Although there is an Equal Opportunities for Disabled Persons Law, its provisions are much less strict than those of similar laws in first world countries. Still, it is a small move in the right direction for disabled people.
Unfortunately the law only applies to new or newly remodeled businesses) including hotels and restaurants), so older businesses (built prior to the mid 1990s) are exempt. New businesses are required to have a barrier-free entrance for disabled people.
Realistically, independent travel is difficult for disabled people. For example very few hotels and restaurants, except for the newest, have features specifically suited to wheelchair use. Many don't even have the basic minimum of the wheelchair ramp and room or bathroom doors wide enough to accommodate a wheelchair. Special Phones for hearing impaired people or signs in Braille for blind people are very rare.
Outside the buildings, streets and sidewalks are potholed and poorly paved, often making wheelchair use frustrating at best. Public buses don't have provisions to carry wheelchairs.
Most National Parks and outdoor tourist attractions have trails not suited to wheelchair use. Notable exceptions include Volcán Poás, which has a wheelchair-accessible path up to the crater viewing area, and the Rainforest Aerial Tram.
Pictures by Jörn Malek. The team of 1-CostaRicaLink and Costa-Rica-Information-Mobile wishes you the best of times in our little paradise called Costa Rica.
Text by Lonely Planet.
This Web-Site is managed by Angela Malek, Ciudad Colón, province of San José, CR-10701 Costa Rica, Central America.