In 2017, the Jerusalem Post reported that an estimated 3.6 million tourists visited Israel’s sandy beaches and holy sites. This was more tourists than ever before. So, for those coming from the United States just to visit the sandy beaches, one would ask why would they take a roughly 14 hour flight to do so when we have some of the most beautiful beaches in the US? Most likely answer…to visit the Dead Sea of course!

With the landscape of the Negev Desert in the background, the Dead Sea, known for it’s health, healing and wellness properties, is actually a natural salt (30% salt) lake between Israel and Jordan. According to Tourist Israel, the Dead Sea is the lowest point on the surface of the earth and due to its salt content, fish and plants cannot live within the waters. Do not fear, there are no actual “dead” fish or plants, they simply do not exists in the waters. The water of the Dead Sea will glisten blue and green and the edges are lined with white mineral salt deposits under sunny skies that never change about 330 days of the year.

Most visit the Dead Sea for the mud. The thick black mud found on the seabed of the Dead Sea is proven to be good for your skin. It is high in magnesium, sodium, potassium and calcium, which can give you a mud bath better than you could find in many spas. These high levels of salt and magnesium can remove impurities and improve your skin’s functionality by making it a better barrier and more elastic.

When planning your visit, there are many public beaches along the shores of the Dead sea, including the Ein Gedi Beach and the Ein Bokek resort, which according to Tourist Israel the hotels offer private beaches and some beaches may charge an entry fee, so plan ahead.

TIPS FOR PLANNING & VISITING THE DEAD SEA

BEWARE THE SHAVE

Do not shave for at least 2-3 days prior to entering the waters. You will not regret this!

KEEP IT QUICK

Once arriving at the Dead Sea, the number one thing to remember is to NOT stay in the waters for more than 10 minutes at a time. You may enter the waters more than once, but, for NO longer than 10 minutes. Wash off each time you leave and note that your skin may be very soft, so be mindful.

SODIUM OVERLOAD

Do not drink the water. It is over 30% salt.

NO HORSING AROUND

Do not splash. Even the tiniest of droplet of the salty water in your eye will have you running for the shore.

DEFYING GRAVITY

There won’t be any swimming. Not because the exercise is not good for you, but because you can’t (and you should not splash). The salt content in the water will not allow you to do so. So, best thing to do is lay/ float on your back calmly. The salt may discolor your clothing, so plan outfits accordingly.

TREAD LIGHTLY

Packing water shoes, as the bottom of the “sea” floor is lined with salt and can cut your feet.

SUNNY SIDE UP

There are sunny skies that never change about 330 days of the year, so pack sunscreen and avoid being in the water during the hottest times of the day.

BY APRIL TISHER AND NICOLE IRVING