There are many things I thought I would never see happen for wheelchair users that I turned out to be wrong about…
- I never thought skiing would be wheelchair accessible, but it is.
- I never thought African safaris would be wheelchair accessible, but they are.
- But what I REALLY never thought would happen: wheelchair accessible eco-tourism. I am once again blissfully wrong!
Brazil has put effort into Accessible Tourism programs. These don’t just let you look at the amazing landscapes from afar, but actually engage in nature!
Different communities are making changes to vastly improve accessibility to nature. Now there are a wide variety of locations and activities disabled travelers can participate in. There are accessible hikes, beaches, and even water sports like rafting! Even the coral pools off Pajuçara Beach have become accessible using specially equipped boats.
It is really neat to see how these groups take initiative and ingeniously make nature accessible while still respecting and conserving nature. For example, this ramp… I’m sure it would not stand up to ADA regulations but it preserves the environment, culture, and integrity of the entire experience. It’s these types of efforts that are so amazing to see (for me! at least!!)
This is such a good example of using resources you have available to make creative solutions. It in no way detracts from the natural beauty, but rather incorporates the beauty of a raw incarnation of human ingenuity. It stays true to the spirit of eco-tourism and offers disabled tourists an authentic experience.
What other opportunities have surprised you for being accessible?