Activities and services
Although scuba-diving is its premier attraction, the small island of Ustica offers a range of interesting, alternative activities including:
Excursions by bicycle along quiet country roads that wind around the island’s coastline.
Along the western coastline, when you reach the Bourbon Tower at Punta Spalmatore, a guided tour in the company of the Reserve guards can be organized to the "Pink" grotto (Grotta Rosata), so called because of the pinkish colour of the walls which are covered in an algae, reflecting the colour from the light which filters through the vault from the open sky at sunset.
Close to the "Punta Spalmatore" light-house, you can relax and be refreshed with a swim in the natural pools; mirror like still waters surrounded by rocks but connected to the sea by an underwater passageway.
For those who enjoy biking or hiking along mountain trails, the track that passes through the magnificent maritime pine woods, rising until it reaches the peak of mount "Guardia di Mezzo" at a height of 248 mt. above sea level, provides superb views before descending along the "Spalmatore" coast.
As a variation on the hiking theme, it is possible to go by mule along the old trail that skirts the southern side of the island that was once used by farmers to transport grain to the mill. Here too the views are quite breathtaking.
Not to be missed are visits to Fortress, reconstructed by the Bourbons on a Roman base, dating back to 1763, and to the archaeological museum where artefacts found on the island, and dating back to various ages, are displayed.
A minibus service covers the whole of the island. The timetable varies between the summer and winter seasons, but waiting time is usually never more than 20 minutes. Don't forget that distances in Ustica are small. The main road around the island is only 9 km long!
A 24-hour surgery guarantees full medical assistance to all tourists. In the case of an emergency a military helicopter can transfer casualties to Palermo hospitals within 20 min. Given the affluence of divers here during the summer, the presence of two local hyperbaric chambers (for a total of up to 6 people) with highly trained personnel on 24 hour alert is an important commodity and also particularly reassuring. There is also a pharmacy.