A beach paradise in Costa Rica

A beach paradise in Costa Rica
Photo by: Lucy Flower (Stock Exchange)

As summer rolls on, Disabled Travelers does likewise with our “Best Places to Retire Outside the U.S.” access guide inspired by a similar feature at CNBC. So far, we’ve been headed down the list and have visited Brazil and Argentina.

My impression? Good places to visit, and there are plenty of tour operators with disability-friendly services and itineraries who can help you do it. Best places to retire? Not so sure … but we’re big on optimism here at Disabled Travelers, and the adventure continues today.

Where next? Costa Rica — a tiny Central American republic and center of eco-tourism.

Costa Rica is universally recognized as a rewarding destination, but one with challenges that disabled travelers and their travel companions will have to be prepared for. Handicapped Travel in Costa Rica is a good starter article, which discusses transit and introduces the Association of Costa Rican Special Taxis, a fleet of about 40 taxis that can accommodate wheelchair users. These are especially useful for trips around the capital, San Jose, as long-term bus travel is not recommended. Mobility International USA’s report Featured Country: Costa Rica tells about the country’s forward-thinking accessibility laws, which you can read more about in English: Equal Opportunities Law for Persons with Disabilities. This is a good sign!

Paratransit Tour Service in Costa Rica is a local tour operator with wheelchair facilities, and you mustn’t forget to check out Accessible Journeys’ Accessible Costa Rica Tour. A.J. is usually at the top when it comes to an adaptable tour experience that respectfully meets travelers’ needs while providing a truly memorable vacation experience. They’re on the case with two itinerary options, including an aerial tram tour in the rainforest just outside Braulio Carrillo National Park. The second option is just as enticing: a San Jose city tour that provides an up close view of all the capital’s accessible attractions and landmarks, including parks, theaters, museums, and shopping opportunities.

And hey, that’s not all. Moon Travel Guides informs us that there’s a new Costa Rica surf camp especially for disabled travelers. Shaka Beach Retreat is one of the only attractions of its kind, providing special instruction, equipment, and a guided surfing experience for visitors who use wheelchairs. I have to say, of all the great disabled travel offers I’ve looked at in my time on the blog, Shaka Beach Retreat is one of the best websites I have ever seen. And even if surfing isn’t your thing, the amenities are great – try the yoga retreat package instead to learn some great exercises for flexibility.

The Costa Rica travelogue at Access Able is helpful, but unfortunately undated. Imagenes Tropicales can help you with tours, car rentals, or disabled hotels. There’s also a small selection of wheelchair accessible “bed and breakfast” style inns. Global Access News recommends “La Fortuna,” conveniently located to the Arenal Volcano. For more on that, visit the official website, also quite awesome.

Catching up today brings us one little bit closer to finishing our Best Places to Retire Access Guide. Next time we dip into the subject, we’ll be updating some familiar places: France and Italy. Those who’ve been blog-watching for a while know that Disabled Travelers has written a great, multi-part series on both countries (if I do say so myself!) But it’s been quite a while, and it’s just about time we hit “The Big Boot” again. See you then!


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