Panama City

Panama City
Photo by: Erubbey Cantoral (Stock exchange)

Here at Disabled Travelers, we’ve saved some of the best for last as we coast to the end of our Best Places to Retire series. Today we’re looking at Panama, another great place where a thriving expat community enjoys some delightful perks. As always, though, we have to ask the burning question: what can disabled travelers and their travel companions expect from our latest destination? Let’s find out …

Panama’s retirement benefits package is world famous among retirees. If you collect a permanent private or government pension above a certain amount, you qualify for residency and a range of discounts on vital services, transportation, and even some forms of entertainment. On the other hand, there are criticisms that it might not be all it’s cracked up to be. And while there’s good evidence that a disabled traveler might find Panama a neat place to stay for a visit — a collection of modern, accessible hotels awaits in Panama City especially — it seems like it would be a handful on the long term.

Sometimes getting there is half the fun, and that’s definitely the case in this accessible cruise report from Panama. Naturally, there’s more than one accessible cruise that goes to Central and South American destinations, as avid Disabled Travelers readers already know. And there are several great ports to stop at throughout the country, including Colon, which AbilityTrip tells all about. As the second-largest city in Panama, this place boasts some fantastic seaside shopping and access to the world-famous Panama Canal.

A reliable tour operator is never a bad option, and you can enjoy custom accessible tours through Ancon Expeditions of Panama, which comes recommended from the AbilityTrip article above. Although Panama City is poorly designed for accessibility, you can have a great visit through a group tour or with some assistance from traveling companions. Many modern hotels have some adapted facilities for those with limited mobility, but it’s best to follow the trail of those who have been before: the buzz online has it that the Torres de Alba has recently new and renovated areas with an accessible path of travel, and Travelocity offers a selection of disabled hotels throughout the city. Heading to Colon? Check out this disabled hotel directory from TripAdvisor.

Last, don’t forget to take a look at Copa Airlines, the national carrier of Panama. It’s been very busy lately, stepping up the volume of air traffic to get more visitors to enjoy the wonders of its home country. But since Copa works extensively in U.S. destinations including Orlando and Washington, D.C., it’s also tri-lingual and refreshingly direct with accessible travel information. Wheelchairs are available, and your personal wheelchair can be taken aboard or checked. Service animals are also welcome, including dogs and monkeys.

This has been a great trip, but next time Disabled Travelers will be on an all new adventure. My thanks go out to Mexico, France, Italy, Costa Rica, Brazil, and Argentina for providing some great views. What about Portugal and Spain, you might ask? Well, as we return to our “regularly scheduled” posts, we’ll be seeing Portugal soon: it’s our next access guide here at Disabled Travelers, and it’ll arrive this time next week.


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Comment by Mel Lifshitz

Posted on July 4th, 2011

Aside from Panama you can also go to the Philippines. Low cost of living, great food, great people, and a very accommodating locales.