This summer (of 2013) I have visited the country Jordan and it was one fantastic holiday. We (me and my girlfriend) traveled from the capitol Amman to the Dead Sea, to Petra and finally the only coastal town Aqaba, which lies on the end of the Gulf of Aqaba in the Red Sea. Here we dived with the scuba diving center 'Ahlan Aqaba'. We couldn't have made a better choice!
It's always difficult to find a good scuba diving center in a country you have never been to. Besides asking fellow divers for advice I also tried the Google+ diving community. +Aref Dadan from 'Ahlan Aqaba' answered my question. He told me he lived in Jordan and he dived almost every weekend with this diving center, so I followed the link he gave me. I had been Googling for other dive centers earlier that day and they didn't bode well at all, so I was pleasantly surprised with this clear and easy to navigate website. In the end I'm glad I booked with this dive center, as we had a great time in Aqaba and a great time diving.
Staff (expertise / professional / friendliness)
The staff was really friendly and helpful. During our stay at the boat we got decent briefings before each dive. They focused their attention on the persons who needed this the most. I didn't find this annoying, actually the opposite, I found this very pleasant. However this also resulted in the fact I didn't do any buddy check during all my dives. They dive with small groups, a max of five people per instructor, which is excellent. This way the instructor has time for you and also has the time to really guide you along. The boat was really nice and fully equipped for diving. We got a nice lunch and you had free drinks (water and soda's) the whole day.
The best part or at least what I really appreciated was feeling part of a community. We where at our hotel room after the first day of diving and we got a call from our dive instructor if we wanted to join for a drink. I just love when you go for a drink afterwards and can share your dive adventures with each other. It just makes you feel part of a community.
I brought some of my own gear with me and rented the rest with the diving center, which was no problem at
all. In total I rented a BCD, fins, regulator and tank. I can only say that the equipment was in really good order and was well maintained. All the equipment was from Mares. I could store my equipment at the diving center during my stay and they rinsed this every day with fresh water. At the end of my stay I got it cleaned and dried back.
Price versus quality
I have to say that the price and quality ratio is very good. Boat diving is always more expensive then when going for shore dives. But when diving in this region, you know this when making your booking. Furthermore looking at the instructors, the service, the boat and the rental equipment it was really worth it.
There aren't any dive shops in Aqaba to buy diving equipment. Because of taxes it will always be cheaper for a customer to buy the diving equipment in their home country.
All of the dive sites are accessible for open water certified divers. For the more experienced dives there are different dive profiles which offer deeper dives or for example penetration wreck diving on the Cedar Pride.
The dive center offers online maps of all the sites, so you can explore them before your visit.
I highly recommend this dive center when you want to go diving in Aqaba. A side note is that the employees of the dive center made our stay there special. As long as the dive center is working with these people or the same minded instructors I have no doubt you'll have the same great time as we had.
Name : Ahlan Aqaba
Telephone : +962(03)2062242
E-mail : email@example.com
Website : http://diveinaqaba.com/