Dead Sea Survival Guide

I was at my lowest point on earth at the actual lowest point on earth. Okay- this is an exaggeration, but it was brutal. We were told by locals the Dead Sea would be miserable in August. So far, it’s been about 30C in Jerusalem where we are staying, but the Dead Sea pushes over 40 degrees of sweltering air (over 100 Fahrenheit). We basically put our suits on and dipped in long enough to see how easy it is too float. It’s so easy that you can’t even pull your legs underneath you from a cradle position. After five minutes of burning cuts and tripping over salt crystals, we ran to the fresh water rinse to save our skin.

If you aren’t prepared with the following things, forget it. Turn back.

1.) Do not shave for at least two days before going. Have you ever jumped in the ocean with shaved legs and it burns just a little bit? Pump that saline up to 33.7%- about eight time higher than the ocean- and it becomes unbearable. Any cuts or open wounds will have the same affect.

2.) Wear sandals. The Dead Sea mud is pretty dark and soaks up a lot of heat from the sun. To get from the showers or resort to the water is scorching. Besides that, it is a little more sanitary when you use the showers afterwards, as well. This is an optimum time to wear some Crocs!

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Throw it back to college and take some shower shoes to the Dead Sea to protect your feet from the heat and salt crystals. My Crocs saved me. #CrocTheWorld

3.) Don’t put your face in it. This is not water you go for a swim in. People are generally floating or smearing mud all over their bodies near the shore. There are signs that discourage splashing and anything that could increase the chance of it getting in your eyes. Have I mentioned that it is SALTY?

4.) Get a locker. Stuff gets dirty down at the waterfront and you don’t want somebody to take your stuff. If available at the public beaches, definitely secure your belongings. For photos, I would recommend taking a GoPro or underwater camera, or taking some photos BEFORE you schlep off all of your skin.

5.) Don’t go in the summer. It’s hot. It’s too hot. Summer is instant burn weather and the water is like a hot bath. I wouldn’t be surprised if someone peed in it that it would make the water colder instead of warmer. Also, sunscreen does nothing when you are in this water. It really exfoliates everything- EVERYTHING- so sunscreen only does you good on the shore.

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Signs warn visitors to use caution in the water to avoid getting water in their eyes. What the signs don’t warn you of is the separation of a men’s side and a “family” side. Haha!

6.) Don’t feel pressure to take the Dead Sea home with you. On our tour of Bethlehem before the Dead Sea, a little girl told us her family went to the sea and purchased eight boxes of mud. After going there myself, I can tell you I have no interest in taking any of it home with me. It is kind of gross watching people exfoliate their bodies with it and leave their little skin cells behind. Most of these products could be purchased anywhere around the world or ordered online, so if you are dying to have some, don’t feel pressure to carry a suitcase of mud home (which customs may not be so thrilled with, anyway.)

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The drive to the Dead Sea is dotted with camels like this one, waiting for photo opportunities with visitors. Not all camels are very nice so approach with caution, but usually the ones sitting in the path of the general public are pretty domesticated.

If we had not gone in peak summer, we probably would have liked it better. The public beach we went to actually had some chlorinated pools, bars, and even camels for photo-ops. It looks like a really good time! Even rubbing some of the mud on my arms was a nice exfoliant and they felt pretty soft for the rest of the day. Unfortunately, the summer heat is unrealistic to enjoy the Dead Sea. If it’s your only chance to go though, do it. Power through and do it. I’m glad we did and I would even try it again, but there are definitely ways to have a more comfortable visit!

 

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