Despite its name, which comes with connotations of darkness and mortality, the Dead Sea is quite a luxurious destination. At over 1,400 feet (427 meters) below sea level, its banks are the lowest point of dry land on the planet, and its beaches offer a sort of tropical oasis amid an otherwise barren desert. Its most striking feature, however, is its hypersalinity. The water in the Dead Sea is almost 10 times as salty as ocean water, and that density allows those who swim in it to be surprisingly buoyant.

If you’re planning on visiting the Dead Sea during your stay in Jordan, here on some tips on how to make the most of the experience.

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Take a Mud Bath

Want to get clean? First, cover yourself in mud. Sure, it sounds counterintuitive, but the black mud of the Dead Sea has been proven to have purifying and therapeutic properties, and utilizing the water’s high concentration of minerals to cleanse the body can help relieve pain from conditions like arthritis and psoriasis. So, while you’re enjoying the water, take a moment to cover yourself in the mud, let it dry in the sun, and then rinse yourself off. You’ll feel tremendous afterward! Just be careful to not get any of the water in your eyes, nose, or mouth — its intense salinity can cause pain and irritation.

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Explore Wadis

Most people go to the Dead Sea to relax, but if you’re looking to stay active, there are some great nearby wadis, or canyons, to explore. Canyoneering is much more demanding than normal hiking — as you’ll be navigating slides, waterfalls, pools, and narrow crevasses — so you’ll need sophisticated equipment and professional guidance. We recommend booking a tour through Tropical Desert, which provides both equipment and food on their tours through the long, but easy Wadi Ghweir; the short, but water-heavy Wadi Hasa; and the Wadi Mukhaires, which feeds directly into the Dead Sea. Or, you can opt for the Wadi Hasa overnight trek, a 13.5-mile (22-kilometer) journey that will have you spending the night right next to the river and under the stars.

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Read a Book

The Dead Sea’s hypersalinity means that the water is extra dense, which, in turn, means that it’s incredibly easy to float on. This phenomenon allows bathers to participate in a variety of aquatic acrobatics, one of the most popular being sitting back in a chair-like position and reading a book or newspaper. While other beachgoers are forced to leave their reading material with their towel whenever they want to take a dip, visitors to the Dead Sea truly can enjoy the best of both worlds. Not to mention, it’s an incredible photo op!

Stay at the Mövenpick

If you’re trying to live a life of luxury at the Dead Sea, look no further than the Mövenpick Resort and Spa. This 65,000-square-foot (6,000-square-meter) resort is more of a village, an oasis of lush serenity nestled next to the famous body of water. Offering 20 acres of beautiful gardens to explore, world-class spa facilities, nine restaurants and bars, and cozy rooms with panoramic views of the Dead Sea, the Mövenpick is sure to cater to your every need throughout your stay. We don’t normally recommend luxury resorts, but when you’re at the Dead Sea, why not live a little?

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Watch the Sunset

With its glassy waters and heavenly skies, the Dead Sea features a natural light show every evening. Gather by (or in) the water as the sun droops toward the mountains that line the horizon, and enjoy the spectacle as it disappears, washing the sky in a bright orange and pink that silhouettes the palm trees against it all. Be sure to enjoy the magical moments of dusk that follow, as it’s a time when the entire world feels like it’s standing still. Then, rest up so you can rise early the next morning and enjoy it all over again.

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Cover Photo by Rob Bye

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Devon Shuman
Devon Shuman is a creator, a storyteller, and a traveler from Boston, Massachusetts. He caught the travel bug at a young age when his family would take camping trips in southern Maine and New York’s Adirondack region. Since then, his adventures have taken him all across the globe. His favorite journeys include island hopping in the Galápagos, thru-hiking Vermont’s Long Trail, and summiting Mount Kilimanjaro. He currently works as an editorial consultant for Passion Passport, helping explorers from around the world tell their stories.