If you’re looking to go on vacation to a beautiful country, Costa Rica may be a great choice for you and your family. Its warm weather and fun excursions prove to make a vacation to Costa Rica worth your time and money. However, you want to ensure your trip will be wheelchair friendly for anyone in your family who relies on a wheelchair.

 Costa Rica proves to be a destination that provides a variety of opportunities, making it easy for travelers in wheelchairs to be able to participate in several activities and excursions the country offers its tourists.

Here’s what you need to know about traveling to Costa Rica while using a wheelchair.

Lodging Accommodations

The hotel you choose to stay in must be wheelchair accessible. Your family may wish to book a hotel and schedule activities in tourist hotspots, such as the Arenal Volcano, Manual Antonio, and Central Pacific.

Hotels in Arenal Volcano have spacious, wheelchair accessible rooms and golf cart shuttles around the properties. In particular, The Spring Resorts & Spa in Arenal is wheelchair accessible, as it offers wheelchair friendly shuttling and oversized guest rooms that overlook the volcano. Their fine dining experiences and full-service spa are the cherry on top. 

Manuel Antonio and Central Pacific is another tourist hotspot in the country. Several hotels in this area are wheelchair accessible with elevators, golf cart shuttles, and flat properties. The Los Altos Beach Resort and Hotel Parador are among some of the top wheelchair accessible hotels in this area. The Arenas del Mar Beachfront & Rainforest Resort is another resort in Manuel Antonio you may consider staying in, as it is known for its wheelchair accessibility, onsite and wheelchair friendly parking, waterfront location, complimentary classes and guides, and unique restaurants. 

If your party would prefer to stay in private lodging, there are also plenty of guest houses tourists can rent within these Costa Rica destinations that offer wheelchair accessibility. Tripadvisor is one website that can help find available rental properties. Be sure to message renters about wheelchair accessibility to learn the specifics of the homes. One-story guest houses with flat properties would be ideal for wheelchair use. 


Costa Rica’s resorts and hotspots offer a variety of attractions and activities for tourists to enjoy and partake in. Arenal Volcano’s activities include different types of tours and cruises as well as cooking classes while Manuel Antonio and Central Pacific offer private parks, cruises, boat tours, and fishing excursions for tourists. Many of these activities can be tailored to be wheelchair friendly.

When it comes to kayaking, paddleboarding, surfing, snorkeling, and scuba diving, it’s important to find hotels and companies that offer wheelchair accessible tools and equipment as well as instructors who are trained to assist individuals with disabilities to partake in these fun activities. Contact hotels and companies to be sure they have the proper resources for your party to enjoy these water activities. 

There are plenty of beaches and parks in Costa Rica that are accessible for wheelchair users to navigate because they’re flat. However, it’s best to do research and know which beaches offer the best accommodations for your particular needs. Costa Rica Escapes works with many providers that offer accessible tours and activities.

Disabledaccessholidays.com suggests that wheelchair users visit Guanacaste, Jaco, and San Jose because these three cities offer plenty of wheelchair accessible buildings and excursions. Restaurants, bars, art galleries, music clubs, and the historic neighborhoods within these cities are among the accessible places your family must check out!  

National and private parks in these cities prove to be beautiful spots for wheelchair users to enjoy as well, as many of them offer nature trails and bathroom facilities tailored to individuals with disabilities. The Palo Verde and Rincón de la Vieja National Parks in Guanacaste as well as La Sabana Metropolitan Park and the Manual Antonio National Park in San Jose are among the most frequently visited parks in the country.

Safety and Accessibility Concerns

The roads in Costa Rica can be very bumpy and full of potholes, making it dangerous for wheelchair users who are not safely buckled in when riding on buses and other forms of transportation around the country. Be sure you’re properly and safely secured while traveling from city to city or even from your hotel to a beach.

Sidewalks are another issue. In some areas, sidewalks may not exist, and in others, they may be filled with objects that make navigation difficult. Stick to areas of the country that are more developed and offer nicer sidewalks, plenty of ramps, and wheelchair-accessible restaurants and buildings.

Laws in Costa Rica require all ICT-certified accommodations to have a specific amount of facilities to be wheelchair accessible. This means that accessible bathrooms can be found anywhere bathrooms are located in hotel lobbies, gas stations, restaurants, and other buildings within the cities your family decides to visit. You may find that accessible bathrooms will be easier to locate in areas with more tourists because more buildings and excursions are available.

When it comes to vacationing in Costa Rica in a wheelchair, you may consider working with a travel agency to help you plan the best possible trip. Tourists often visit Costa Rica between December and April because it is considered the dry season. You want to ensure your lodging and the activities you want to enjoy will be accessible for you. Be sure the city or cities you plan on visiting are wheelchair accessible so you can enjoy the wildlife and fun activities the beautiful country has to offer.

A Personal Experience to Consider

Traveler and wheelchair user Toney Dunlop reviewed his trip to Costa Rica on gowheeltheworld.com. He describes his experiences in Costa Rica to be incredible. He reflects on the warm and comfortable weather, the wheelchair accessible beaches, museums, and parks, the friendliness of the locals, and the ease of wheelchair accessible transport throughout the country. Toney was able to zipline, hike, surf, and kayak because each activity was tailored to people with disabilities. He highly recommends vacationing in Costa Rica. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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John Rabenau founded Costa Rica Escapes in 2006 and has planned countless Costa Rica family vacations, honeymoons, and adventure trips of all sizes. Costa Rica Escapes is an ICT Accredited Costa Rica Travel Agency based in both Costa Rica and Park City, Utah.

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