With a lot of time planned on the road, we’re very conscious of the need to not always be rushing around. Hence, our intention is to build a fair amount of down days into our travels. After a pretty full-on first 2 weeks, it was time to kick back for a bit on the shores of the Red Sea, known for some of the best diving in the world.
To be entirely accurate, we weren’t actually staying at the Red Sea, but rather on the shores of the Gulf of Aqaba, in an area 10 kilometres south of Jordan’s only coastal city, Aqaba. The Gulf of Aqaba is the northern eastern “leg” of the Red Sea which resides between the worlds largest peninsula on the east (the Arabian Peninsula) and the Sinai Peninsula. Like the coastal waters of the Red Sea, the gulf is rich in coral, marine life and diving sites that have created its bustling tourism industry.
We’d managed to score another free place for two nights on Veronica’s Etihad points, this time at the Bedouin Garden Village in the South Beach/Tala Bay area.
Whilst the rooms and environs could be described as rustic, what this place had going for it, was the reasonably large number of other travels who also had pitched up, meaning that the kids were able to hang out and make new friends.
For us, there were laid back Bedouin-style tents with well connected internet to chill out in.
We’d read mixed reviews on the public beaches, but all of the ones we saw, including Public Beach No. 4 directly outside the Village, were relatively clean and tidy with free shade cover and a mix of locals and tourists meaning everyone was comfortable in their normal swimming attire.
We did do some snorkelling, hiring masks and snorkels for 3 JD per person, but it was a bit of a paddle out to the Japanese Gardens reef with kids, and the mission was quickly aborted after Annabelle’s mask ended up around her neck, in stead of on her face. I can now see why the expensive Glass Bottom Boat tours (25 JD per adult and 15 JD per child) are so popular with families.
The Tala Bay area has some swanky resorts further south which looked really nice, which I passed while out for my afternoon run on the way out to the Saudi border. The slightly more downmarket area we stayed in, however, had a collection of about four places to stay in. Our one seemed to have the most people in and worked extremely well for the kids, but the manager on the front desk was as big a tool as you could imagine, which would put me off recommending it to anyone. Instead, if in the area, I’d try out the Almarsa Village Dive Resort which is the same price and had bigger and more brighter room and a much better swimming pool or Bedouin Moon Village, which is cheaper and again looks less scruffy and avoids having to deal with a drop kick.