The Gulf of Aqaba (Arabic: خليج العقبة; transliterated: Khalyj al-'Aqabah), in Israel known as the Gulf of Eilat (Hebrew: מפרץ אילת, transliterated: Mifratz Eilat) is a large gulf of the Red Sea. It is located to the east of the Sinai peninsula and west of the Arabian mainland. Egypt, Israel, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia all have coastlines on the Gulf of Aqaba.
The Gulf of Aqaba is one of two gulfs created by the Sinai Peninsula's bifurcation of the northern Red Sea, the Gulf of Suez lying to the west of the Sinai Peninsula and the Gulf of Aqaba lying to its east. The Gulf of Aqaba measures 24 km at its widest point and stretches some 160 km north from the Straits of Tiran to a point where the border of Israel meets the borders of Egypt and Jordan. At this northern end of the Gulf are three important cities: Taba in Egypt, Eilat in Israel, and Aqaba in Jordan. All three cities serve both as strategically important commercial ports and as popular resort destinations for tourists seeking to enjoy the warm climate of the region. Further south, Haql is the largest Saudi Arabian city on the gulf. On Sinai, Sharm el-Sheikh and Dahab are the major centers.
The Gulf of Aqaba, like the coastal waters of the Red Sea, is one of the world's premier sites for diving.The area is especially rich in coral and other marine biodiversity and contains a number of underwater wrecks, some accidental shipwrecks, others vessels deliberately sunk in an effort to provide a habitat for marine organisms and bolster the local dive tourism industry.
Amateur archaeologist Ron Wyatt claimed to have discovered evidence that the Gulf of Aqaba was the body of water crossed by Moses during the Passage of the Red Sea as told in the Book of Exodus. He based this on the fact that Egyptian chariots wheels were found 2/3 of the way up the gulf deep in the water. No recognised Egyptologists have backed up this fact as of yet. A shallow "land bridge" spans the gulf near Nuweiba, which is reputed by some of Wyatt's school of thought to be the site of the Passage of the Red Sea.
Colin Humphreys, University of Cambridge Scientist, has also concluded that the crossing of the Red Sea described in Exodus 14 took place at the Gulf of Aquaba.