After a lux week relaxing in Sharm El-Sheikh, I was ready to get onto diving the Red Sea up in Dahab, which was the whole reason I’d traveled to Egypt in the first place. Arriving in the little seaside town, I found everything I look for as an independent traveler – the vibe, the people, and the setting were spot on. And just like that, I realized I’d discovered another place that I could “get stuck” for awhile… Here’s why:
1. Spectacular scuba diving. Colorful coral, huuuuge fish, octopuses, stingrays, sea turtles, and so much more… the sea life was simply fascinating! Dahab is also home to the popular Blue Hole and the Dahab Canyon, both of which are fun to explore. I had high expectations of the Red Sea, but these were greatly exceeded after even just my first dive.
2. Lack of tourists. Despite the fact that it’s actually very safe, there are a few travel warnings telling people not to travel to Dahab, and tourist numbers have severely dropped in recent years. But that just makes the place even better for the people who decide to visit anyways!! The quiet town is a welcomed escape from glitzy and touristy Sharm El-Sheikh, and fewer tourists also lead to number three…
3. It’s SO cheap. This is partly due to the fact that tourist numbers are down, and partly due to the fact that Egypt itself is already ridiculously cheap. I dived with Red Sea Relax Resort’s diving school (which I loved), and for only 32 Euros per day I got two dives, dorm accommodation, and breakfast, plus full use of the resort pool & gym. I honestly think it might be the cheapest place to dive in the world (if you know somewhere cheaper please let me know!!) And aside from that, I was generally eating for around 1-2 Euros each meal… Cheapest. Week. Ever!
4. Friendly people. While the people in Sharm treated me like a customer and catered to my every need (which is great, don’t get me wrong), the people in Dahab were much warmer and treated me more as a friend. Upon arrival when I didn’t know anyone, the resort staff invited me to a beach BBQ with some friends, a dive instructor took me to an amazing sunset viewing spot, and throughout my week I’d frequently hang out with the locals. The people are all so generous and friendly that they really make my already amazing memories of Dahab stand out even more.
5. Local culture. What Sharm lacks in culture, Dahab makes up for. With both Egyptian and Bedouin populations (and a lot less tourists), the town of Dahab feels very culturally diverse and provides a better understanding of what Egypt is really like. The local community markets, herds of goats frolicking in the streets, Bedouins riding camels along the beach, and lack of flashy & immaculate hotels give the whole town an authentic feel instead of the staged touristic feel that Sharm has.
6. Exotic landscapes. There’s something strangely alluring about the contrast between the peaceful cerulean water and sandy barren desert with rugged mountains. The beauty and serenity of the unique landscape is truly captivating, and I’m unable to compare it to anyplace else in the world.
7. Laid-back vibe. Dahab’s mellow atmosphere is what makes it the perfect place to relax. Aside from diving, a typical day consists of sitting on pillows in one of the open-air seafront restaurant sipping tea, relaxing by the pool with a book, strolling along the little hippie shops, watching the sunset over the lagoon, and lying back gazing up at the stars listening to the rhythmic lapping of the waves. There are no worries in Dahab. It’s all just peace and tranquility.
When I arrived in charming Dahab, the resort staff warned me that most people book for a few days and stay a few weeks… or occasionally never leave. I will say, it’s a good thing I booked my return flight in advance. Otherwise I may still be there sitting on my favorite rainbow-colored cushion sipping a cold hibiscus tea and staring out at the Red Sea.
Have you been to Dahab? What did you think?
As always, keep on livin’ pura vida ✌