Heading into 2018, Dave and I plan to travel as much as we can and there are hundreds of places that I want to visit and explore, but accessibility can prove problematic. With this is mind, I have compiled a list of 5 accessible (and improving) places to visit in 2018! We’ve already ticked a few of these off our list…Is anyone planning to visit these awesome places this year? If so let us know…
Seoul, South Korea
South Korea is somewhere I have never really thought of visiting but I have recently become quite obsessed with South Korean TV series on Netflix (I recommend Black btw!). South Korea is not the most accessible place to travel but as soon to be host of the 2018 Winter Paralympics, accessibility is improving albeit slowly. The subway systems and airport of the capital city Seoul, are thought to be some of the world’s best public transportation for wheelchair users and the top tourist attractions in Seoul are mostly easily accessible. With beautiful landscapes, vibrant cities and 5000 years of history and culture, South Korea is a true delight. The capital city, Seoul and the olympic host city of Pyeong Chang are probably the best areas to visit to give maximum accessibility. Pre-planning is definitely needed when visiting South Korea, but as 7th most visited city in 2017 according to Conde Nast Traveller with approximately 12.44 million visitors last year, it is definitely worth the effort.
Playa Del Carmen, Mexico
We can personally recommend, the city of Playa del Carmen, found along the coast from Cancun in Quintana Roo on the Yucutan Peninsula. Although not as busy as Cancun, the trendy city is increasing in popularity, particularly with Europeans. During our time here we stayed at the beautiful Grand Velas which we can highly recommend. The city itself is easy to access via taxi, the main shopping area situated along 5th Avenue near Quinta Alegria Shopping Centre is a vibrant place to explore, with numerous boutique shops, restaurants and more. The majority of shops and restaurants were accessible and the roads are all flat with the occasional curb. One of our best highlights of Playa del Carmen was the incredible Cirque du Soleil, Joya. Wheelchair friendly with excellent access and early entry, this has to be the best Cirque du Soleil experiences we have had and this was Dave’s 10th+ show, we recommend going for the dinner and show as it really is an experience you will never forget! You can find out more here.
Having previously worked on Galapagos conservation programmes, this small but biodiverse country is near the top of my list to visit. Ecuador is not the most accessible country to visit and many areas are unfortunately not easily reached but the accessibility of this beautiful country is improving thanks to the world's first wheelchair bound president, Lenin Moren, who was nominated for a Nobel peace prize for his advocacy for people with disabilities. This country is abound with stunning landscapes and culture and if you are ok with having a helping hand you can still enjoy the most popular attractions in Peru. An amazing organisation called Accessible Travel Peru provide accessible tours into the Peruvian jungle, up to Cuzco and Lima and to Machu Picchu, enabling everyone to experience the beauty of Peru, taking non accessible tours and making them accessible for all.
The beautiful coastal city of Vancouver is the best city to live in the world and I can understand why. After an incredible trip to Vancouver in 2017, we cannot speak any more highly of this progressive city. The vast majority of attractions and shops along Robson Street and the characterful Gastown, have entrances at street level. Most shops throughout Vancouver are accessible including the picturesque and quirky Granville Island and Market that is easily reached by taxi but also has numerous disabled parking spots, easy entry to all shops and accessible restrooms. We visited many attractions including Stanley Park, Vancouver Aquarium, Grouse Mountain, Vancouver Lookout and Canada Place are all easily accessible. We would also recommend travelling outside of Vancouver to Whistler, host of the 2010 Paralympic Games, this village was built to be accessible with a fantastic range of wheelchair sports throughout the year, visit Whistler Adaptive here.
Although the capital of Catalonia is currently seeing a little unrest due to political issues, this enchanting seaside city of Barcelona is still worth a visit. With stunning beaches such as La Barceloneta with a wheelchair accessible promenade running for miles, lined with lively restaurants and bars, gives wheelchair users easy access to explore the area. Several beaches also have wheelchair accessible boardwalks extending to the ocean with water wheelchairs available at different spots. For those happy to stick to land, the majority of attractions throughout Barcelona are accessible such as incredible 14th century cathedrals, museums, gardens, beaches and architecture to admire. The bus system is a better choice for wheelchair users as several metro stations are not accessible, whereas all the buses have ramps onboard. This is a great option for a long weekend away in Europe and with a fantastic Accessible Tourism website, planning is made a doddle!
These are just a few suggestions of places to visit but it would be great to hear your thoughts on the best accessible places to visit!