Things to Do in Bocas del Toro Province
Isla Zapatillas
4.5
About
Suggested duration
More than 3 hours
Suggest edits to improve what we show.
Improve this listing
Tours & experiences
Explore different ways to experience this place.

Top ways to experience Isla Zapatillas and nearby attractions

Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
Popular mentions

4.5
600 reviews
Excellent
421
Very good
139
Average
22
Poor
9
Terrible
9

Rivierafoodie
Redondo Beach, CA1 contribution
Feb 2020 • Couples
I almost want to give this a terrible review so the crowds don’t flock to this beautiful, pristine island and ruin it. White sandy beaches, uncrowded, clear, turquoise warm waters... it truly was paradise.
Written February 8, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Janice
Sydney, Australia40 contributions
Aug 2019 • Couples
These islands are beautiful, with white sand and crystal clear water. Definitely worth going, but best to do it on a sunny day without much wind, as it's about a 35-40 minute boat ride out there. There are a ton of different companies in Bocas Town selling island hopping boat tours that include Zapatilla in the tour. They range in price from $30-50 per person, however, we HIGHLY recommend ditching the crowds (some boats have 20 people on them) and hiring a private boat instead. We paid $45 per person (and there were only two of us) and got the boat from 10am to 4pm. We also didn't have to pay the $10 marine park fee that tour companies add on top of the tour fee (not sure if this fee is actually a thing of the tour companies just use it to make more money?). We didn't have to stop at any other islands (unless we wanted to) and got to Zapatilla 1 before anyone else, so had the whole island to ourselves for a while. Most boats stop on the same side of the Zapatilla 1, and it gets quite busy, but you can just walk around the island to the other side and find a secluded spot to yourself, or get your boat to take you to the other Zapatilla island. Make sure you bring lots of water and snacks for the day - the boat guys will provide a chilly bin (cooler) and ice.
We walked around Zapatilla 1 and it took about 30-40 minutes, going slow. It's an easy walk around, but there are some spots where you have climb over and duck under trees growing out over the water or you can wade in the water up to your waist to go around them.
Written August 20, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Mike S
New York City, NY2 contributions
May 2021 • Couples
An excellent day trip from Bocas del Toro. For the best experience cal Luis (WhatsApp: +507 6888-2590). For $150 for the day you’ll see dolphin bay, sloths island, make a bbq on the beach, and what ever else you want to do. In my case spearfishing was a good addition. He’s a nice honest guy. Loves life and the earth. Is good at his job of making it a good experience.

Bring a bag and pick up some plastic trash from zapatilla island. It’s a paradise island but that doesn’t mean you won’t find plastics littering the area. It washes up from all directions and we take it out of there. Make it part of your fun to give back a little to the earth.
Written May 30, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Gottagosumware
British Columbia, Canada266 contributions
Jan 2023
For a snorkelling destination, it is a shame that the reef is a 1/4 mile away from shore. The little island are very pretty, but quite populated. Since these islands are the furthest ones "out," be sure you have perfectly "cloudless" skies. You must cross a large body of unprotected water (meaning no islands to shelter) So, if a storm comes up, like it did for us, it is a loooonnng way back in very angry water. I would select a closer snorkeling spot, if that is what you are looking for.
Written February 8, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

frog1010
Vancouver Island102 contributions
Feb 2019 • Couples
We enjoyed the tour booked through Coopegitours We saw a dolphin, enjoyed the starfish in a protected part of the mangrove, enjoyed snorkeling at Coral Cray. The Zapatillas Islands were beautiful, stunning colours. We saw a couple of sloths quite close on protected Sloth Island. At 30 dollars each it was a good deal. Things fell apart at the lunch spot. They had captive scarlet macaws. Not good. I contracted food poisoning at the restaurant which was more than double the price quoted by the tour operator. Other people at our hotel also contracted food poisoning the day before on this trip we found out afterwards. If you choose this tour bring your own food. I do not know the name of the restaurant but am including pics.
Written February 18, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Eric A
Long Beach, CA30 contributions
Feb 2017 • Family
I have been to Bocas on several vacations, and the Zapatilla Islands are a must. There are two islands, Zapatilla 1 and Zapatilla 2...go figure! We have always had our guiedes suggest Zapatill 1 for some reason. Never a disappointment though! If you plan to go, make sure the guide has an ice chest and bring your own beverages (Panama Light for this fat guy!) and snacks. Make sure you plan for a full day. You can snorkel in Zapatilla, but you need to be away from the beach to see any fish. Although while the wife and I were chest deep, a couple fish swam right between us! The island is pristine Caribe jungle! There is not much beach area, but what is there is nice. Plan with your guide to see Zapatilla, stop by a coral reef to swim with exotic fish, and then try to make it to Dolphin Bay and Sloth Island. We have seen dolphins and sloth (sloths?) every time! We also stopped at this little restaurant in the middle of no where and had an awesome meal every time. Sorry, I have no idea what the name of it is! After that we go to Bluff Beach and hang out at Island Plantation. Best food on the island!
If you want to see non-touristy real Caribbean islands, make the trip to Zapatillas!
Written August 12, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

ChrisBrown38
Brentwood, UK206 contributions
May 2017
Nice island as part of day trip incl Dolphin Bay, Coral Cay, Starfish Bay, lunch at end of Bastimentos and sloth island. Good value trip @ $20 + $10 national park entrance (for what? - to keep out the riffraff.) Somewhat dodgy boardwalk takes about 90 minutes, but good swimming and shade on beach. Bring your own drinks and snacks.
Written May 9, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

ZheAleman
San Francisco, CA2 contributions
Jan 2014 • Friends
There is two islands. The small one (zapatilla I aka menor) and the Isla Mayor. The Isla Mayor was absolutely terrible. Don't go there. The park rangers have turned the island into a plantation. All natural trees and vegetation was removed and you can now "enjoy" a Coconut plantation with lots of trash everywhere. There seems to be 3-4 park rangers who just want to get any money from you. We didn't want to stay and denied to pay $10 so then they said we could also just pay $5. Which seems like it just goes into their own pockets since an officially set price shouldn't be flexible like that.
Written January 27, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

MvdHoff
Aalsmeer, The Netherlands712 contributions
Jul 2013 • Family
We stayed at Bastimentos and hired Carlito with his boat for a day. We went to Dolphin bay first to look at the Dolphins, then went snorkeling at Coral Cay (beautiful), ordered lunch at Macca Bite restaurant (nice fish and rice), then stayed two hours on Zapatillas (absolutely gorgeous), then returned for the prepared lunch, and topped of at Red Frog Beach. All the ingredients for a top day in the region. A must do trip. Renting a private boat is much better then a tour boat, expect to pay around 125 for the boat (this excludes the entrances and lunch).
Written August 4, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

DBangit
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico72 contributions
Dec 2017 • Couples
Zapatillas are stunning undeveloped islands with beautiful white sand beaches and that gorgeous turquoise Caribbean water. My husband and I came here as part of a boat / snorkel trip that stopped at 5 locations, including Dolphin Cove, Sloth Island, Hollywood, Solarte and Zapatillas. Zapatillas were definitely the highlight (although the whole trip was very worthwhile and for the $30 it cost, great value). The day we went, there was a big storm out at sea so the surf was intense around the islands and the currents were dangerously strong for swimming and snorkeling so we hiked through and around the island on a little trail that cuts down to every beach and then back into the jungle. You can easily walk around the island in the 2 or so hours that most boat trips spend here. Definitely recommend this day trip. Bring running shoes or water shoes if you plan to walk around the island.
Written December 26, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Showing results 1-10 of 200
Anything missing or inaccurate?
Suggest edits to improve what we show.
Improve this listing

Isla Zapatillas (Bocas del Toro Province) - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go

Frequently Asked Questions about Isla Zapatillas

We recommend booking Isla Zapatillas tours ahead of time to secure your spot. If you book with Tripadvisor, you can cancel up to 24 hours before your tour starts for a full refund. See all 3 Isla Zapatillas tours on Tripadvisor