Exploring a Wheelchair Accessible Caribbean
International travel poses many challenges for wheelchair users and the nature of most Caribbean destinations has equated to a large avoidance by those with mobility impairments. However, the good news is that many more Caribbean islands are going to great lengths to make their spaces accessible to all. Now, with some careful planning, you’ll be able to experience the Caribbean the way it should be – filled with fun, sunshine, crystal clear waters, and adventure!
On Paradise Island in the Bahamas, you’ll find the Atlantis Resort which offers excellent access for wheelchair users and those with mobility impairments. You’ll be provided with a detailed access guide with all the necessary information and, like many Caribbean resorts, Atlantis also offers zero-entry pools so that those with impaired mobility are able to take a refreshing dip with ease. However, the resort does cover an area of 1.6km and the resort shuttles are not wheelchair accessible so it would be wise to hire an electric scooter for the visit.
The island country of Barbados isn’t particularly large and can therefore be circled by car in just 4 hours and offers a wide variety of attractions which are accessible by wheelchair users and those with mobility impairments. You’ll even be able to take an incredible tour of the caverns of Harrison’s Cave by tram thanks to a wheelchair accessible car and then take in the breathtaking views from Cherry Tree Hill, which is almost as awe-inspiring as Canadian mobile casinos. Guests at the Hilton Barbados Resort also have access to floating beach wheelchairs at no extra charge.
Many of the major tourist destinations in Puerto Rico are at least partly accessible, such as the El Morro fortress and the Bacardi Distillery in San Juan, and Luquillo Beach offers a specially designed area for visitors with mobility impairments. As Old San Juan consists largely of cobblestone streets and very steep streets, the best way for mobility impaired visitors to see the area is by making use of a wheelchair-friendly tour thanks to vans which make use of lifts.
The island of Saint Martin is divided into two countries commonly known as the French side and the Dutch side. The main cities are largely flat with excellent wheelchair access on sidewalks and easy access to restaurants and shops. The fact that you’ll be able to gain access to the shops is an important one as the locally made chocolate is something that simply has to be experienced! If you’re keen to explore the more mountainous areas, you’ll be able to do so by arranging an accessible tour.
While the island of Saint Thomas is rather hilly, there are a good number of wheelchair accessible vans for hire, pavements with curb cuts, and much of Charlotte Amalie is flat with excellent wheelchair access to shops and restaurants. The island also has one of the largest selections of accessible water activities in the Caribbean, including scuba diving.