Qatar is an Arab state, located on the small Qatar Peninsula and washed by the Persian Gulf waters. Islam is the country's official religion, and it plays a vital role in its public life. Pork, alcohol and anti-Muslim propaganda are prohibited here. Just respect the rules, and you'll feel comfortable here because locals are friendly towards tourists. Qatar is not much popular among divers yet, and you can enjoy a calm and relaxed diving experience.
The coastal waters are rich in flora and fauna, and water visibility reaches 15-20 meters. The region is notable for its bright coral reefs and a wide range of various dive spots. To attract divers, local authorities have deliberately sunk some cargo ships, buses and cars. All of them have already been overgrown with seaweed and corals.
Dive shops in Qatar are scattered along the coastal line of the Persian Gulf. The majority of dive shops are located in Doha, the most popular region here. Many dive shops are licensed to train divers and offer instructor services.
Spring here is a pleasant and warm season when rains are ceasing. May is a dry month, and the water temperature reaches +21-27 °С. Spring is the perfect time for diving.
Dry and hot weather is characteristic of Qatar. The air temperature reaches its maximum in July. The water warms up to +30-33 °С. The highest temperature is observed in August.
Autumn is sunny and mostly dry. The driest month is September, and there can be 1 or 2 rainy days in October and November. The water temperature varies between +28 and +33 °C.
The weather is fickle in winter: there can be drops in temperature, short rains or sandstorms. January is the coldest month, and the water reaches its lowest in February. The average water temperature in the sea reaches +20-24°C.
The best dive sites of Qatar are the artificial reef Old Club with deliberately sunken ships, the New Club reef and the natural reef Barge Othman. Wrecks Balhambar and Tech El Dan are quite popular.
State hospitals in Qatar are well-equipped, but health services are inaccessible in remote areas. Be ready to make a prepayment before your treatment starts if you have no health insurance. Costs can be high. They depend on the degree of complexity of medical procedures and length of stay in a hospital. There is a risk of contracting Middle East respiratory syndrome. The crime rate in Qatar is low. This country is one of the safest for tourists. You will stay safe even during a night walk.
The Persian Gulf waters are welcoming, but also fraught with many dangers. Sharks, lionfish, blue jellyfish and sea snakes. Be careful and follow safety procedures. Do not provoke attacks in case you come across sharks.
Diets of contemporary inhabitants of Qatar comprise rice, legumes, fruits and spices. Meat is in short supply, but you will be offered lamb roasted with rice and nuts when you visit Bedouins. Cafes and restaurants serve various fish and meat dishes. Machboos, which is stewed meat cooked with rice and unique local spices, deserves special attention.
Fruit juices and coffee are the most popular non-alcoholic drinks. Qataris don't consume alcohol, and it is served only in hotels and restaurants. Since tap water here may be unsafe to drink, it is advised to consume only bottled water.