If you’re in Jordan a visit to the Dead Sea is a must. However, figuring out how to get to the Dead Sea is not nearly as simple as you would think. There is a TON of inconsistent and dated information online that can stump even the most seasoned traveler. I ended up relying on the expertise of local friends and fellow travelers to determine the logistics for getting to the Dead Sea.
The Dead Sea is accessible from Jordan, Israel, and Palestine. Crossing international borders in this area can be time-consuming, logistically challenging, and may require a visa. For these reasons, I recommend visiting a beach or resort within the borders of the country that you are already in - in my case Jordan.
In Jordan, to access the Dead Sea, you can go to the public beach or visit one of the many resorts along the sea. Many of the resorts offer day passes, or you can opt to book a room to gain access to the resort’s beach (often this is cheaper). Usually, the rooms are priced for two people; however, friends of mine booked a room and were able to bring two additional people (just two of the individuals in their group checked in). The resorts have security so keep this in mind, but if there is an issue you can pay for the extra day passes for additional people.
Where to go
We opted to skip the public beach for a few reasons. The first being that I was traveling with a group of young women and we had no idea what was acceptable beach attire. Are bikinis acceptable? Did we have to track down a burkini? Jordan, in general, is a pretty accepting place, but when it came to beach etiquette, we felt we would be more comfortable at a resort and avoiding potential unwanted stares or being culturally inappropriate. Another major concern we had with visiting the public beach was where we would store our belongings while we were floating. Since there are security checkpoints along the route to the Dead Sea, we knew we would need our passports and wanted to make sure that they were secure.
The Dead Sea Marriott Resort & Spa has many pools, beautiful views, and an enormous beachfront. A number of my friends have gotten the day pass here and enjoyed the resort.
The Holiday Inn Dead Sea Resort is incredible. We decided to book a room here because it was the most economical option (I found a fantastic deal on Expedia). I loved everything about this resort from the pools to the pristine beach. There were ample towel & bottled water stations throughout the property, and the staff was incredibly attentive. Although we did not spend the night the room we booked was clean and spacious.
For the lux option, there is no better choice than Kempinski. This stunning resort boasts nine outdoor pools, a pristine beachfront, and tennis courts. If you are looking to stay a night at the Dead Sea, this resort has come highly recommended by my Jordanian friend.
How to get to the Dead Sea
The Dead Sea is accessible from Amman by bus, rental car, or cab. We opted to take a taxi because the buses are not always reliable and we did not feel comfortable driving in Amman. The cab cost was around ~20 JD each way. We used the same driver both ways and agreed upon price and pick up/drop off times before we left our hotel.
Quick note: Uber is available in Amman, but it is illegal. Since there are many roadside checkpoints outside of Amman, I advise against taking an Uber outside the city limits. You’ll be putting the driver and yourself in a potentially risky situation.
Other things that you need to know about the Dead Sea
The same salt that makes you float in the dead sea makes every small scrap or cut unbearable. Avoid shaving the day you plan to visit the sea and keep that in mind if you have any cuts or scrapes. You’ll also want to avoid floating on your stomach (imagine if the salt gets in your eyes...ouch).
You’ll also be pleasantly surprised to find that it is harder to get sunburnt at the Dead Sea since there is an extra atmospheric layer, but I still recommend wearing sunscreen.
Don't forget to use the dead sea mud! Our resort had buckets of mud on the beach. We layered it on our skin, let it dry, and washed the mud off in the Dead Sea (I avoided my face and hair). You'll be surprised how soft your skin is after.
Finally, don’t make the same mistake I did and wear a light colored swimsuit to the Dead Sea. The mud can and will stain your swimwear, so I recommend wearing a dark colored suit.