“It is almost impossible to get permanent residence in Egypt.” Diving instructor about life in Hurghada, prices and safety

«Получить ПМЖ в Египте практически нереально». Инструктор по дайвингу о жизни в Хургаде, ценах и безопасности

“In Egypt, you learn to slow down and worry less.” Alina shared with us her personal experience of living and working in Egypt, talked about the influx of foreigners to this country recently and the difference between Hurghada and Sharm el-Sheikh. We also talked about prices in Egypt, buying and renting real estate, the mentality of local residents and the Russian-speaking diaspora.

Hurghada is a city where people come to live.

About permanent residence, weather, pros and cons

— My name is Alina. I’m going to be 43 years old soon. I have been living in Egypt for about three years — mostly in Hurghada. I work as a diving instructor. Sometimes I am offered contracts in Sharm el-Sheikh and I fly there to work, but I consider Hurghada to be my home here. 

The fact is that Sharm el-Sheikh is more of a tourist center where people come, work out their contract for 3-6 months and leave. And Hurghada is a city where people come to live. Many people get to know each other here, create families and so on. Due to this difference, in Hurghada, relationships are built more “at home”. 

It is almost impossible to get permanent residence in Egypt. It is a little easier for women who marry Egyptians to do this. In general, you can live here peacefully for a year, but then you will definitely have to fly out and return, that is, get a kind of visa.

«Получить ПМЖ в Египте практически нереально». Инструктор по дайвингу о жизни в Хургаде, ценах и безопасности

— In Egypt, the main advantage is, of course, the Red Sea. I have been diving for a long time and have dived in many places, but I can say that the Red Sea is the kindest, most gentle and affectionate. In short, it’s amazing. 

The weather in Egypt is always very good: in winter it is not cold here — 22-24 degrees during the day, and at night it reaches 14 degrees. I consider the summer months of July and early August to be difficult (until about the 15th), since it is unbearably hot here at this time. In this heat, people try not to work during the day, and shops begin to open around 16:00-17:00.

People come to Egypt to “heal the soul.” 

— The roads in Hurghada are very good, the asphalt is excellent, but there are no roads between the houses as such — there is mostly crushed stone. You can also find all kinds of garbage here; however, in the last year and a half I have observed a positive trend in this regard — the streets have begun to be cleaned and improved. I think the influx of a large number of foreigners (mostly Russians and Ukrainians) has affected. If Sharm al-Sheikh is an Italian city, then Hurghada is definitely Russian-speaking. 

Russian Russian and English are easy to live with in Egypt; I have friends who live here perfectly well, knowing only Russian. Therefore, in this country you can always explain yourself. 

In general, a friendly Russian-speaking diaspora has been formed in Hurghada without a special division into nationalities. We have an interesting time and participate in various activities, including mafia, quizzes, board games, karaoke, parties, women’s groups, a women’s sports club for group activities (yoga, bellidance, stretching, aerogymnastics).

As a rule, we communicate without turning to political topics, and if they are touched, then in the case of different views, we simply end the conversation in order to avoid conflicts. In Egypt, by the way, interethnic strife is generally not welcome — this can lead to deportation from the country. They want everyone to live peacefully here.

«Получить ПМЖ в Египте практически нереально». Инструктор по дайвингу о жизни в Хургаде, ценах и безопасности

«Получить ПМЖ в Египте практически нереально». Инструктор по дайвингу о жизни в Хургаде, ценах и безопасности

— I really like how Hurghada is being improved and developed. For example, unlike Charm, there are several grocery delivery companies here, not only from bars or restaurants, but also from grocery stores, butchers and pharmacies. For me, as a girl who doesn’t have a car, this is a huge plus.

Of the local food, I really like seafood, seafood soup cream and falafels. Falafel is supposed to be eaten for breakfast here, but I’m ready to eat it at any time. 

«Получить ПМЖ в Египте практически нереально». Инструктор по дайвингу о жизни в Хургаде, ценах и безопасности

— Real life in Egypt is more peaceful, or something. People who move here become more balanced and begin to take life easier.

In addition to the sea and the sun, this is facilitated on the one hand by the lack of Egyptians, and on the other by their advantage — they are not in a hurry. For example, they can make an appointment for you at 17:00, and they will come at about 18:00, or even at 22:00. And it doesn’t matter if it’s a work meeting, a friendly get-together or a call for a plumber. Plus, it should be borne in mind that Egyptians do not like to work during the day and all business is usually postponed to the evening. 

When you first move here, it’s quite difficult to get used to such a feature, but gradually you get into this rhythm and learn to worry less about it and without. This is similar to the principle of “hakuna matata”, which reigns in Zazibar – in Egypt they say Inch’Allah (Inshallah), that is, with God’s help. 

Three years ago, it was possible to live comfortably on $100 in Egypt.

About prices and real estate in Egypt

— Prices in Egypt, both in pounds and dollars, have now risen due to the fall in the local exchange rate and the shaky political state of Europe and other leading countries. Three years ago, you could safely live here on $ 100 ((excluding apartment rent) — unfortunately, this is no longer realistic now.

You can take a taxi from one area of Hurghada to another for 20 Egyptian pounds (~$0.5); to Cairo by bus — for 400 pounds (~ $8.5); and to fly to Sharm el-Sheikh – for about 30-40 dollars. 

Speaking of renting, quite recently in Hurghada it was possible to rent a good “one-bedroom apartment” with appliances for $ 80, now it is possible for at least $ 150. And in Charm, the prices are still higher.

«Получить ПМЖ в Египте практически нереально». Инструктор по дайвингу о жизни в Хургаде, ценах и безопасности

— Foreigners have no problems buying real estate in Egypt: a purchase and sale agreement is drawn up, then a taukil (this is the ownership of housing), and in good houses you can also issue a green contract or buy an apartment immediately with it (this is already land ownership). 

Real estate prices in Egypt are quite affordable, despite the fact that they have been rising in recent years due to the influx of foreigners. There are hardly many places where you can buy a small studio for 20 thousand dollars. Of course, there will still need to be repairs, but nevertheless. 

The UAE and other Arab countries are investing billions in the Egyptian real estate market. What do they buy and where?

— If you have your own property, then you need to pay the apartment tax — about 500 pounds per year ($ 10). 

Utility bills in Egypt are payments for water, gas and electricity. And most often, in good houses, they are paid using special apartment cards. That is how it happens: you have run out of electricity, you top up this card, pay the required amount and the light comes on again. In fact, you only pay for what you spent. There is also a similar scheme for gas. 

If you rent a studio or apartment in a compound*, there, in addition to basic payments, you need to pay monthly for landscaping — about 600-800 Egyptian pounds per month.

*Compound is a closed complex of residential buildings with its own developed infrastructure. Everything necessary for a comfortable stay and recreation of residents is located inside the complex.

About security and the ability to bargain

— I consider Hurghada and Sharm el-Sheikh to be probably one of the safest places in the world. On what basis? There are a lot of police here, including the tourist police, which works very well: there is a special number that a foreigner can simply call and ask for help. 

For example, I had a situation when I forgot my laptop in a taxi and could not contact the driver. So, the police removed the cameras from the compound in Makadi Bay, where I was leaving from, and contacted the traffic police. They punched the license plates of this car, called the taxi driver and he immediately drove up and returned everything. I saw that he didn’t open the laptop and didn’t do anything with it. I was very pleased with that. 

It happens when something is stolen from tourists, but these are isolated cases. The fact is that in Egypt, you can say, they live at the expense of tourists, and the locals absolutely do not want to spoil their reputation and are themselves interested in making it safe around.

Yes, selling something more expensive, especially to tourists, is very popular here, so you need to learn how to bargain. This, again, is a feature of the mentality that needs to be adapted to. 

«Получить ПМЖ в Египте практически нереально». Инструктор по дайвингу о жизни в Хургаде, ценах и безопасности

About your favorite places in Egypt 

— I really like to spend time in Hurghada and I am happy to work here when I have the opportunity. We have a stunningly beautiful area here, El Gouna, which reminds me of Turkish Alanya – a lot of greenery, golf courses, tennis, everything is very nice and tidy. But also expensive, of course. There are a lot of rich Cairo residents who come here as a summer residence.

Of the other places in Egypt that I like, I can name Luxor — it’s a pleasure to walk there; and Siwa is such an oasis not far from Cairo with beautiful salt lakes. 

«Получить ПМЖ в Египте практически нереально». Инструктор по дайвингу о жизни в Хургаде, ценах и безопасности

— I don’t like when people start to impose on me the opinion that everything is bad in Egypt. If a person wants to see dirt, he will see it everywhere — the question is perception. I always try to focus on the good. There are no ideal places, but there are some huge advantages, against which the minor disadvantages simply fade.

For example, many people do not like that few people work here during the day and the whole main life begins in the evening. This mode is suitable for me, since I am an owl by nature. The only thing is, it can be hard when you need to go to sea at 8 a.m. 

Also, some are confused by the lack of alcohol on the shelves of the store — it can only be drunk here in bars and restaurants. And I think this is just the perfect opportunity to stop drinking. On the contrary, I really like that there are very few people drinking here and the consequences associated with it. 

Therefore, I can say that I really like it here. When I leave Egypt to visit my relatives and friends, I really miss Hurghada — the sea, the climate and the people. I found myself here and I’m really very happy.


«Получить ПМЖ в Египте практически нереально». Инструктор по дайвингу о жизни в Хургаде, ценах и безопасности

Yulia Yanukovych Editor-in-Chief

I am responsible for the work of the editorial office. I write expert interviews and guides.


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