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5 Places to Visit in Israel (When It's Safe to Go Back): Part Two

4. The Dead Sea

I'm not a beach person, so no one was more surprised than I was when I announced mid-way through my first visit to the Dead Sea: "I could move here."

It sounds odd to describe the atmosphere at the literal lowest point on earth -- a desert oasis most famous for a body of water so salty that nothing can live in it -- as "refreshing." Unless you've been there, that is.

The elements unique to the Dead Sea combine to make any visit both relaxing and invigorating.

The water in the Dead Sea is "warm, soothing, super salty  – some ten times saltier than sea water, and rich in chloride salts of magnesium, sodium, potassium, bromine and several other" minerals. (Bromine supposedly has a calming effect, and "is found in air around the Dead Sea in concentrations 20 times greater than anywhere else on earth.")

You don't swim in the Dead Sea, you float. Remember:

  • DO NOT get any water in your mouth or eyes
  • Any open cuts will sting. Ladies, don't shave your legs the morning you visit.
  • Don't stay in the water more than 20 minutes at a time, and rinse off thoroughly after each dip

Because the area lies below sea level, the sun shines there through an extra atmospheric layer that acts as a natural "sunscreen." This layer weakens harmful UV-B rays and lets you enjoy the sunshine longer, safely: ideal for soaking up massive doses of Vitamin D. Barometric pressure is high -- meaning more oxygen in the air -- and so is the average humidity.