Taba Resort in Egypt.
The Egyptian resort of Taba raises the most doubts among Russian tourists. Every second negative review of the hotels in Taba begins with the words: “We drove from the airport 4 hours, very tedious” or similar expressions. Indeed, this resort has its bright “pros” and “cons”. In this article we will analyze them all in detail.
Warning. As of mid-September 2021, due to the pandemic coronavirus, land border crossing in the Taba Eilat area is temporarily closed to tourists. More precisely, it is only partially open to Israelis.
The basic idea of the resort of Taba
The city of Taba is located in Egypt on the Sinai Peninsula directly on the border with Israel (see map of Egypt with resorts).
Just 13 kilometers northeast is the resort of Eilat, but it is already in Israeli territory. Just 15 kilometers across the Strait is the city of Aqaba in Jordanian territory. Also across the strait is the city of Haql, and that is Saudi Arabia (see map to the right, click to enlarge).
From this good location comes the only big “plus” of the resort of Taba. From here it is most convenient to go on trips to Israel and Jordan. Tourists go to Jordan to see the city of Petra (see photo). In Israel, the popular destinations are Jerusalem and the Dead Sea.
In 1969, during the “Six Day War,” the entire Sinai Peninsula was occupied by Israel, but by 1982 the Israelis had returned Sinai to the Egyptians. This applied to the entire peninsula, with the exception of the city of Taba. Israel did not want to give it back, and it was only in 1989, by decision of an international commission, that Taba was returned to Egypt.
Taba never became a fully Egyptian city, and the dependence on the neighboring city of Eilat remained. Electricity and water here still come from Israel, which, by the way, increases the cost of recreation at this resort.
Features of the resort of Taba
The first thing most tourists complain about is the meager food at local hotels. There is nothing surprising about this, because there is no food grown in Taba.
If you look at the photos of landscapes of Sinai Peninsula on the left, you will not see fields of wheat or flood meadows. Sinai is an almost lifeless desert.
All agriculture in Egypt is concentrated in the valley of the Nile River, and food is brought from the valley to the resorts of the Sinai Peninsula. Taba is further from the river than any other resort in Egypt, and the problems of food here are more acute than in Sharm el-Sheikh, Dahab or Nuweiba.
Another feature. Taba has its own international airport, but flights from Russia do not fly here and never did. Tourists have to travel by bus from Sharm el-Sheikh 220 kilometers about 3 hours. Given that the bus takes tourists to hotels closer resorts Dahab and Nuweiba, the journey takes up to 4 hours or even longer. Looking around during this trip is boring, you will only get scenery like in the photo on the left.
However, the airport is still useful for Russian tourists. First, there is a Duty Free store. Recall that imported alcohol in Egypt you can buy only in these stores, only once, only within 48 hours of arrival. If you forgot to do it in Sharm el-Sheikh, then in Taba you can take advantage of this opportunity.
Secondly, if you want to go on a tour to Cairo or Alexandria, it is better to buy a tour with a flight on local airlines. It takes 40 minutes to fly to Cairo and 6 hours by bus, feel the difference. Most importantly, don’t forget that you’ll need a full Egyptian visa to travel to Cairo, not a “Sinai stamp”.
The second thing tourists complain about is the almost total lack of entertainment at the resort of Taba. There are no discos, there is almost no animation in the hotels. The reason for this is simple – the resort is adapted as a “reference point” for excursions to Israel or Jordan.
Travel agents use for such resorts the phrase: “A place for a quiet family vacation. Apparently, they mean that if you die of boredom, then immediately the whole family.
There are no water parks and or rides here. There is nothing to do at the resort Taba with children. Local travel agencies offer to go for entertainment in Sharm el-Sheikh, but is there a sense to go 3 hours by bus for an Egyptian water park or a disco?
There is only one local tourist attraction in Taba. Here is the island of Pharaoh, and on it the fortress of Saladin. You can also go on the usual excursions in Sinai, but about that later.
Hotels and Rates
At the time this review was updated (April 2021), there are 20 hotels in Taba. Only one “Helnan Taba Bay” is classified 3 stars, the rest are 8 “fours” and 11 “fives”.
Taba resort is developing very slowly, due to restrictions on utilities from neighboring Israel. Neighboring Israel’s Eilat is several times larger than Taba and there are more than 50 hotels.
Prices for holidays at the resort of Taba is quite high. If you compare with the cost of travel to Sharm el-Sheikh, the tours in Taba are 25-50% more expensive. It affects a large distance, as a consequence, expensive transfers. High prices for food, water and energy also contribute to an increase in the cost of tours.
The conclusion is obvious.
You should go to Taba only if you have planned a tour to Israel or Jordan. If you’re interested in a beach vacation and entertainment, there are many more interesting resorts in Egypt.
What to see and do
Taba has its own historical landmark and one unique attraction for tourists. The attraction is called the Salt Cave. This cave is built artificially from the salts of the Dead Sea. If you do not want to go to Israel at the Dead Sea, or if you have no money for this excursion, the salt cave will serve as a good substitute. It is believed that being inside the cave is very good for health and cures many different diseases.
A historical attraction is “Pharaoh’s Island” and “Saladin’s Fortress”. See the photo on the right.
This fortress has been standing here for a long time. Guidebooks indicate that the first fortifications here were built by the Phoenicians, which is quite plausible. The current version of the fortress was built by the Crusader knights in the 12th century. In those days it was the southern border of the Kingdom of Jerusalem.
In the 13th century, Taba was conquered by Egyptian troops, and later Jerusalem was taken. The Egyptian Arabs were then led by Sultan Saladin, better known to us as Saladin. The fortress is named after him.
An excursion here includes a boat ride to the island, a tour of the fortress and the local museum, and some snorkeling and snorkeling time. The cost of the tour is $50.
Between Taba and Nuweiba is the “Zaman Castle” (see photo). It is not an ancient structure, but a modern construction, which was specially erected here for tourists. This place functions as a restaurant with a swimming pool and souvenir store.
An interesting place near Taba is “Colored Canyon”. It is closer to the resort of Nuweiba than Taba. The length of the canyon is about 5 kilometers.
European tourists are perplexed as to why it is called “colored. We are used to really different colors – blue, green, purple. Here almost all the surroundings are sandy in color, but with many shades of different rocks of stone.
The place is beautiful, but most tourists expect something more. This is the second most popular excursion in Taba. See photos in the small gallery to the left.
Tourists go here by bus, but the last part of the distance to the canyon is done by jeep. The canyon itself is hiked. A simple bus ride and tour of the canyon costs about $50. At the end of the hike you will visit the oasis and have a chat with the Bedouins. For added safety, tourists are accompanied by a jolly guy like this (see photo).
During the summer months, dolphins come to the Taba area, which becomes another attraction for tourists. Whale sharks also show up here, but not every year. Their appearance depends heavily on the weather conditions. Recall that whale sharks feed on plankton and are not a threat to humans.
If you love diving and whale sharks come here, then consider yourself lucky, quickly take your scuba gear and dive in. Such a chance may come once in a lifetime.
The resort of Taba is a golf course, which is popular with tourists from Europe, but the Russians are not in demand. In promotional leaflets like to mention the fact that Taba has a casino. Gambling business in Egypt is not limited in any way, and there are casinos in many cities, including Hurghada and Sharm el-Sheikh.
Many tourists cross the border and visit the neighboring Israeli resort of Eilat. There are more stores and shopping is more interesting. In Eilat there is an oceanarium “Underwater Observatory”, an amusement park, an exhibition of ice sculptures, a botanical garden and a theme park “King `s City”.
To be honest, compared to the resort Eilat, Egyptian Taba looks pale, if not more. Go back does not even want to go back.
Russians can visit Israel without a visa, but to cross the border in the area is charged 107 Israeli shekels there and 400 Egyptian pounds back.
Another popular excursion is a trip to the monastery of St. Catherine and Mount Moses, such trips are arranged from all the resorts of the Sinai Peninsula.
Egypt’s most explosive resort.
Explosions in Egypt are periodically rumbling, but Taba in this respect is unique. There have been two major terrorist attacks.
In 2004, on October 7, there was an explosion in the local Hilton Hotel. Thirty-four people were killed.
In 2014, there was another explosion at the border crossing with Israel when a group of tourists from South Korea were here. This time 2 people were killed and 14 were injured.
There is nothing surprising in such a sad statistic. Israel is next door, where they are used to explosions, no matter how awful the phrase may sound.
However, we should not consider Tabu a “hot spot”. For example, in Sharm el-Sheikh there was only one terrorist attack in 2005, but three bombs exploded simultaneously, killing 88 people. According to the number of attacks Taba is indeed a record holder, but in terms of victims this resort is by no means in first place.
It is important and useful to know
– The list of troubles that can happen in Taba is exactly the same as in other resorts. Read our articles “Deceptions of tourists in Egypt” and “What is not allowed in Egypt;
– In Taba everywhere accept dollars and euros, even to change money here is not necessary. However, if you’re going on excursions or traveling by yourself somewhere, you may need Egyptian pounds. Read our review “Money Exchange in Egypt.
Have a great holiday in Egypt, and read our articles about the country (links below).
All about vacations in Taba
Taba is a resort town in Egypt located in South Sinai on the border with Israel. Until 1979, the town belonged to Israel. But then, according to the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty was given to Egypt. Taba is very popular with travelers, by the way, there are usually a lot of Israelis. Travelers are attracted by diving and free-diving, which is very developed here, as well as many excursions. In Taba there are several high class international hotels.
If you go on vacation in 2022 in Taba, you will be pleasantly surprised by the price and quality of services provided. Prices are very democratic, and the level of service is quite high. All you need to know about Taba, you can read in the article.
How to get to the resort of Taba
From the Russian Federation to Taba is easiest to reach by air through the port of Sharm el-Sheikh. If you book tickets in advance, the flight for one person for the beginning of September 2022 will cost from 12,000 rubles. From Sharm el-Sheikh you can get to the resort in several ways. Firstly, it is a transfer, and secondly – by public transport. Unfortunately, the bus to Taba runs only once a day and so in the case of choosing this option to move is worth planning everything in advance. Travel time to the resort will be about three to five hours.
The town itself is very small, so you can move around on foot. There is a bus station, from which buses to Cairo, Dahab, Sharm el-Sheikh and several other cities.
Taba on the Map
The question of where to stay in Taba is not a difficult one. Most of the hotels belong to the categories of 3-4 stars. But there is a resort and luxury hotels – 5 stars:
- Hilton – a hotel for a relaxing holiday. There are no nightclubs and discos. The food is very diverse and tasty. Children’s animation at the highest level. The sea and the beach are clean. The entrance is gentle, special shoes are not required.
- Movenpic – meals, rooms, bar – all in accordance with the category of the hotel. The beach is four minutes from the complex. The beach is clean, the entrance to the sea is good, a little pebble. If you swim farther, you can see beautiful fish, corals and even dolphins swim by.
- Marriot is a hotel located 40 km from Taba. The hotel has five restaurants and four bars. Swimming pool, open with jacuzzi. The beach is sandy and belongs to the hotel. Sun loungers and towels are free. The food is excellent and varied.
- Also worth mentioning is Tolip, a 4-star hotel. There is a restaurant, bar, playground, beach next to the hotel.
The cost of hotel accommodation varies from 50 to 100 dollars per day. You can book a room “half board” or “all inclusive”. All hotels have communication, Internet, safes in rooms, free shuttle service from the airport and hotel.
The climate at the resort of Taba
The climate in Taba is deserted and arid. Summer months are the hottest:
- June – at the beginning of the month the sun is very gentle, by the middle it starts to burn. It gets hotter and hotter every day. Temperatures average 32-35 degrees Celsius during the day and 25-27 degrees Celsius at night;
- July is the hottest and sweltering month. Temperatures can rise to 40 degrees during the day and 28-30 degrees at night. The water temperature is ideal: 28-30 degrees. Who likes the heat, please come;
- August is still very hot. For lovers of the underwater world – the best thing. The water is very warm, you can swim for a long time.
The autumn months are still very warm:
- September – very warm. The daytime temperature is 30-32 degrees and at night it is 22-25 degrees.
- October is the velvet season. It is warm during the day, comfortable for sunbathing. The water in the sea is pleasant.
- November – still warm, the nights are a little cooler. The sea water warms up to 25-27 degrees.
Winter in Taba is the coldest time of the year. The flow of tourists becomes much less. The price of tours decreases significantly. The cost of a tour this month is $800-1200 on average. Here’s what will please Taba in winter:
- December – during the day – warm 24-25 degrees above zero. The temperature at night drops to 18;
- January – this month is considered the coldest in the resort. The daytime temperature is 20-22 degrees Celsius, and at night the temperature can drop to 15;
- February is also not a very hot month. During the day – 22-23 degrees. Water in the sea warms up to 22 degrees.
The long-awaited spring brings the best sunny days and warm sea again:
- March – calm weather, no precipitation. Tour prices are gradually increasing at this time of year;
- April – it is already quite warm, the sea water gradually warms up.
- May – this is almost summer temperature. By day 30-32 degrees of heat, at night 20-22 degrees. This month is very popular among tourists. Everybody wants to come here for May holidays. The prices for the tours are quite high: $1,000 – $2,000 for 7 days.
In general, you can come to the resort at any time of the year – tourists come here in any season. However, the best holiday will be in early fall, as the weather is still very pampering, and the flow of tourists is still less than during the summer.
Attractions of Taba and the surrounding area
Interesting places in Taba itself
Everyone who will go on vacation in 2022 to the resort of Taba should know that from here it is easy to get on a tour to Jordan and visit the local attractions. But the city of Taba itself also has plenty to see and do:
- An architectural and historical complex with a beautiful name: Pharaoh’s Island. It is a fortress, preserved in perfect condition, which has a museum. Climbing the tower, you can see Israel, Jordan and Saudi Arabia. Once on the island of Pharaoh in the evening, you will see a beautiful show with light and music. There is a museum in the fortress where you can learn more about Egyptian history from the time of the legendary Saladin. Also, the sea water in this place is crystal clear, so it is very fond of snorkeling. Local flora and fauna, coral reefs will not leave you indifferent. The cost of the tour – about 50-70 dollars per person.
- The bay, called the Pearl of Sinai – a cozy and small, but very beautiful. On both sides of it as if he hugged the gray-blue cliffs. Under the water among coral reefs swim colorful fish motley.
- Zaman Castle – a cultural center, restaurant, recreation and entertainment center. Located between the two resorts of Taba and Nuweiba. The castle is open to visitors from 11 am to 10 pm.
- The salt cave – was created quite recently. It is recommended to visit it for people with respiratory, nervous and circulatory system problems. Healing climate of the cave will be useful and conditionally healthy person. In the cave there is a relaxing atmosphere. The session lasts 45 minutes.
- The Lost Land is a large coral canyon, stretching for three kilometers. In some places, the ancient rock paintings are fascinating. You can get to the Lost Land only as part of a tour. People with poor health should better refrain from this visit.
Interesting places around Taba
From Taba, as from all popular cities – resorts, there are many excursions. Among all sorts of suggestions, where to go on a tour, it is worth noting such:
- Excursion to the Monastery of St. Catherine. It is also located in Egypt, in South Sinai. Pilgrims and just lovers of ancient history and architecture will be delighted. The monastery is located near the very mountain where God gave the children of Israel his commandments – the first sacred rules. The mountain itself is already worthy of worship. The monastery is a huge temple that looks beautiful thanks to the marble and mosaics. There are also more than a dozen small chapels near it. Attracts pilgrims bush Neopalimaya Kupina, a garden and a beautiful library of ancient archives. From this holy place you can take a souvenir: a ring symbolizing a piece of the heart of St. Catherine. The cost of the trip is around $45 per person.
- Visit the Color Canyon. Located in Egypt, in Nuweiba. This is a huge area of rocks of different colors – all shades of the spectrum. Visit the site only with a guide for safety, because some of the stones have shifted and became unsafe. Interestingly, on the way to the canyon itself you can see a real oasis in the middle of the vast desert. Among the beauties of the canyon are also natural patterns, exotic vegetation, footprints and the chair of Queen Cleopatra. The tour will cost about $50 per person.
- Abu Galum Reserve. Located marvelous national park on the shores of the Red Sea, from Taba often offer to visit this place, and it is worth it. In the reserve you can see about two hundred species of unique plants and animals. Here live such representatives of fauna as red foxes, black cobras, striped hyenas. Families with children will love the abundance of colorful animals. There is something in Abu Galum that experienced divers and snorkelers will love: the Blue Hole. It is a cluster of reefs forming a funnel. Corals, lots of sea creatures and the possibility of evening diving – all this is sure to please fans of the underwater depths. The cost of tours to the reserve starts at about 45 dollars per person.
An interesting destination for excursions is Jordan. Suitable for those who are willing to make a long trip. Such a tour will be held first by ferry, then by bus – and here the travelers are in Petra. In the oldest capital of the ancient kingdom, you can see many preserved monuments. Petra is one of the new Seven Wonders of the World. Royal tombs, Roman amphitheater, monasteries, palaces, and the Sik Canyon are just some of the treasures of Petra. Go to Jordan can be achieved by paying a minimum of $ 200 per person.
Entertainment in Taba
Taba is a paradise for lovers of outdoor activities. Diving and free-diving, with or without an instructor, near the town itself and the same facilities … Taba has a picturesque reef in the north of the resort, Fjord Bay, grottos and lagoons, and, of course, a wonderful world of underwater inhabitants.
Many vacationers are wondering whether Taba is suitable for families with children. Yes, quite. It’s just worth considering some features:
- Choose a hotel, which is accompanied by a sandy area for kids;
- In the sea, where not all is clear with the bottom, kids swim in rubber slippers;
- Or just choose a hotel with a pool.
But this applies only to very young tourists. Otherwise, Taba is very suitable for recreation with children. It is a quiet and safe resort, where there are many animators. As for older children, they will be very useful to go to the many above-mentioned excursions – it develops the child’s horizons, in addition to the healing effect of the sea and the sun.
For young people who crave around the clock entertainment, Taba is not very suitable: there are almost no bars, clubs and discos, only if in certain hotels.
Cuisine and shopping
Many people are interested in the local cuisine and food: what to try in Taba? It must be said that Taba has enough establishments with a variety of cuisine. But being in Egypt at a seaside resort, the most interesting to go to a seafood restaurant or taste the dishes of the Middle Eastern cuisine. The interesting local tastes include: excellent coffee, baklab (pudding made of rice), falafel (a dish of beans and lentils), and, of course, any fish dishes and dishes from other seafood on your taste.
Shopping in Taba is a visit to the local bazaar, which is reached by bus from the hotels. Like everywhere else in the resorts, prices are a little high, but the bazaar itself is quite colorful, picturesque, and from there you can bring a lot of souvenirs:
- Pyramid, scarab, or cat figurines;
- carpets and textiles;
- beautiful handkerchiefs – around the neck or around the waist;
- aromatic oils or incense.
That was a brief overview of the Taba resort. As you can see, it will please travelers and the highest level of comfort (of course, will have to pay, because the resort is very fashionable, but the compliance of the price and quality is noticeable), and good beaches with the sea, and a variety of excursion offers. We hope that your vacation in Taba in 2022 will bring you a lot of joy and vivid impressions.