 56 meters through a submerged tunnel but don’t return. It’s a great spot for snorkelers, but for scuba divers, in our humble opinion, there are other more thrilling spots within safety limits of recreational diving. You may want to check out this Wikipedia article for details about the fatalities in Blue Hole and recommended movies.

The Canyon

If you ask us, this dive site is a more rewarding one for recreational scuba divers than the famous Blue Hole. As its name suggests, The Canyon is a breathtaking dive site characterized by a series of narrow passages and towering walls adorned with colorful corals and resident marine creatures.

Advanced divers find great excitement in venturing into the depths of the Canyon. Descending through the entrance of the canyon, a vast underwater chamber reveals itself. With a depth of 30 meters, this expansive chamber provides the perfect setting for accomplishing the PADI Advanced Open Water deep dive. For technical divers, there is the option of exiting the chamber at a depth of 50 meters (should only be attempted with appropriate experience and training!).

For me personally, the Canyon was the most mind-boggling dive site after the SS Thistlegorm. I didn’t take my underwater camera on this dive with me because I took the exit at 50 meters, but this Youtube video is pretty authentic (just a tad too many divers).

The Islands

The Islands dive site is an underwater maze of corals! It offers a shallow dive with a maximum depth of 20m, encompassing two interconnected islands adorned with intricate labyrinths and serene lagoons. The coral formation is truly awe-inspiring, showcasing a remarkable diversity of vibrant colors and an array of fascinating marine life, including stingrays, napoleons, picasso triggerfish, schooling barracudas, crocodile fish, and occasionally, eagle rays and turtles. This dive site is a haven for photographers and videographers, offering the perfect opportunity to capture its beauty.

There are of course other dive sites in Dahab, but as spoiled divers we are after the most unique ones.

Practical Tips for Scuba Diving in Sharm El Sheikh and Dahab

Best Time to Dive

The Red Sea offers excellent diving conditions year-round, but the prime time to visit Sharm El Sheikh and Dahab is from March to May and September to November when the weather is mild and the water temperature is comfortable. The diving season in Sharm El Sheikh and Dahab typically spans from March to November, with the water temperature ranging from 22°C to 28°C (72°F to 82°F). During this time, visibility can exceed 30 meters (100 feet), offering optimal conditions for underwater exploration.

However, even in the winter months, diving is still possible, albeit with cooler water temperatures and potentially reduced visibility. During the winter season, the weather becomes chilly. Despite the water temperature ranging from 22C to 23C degrees, the strong winds make everything feel cold. At night, the air temperature can drop to 10C – 12C, while during the day it reaches 23C. Therefore, it is advisable to bring hoodies and windbreaker jackets from December to March as they will be necessary.

If you are prone to motion sickness, be prepared for the strong winds and choppy sea conditions in any season.

Diving Centers in Sharm El Sheikh, Facilities and Prices

  • Both Sharm El Sheikh and Dahab are well-equipped with diving centers and resorts catering to divers of all levels.
  • Equipment rental, boat charters, and accommodation options ranging from budget-friendly hostels to luxury resorts ensure on one hand a seamless diving experience, on the other hand it gets hard to pick the right dive center for your needs (see further below for tips).
  • What surprised me was the high prices for diving in Sharm El Sheikh. I discovered that diving in Sharm El Sheikh has become just as expensive as in Mexico and more expensive than in Indonesia. Two local boat dives with lunch and fees were over 100 EUR (as of March 2024).
  • Diving in Dahab on the other hand is more affordable with the exception of the two famous dive sites. Truly epic dives are found in Sharm El Sheikh, but if budget is an issue you may opt for Dahab.
  • Please note: Egypt suffers from high inflations rates, and most businesses charge in EUR, GBP or USD. Payments in cash in EGP would usually not be accepted. Don’t simply exchange your currency to EGP before asking your dive center about the accepted payment options.
  • Choose reputable operators with certified instructors and well-maintained equipment for a safe and enjoyable diving experience.

Conservation and Responsible Diving

  • Marine Conservation: Respect the delicate marine ecosystem by practicing responsible diving habits like proper buoyancy control. Avoid touching or damaging corals, refrain from feeding marine life, and adhere to established dive guidelines to minimize your environmental impact. Additionally, supporting local conservation initiatives and choosing eco-friendly dive operators contribute to the long-term sustainability of these diving destinations.
  • Safety First: Always prioritize safety during your dives. Stay within your certification limits, perform thorough pre-dive checks, and communicate clearly with your dive buddy and dive master.
  • Dive insurance is not obligatory for diving in Egypt. Nevertheless, there are diving centers that insist on having it before allowing you to dive with them.
  • Dives for every level: Whether you’re a novice or an experienced diver, Sharm El Sheikh and Dahab cater to all skill levels. Beginners can explore gentle reef slopes teeming with colorful fish and gentle currents, while advanced divers can venture into deeper waters and explore thrilling drift dives and intricate underwater caverns. With over 200 dive sites to choose from, there’s something for everyone beneath the waves.
  • A side note about currents: You often hear about “strong” currents in the Red Sea. In my experience the currents here were mild to moderate compared to the currents in Indonesia, sometimes I didn’t even realize we were on a drift dive as we had to kick the whole time. Yeah, on drift dives in Indonesia you literally fly without any kicks. However, if you are inexperienced, some dives may be challenging for you.

Beyond Diving: Things to do in Sharm El Sheikh and Dahab

Diving is certainly the main attraction in Sharm El Sheikh and Dahab, but these places also provide a variety of activities to enjoy on solid ground. Visitors can wander through bustling markets, savor tasty Egyptian dishes, or go on a desert safari to witness the beauty of the area. Egypt’s fascinating history and breathtaking scenery make it a destination that caters to all types of travelers. To name some activities:

  • Enjoying the sandy shores of the beach
  • Discovering the mesmerizing underwater world while snorkeling in shallow waters right off the beach
  • Engaging in lively festivities and celebrations
  • Embarking on a scenic bike expedition through the majestic mountains
  • Exploring the trails of Mount Sinai through a thrilling hike
  • Indulging in a delightful Bedouin meal amidst the vast desert landscape
  • Opting for an exhilarating adventure in the desert by renting a quad
  • Embarking on a day trip to the neighboring Dahab (Cairo possible too but not recommended)
  • Observing marine life without getting wet through a glass-bottom boat tour
  • Engaging in various water sports such as parasailing, water skiing, pedal boating, or banana boating
  • Kite surfing, wind surfing, free diving, yoga and so much more.

Tips to Avoid Scams in Sharm El Sheikh

As fascinating and diverse Egypt is, it’s notorious for scams.

  1. Research in Advance: Familiarize yourself with standard prices for dive packages, equipment rental, and certification courses. This knowledge will help you spot inflated prices and avoid being overcharged. Prioritize reputable dive centers with certified instructors and positive reviews. Verify their credentials and inquire about their safety protocols and equipment maintenance.
  2. Beware of Surcharges: The pricing system in Egypt is generally confusing which makes it hard to accurately estimate the diving expenses. The multitude of additional costs can easily result in exceeding your initial budget by a significant margin. They all tend to start with an attractive basic price and many little things add up to your bill. Here are a few factors you should take into consideration:
    • Nitrox: Depending on the diving center, you may receive a complimentary 12l tank (with an additional charge if you prefer a 15l tank), while others require payment per tank.
    • Food on the boat: Most diving centers provide breakfast and lunch on the boat (depending on the duration of the trip), but these meals come at an extra (compulsory) cost.
    • Special trips: Almost every diving center offers specialized excursions to unique dive sites. These locations are often situated far away or have limited daily boat access. For instance, in Sharm-El-Sheikh, diving at the Thistlegorm, Million Hope or the Dunraven incurs additional charges. Night dives typically count as two dives.
    • National Park fees: Egypt has numerous protected areas where divers are required to pay a set fee for each day of diving.
    • Boat dives: Some dive centers especially in Sharm El Sheikh and Hurghada include shore/house reef diving but ask for a surcharge for boat diving.
    • 14% Egyptian VAT: ensure that the offers you receive include 14% Egyptian VAT.
    • Internet: be prepared, if you really need internet while in Egypt, don’t even count on the hotel, they charge an absurd amount for 1 hour of Wi-Fi in your room.
  3. Beware of Bargain Deals: While tempting, excessively cheap dive packages may indicate compromised safety standards or hidden costs. Opt for quality over affordability when it comes to your diving experience. When I did my research and compared prices of many dive centers in Sharm El Sheikh, everything was so overwhelming that I ended up putting all the pieces in a spreadsheet to only find out there was barely any difference in price. To put it into perspective, a 5-day diving package would only differ by +/- 20-30 EUR in total, but the quality of service and professionalism you receive differs significantly.
  4. Choose Reputable Dive Centers: Opt for dive operators with a solid reputation and certified instructors. Research online reviews and ask fellow divers for recommendations to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience. Naturally, for our scuba trips we’ve partnered with the best dive center in Sharm El Sheikh after extensive research on the ground. If you wish, we would be happy to share the dive operator with you. Simply drop us an email or WhatsApp!
  5. Beware of Unscrupulous Practices: Some dive centers may engage in unethical practices, such as overcrowding dive boats or neglecting safety protocols. Prioritize your safety and comfort by selecting operators committed to professionalism and environmental protection.
  6. Avoid Street Touts: Be wary of individuals offering diving services on the streets or beaches. Stick to licensed dive centers and accredited professionals to ensure a safe and enjoyable dive.
  7. Ask Questions: Don’t hesitate to inquire about the details of your dive excursion, including the itinerary, equipment condition, and safety procedures. Legitimate dive operators will gladly address your concerns.
  8. Trust Your Instincts: If something feels off or too good to be true, trust your instincts and proceed with caution. Walk away from any situation that raises red flags, such as aggressive sales tactics or unclear pricing. Your safety should always be the top priority when embarking on diving adventures.
  9. Enjoy your holidays: If you want to save yourself the hassle of planning and searching through all the information, simply contact us to book your dream trip. We have been there and gone through the process and checked the quality for you.

Getting there

Both Sharm El Sheikh and Dahab are easily accessible by air, with Sharm El Sheikh International Airport serving as the primary gateway. Direct flights from major cities around the world make reaching these diving paradises convenient for travelers. Taxis, shuttle services, and rental cars are readily available for transportation upon arrivals at Sharm El Sheikh Airport, though it would be best to pre-organize a private meet & greet service at the airport. Otherwise the taxis would with a high probability refuse to take you at the standard rate.

Dahab is some 80 km away from Sharm El Sheikh Airport. Local buses like GoBus are available roughly every two hours until 11:00 pm.


Diving in Sharm El Sheikh and Dahab offers a gateway to an underwater world of unparalleled beauty and diversity. Whether you’re captivated by vibrant coral reefs, intrigued by unique geological formations, or simply seeking adventure beneath the waves, these Egyptian gems have something to offer every diver. From vibrant coral reefs to historic shipwrecks, these destinations offer a kaleidoscope of underwater wonders waiting to be explored.

Remember, based on first-hand experience, we have prepared an awesome itinerary bookable anytime from March to November. Simply chat with us if you need any customization.

We hope that these tips will help ensure a safe and rewarding experience while diving in Sharm El Sheikh that’s Egypt’s Red Sea paradise. Plan your dive trip today and prepare to discover the world that lies beneath the waves in Sharm El Sheikh and Dahab.

Gear up, dive in, and discover the magic of the Red Sea!

Happy diving!