Diving in the Mediterranean Sea: Discover Ustica

Diving in the Mediterranean Sea: Discover Ustica

I’m mostly diving in tropical seas, like the amazing Bunaken Marine Park in Indonesia, or in the beautiful spots across the Red Sea in Egypt, where the water is warm and corals are so colourful.


Barracuda rhapsody. Photo by [email protected] on Flickr


But my usual dive buddy recently proposed to me to spend a few days in Ustica, a small island not far from Palermo well-known for its diving spots and considered among the bests scuba sites in the Mediterranean Sea. Since I am wild about scuba diving, I said ‘yes’ without a doubt.

Ustica is easy to reach by hydrofoil or ferry from Palermo, a journey of  1,5 to 3 hours. This island, of volcanic origins, is almost wild and vegetation is limited. No luxury here, everything is simple but comfortable and the locals are incredibly friendly and welcoming.  Since scuba diving is a major attraction, Ustica has plenty of diving centres.

We chose Mare Nostrum for the simple reason that it is one of the two having an equipped dive boat instead of a dinghy, which makes diving far more comfortable and pleasant. Danilo, who managed the diving, was not only our captain but also proved to be a great cook and he delighted us with an excellent pasta.


Vacchetta di mare, by David Salvatori on Flickr

Ustica offers lots of diving spots with different characteristics. At Punta Galera we enjoyed a big group of barracuda in circle, something we hadn’t been seeing for a long time, plus groupers and other pelagic fish.

Grotta dei Gamberi is a beautiful cave where, as per its name, we spotted lots of shrimps. The cave is large and around 8 meters high with some passages, the slope is full of cracks crevices and passages.

Scoglio del Medico is the dive I liked at most, with its mix of caves, passages, tunnels and slopes and the incredible effects of the light when moving through the passages.


Wild Ustica, Photo by Franco Orsi on Flickr

September is a good month to visit Ustica as the island is less crowded and the water is warmer. With a semi-dry suit and a hood we felt comfortable even after a long dive.

Accommodation in Ustica include hotels and residence apartments. We stayed at Stella Marina Residence, offering recently refurbished rooms and a huge terrace overlooking the sea. We had the best Sicilian food at the restaurant La Luna sul Porto, where the best thing is to follow the advice of the owner. You will not regret it.


  • ExplorerDad
    Posted at 06:09h, 25 July Reply

    Looks great – I’ve always wanted to go. Have to make do with Australia and the Pacific for now (also pretty good).

    • waitinginthedark
      Posted at 11:57h, 25 July Reply

      Wow! Diving in Australia and Pacific is in my dream list. But… So far and so expensive… Maybe one day? 🙂

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