When temperatures rise into the thermometer’s red zone, it’s time to cool off. Dubai has excellent sources of air conditioning, but nothing beats taking a swim or playing water sports on a hot day.
Getting to the beach is easy in Dubai; there are many hotels that let non-guests use their beaches along Jumeirah Road, as well as the Jumeirah Beach Park and the Jumeirah Open Beach. Please note that men and women may have segregated swimming times.
If you’ve already tried the beach and are interested in another kind of watery cool-down, you can’t get cooler than when you’re parasailing. This sport involves sitting on a bench or sling-seat suspended in mid-air between a parachute-like sail and a motorboat. The faster the boat goes, the higher the rider sails. Parasail excursions usually bring the riders up and down several times so customers get the full experience.
Parasailing operators in Dubai can be found along Jumeirah Beach. Ask at your hotel if they can recommend a reputable operator or if they know of any package deals you could possibly use.
If you decide to go parasailing, experts recommend wearing clothing you don’t mind getting wet—even though you’re flying, you come down eventually—and to wear plenty of sunscreen.
The deep waters off the Dubai coast have sunken treasures, waiting for curious scuba divers to explore. From shipwrecks to intentionally submerged vessels that have created artificial reefs for sea life, there’s plenty to see under the water here.
Certified divers can sign up for fun dives at one of the several dive centres in the city; ask at your hotel if they have partnered with any local dive centres. If you’ve never gone scuba diving before or if you’d like to increase your skill level underwater, you can take a full range of courses in the city.
For newbies, getting a license to scuba dive takes just a few days or you can ask about “try dives” where you are partnered with a diving professional and don’t submerge so deep. Experienced divers may arrange dive safaris for overnight or longer, including to the Gulf’s pearl beds.
Diving experiences are also available at the Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo.
For those who find scuba diving and parasailing a little too far out of the comfort zone, wakeboarding is a less extreme way to have fun in the water. Wakeboarding is like snowboarding, but on the water. Participants hold a towrope and are pulled behind a powerboat. Once you’ve built up some speed, the rider can skate behind the boat, jumping over the wake created by the vessel’s movement.Some operators in the city also offer wakesurfing. Ask around if you feel that you’re ready to balance without the towrope.
Operators can be found at the Dubai Marina and along Jumeirah Beach.
To combine an upper-arm workout with coastal sightseeing and a fun day on the water, kayaking is another possibility in the waters off of Dubai.
Kayaking excursions are available at some of the hotels along Jumeirah Beach and from various tour operators in the city. Often, kayak trips start with a van or bus ride out of the city to the mangrove forests.
Another exciting water sport to experiment with is windsurfing. If you’ve never windsurfed before, you’ll benefit from a tutoring session before you try. This sport requires good balance and moderate upper-body strength. The sport involves standing on a floating board and holding up a sail at an angle to the wind.
Experienced windsurfers in Dubai might find that the winds are a bit light for their tastes, but Dubai can be a good place to learn the sport.
Image by Paul From Flickr’s Creative Commons
About the Author:Abha Johar hails from Mumbai, but has lived in the U.K. and Dubai since she was small. When looking for Dubai hotels on Expedia she always books something with good access to water sports.