I recently spent six days in Costa Rica enjoying everything the country has to offer through Costa Rica Family Holidays and Family Travel Association. We could not have truly enjoyed these beautiful sites without our amazing tour guide Luis Diego Soto from Il Viaggio Travel.
Visiting these amazing locations, I could not help but think about the people in my life that may have passed up an opportunity like this because of their accessibility issues. They may have denied themselves of the experience of a lifetime by assuming that these places were not accessible for them.
Everyone should have the right to travel and experience what different cultures have to offer. Obstacles like physical, sensory, and mental disabilities should not prevent tourism. Age should not stop someone from traveling. Some people don’t get to experience traveling until later on in their life. Why not make it more accessible? Disabled holidays abroad have become possible.
There are so many places to visit in Costa Rica that are fully accessible. Thanks to the implementation of a law called Law 7600 (Law on Equal Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities), Costa Rica has become an accessible tourism destination.
Here are five of the many accessible places I visited. They are all members of the The Costa Rican Accessible Tourism Network whose mission is to “unite people, organizations, and companies to make visible, raise awareness and support the development of accessible tourism for people with disabilities, giving solidity to the links of the “accessibility chain” that guarantees a satisfactory leisure experience for all people.”
Coffee production plays a key role in Costa Rica’s history. Costa Rica is what it is because of coffee. It plays a huge part in their history. Whether you want to plant a tree, learn about the growing stages of the coffee bean, or pick the beans yourselves, you will get a firsthand look at coffee production on a working coffee farm.
Espiritu Santo Coffee Tour en Naranjo is in the center of Naranjo, on the way to La Fortuna of San Carlos; just 10 minutes away from Sarchí.While at the farm, you will be educated on the four stages of the coffee bean.
You will learn the process from plantation to brewing. It’s a great activity for the whole family that you can experience in a natural and welcoming environment.
Don’t forget to enjoy a cup of the finest Costa Rican coffee.
Here you can appreciate the beauty and nature of Costa Rica while crossing 15 bridges, 6 of them hanging bridges. When you get to the end, you can see the breathtaking view of the Arenal Volcano.
Mistico Arenal Hanging Bridge Park is not just a park, but a place where you can be in direct contact with nature, including a mistico night walk and a guided bird tour.
Mistico Park provides a high level of accessibility to appeal to a wide variety of guests. The trails have no stairs, they have protective railings, and the surface material is anti-slip concrete. Mistico Park offers a main trail, an accessible trail (visit 6 fixed bridges, optional 2 hanging bridges), and a bird observation trail. Check out the 5 accessible tourism experiences to enjoy at Mistico Park.
fun fact: The Arenal Volcano has the third most geometrically perfect volcano cone shape in the world.
Arenal Volcano is one of the world’s most active volcanoes and is responsible for the geothermal activity in La Fortuna. The volcano is the reason why there are so many natural hot springs there in the area.
If you want to get really close to nature, are feeling adventurous, and enjoy a little adrenaline rush, the canopy Ecoglide Arenal Park is the place to be. It is located about 2 miles west of the Catholic church in La Fortuna de San Carlos.
It has 13 cables and 15 platforms, most of which are located in the trees so you are up close and personal with the nature, flora and fauna of the rainforest. Ziplining is definitely an experience.
The zipline course is divided into 3 sections, the first consisting of 8 wires and 9 platforms with a length of 600 feet, and an average height of 80 feet, which immerses you full into the rainforest.
During the second section you will swing like Tarzan with the Tarzan Swing.
The third section is made of 5 cables and 6 platforms with lengths ranging from 300 feet to over 1,400 feet.
I am afraid of heights but with the help of the team at Ecoglide Arenal Park who guided me and encouraged me, I had a truly memorable experience. The team at Ecoglide Arenal Park is definitely there for you. They will work with you if you have any apprehension, and make sure your kids can enjoy the experience as well, should they want to participate. If you have a disability the team is there to make sure you can enjoy the course in the same way everyone else does, all at no extra charge, of course. This activity is suitable for the whole family, children, the elderly, people with limited physical abilities, etc.
They also do a “dry run” on the ground so you know what to expect. That was really helpful! The Arenal Ecoglide Park is an experience of a lifetime.
I visited the Sarchi Artisan Village in Sarchí, Alajuela, best known for the vibrant, bright-colored oxcarts that are handcrafted and sold all over the country.
The oxcarts are a national symbol in Costa Rica, and play a key role in the country’s history. They were used to transport coffee beans to other markets and ports.
The painting workshop was my favorite part of the tour, as we got to be involved in the painting process.
You can take the kids to visit the factory where you will learn about the history, and the whole family can paint their own Sarchi signature piece. Someone will show you step by step how to paint it, and you can take it home with you.
You will see the artists there painting the famous designs on trays and decorative ox carts. You can also buy these hand crafted items, including the oxcarts, from the gift shop.
fun fact: the oxcarts are also used in celebrations and parades all over Costa Rica.
The Corso Lecheria Tour was one of my favorite tours. There is so much to do and see for the whole family! You can also have lunch there at their restaurant. I recommend going on the tour first to avoid any late afternoon showers.
The Corso Lecheria Tour has a huge open pasture with cows grazing next to an open air safe playground.
It was quite interesting and it will be memorable for the kids as well! The calves and cows are very docile so the hand milking is easy if it’s your first time.
We even got to try the strawberries which are also used to make fresh strawberry milkshakes and ice cream that you can later purchase on the premises.
fun fact: this plant is called the sombrilla del pobre (gunnera insignis) – the poor man’s umbrella.
We had a great time visiting these awesome places. They are all a part of the Costa Rica Accessible Tourism Directory which has helped remove the barriers that previously prevented some people from fully experiencing Costa Rica.
Costa Rica is beautiful. Don’t let yourself or anyone you know miss out on this beautiful country. It’s accessible and waiting for you. For more information, contact Il Viaggio Travel.