Hurghada in Egypt is a small town on the Red sea with many hotels and great tourism infrastructure. While approaching the airport, you can’t miss the beautiful turquoise water color and coral reefs scattered along the coast. No wonder so many people are coming back – it’s hard to find a better place for diving and snorkeling.
Many local companies and boat owner organize daily boat tours to the coral reef gardens. Unlike Sharm el Sheikh, where you can enjoy the reef right outside your hotel doors, in Hurhada you need to sail a bit from the shore for the best spots. Hurghada snorkeling tour is both inexpensive and fun way to explore the ocean.
How to book Hurghada snorkeling tour
As soon as you arrive at your hotel, you will be strongly advised to meet your local tour guide before booking any tours. The guide will try to sell you different tours for the double price. If you need this kind of service in order to feel safe – you may just as well book from him. Before you book, check this helpful guide with prices.
During our last trip we booked online via local travel agent and paid only 17$ per person for the Paradise Island tour – the most popular boat tour in Hurghada. The advantage of booking a tour like that – you don’t need to pay upfront. If you decide to cancel, all you have to do is let them know the evening before the tour starts.
Concerning quality – our boat tour was truly great, with nice and friendly crew, good snorkeling equipment and decent food on board.
How does a typical tour look like?
A typical boat tour starts with a transfer from your hotel to the pier. Normally you would wait outside your hotel and when the bus arrives, wait for them to tell you your room number. That way you will be sure to board the correct bus, as multiple companies offer this kind of service.
During the tour, the boat will usually make 2 stops next to coral reef gardens and you will have a chance to snorkel with a mask. Group leader will give you group name, so you won’t get lost. I recommend sticking to the group, as multiple boats may be anchored right next to each other and it may be difficult to find the right one.
Last stop next to Paradise beach/island. Small local boat will transport you to the beach. You will have one hour to relax or make photos. The water is unreal, but sadly the beach is heavily crowded. My advice – walk away from the crowds and find a nice place to relax and chill. Also, you can take a mask with you. No corals, but still nice to swim there.
All that swimming will leave you very hungry, so a meal on board will be served. The choice is rather small: rice, noodles, fish, meat and salad. Soft drinks are for free as well.
Banana boat ride
The last attraction of the day is banana boat ride. This is also included in your tour ticket. The ride is very short, but full of adrenaline. Instead of going through the bumps, I stayed on the upper deck and enjoyed the sunshine.
Dolphin house trip
After having a blast on the Paradise Island boat trip I decided to go on another one the next day – the Dolphin house trip. I really love these animals, so the trip was an ideal choice. The day plan was very similar to the previous trip. However, instead of sunbathing at the white sandy beach, we spent time chasing the dolphins and trying to spot them underwater.
In order to get close to the dolphins, our boat had a small zodiac towed behind it. Once we arrived to the area where the dolphins live, we boarded the zodiac with all our equipment, ready to jump on first command. Dolphins move very fast, so you need to be ready any second. From the three jumps we did, I managed to see them only once. Still, it was unbelievable and amazing experience.
Good swimmer or not?
If you are not a very good swimmer, there is absolutely no reason to skip this tour. The water in the Red Sea is extremely salty and pushes you to the surface all the time. In fact, I found it extremely difficult to (free) dive. Life jackets are also available, as well as safety rings. Last but not least, boat instructors were swimming along the ones who couldn’t swim, watching over them at all times.
Of course, it is your own responsibility to decide whether you want to jump into the water or not. The beauty that you will see under the surface is 100% worth it!
Small piece of advice regarding filming underwater. As soon as you arrive at the boat, you will be offered to be filmed. The price needs to be negotiated beforehand. Also, don’t leave a deposit until you see the actual footage. You may ask for the film to be delivered to your hotel reception and check it there if you have your laptop. The prices for underwater films are around 25$.
Instead of trusting someone else with filming, I brought my own GoPro and filmed everything myself, using wrist mount.
From all the tours we did in Hurghada, boat trips were my favorite. One thing to watch for is the weather. If the wind is strong (and it usually is windy most of the time), an enjoyable trip may become much less enjoyable or even dangerous. We visited in the last week of March, and it was perfect – almost no wind, warm temperatures, and pleasant water temp. Once you are close to the reef, it is very warm and the abundance of marine life makes you want to stay there much longer.
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