The basics you need to know about travel, weather & diving conditions
To help you plan your trip, we've prepared a list of basic information you'll want to know before you book. Once your trip has been reserved, you'll receive pre-departure information with all the details you need for your adventure.
Getting to Oman
Most guests will choose to fly through Dubai (VAE) on one of many major airlines - Emirates, Oman Air, Qatar Airways, United Airlines, Delta, Lufthansa, Swiss, British Airways & others. In Dubai you will transfer to a local airline to get to Oman. There are a select few flights originating in European cities (Paris, London, Milan, Frankfurt & Zurich) which fly direct to Muscat International Airport in Oman. From there, you can get a domestic flight to Salalah if you are heading to the Hallaniyat islands.
Depending on your dive itinerary, your flights need to be scheduled to one of the following,:
- Muscat International Airport (MCT) for the Daymaniyat Islands itinerary
- Salalah International Airport (SLL) for the Hallaniyat Islands itinerary
An overnight stay is often required due to airline schedules. Hotels & resorts are located close to the airports and near the marinas where the boats dock.
Your passport must be valid for at least six months beyond your period of stay. It is the traveller’s responsibility to ensure they have adequate funds to support themselves, a return airline ticket, a visa to travel into each country on his or her itinerary as well as for re-entry and return back to their country. Please check with the appropriate consulate to ensure proper passport and visa requirements are met.
US citizens may go to the US Department of State website at www.travelstate.gov for more information. There are special requirements for children leaving the US and many countries have adopted requirements for the protection of children. Since regulations vary by country, contact your consulate or embassy for the necessary requirements.
All visitors need a visa to enter Oman, which can be secured on arrival at Muscat International Airport, Salalah airport or in Dubai. Alternatively visas can be purchased online through the Royal Oman Police https://www.rop.gov.om. Currently, there are two types of entries available: Single-entry 10-day visa or Single-entry 30-day visa on arrival. We suggest checking with your consulate before planning your trip, as Oman’s visa regulations change frequently.
What´s the weather like in Oman ?
Oman has a sub-tropical desert climate. The weather is sunny all year-round with mild warm winters and hot summers when temperatures may exceed 50 oC (122 °F) coupled with high humidity along the coast. Clouds brought by the summer monsoon (mid-June to mid-September) typically form along the eastern coast.
A bit of rain falls from December to March, more likely in the far north on the Musandam Peninsula. This area is very hot in summer, with highs around 37-38 °C (98-100 °F) on average, with high humidity. Winter temperatures are pleasant with daily averages around 20 °C in the north.
The average monthly maximum temperature in the capital Muscat varies between 40°C (104°F) in June and 25°C (77°F) in January, the average minimum temperatures vary between 30°C (77° F) in June and 17°C (62° F) in January. The average annual rainfall is 80-100 mm.
The southern region of Dhofar has milder temperatures and a more temperate climate, with heavy monsoon rains between June and September.
What about Water Temperatures ?
Water temperature varies from 24-27°C (75 – 81°F) in winter and 30-31°C (86-88°F) in summer.
Diving conditions are relatively easy with light surface conditions, zero or gentle currents. Visibility probably averages around 15 meters (50 feet) during the winter months with best clarity of around 30 meters (98 feet) in the summer months. But, this is not a destination known for great viz. It’s known for its abundance of fish and pelagic animals, due to the amount of nutrients in the water. In other words, photographers be warned. Conditions are not often ideal for those sweeping, deep blue shark shots!
If you’re ok with that, you’ll enjoy the dramatic wall drop-offs and scenic coral reefs, ranging in depth from 6-40 meters (20-130 feet).
Around Salalah, kelp forests appear during the summer, made possible by cool upwelling during the monsoon, these then slowly die back in late September. This makes it uniquely possible to dive in kelp and on coral reefs at the same sites for a short time.
Do I need a lot of diving experience ?
Oman is suitable for all levels of dive experience.
Best Time to Go
Generally speaking, Oman offers good diving all year round, although in the winter from November to February the water is cooler and the visibility is more limited. The liveaboards move from region to region to ensure you experience the best diving possible at each time of year.
Please note that Oman is known for pretty extreme heat from June to August, so be prepared. Overall, April, May, September & October offer some of the better diving conditions and in May, typically the water is blue while at other times it can be more greenish due to the plankton & other "fish food".
September and October are considered the best times to dive with whale sharks.
As most guests make several dives per day a 5-7 mm wetsuit is recommended depending on the time of year. Most liveaboards offer scuba rental gear as part of their service but be sure to request in advance.
It is suggested that divers take safety items such as a Dive Alert, Safety Sausage and Nautilus Lifeline (these can be available to rent). Dive computers are mandatory on some liveaboards and are also often available to rent onboard.
All liveaboards have first aid kits onboard, including oxygen and some have an AED. You may want to bring motion sickness medication if you feel you will need it. Currents and winds may cause moderate movement of liveaboards at times.
The standard of healthcare in Oman is high. Both public and private medical facilities provide a good standard of care, and there are now many health facilities, with the largest and best facilities located in the capital Muscat. Medical treatment in Oman can be expensive and facilities may expect payment upfront. Travellers should ensure that they have full medical insurance cover.
Flying after Diving
Current studies show that you should wait at least 24 hours after multiple days with repetitive diving before flying. Please keep this in mind before you book your onward international or domestic flights.
The local currency is OMR, Omani Rial (Approximately OMR 0,39 = US$ 1).
Taxes & Fees
You will need to pay marine park fees and port fees. These fees are paid onboard in cash. We will notify you of current rates in advance of travel. Generally, other onboard charges need to be paid in USD cash.
Local Customs & Cultural Matters
Oman is a Muslim country and, although it is fairly moderate, visitors should be sensitive to the customs. Women should not bare their shoulders or show low cleavage. Shorts, dresses and skirts should ideally be below the knee. They should also carry a large scarf or pashmina with them at all times in case they need to cover their head. This is essential when visiting mosques. Men should only wear long, baggy shorts or, preferably, trousers when you are outside hotels and resorts. Swimming costumes are only acceptable in hotel pools and beachwear should be modest. Most hotels do not require women to cover up when swimming, although women may choose to do so when bathing in the sea on public beaches.
Do I need insurance ?
We strongly recommend comprehensive travel insurance to cover against unforeseeable events including personal & business impediments, illness, travel delays and missed flight connections. We hate seeing any of our clients fall into the category of unfortunate travelers who are without coverage for unexpected circumstances
Diving insurance: the liveaboards now require diving insurance. You must not confuse regular travel medical and/or travel insurance with diving-specific insurance such as DAN (Divers Alert Network) or Dive Assure. This type of insurance will cover all of your scuba diving and snorkeling activities, including the costs for recompression chamber treatment and emergency air evacuation. These are not covered by the average travel insurance.
We recommend Dive Assure as they are one of the few companies who offer insurance which includes general travel insurance, including trip cancellation .... plus full dive coverage.
Click here or on the button in the side panel to access Dive Assure directly.
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