divers in the sea

Diving and Snorkelling

Abu Dhabi

All about diving and snorkelling in Abu Dhabi

Aquatic bliss awaits when you go diving and snorkelling in Abu Dhabi. This is the perfect place to channel your inner underwater explorer, with wonderful sea life to discover in warm, gentle waters.

You can gently snorkel your way around the archipelago at your own pace, or head to a dive centre for tuition to learn the basics. Charter a boat to spend your day diving off the deck to see what you can find.

At Yas Waterworld you can even enjoy a pearl diving experience – where trained instructors help you hunt for three oysters in a tank. Once you’re done, you’ll discover more about them and have chance to take some treasure home with you.

diver in the sea diver in the sea

Reasons to go diving and snorkelling in Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi’s coastal location gives you access to an underwater world which has the perfect conditions for those who love to snorkel, dive and swim. Its many islands combine with the warm water and reefs to create conditions loved by fish, turtles, sea mammals and more great wildlife that makes its home here.

If you and your fellow travellers aren’t confident divers, there’s still plenty to discover with gentle snorkelling – or book a lesson from a local expert. Young children and absolute beginners can start their snorkel journey in the shallow waters off the Corniche.

At the likes of Sir Bani Yas Island you’ll find perfect snorkelling conditions and might spot the local hammour fish as well as sea urchins, bream, snapper and stingrays.


divers under water

There are wonderful beaches and diving centres all across Abu Dhabi. Here are three of the best places for getting underwater. 

Corniche Beach is easily reached from all parts of Abu Dhabi, with the E10 linking up with its north-eastern end and King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud St connecting to the southern tip, near Emirates Palace.

Yas Waterworld can be found on Yas Island. Get here from the west on the E12 – which passes through Saadiyat Island. From central Abu DhabI, head towards the airport on the E10 to connect to the E12 and Yas Island.

The main Al Mahara Diving centre is located at the Beach Rotana Hotel, close to Al Maiyani Street. It’s near the E10’s western end.

Things to know before you go

Nature’s gift of wonderful waters

The islands that make up Abu Dhabi’s archipelago contribute to promoting sea life and diversity, with numerous spots for shallow and deep diving. At the same time, the lack of strong tides or currents in the area means that sand remains undisturbed and ensures the water clarity is higher.

This clear water occurs in both shallow and deep areas, while temperatures are warm and pleasant for diving, snorkelling, swimming and water sports. Average temperatures top 25°C all year – reaching above 30°C in the summer.


Pearl diving’s rich history

Pearls are rare gems that have played an important part in Emirati culture and traditions dating back centuries. Summer pearl voyages were a vital part of the calendar, with the shallow waters surrounding Abu Dhabi proving ideal for divers.

In 2019, it’s thought that the world’s oldest natural pearl was discovered off the coast of Abu Dhabi. The fascinating find is estimated to be an incredible 8,000 years old – and suggests that the story of these gems dates back even further than historians thought.

Diving and Snorkelling in Abu Dhabi: FAQs

A day diving and snorkelling in Abu Dhabi

boat with divers onboard boat with divers onboard

Serene morning diving

Start your day by heading straight for the serene waters of Abu Dhabi. Dives start as early as 8am at the Beach Rotana resort, for example. The warm, tranquil waters offer the perfect conditions for a mix of snorkelling and boat rides, for all ages and abilities. 

A day is all you need to learn to dive, so beginners can take the chance to learn this new skill and start off a new passion they’re bound to love.

Pearl diving at Yas Waterworld

Alternatively, take the opportunity to head to Yas Waterworld for the afternoon to try out its pearl diving experience. You’ll learn a lot and get the chance to come away with your own piece of treasure as a memento. 

End the day in style with a night dive where you can spot brittle stars, cuttlefish and batfish and colourful corals.

diving for pearls diving for pearls

Where to next?



See unique flora and fauna in Mangroves National Park by paddling through in a kayak. You can also hire a kayak to row around the Louvre Abu Dhabi.

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water sports

Water Sports

Super sports activities await all across Abu Dhabi. Try your hand at jet skiing, paddle boarding and wakeboarding, and the latest craze, flyboarding.

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boat tour

Cruises and boat tours

Weave your way around islands and mangroves, discover beautiful off-shore sights or dine on a traditional dhow. 

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Flights + Hotel

All imagery provided by © Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi