The Dahab Blue Hole is one of the most famous attractions in Sinai and an absolute must-visit destination in Egypt. Find out how to get here, what to expect, and why this is one of the most infamous dive sites in the world.
Planning a visit to Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula and intrigued by the magical Blue Hole in Dahab?
Even if you’re not a diver, there are a thousand reasons why you should visit this amazing natural attraction! In this guide, I’ll give you a rundown of everything you need to know about this famous Egyptian Blue Hole!
So, with no time to waste, let’s dive into this guide.
- About the Famous Dahab Blue Hole
- Where is the Blue Hole in Dahab?
- Why is the Blue Hole so Dangerous?
- Things to do at the Dahab Blue Hole
- Where to Stay in Dahab
- More Things to Know About Visiting Dahab’s Infamous Blue Hole
- More Egypt Travel Guides
About the Famous Dahab Blue Hole
The Blue Hole is a deep, natural sinkhole in the Gulf of Aqaba, just north of the South Sinai tourist town of Dahab. It is considered to be one of the most significant natural landmarks in Egypt.
Geologists believe that this submarine sinkhole formed thousands of years ago during the melting of the last ice age. It has a maximum depth of around 120 meters (390 feet) and is lined by a near-vertical reef wall.
This wide hole is considered to be a great scuba diving and snorkeling site. This is due to the beautiful coral reef in the shallow lagoon surrounding its edge. The wall is also abundant with hard coral formations and a healthy ecosystem of marine life.
Note there are several blue holes like this one around the world. Unlike the famous Great Blue Hole in Belize, the one in Dahab is not found in the open sea, but just a few meters from the shore, much like the one in Malta.
Where is the Blue Hole in Dahab?
The Blue Hole is located 10 kilometers north of Dahab in the Sinai Peninsula of Egypt. This is an area edging the Gulf of Aqaba on the coast of the Red Sea and separating Egypt from Saudi Arabia.
The hole itself is just a few meters from the rocky shores of the South Sinai desert and is accessible by car.
How to Get to the Blue Hole from Dahab
If you're staying in Dahab or the nearby tourist city of Sharm el-Sheikh, then the easiest way to visit the Blue Hole is on an organized day trip.
Many of these trips include other popular snorkeling spots in the area, including the famous Blue Lagoon & Abu Galoum
Below I've linked the best-rated and most cost-effective trips to the Blue Hole.
Getting Here Independently
For those in Dahab, it's possible to visit the Blue Hole independently by taking a taxi from the town.
The journey takes roughly 20 minutes and costs between 80-100 Egyptian pounds (you will need to barter).
Once you arrive at the Blue Hole area, you must pay a USD 10 entry fee per person to the Egyptian authorities.
Tip: The taxis in Dahab are nothing like the ones you'll find in Cairo and are typically old pickup trucks or Jeep Wranglers. Look for the orange numberplate, which designates taxis in Egypt.
Why is the Blue Hole so Dangerous?
Nicknamed the "Diver's Cemetery" scuba divers know this site for being one of the most dangerous dive sites in the world. However, the truth is that this only applies to one particular dive site in the Blue Hole called the arch.
In reality, even this designation isn't entirely accurate. While the arch in the Blue Hole is a very deadly site (without a public record, estimates are around 200 deaths in recent years), it is not actually a very dangerous dive for those properly trained for technical diving.
The reason why this arch is so deadly is that the entry point to this horizontal tunnel sits at a depth below 55 meters (180 feet). The majority of deaths are experienced, recreational divers feeling overconfident in their ability to attempt a deep technical dive with recreational equipment and without specialized training.
The Infamous Arch & Tragic Diving Deaths
The arch is a 30-meter (100-feet) long natural tunnel with an entrance sitting at roughly 55 meters (180 feet). From a technical dive standpoint, the arch isn't a very challenging one.
The most dangerous aspect of this dive is that it looks relatively benign– like a quick, wide swim-through upon reaching the entrance. However, the sad truth is that many experienced divers forget their training and try to swim through on a regular 10.4L tank.
At 55 meters, oxygen toxicity occurs and the risk of nitrogen narcosis (the unexplained feeling of being drunk or high at depths) increases exponentially.
The arch also slopes downwards slightly and is much longer than it seems. So, the quick swim through often turns into a 5-minute endeavor at a depth closer to 60 meters (196 feet). At this depth, divers consume oxygen very rapidly due to the effects of pressure.
By the time divers exit this long tunnel, they're likely to have consumed 60% of their single tank, which is not enough to make the several safety stops required to resurface safely.
The main causes of death in the arch are therefore running out of air, oxygen toxicity, and decompression sickness (the bends).
Even having worked as a professional Dive Master, I would never attempt to dive the arch without proper technical training and a rebreather or twinset.
Planning a trip to the Red Sea? Don't miss my comprehensive travel guide covering the top things to do in Dahab, Egypt.
Can Beginners Scuba Dive in the Blue Hole?
Don't let the reputation discourage you from diving in the Blue Hole! By now, you know that the dangerous dive site here is well beyond the limits of recreational divers and only accessible to technical divers.
So, as far as the recreational dives go, beginner divers and advanced divers alike can enjoy some of the safest shore diving in the Red Sea!
The best and most famous Blue Hole dive sites include:
- The Blue Hole Wall - beginner divers can enjoy the beautiful coral reefs lining the near-vertical wall at the easy entrance. This is a very accessible and shallow entry point just a few meters from the rocky shores! The bottom here is around 120 meters, so you'll need to monitor your depths to stay within recreational limits.
- The Bells - an advanced recreational site at around 30-meters featuring a deep groove cutting into the reef just north of the Blue Hole.
- Canyon - although not at the Blue Hole, this is one of the best dive sites near the Blue Hole. Divers come here to swim through a gorgeous geological formation, a kind of cave with a virtually closed-off roof.
Remember to always dive with a local dive guide. If you don't have your qualification, I recommend getting your Open Water certificate in Dahab with Octopus Divers, next to the amazing My Hostel (the best hostel in Dahab).
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Things to do at the Dahab Blue Hole
Interested in exploring the famous Blue Hole on a day trip from Dahab? Below are some of the many things you can do to enjoy this awesome adventure!
Snorkeling & Free Diving
While many people know of Dahab's famous Blue Hole as a dive site, the truth is that this iconic underwater attraction has a lot to offer snorkelers and freedivers as well.
For snorkelers, you can rent a mask and snorkel from one of the many beachside restaurants right next to the Blue Hole. There is a large jetty that serves as an ideal entry point.
The shallow coral garden edging the rim of the hole contains many different species of reef fish and beautiful coral reef. This snorkeling location is usually quite sheltered, which means you can also snorkel above the famous wall as well.
Free divers will also love this site! The crystal clear visibility combined with the unfathomable depths makes it an ideal training ground.
Remember to always free dive with a buddy or safety diver. If you want to be trained by professionals, there are many freediving centers in Dahab.
While in Dahab: Don't miss the opportunity to hike to the summit of the holy mountain! Read my guide on how to climb Mount Sinai in Egypt for more information.
I already covered this above. But, it's worth mentioning again!
The Blue Hole of Egypt is one of the world's most famous dive sites, and it goes without saying that this should be on your South Sinai bucket list! Since this is a shore dive, it's usually also quite cheap!
Tip: While the coral formations and marine life in the Blue Hole are spectacular, the diving around Sharm el-Sheikh is considerably better.
Walk up to the Blue Hole Viewpoint
Just around the back of the restaurants on the main strip is a rocky hill where you can catch the best views of the Blue Hole from above.
To get here, continue towards the end of the strip and turn left on the last road leading behind the restaurants. Next, you'll see a sign pointing towards a well-constructed pathway climbing the hill.
This viewpoint isn't well marked, but you can ask anyone in town and they'll show you where to go.
Visit the Diver's Cemetery (Memorial)
At the very end of the road past the Blue Hole is the famous diver's memorial.
This is a plaque site on a rocky wall containing the names of some of the divers lost at this infamous dive site.
Relax at the Seafront Restaurants
After snorkeling, diving, and exploring, one of the best things to do at the Dahab Blue Hole is to simply relax and unwind at one of the many restaurants.
If you're looking for a spot, I highly recommend the two-story building with the name "Camel Restaurant". The owner here is a very friendly man and he treated us with some of the best hospitality I experienced in South Sinai (and that's saying something).
You can also order traditional meals here, as well as Turkish coffee or Bedouin Tea, or even a shisha.
Hike to Ras Abu Galoum & the Blue Lagoon
If you've planned a day of adventuring north of Dahab, then I highly recommend adding Ras Abu Galoum (Ras Abu Galum) and the Blue Lagoon to your itinerary.
From the Blue Hole, you can either hike, take a camel, or ride on a water taxi to Abu Galoum, which is one of the best snorkeling sites near Dahab.
From here, take a pickup truck or camel ride to the famous Blue Lagoon. This is a very relaxing area where you can swim and watch some professional kite surfers shred!
The hiking trail connecting the Blue Hole to Abu Galoum is very scenic and I highly recommend it if you have time!
Where to Stay in Dahab
Dahab is much smaller and more laid back than its more luxurious neighbor Sharm el-Sheikh. However, there is still a wide range of accommodation options, from epic rooftop hostels to luxurious beach-side resorts.
Below are the top-rated accommodation options for Dahab.
- Swiss Inn Resort Dahab - The best luxury resort in Dahab offers its guests a gym facility, a private beach, a children's play area, multiple pools, restaurants, a shuttle service, and its very own dive center.
- Jaz Dahabeya - Overlooking the Red Sea and Sinai Mountains this resort is a perfect pick for those wanting to enjoy 4-star luxury without breaking the bank. The resort offers its own reviving and reinvigorating treatments in its spa facility, pool, children's play area, and gym. Breakfast and dinner are included.
- My Hostel - Easily the best hostel in Dahab, if not in all of Egypt! This is complete with a roof-top terrace and chill co-work area. An excellent vibe and the owner Medhat can also arrange tours and diving for you at the best price in Dahab.
More Things to Know About Visiting Dahab's Infamous Blue Hole
The Blue Lagoon has a maximum depth of around 120 meters (390 feet). However, just beyond the hole, the Gulf of Aqaba drops to much greater depths.
Yuri Lipski was a 22-year-old Russian diver and is one of the most famous deaths in the Blue Hole. Attempting a bounce dive, Yuri fell into an uncontrollable descent, falling to a depth of 115 meters where he ultimately perished. This is a famous example because Yuri recorded the entire dive, which is now available on Youtube. While very uncomfortable to watch, many tech dive instructors use this video to show their students the danger of diving beyond recreational limits without proper training. Who knows, this video may have saved hundreds of lives.
There is no official record of lives lost in the Blue Hole. However, many sources across the web mention that it is as high as 200 in the past few years. One notable tragedy was that of Stephen Keenan, a safety diver helping a fellow freediver attempting the arch.
Most visitors spend a day visiting the Blue Hole. However, you can also combine it with a day trip to other famous locations like the Blue Lagoon.
Dahab is a year-round holiday destination. However, the best visibility occurs between June and August.
Whale sharks, hammerheads, and eagle rays have been spotted outside of the Blue Hole but seeing them enter would be extremely rare. For a better chance of diving with sharks, visit Ras Muhammad from Sharm el-Sheikh or the South Red Sea.
While as many as 200 lives have been lost in the past 20 years, most bodies are recovered. Tarek Omar is famous in Dahab not only for claiming the previous record for the world's deepest dive (209 meters) but also for recovering countless bodies from the depths.
The current world record holder Ahmed Gabr broke the record in 2014, diving to 332 m (1090 feet) in Dahab, not far from the Blue Hole.
More Egypt Travel Guides
I hope you've enjoyed this comprehensive guide to the famous Dahab Blue Hole in Egypt.
While you're here, make sure to check out some of my other guides below.