Which Caribbean islands are the most wheelchair-accessible?

Jul 12, 2021

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The Caribbean is stunningly beautiful and the perfect place to visit if you’re looking for some fun in the sun. And after the past year and a half, I think we all deserve a piña colada or four while relaxing under a palm tree, right?! If you are looking for a tropical destination for an upcoming trip, the Caribbean is a spectacular place to consider, but for wheelchair users, accessibility can be a bit hit or miss depending on which island(s) you visit specifically.

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Accessibility certainly varies across the Caribbean, but many of the most popular islands are wheelchair-friendly. Whether you want to enjoy accessible tours or simply float in the Caribbean Sea, almost anything is possible if you know where to travel and which companies to use once you’re there.

Here are some of the most wheelchair-accessible Caribbean destinations.

Aruba

Floating the day away in Aruba. (Photo by Cory Lee)

In Aruba, a popular saying is “Biba dushi”, which means “Living the good life”. If you visit the island, that’s exactly what you’ll be doing. You can live the good life, no matter what your abilities are, thanks to various companies that are focused on improving accessibility in Aruba.

Companies like Adapted Happy Wheels (reach them at 297-568-4787) have beach wheelchairs for rent and if you are looking for a proper in-depth tour of the island, Accessible Caribbean Vacations and Chogogo Tours offer fully accessible tours with adapted transportation. You can visit the most notable sights, such as the Natural Bridge and the California Lighthouse, on a full-day tour or if you’ll be in Aruba for multiple days, you can arrange accessible transportation for your entire trip.

Related: 10 wheelchair-accessible tour companies that are changing the travel industry

Bahamas

Not technically in the Caribbean but still Caribbean-esque, the Bahamas consists of approximately 700 islands, and only about 30 of them are inhabited by people. While there are a few great islands that are worth seeing in the Bahamas, New Providence Island (home to the capital city of Nassau) and Paradise Island are the most wheelchair-friendly.

Paradise Island is most known for its stunning Atlantis Resort. The Atlantis has 30 accessible rooms, a casino, more than 20 restaurants, a waterpark, an aquarium, zero-entry pools, and beach wheelchairs are available for guests … just to name a few of the many things that make the Atlantis a phenomenal place to stay for wheelchair users.

Related: The most wheelchair-accessible beach destinations in the US

If you’d like to get away from the Atlantis for a few hours (or if you choose to stay elsewhere), accessible transportation is available from Courteous Transfers & Tours or Accessible Caribbean Vacations. Their adapted vehicles can take you all around the island, whether you want to try conch fritters at one of the best restaurants in Nassau or visit the open-air Straw Market.

Barbados

Another accessible destination in the Southern Caribbean is the island of Barbados. However, Barbados is not just one of the Southern Caribbean’s most accessible places, it’s one of the best wheelchair-friendly destinations in all of North America.

Related: These are the most wheelchair-accessible cities around the world

The Barbados Council for the Disabled has a program called Fully Accessible Barbados, which aims to create an inclusive island. FAB has beach wheelchair rentals and on their website, they have a lot of information about accessible things to do and hotel options. For accessible transportation while in Barbados, Blessed Rentals has specially equipped vans and they can arrange fully accessible private tours as well. If you’re up for an adventure, you could go caving at Harrison’s Cave. The cave is surprisingly wheelchair-accessible and touring it will give you some time to cool down after enjoying the beaches.

Jamaica

Jamaica is the birthplace of reggae and one of the most relaxing, and accessible, places in the Caribbean. The food is delicious, there are a variety of beautiful sights from coast to coast, and Jamaicans are some of the friendliest people on earth.

If you are a wheelchair user, you are in luck because there are some wonderful tour companies in Jamaica that specialize in accessibility: Jamaica Wheelchair Taxi and Ken’s Wheelchair Service & Tours. Both companies offer airport transfers and fully customized tours. There are wheelchair-accessible tours to the notable Dunn’s River Falls, the beaches in Falmouth and even Bob Marley-inspired tours. No matter what you are hoping to get out of a trip to Jamaica, almost anything is possible.

Related: Open for business: What to know about getting to Jamaica on points this summer

Puerto Rico

Castillo San Felipe del Morro in Puerto Rico. (Photo by Cory Lee)

Many aspects of Puerto Rico are fantastic, such as the beaches, the history and its plethora of attractions. One of the best things about Puerto Rico though is the fact that you don’t even need a passport to visit from the U.S. So, whether you are a frequent jet-setter or new to traveling internationally, this could be an ideal accessible destination for you.

Related: 7 air travel tips for wheelchair users

Companies such as Adames Luxury Transportation and Go Puerto Rico Shuttle offer adapted transportation and tours around the island. Some tour possibilities may include the El Yunque National Forest, a tropical rainforest, or San Juan sights like Castillo San Felipe del Morro or the Bacardi distillery. There are so many fun and accessible things to do in Puerto Rico that you’ll likely have a difficult time deciding on a final itinerary.

Featured photo by VW Pics/Getty Images.

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