Known for snorkeling and casinos, Eilat is a great weekend getaway trip. It is incredibly warm, and although it is a dry heat, it feels like the air that rushes out when you open an oven-- except if you were in the oven. Sunscreen, hats, and lots of water are a must. Work time into your schedule to rest; you will get tired. Food will be much more expensive here than throughout the rest of the country.

Getting there

Tickets to Eilat are the only bus tickets purchased ahead of time, and may be purchased here. Note the hours that the office is open. The online booking system is only in Hebrew; you will need to call to book in English.

Where to Stay

Arava, a hostel that's a 10-minute walk from downtown and a 5 minute walk from the central bus station.

The hostels in Eilat will be expensive due to the crowd the city draws. A list of good hostels may be found here

Arava hostel is fairly inexpensive if you book in a group, although the rooms are small and the bathrooms aren't amazing.

Snorkeling and Scuba Diving

Coral Reef Nature Reserve, ideal for snorkeling

Scuba diving and snorkeling is prevalent in Eilat. Scuba companies may be found with a simple google search, or ask your hostel for recommendations. You can get your certification or do an introductory dive if you don't have your license.

Snorkeling is best at the Coral Reef Nature Preserve or at Princess beach. You can probably rent snorkeling masks from your hostel, but the nature preserve also rents them on premises. If you elect to go to the nature preserve, try to go in the morning or before 14:00, because that is when busloads full of tourists unload. The nature preserve has an entry fee.

Fish Pedicures

The pool where you place your feet to be devoured

A treatment banned in the US, fish pedicures involve placing your feet into a pool where fish one to three inches long bite all the dead skin off your feet. Known as Doctor Fish or Doctor Dog (Dog=Fish), you can learn more about this unique treatment here. While weird initially, it's actually pretty fun by the end. The shop owner doesn't speak English; see if you can take someone who speaks Hebrew or Russian.

Here's the gist of her spiel:

You will sit around the pool facing away from it with your shoes off. She will come around and give you pools of water to place your feet in. She will then instruct you to take them out and dry them off. She will inspect each person's feet and place plastic over any open wounds, blisters, etc. to protect the fish as necessary. Then she will instruct you to turn around and place your feet in the pool. Do not stomp them and do not put them on the ground or against the wall-- let them float. Try not to clench your feet either.