View Full Version : Tours?
November 19th, 2005, 07:10 PM
Anyone with experience taking tours with a wheelchair in Limon, Costa Rica; Aruba; Ocho Rios; or Colon, Panama?
Three of us will be accompanying my mother in law who will be in the wheelchair and all the tours I see on the X site require walking.
November 19th, 2005, 11:01 PM
In Colon, the best trip, and the most accessible, was the train trip from Colon to Panama City. You saw the canal, the Bridge of the Americas and there was a short shopping trip in Panama City. The train is accessible and very, very comfortable.
November 19th, 2005, 11:41 PM
While many tours indicate they require walking, you can choose which of the stops you get off. Pick a tour that has frequent stops, which generally means there is really little distance walking. My mother used to stay on the bus selectively when she could still get on a bus (no longer, now we need a bus or van with a lift). She would take a book or just talk to the driver, but always enjoyed the sights from the bus (better than staying on the ship). If she can get up the steps into a bus or van, this would probably be easiest, otherwise you may want to stick to car rentals or cabs.
December 6th, 2005, 09:21 PM
Here is a link to a company that does wheelchair accessible tours in Costa Rica. They have a lift van.
We did not take this tour choosing instead to go zip lining. I am a T5 para but I would not recommend this to most people. I had to be repelled 100 feet into the air which I loved but I do not think it is suitable for your Mom.
On Ocho Rios we took a tour with Oscar Brown. He was great about getting my chair in and out and helping my husband lift me. There were 9 of us I believe in our family. I will look for his number but I know he is mentioned a lot on the ports thread.
In Panama we chose to stay on the ship and enjoy the canal which I highly recommend.
December 6th, 2005, 09:25 PM
PS here is an email address for information on tours on RCL, I would assume they could help you with X as well.
The person's name is Javier.
December 7th, 2005, 02:42 PM
We have been to all the ports you have mentioned and if your mother-in-law can get on a bus or transfer to a taxi, there are options at each.
Limon: My husband could still get onto a bus with assistance so we took the ship's Tortuguero Canal excursion. Once at the canal, there were men willing to carry my husband, in his wheelchair, onto and off of the boat. The canal ride was interesting and the guide informative, but we did not see as many animals as I has hoped. Those animals we did see were up in the trees so I would suggest taking binoculars if you go.
Aruba: We have been to Aruba several times. The first time, we just went to the shopping area which was accessible. The second time we took a van tour of the island. In addition, we have not been there, but their tourist board told me that the butterfly farm is accessible.
Ocho Rios: We also have been there twice. The first time we took a van tour. Most tours include Dunns River Falls which is not accessible, but my husband enjoyed watching the drivers play dominos while we climbed the falls. The first level of the duty free shopping area was also accessible.
Colon: My husband did not get off the boat in Colon because it was an unscheduled stop and Celebrity's excursion desk told us that there were no accessible tours. However, I went on the aerial tram tour and felt it was fairly accessible. In fact my guide on the tram was surprised that I had been told that because the tram entrance was ramped and they have several cars designed for wheelchairs. Note: The lookout tower at the top of the hill is also ramped, but it might be hard to push someone up it.
December 19th, 2005, 12:36 AM
Mambo Tours has a lift van for wheelchair bound I have to recommend Mambo tours if you have someone who is wheelchair bound. We were in Puerto Limon in December on the Rotterdam and we had not made previous arrangements even though I had done much research on this website. My father is in an electric wheelchair and was sure he wouldn't be able to do much more than cruise around town in his chair.
The man at the Mambo Tour booth insisted that he could get a van with a lift if we just wanted. We said yes and negociated for $25 per person to go to the Canals, to the restaurant up on the hill, to the banana plantation, to see a sloth, and to tour the city. There ended up being 7 of us besides my father, a driver and a translator. When we got to the canals, we thought my father would have to stay there, but these fellows who were fishing said, no, they would lift him up, carry him down the steps and put him in the boat. We thought this would be impossible because my father weighs about 250lbs, but they did it with no problem. We put the wheelchair back in the van and toured the canal. It was great! When we returned the fellows picked my father up like a sack of potatoes and put him right back in the wheelchair. They wouldn't even accept a tip or anything! We were very touched by their kindness.
It was a great tour that was made even better by my father's being able to particpate with us. Mambo Tours' lift van allowed us to have a great visit to Costa Rica.
January 14th, 2006, 07:15 PM
In regards to the canel cruise in Limon -- was the assistance only need to get on & off of the boat? was the wheelchair able to be used as soon as you were back on land or was it a rough surface?
He is able to walk short distances and is able to walk a few stairs, how many steps are there to get on the canal boat?
January 14th, 2006, 09:07 PM
Yes the wheelchair can be used except for getting on/off the boat. In fact, my husband who can not walk was in his chair from the time we left the bus until we returned, including while on the boat.
February 19th, 2006, 06:47 PM
Call the cruise line directly they have special people to advise you and these issues.
February 20th, 2006, 09:58 AM
In Jamaica there is a tour/taxi that has a wheelchair lift. We didn't use it, but I remember reading about it on the boards. Do a search of this board and of the Jamica port board. When we go to Jamaica, we have booked with A-Z Planners and they have arranged everything for us, including the wheelchair lift van.
February 22nd, 2006, 10:50 PM
Most cruise lines are totally clueless about accessible tours. Even in USA ports they are less than helpful. We find it much better to make our own arrangements than to depend upon them. They think an accessible tour is one that lets you put your wheelchair under the bus....I would be rich for every time I have heard "This tour is accessible, there are only 2-3 steps into the van (or bus)"!!!! They are clueless about the needs of people who cannot walk or stand at all.
February 22nd, 2006, 11:34 PM
I agree with Splinter.
yes, the cruise lines have a special needs department, but for the most part they are clueless about access on shore excursions. They know about the ship and the accessible cabins, but the shore excursions are another matter entirely.
Actually, I found that very few people in the shore excursion department have even taken their own shore excursions (this should be the first question you ask -- "have you taken that shore excursion?" and "when?").
Anyway, yes in cruise line terminology "accessible shore excursion" means that you can get up out of your wheelchair and walk a few steps, walk up the steps to the bus and transfer to a coach seat and have your wc stored below. There are some exceptions, but they are few and far between. It's much better to arrange accessible (accessible to you) shore excursions yourself. Just give yourself plenty of time to get back to the ship and you will be fine.
Now I realize that there are plenty of folks who read this board who *can* walk a few steps and do the bus transfer. If so, then the accessible shore excursions will probably be just fine for you. They are just not meant for full time wc-users who can’t walk at all.