advertisement

Loose environmental controls have meant off-beach snorkeling around Hurghada has been severely degraded in recent years, but dive sites within easy range of the daily boats remain some of the most spectacular in the world. Check out the "Active Vacation Planner" for a listing of well-established and accredited dive charter businesses.

The British cargo vessel Thistlegorm was only a year old when it was sunk by a pair of German planes in late 1941. The explosions blew a huge hole in her superstructure, making the inside of the boat accessible to divers. She lies in about 30m (98 ft.) of water, and a large quantity of cargo -- including vintage BSA motorcycles, rifles, and locomotives -- is still visible.

The large, bleak Giftun Island, just off the coast of Hurghada, is surrounded by coral reefs teeming with life. There are at least a dozen distinct dive and snorkeling sites around the rim of the island, and you'll see a huge variety of corals, moray eels, lion fish, lobster, parrotfish, angelfish, and more. Just south of the island is Abu Rimata, a reef nicknamed "the aquarium" for the enormous schools of fish that tend to congregate around it.

If you want to see the fish, but don't like the idea of joining them in their environment, check out the Sinbad Club submarines (tel. 065/3444688-90) in Sekala. These 18m-long (59-ft.) crafts dive the reefs up and down the coast around Hurghada with up to 46 passengers onboard. With hotel pickup (at 9am) included, the whole tour takes around 2 hours, with about 50 minutes of that spent underwater. Tickets are LE385 ($70/£35) adults and LE220 ($40/£20) children.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.