Located in south-western Asia, the Dead Sea is one of the many miracles of nature. The Dead Sea is not really a sea but a salt lake which is surrounded by Israel on one side and Jordan on the other. Some parts of the lake touch Palestine as well. The sea has the lowest point on the earth with the depth being 400 meters or 1,300 ft from the surface of the water.
It is a landlocked lake and has earned the name salt lake owing to the high concentration of salt content in its water. The salt concentration in the water of the Dead Sea can be as high as ten times that of seawater. This makes it difficult for any marine life to thrive in it, hence the name ‘dead’ sea. The added feature is that a person is unlikely to drown while lying on the surface of the water owing to its hypersaline state.
But why do people really float in the Dead Sea?
We aren’t just talking about the high salinity that allows you to float. Dead Sea salt has a lot more benefits than meets the eye. Firstly, it doesn’t consist of just salt. In addition to salt, the water also contains minerals like chloride, potassium, sodium, magnesium, bromide, etc. And these minerals are highly beneficial to the skin.
Benefits of the Dead Sea
Have you ever stood in the sea, where you had the waves wash over you for a long time and then felt as if the skin on your legs had a polished effect? That’s usually because of the abrasive quality of the salt that works like a natural scrub or exfoliant. The dead sea has similar benefits but is a notch or two above your regular sea or ocean.
Benefits of Dead Sea Salt for the skin
- Dead sea salt is highly effective for various skin problems like acne, eczema, psoriasis, dry skin and various skin allergies.
- The salt makes the skin soft, smooth and supple, removing unnecessary cellulite.
- It cleanses the skin and replaces electrolytes leading to healthy skin.
- It strengthens hair follicles and helps cleanse the scalp to reduce dandruff and hair loss.
Dead Sea’s Black Mud
The black mud found in the dead sea is mineral rich and is used for various spa treatments, cosmetics and therapeutic massages.
The mud has several more benefits in addition to the salt. Due to the presence of various minerals, apart from helping with skin issues, it also assists with other benefits.
How and Why are Dead Sea Minerals good for you?
- The calcium content helps cleanse pores and relieves and soothes the skin cells.
- Chloride helps with balancing – it ensures there is an adequate balance maintained between alkaline and acid in the body.
- It also contains magnesium that helps with cell metabolism and works as an anti-allergy agent.
- Bromide aids as a natural antibiotic and will help defend inflammatory conditions.
- Iodine and Zinc help with cell growth, cell regeneration and cell metabolism. Zinc also functions as a natural block for UV rays.
- Boron is especially good for relieving symptoms of psoriasis
- Potassium helps in maintaining water balance in the body
- Sulphur is beneficial for maintaining healthy liver functions
This usually doesn’t even scratch the surface to cover the various benefits. The health benefits are the biggest reason for tourists to flock to the dead sea. It is also a major income generator for spa services and resellers of dead sea products and cosmetics.
How to get there?
If you are in Israel, you can reach the Dead Sea from the city of Jerusalem, Israel’s capital or Tel Aviv. Israel’s bus service providing company, Egged, runs buses between Jerusalem and Ein Bokek and Ein Gedi which costs around 38-45 New Israeli Shekel (NIS) one way, and the duration of the trip can be anywhere between 60- 120 minutes. Bus services from Tel Aviv charge around 47 NIS.
There are also several hotels and resorts by the dead sea and staying at any of these dead sea hotels in Israel can also provide easy accessibility to the lake.
One can reach the Dead Sea from both Aqaba and Amman in Jordan. One can opt for a taxi from Aqaba for about 100 Jordan Dinars for a day, but if you are smart at negotiations, you can crack the deal for 80-85 Jordan Dinars as well from Aqaba.
Taxi can be availed for 20 Jordan Dinars for a day from Amman while hotels in the vicinity of downtown charge approximately 35 Jordan Dinars for providing a cab facility with the same services. The rates charged by the hotels remain the same regardless of if you are travelling from Amman or Downtown Amman. Shuttle facility is also available with some of the hotels providing services for the purposes of Jordan’s travel and tourism.
What else apart from the Dead Sea?
Apart from just visiting the dead sea, there are plenty of things to do around either of these countries. As the Dead Sea is accessible from both Israel and Jordan, the activities and events that tourists get to enjoy also vary.
Following are the places that tourists from Israel can explore:
- Masada Fortress
- Light and Sound Show at Masada
- Nature Reserve at Ein Gedi
- Sodom Salt Caves
- Oasis and Kibbutz at Ein Gedi
Read more: 11 things you must not miss in Israel
Following are the things to do or places to explore by tourists from Jordan:
- Mount Nebo
- Lot’s Cave
- City of Mosaics
- The Wadi al Mujib Reserve
- Bethany Beyond the Jordan (Baptism Site)
Activities you must indulge in while at the dead sea:
- Float on your back in the sea: This is an absolute must! As mentioned earlier, the high salt content will make you more buoyant in the water. Drowning is nearly impossible (unless you lay on your front – please don’t do that) so even nonswimmers can chill out.
- Grab a book to read or any other entertainment while you float in the most carefree and effortless manner.
- Apply the Dead Sea mud on your body (in some beaches this will be available for free in containers by the sea) and pamper yourself to its therapeutic benefits.
- People can be seen along the shore of the sea trying to retrieve some souvenirs among the crystals and salt deposits here, you can try your luck and take some salts home for free.
Precautions to Take
- Be careful with any existing wounds or cuts as the salt content can make them sting.
- There are plenty of shops where you can buy dead sea salt and mineral products. Although do take caution to ensure they are genuine.
- Do not pollute.
- Carry the things that you want to take in the water with you (such as a book) in a waterproof cover.
- If you are travelling in winter or monsoon months then check the weather forecast, if the weather is unfavourable you might not get that chance to float like you had envisioned.
- Follow the rules and regulations of the authorities here to keep yourself safe and to allow everyone to have a good time.
All in all, have a great time by the dead sea – the world’s natural spa. Rejuvenate, relax and come back with that healthy, glowing skin whose secret everyone is going to ask you about.