The Dead Sea was our first stop in Jordan, after driving here directly from the airport. The road from Amman Airport to the Dead Sea takes you over some mountains and offers stunning views. So, I’d recommend driving there during the day, if you don’t want to make the same mistake as we did.
Its surface and shores are 430.5 meters below sea level, which is Earth’s lowest elevation on land and almost 10 times as salty as the ocean (read: it will burn like a mad monkey if you get it in your eye!) It’s in the middle of the desert, so there’s not much around it but a strip of high-end Hotels and a small shopping center. We stayed at the Hilton Dead Sea Resort & Spa and got a very good deal, since we traveled off-season in May.
One thing you have to know about Hotels in Jordan is that there are still rooms you’re allowed to smoke. We happend to be placed into one, but were able to switch to a nicer and non-smoking room after the first night. After that, we always asked for a non-smoking room and would ask to switch to a different room if the non-smoking room still smelled of smoke (which was possible, since a non-smoking room could be right next to a room where smoking was allowed, hence the smell lingered in the air).
The Dead Sea area is great if you are looking to relax for a couple of days. Be aware that it’s not advised to swim in the Dead Sea for longer than 10 minutes twice per day, as the salty water will dry you out through your skin. Also, it really is incredibly salty and somewhat oily. Trying (and fail) to swim in the Dead Sea is a lot of fun, though and it really is possible to read a book, while floating in the sea.
Also, the mud from the Dead Sea is said to be very beneficial for your health. It’s supposed to be detoxifying, improves your skin skin health, increases circulation, treats skin conditions and releaves aches and pains. Obviously we had to try it and what’s good for your face, is surely good for your body, right?
The whole mud pack thing was fun at first, but then it started to sting, it smelled ferrous and let me tell you, I found mud in the most unlikely places DAYS after we had left. My skin did feel pretty smooth afterwards (which might have been the oily water from the sea, though).
To sum it up, one and a half days proved to be enough for us, as we had a couple of beach days planned at the end of our trip at the Red Sea.
Where to stay
As mentioned, we stayed at the Hilton Dead Sea Resort & Spa. I went to some of the other hotels down the street for dinner and have had the impression that they are all more or less the same. We heard about low-budget accommodation, but those were not really recommended.
Where to eat
Not too many options here, really. Eat at your hotel or at one of the other hotels. There’s not much of a difference. Don’t get me wrong, the food was very tasty wherever we ate. I’m just a big fan of local cuisine and I felt like the hotels either offered big buffets with everything or food adapted to the western taste. I might have to point out that we were traveling in the month of Ramadan. Hence, many hotels offered buffets, according to the local custom and I’m just not a big buffet-lover.