Marsa Alam - Egypt Tips and Tricks


Coral Reef in front of Fantazia Resort

Have you ever dreamed of exploring the Red Sea? If that is your dreamy holiday but you still have some doubts, you’re in the right place 🙂

Today we’re dispelling some of the most common misconceptions about this wonderful place. Keep on reading to find out many practical tips about: drinking water, food, Internet availability, how to choose your trip and much more.

If you have any question, contact us on Instagram! We’ll be glad to answer!

Red Sea - Colored Fish
Red Sea - Colored Fish

What to do before going to the Red Sea

Choose your “vacation mood”

Egypt offers several ideal holidays, all amazing. It is up to you to choose your perfect destination.

If you want to relax, sunbath and snorkel, you might prefer a Resort by the Sea. For those who want to discover the mysteries of ancient Egypt, the perfect solution could be a Nile cruise. If you like adventure, you could choose a tour of the desert.

In short, all you need to do is figure out your goal. Our dream was to see the coral reef and snorkel with fishes and dolphins. Therefore, we chose a wonderful hotel next to the sea. If you missed it, here you can find our review of Marsa Alam Fantazia Resort.

Fantazia Resort - View of the beach
Fantazia Resort - View of the beach

Consult a travel agency

We all know that planning your trip independently is cheaper, no doubt on that. But for some destinations, such as Egypt, we would really recommend relying on a travel agency. 

Here’s why:

Insurances included: in case of cancellation, health diseases, flight delays or delations and fuel the travel agency will help you get some money back. This would be much harder if you book on your own. 

More information: some details about menus, excursions and attractions are not shown online. Travel agencies have customized brochures and direct contact with the structure so you can easily get all the info you need.

Different tour operators: Egypt is literally full of hotels and resorts managed by different tour operators. We are used to independent travel so we had no idea how to select one. Based on your needs and your priorities (food, location, entertainment…) a travel agency can suggest you the operator that best suits you. We chose a Bravo Club Resort for the very first time in our lives and it was really worth it!

Fantazia Resort - Wharf on the Red Sea
Fantazia Resort - Wharf on the Red Sea

Watch out Tutankhamon’s curse!

Truth or legend? It looks like the well known pharaon suffered from some gastrointestinal disease. Therefore, symptoms of this illness are friendly called “Tutankhamon’s curse”. It seems that in Egypt this disease particularly affects tourists due to non-potable water, unusual food and air conditioning.

Here we’re dispelling some myths:

Non-potable water

Drinking water’s availability is a concrete issue in Egypt. However, hotels usually offer a bottle of mineral water per day (double check that the hotel you book does this for free). You can use it to brush your teeth and of course to drink. Make sure not to drink sink water consistently because it’s really disgusting!

Red Sea - Snorkeling with sea turtles
Red Sea - Snorkeling with sea turtles

Uneatable food

This is Italians’ main worry 🙂

If you love good food, select an hotel with Italian cooks. We really enjoyed food at Fantazia Resort (here our review). Fruits and vegetables were fresh and there was a good variety of food. During themed days you can also taste some typical food like cous-cous, karkadé, herb teas and sweets based on honey and dried fruits. If you suffer any intolerance or allergy, make sure to alert the hotel before your arrival. 

Air conditioning

Stated that food and drinks, with a little precaustion, are not causing Tutankhamon’s curse, let’s talk about air condistioning. This is maybe the only concrete cause of ilness inside  Red Sea’s hotels. The whole area, as you can imagine, is pretty hot and air conditioning is irrestistible. However, excessive use of air conditioning is not healthy; plus the thermal shock inside/outside is pretty high. Therefore, we recommend using minimum air conditioning only in the hottest hours. Also remember to wear warmer clothes when going in air conditioned rooms (such as restaurants, halls and common areas).

Fantazia Resort - Pool Restaurant
Fantazia Resort - Pool Restaurant

Mobiles and wifi

Hotels usually have a WIFI area (probably the hall or the restaurant) where you can easily use your phone with your standard card. Make sure that this service is free in the resort you choose. Connection can be a bit slow but it will be fine to use social medias, Whatsapp and make a few calls.

If you don’t have Internet on your phone, you can buy an Egyptian sim card. Messages and calls cost a lot and this is the only solution to pay them less.

Also double check if you need adapters for your battery charger. If you’re travelling with two phones, we suggest to charge them alternatively just to avoid any possible inconvenient.

Anyway, we’d reccomend you to just close your phone inside the suitcase and enjoy your trip on the Red Sea! 🙂 

Red Sea - Coral Reef
Red Sea - Coral Reef

Tips and costs of a holiday on the Red Sea

Egypt’s official currency is Egyptian pound. Just to give you an idea, 1€ is about 16 Egyptian pounds. That’s why small tips are so appreciated.

Inside hotels tips are voluntary. We’re not used to them in Italy so it might be hard to understand if/when/how much you should give. But there’s no rule. We decided to give a few coins to boy that cleaned our room daily and to our waiter.

Workers might ask you to exchange some coins with banknotes. That’s because Egyptian banks can change only € banknotes in their own currency. 

All inclusives’ offers don’t take into account excursions, which are the most expensive activities. So we earmarked a budget to sea excursions. If you’re planning to take part to these activities, make sure to bring more money or a credit card (VISA and MAESTRO will work).

Average costs of one week in a all-inclusive hotel goes from 800 to 1.500 € per person. Costs change based on the hotel and the period you are travelling in.

Fantazia - Cold water pool
Fantazia - Cold water pool

Dangerous animals of the Red Sea

Just kidding 🙂 

In Egypt, like in any other country, you might find some insects inside the villages. Flies and beetles are the most common. Hotels are oasis in the middle of the desert and that’s why they attract insects. But structures get cleaned everyday also with specific products anti-beetles.

As far as the Red Sea is concerned, you don’t have to worry. There are some species that can be dangerous but they are rare to find. You will see many jellyfishes, though. But since they don’t sting it’s perfectly safe to touch them.

Red Sea - Manta ray and fish
Red Sea - Manta ray and fish

If you’re looking for the perfect location for your holiday, have a look at our review of Fantazia Resort, where we spent two entire weeks. Also, don’t miss the list of our favourite Red Sea activities.

Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram to discover our next destinations! If you have any comment or suggestion, DM us. We’ll be glad to answer.

Se you soon!

Sara & Loris, @TravellingMeerkats

Red Sea - Coral Reef
Red Sea - Coral Reef