Sadly, coral reefs are in danger all over the world and we are often asked where to go to see pristine reefs. Well, Egypt is always a good choice if it comes to snorkeling holidays. According to marine biologists, the Red Sea is one of the few places where corals are still in a fairly good condition. We spent 5 days in the Jaz Fanara Resort (former name Iberotel Fanara Resort & Residence) in Sharm el Sheikh that is famous from the nearby healthy reefs. Now we tell you what we liked/didn’t like there and of course we share our Jaz Fanara snorkeling experience!
- 1 Stunning view and first class snorkeling – Jaz Fanara Resort review
- 2 Why Egypt holidays have an excellent value for money?
- 3 Jaz Fanara Resort snorkeling
Stunning view and first class snorkeling – Jaz Fanara Resort review
Jaz Fanara Resort has a really good location in El Fanar, Ras Um El Sid area. It is just a 20 minutes’ drive from the airport, in walking distance to the Il Mercato Shopping Plaza, Alf Leila Wa Leila Oriental Show Centre and close to Old Market Sharm el Sheikh. On the top of the colorful coral reef, Jaz Fanara Resort offers an amazing view too! The hotel lies in a sheltered bay, on the top of the cliffs so you can enjoy a kind of bird-eye view of the place. Some websites still mention it under the name of Iberotel Fanara & Residence, but it belongs to the Jaz Collection chain now. Fanara is not a huge complex, rather a place that can be enjoyed by couples and families. You can choose Saver or Superior rooms (sea-view option available) but there are Family Suites too. To cut it short, this was our 6th snorkeling trip in Sharm el Sheikh and the Jaz Fanara Resort was the place we liked the despite some small issues, read below why!
Note: since the hotel was built on the top of the cliffs, it takes time and effort to get down to the beach (there are stairs and a normal walking way, which is not too steep but can be problematic for elderly people). Please remember this, or ask assistance from the hotel!
Things we liked in the Jaz Fanara Resort
- it is a “Green Hotel”, they have reusable plastic glasses and paper cups (although still use plastic straws)
- polite staff, entertainment and activities
- good location, pharmacy, shops within walking distance
- well-kept buildings and garden, most of the rooms are already refurbished and there were works going on during our stay too in the “Residence area”
- clean restaurants, good food, fast service
- free Wi-Fi in lobby area (although it is very slow when the hotel is busy, so we bought a pre-paid SIM in the Vodafone Shop)
What we didn’t like
- one of the biggest problem we experienced that tourists stand on corals… Not only in this hotel, generally in Egypt. Hotel staff should take this behavior more strictly, and local authorities should protect the reefs otherwise there won’t be anything in the sea in a few years
- the bay sometimes becomes overcrowded: since these are the best snorkeling places in Sharm el Sheikh, boats always bringing divers and snorkel groups. You can easily find yourself surrounded by 50-60 people. To avoid this, go snorkeling in the morning before the boats leave the marina, or late in the afternoon when they finished their tours. If you are in the water in the busiest periods, pay extra attention to boats and people around you for your own safety.
- tiles around the pool (and generally in the hotel) are not non-slip and the staff washed them always late morning when people were already around: it was dangerous to walk on them…
- some rooms are facing a busy road, noisy at night (especially 1201-1233)
Egypt holidays booking tip
It is always an exciting game to hunt for Egypt Last Minute trips to get low prices on good hotels, especially if you are flexible with time and location. Since Jaz Fanara Resort is a rather small hotel and has a very good occupancy throughout the year, we recommend don’t leave the booking for the last seconds (we had some problems with our room but they couldn’t offer us a change, since they were nearly full)
If you like the location but would like to check other accommodation options close-by, there are 2 other hotels with access to the same bay and snorkel spots:
- Faraana Reef Resort on the right side of the bay
- Reef Oasis Beach Resort in the middle
Why Egypt holidays have an excellent value for money?
When traveling to Egypt, most people just want to disconnect from their everyday life and spending the days with enjoying the warm water of the Red Sea and exploring the underwater world. Compare to other destinations, All Inclusive Egypt holidays are not a luxury, rather normal standard here and you don’t need to rob the bank to stay All Inclusive. Some hotels didn’t even offer breakfast only or half-board options, and you can get everything included at affordable prices.
What is included in the Jaz Fanara All Inclusive package?
Forget about your diet! There won’t be a single moment when you will hungry or thirsty! Jaz Fanara Resort All Inclusive package offers you food and drink all day:
- Late breakfast (just in case you slept over 🙂 )
- Buffet lunch
- Snacks next to Pool Bar (pizza, hamburger, fries, salads…)
- Buffet dinner in the main restaurant or optionally in La Gazelle Restaurant (reservation needed)
- Juices, coffee, soft drinks, water, local spirits and cocktails mixed with them from the bars (the main bar in the lobby is open 24/7)
We know how comfortable is being on All Inclusive, but don’t ruin your holiday, read our travelling to Egypt safety guide!
Jaz Fanara Resort snorkeling
Last but not least, talk about snorkeling! As we mentioned in our Where to snorkel in Egypt tips, thanks to its coastline, almost all hotels is Sharm el Sheikh have a good house reef. But there are some specific areas where the corals are most pristine due to rich currents. We were really excited to return and snorkel in Ras Um El Sid, since we have already visited this bay a few years ago. We looked our old Sharm el Sheikh snorkeling photos over prior our trip in order to identify the changes on the reef. Unfortunately, the reef was damaged right in front of the hotels at that time too, and it only became worst thanks to the big number of visitors in the bay, particularly to some irresponsible one. Luckily, if you leave the shallow water the reef is still as beautiful as we remembered! Massive coral formation featuring uncountable different hard and soft corals, playful fish entertain snorkelers and divers. Do you need a new snorkel mask or fins? Check out the best snorkeling equipment in our shop!
Where to snorkel in the El Fanar Bay?
You are free to snorkel whenever you want in front of the hotels, the only thing you need to do to enter the water and return to shore in front of your hotel, otherwise the lifeguards or security will warn you. The reef stretches alongside the whole bay, but there are 3 specific points where the corals are the most beautiful, these are:
- Ras Um Sid diving and snorkeling spot on the left side
- Temple Reef in the middle
- Ras Kathy on the right side
Have a look at our Jaz Fanara Resort snorkeling map to see which areas are the safest to snorkel, and where to swim if you are a really good swimmer!
For beginner snorkelers we recommend to stay close to the reef. You find relatively shallow water in the middle and on the right side of the bay with rich marine life. You can observe different tropical fish species, like Parrotfish, Rainbow Wrasse, Banner- and Butterflyfish as well as colorful coral formations.
Advanced snorkelers can explore the Ras Um El Sid reef around the wooden jetty, and visit the underwater pinnacles of the Temple Reef (watch out for boats, best to swim there early morning or late afternoon). Here you have a good chance to spot Napoleon Wrasse as well as the usual Red Sea fish species.
Real professionals that are 100% confident in the water can swim beyond the wooden jetty at Ras Um Sid, but always check the current since it can be strong here. We liked the Ras Kathy area a lot! Clear, shallow water with vibrant marine life and the possibility to see eagle rays!
Important notice: please never step or stand on the corals! Our Team is dedicated to responsible snorkeling, and we truly believe if you visit places we recommend or any other snorkel spots in the world, you will do it with respect towards marine life. Unfortunately, we experienced unacceptable behavior from some tourists. Some people were walking on the reef, and when we warned them not to do that, they just didn’t care. We think, the hotel staff and authorities should be stricter if it comes to snorkeling or diving rules. But we ask you too to stand for the corals by educating others how to protect the reefs!
We hope you enjoyed our Jaz Fanara Resort review and you will find our Sharm el Sheikh snorkeling tips useful when planning your Egypt holidays. If you would have any question or comment, feel free to contact us anytime!