10 wheelchair-accessible tour companies that are changing the travel industry
Editor’s note: This is a recurring post, regularly updated with new information and offers.
Planning a trip as a wheelchair user can be complicated, to say the least. Searching hours-on-end for the perfect accessible hotel, figuring out which modes of transportation are accessible, and compiling lists of accessible must-see attractions can certainly be stressful and time-consuming. But what if there was a way to eliminate a lot of the stress that comes with planning a wheelchair-friendly vacation? Well, there is and I’d love to tell you all about it.
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Around the world, there are a variety of tour companies that specialize in accessibility. They organize accessible transportation and accommodations and know which attractions are accessible so that you don’t have to plan anything. Instead, you can simply look forward to your vacation and know that all of the planning is in good hands.
Whether you want to see waterfalls in Iceland, roll on the equator in Ecuador, go on a safari or something else, almost any experience is possible with the 10 companies that are featured below. Each one offers accessible tours, and while these are by no means the only accessibility-focused tour companies in the world, they are some of the best
If you have ever dreamed of visiting New Zealand, Ability Adventures can turn your dream into reality. They are New Zealand’s outstanding accessible travel company and cater to all disabilities. Whether you are a wheelchair user, hard of hearing, blind or a slow walker, they have a plethora of tour options to suit your accessibility needs. You can explore national parks, see heritage sites, cruise fjords or even go bungee jumping if you’re feeling particularly adventurous. (Note that New Zealand continues to be closed to foreign travelers in 2021 due to the COVID pandemic.) Learn more about Ability Adventures here.
Related: 5 tips for going on a cruise as a wheelchair user
Accessible Caribbean Vacations
After the past year and a half, the Caribbean has never sounded so great, right?! If relaxing on a Caribbean island sounds nice to you, consider checking out Accessible Caribbean Vacations. This company offers accessible tours and shore excursions in more than 20 Caribbean destinations. They can also book accessible cruises for guests and arrange fully accessible shore excursions for each port of call. Whether you’re cruising the Caribbean or flying in to a destination, Accessible Caribbean Vacations can be sure that you have a fun and accessible experience. Learn more about Accessible Caribbean Vacations here.
Related: The most wheelchair-accessible beach destinations in the U.S.
Disabled Accessible Travel
Europe has so many destinations that are worth visiting, but no matter which part of Europe you’re most interested in, there is a good chance that Disabled Accessible Travel offers tours there. The company offers accessible shore excursions, accessible land-based tours, and mobility equipment rental. From popular destinations like Italy and Spain to lesser-known places like Latvia, Disabled Accessible Travel can take care of all of your accessibility needs. Learn more about Disabled Accessible Travel here.
Related: 7 air travel tips for wheelchair users
Going on a safari is on most people’s bucket list and Epic Enabled is making that once-in-a-lifetime experience possible for travelers with disabilities in South Africa. The company leads monthly group tours on safari in Kruger National Park and a private game reserve with an accessible safari truck, but accessible tours are also available in the beautiful city of Cape Town. If you want to see lions, elephants, giraffes, hippos and more in their natural environment, consider going on a safari with Epic Enabled. Learn more about Epic Enabled here.
Related: 12 Unusual Safaris You Can Try Around the World
Do you want to see the northern lights, swim in hot springs or view majestic waterfalls? If so, Iceland could be the ideal destination for you. Iceland Unlimited’s founder and owner, Jón Gunnar Benjaminsson, is a wheelchair user himself, so he knows firsthand which activities to recommend to fellow wheelchair users. His company can organize accessible trips throughout the entire country. Learn more about Iceland Unlimited here.
Related: Best northern lights adventures for families
Il Viaggio Travel
Central America is known for not being the most accommodating for wheelchair users, but when it comes to Costa Rica, it’s a whole different story. Thanks to Il Viaggio Travel, wheelchair users can experience all that Costa Rica has to offer. Adapted transportation is available and you can go on customized tours to the rainforest, in the capital city of San Jose, or even try adaptive surfing at the country’s best beaches. Learn more about Il Viaggio Travel here.
Related: These are the most wheelchair-accessible cities around the world
Latin America for All
South America is full of remarkable destinations that are worth experiencing, and if you are interested in visiting Ecuador and the Galapagos, Peru or Argentina, you need to check out Latin America for All. This company plans everything for you so that you can fully enjoy these three destinations. While accessibility between the three countries does vary to some degree, Latin America for All can customize your trip and make your itinerary as accessible for you as possible. Learn more about Latin America for All here.
Morocco Accessible Travel Consultants
Morocco is a destination that I knew nothing about before visiting, but it quickly became one of my favorite places thanks to a phenomenal trip with Morocco Accessible Travel Consultants. The company has adapted transportation and can customize itineraries for each traveler, depending on the traveler’s needs. You can explore popular cities like Casablanca, Fes, and Marrakech, or even stay in the Sahara desert. Morocco Accessible Travel Consultants also created an adapted camel saddle to give wheelchair users the ability to safely and comfortably ride a camel in the desert. Learn more about Morocco Accessible Travel Consultants here.
Related: 10 things to know before you go to Morocco
Estonia is a European country that is often skipped over unless it falls on a cruise itinerary, but it is completely worth visiting whether you’re on a Scandinavian cruise or not. The capital city of Tallinn is gorgeous, but there are accessible experiences outside of the city as well, including hiking/rolling on a smooth boardwalk trail in a bog in Lahemaa National Park. Saku Travel has accessible transportation that can get you around the country and the fantastic guides sure know how to show wheelchair users a good time. Learn more about Saku Travel here.
Wheel the World
Wheel the World has quickly become one of the leading companies devoted to accessible tours. They offer accessible tours in more than a dozen countries, providing transportation and plenty of accessible things to do, including some pretty adventurous and epic experiences. With Wheel the World, you can roll around Easter Island, soar on a zipline in Mexico or even go dune bashing in Qatar ... just to name a few. Learn more about Wheel the World here.
All photos courtesy of the author