Zapatillas Cays are located inside the Bastimentos Island National Marine Park. These two beautiful islands are located on a coral platform that is defined, toward the open sea, by the breakers that are formed as the waves crash on the reef.

They are famous for their beautiful beaches, crystal clear waters, coral reefs and small but shady forests. They are named after a fruit: the zapadila.

The western island, Zapatillas Minor, is the occasional base of scientists and conservationists, researchers of the marine turtles. The hawksbills (Eretmochelys imbricata) marine turtles turtles come to lay their eggs, in season, on these beaches. On Zapatillas Major is the Park Rangers refuge, the only habitation on the islands, managed by ANAM, the Authority of the Natural Resources of Panama.

If you like to sunbathe this is the place to be, with its white sand beaches and turquoise water. To escape from the heat, the nearby forest will provide shade. Do you like to swim, snorkel or dive? Well, Zapatillas is perfect for all of these.

The best of Zapatillas's underwater world is 300 meters from the beach, toward the mainland, the Coral Islands. The place is shallow with beautiful coral formations, particularly good for snorkelling. There, in no more than 20 feet of water, you can enjoy several underwater coral islets, some of them crowned by elkhorn corals, good refuge for snappers, angel fishes, groupers, parrots and butterfly fishes. In the crevices hide lobsters, crabs, morey eels and an infinite number of tiny sea invertebrates.

If you want more than a pretty reef, try behind the breakers. If the sea permits, you will find a wall formed by the reef, that contains small caves and tunnels, up to 40 feet deep.

A walk in the forest, specially in the trail named "The Forest behind the Reef" in the Zapatillas Mayor, is also one of the activities that visitors like to enjoy. As you can see, Zapatillas Keys can satisfy everybody's tastes.

We recommend to spend a whole day there, but, please, bring your own water, lunch, hut, sun protection and, at least, snorkelling gear. And take with you the trash. The fees to enter in the Marine Park are $ 3.00 for panamanians and residentes and $ 10.00 for foreigners, and can payed at the park rangers base, in Zapatillas Major.