In January 2019, I went on a fantastic 10-night partial-transit Panama Canal cruise on the Island Princess. In addition to going through the Gatun Locks in the Canal, we called on several beautiful ports, including Limón, Costa Rica. I wasn’t too optimistic about my shore excursion options or accessible transportation in general. However, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that Princess Cruise Lines offers a wheelchair accessible shore excursion to the Veragua Rainforest Eco-Adventure Park, about an hour’s drive from the Port of Limón. Here are the details of my day at the Park in a small power chair.
After disembarking the Island Princess, I met my tour group at the end of the pier and boarded a large coach bus using a built-in electric lift. I had previously provided the dimensions of my Whill Ci to Guest Services since there were space and weight limits for the bus. The weight limit for this tour was 350 lbs (chair and rider combined), and any chair or scooter longer than 40 inches or wider than 25 inches would definitely not fit in the bus. The drive from the port to the Park up in the mountains took about one hour each way, and it was verybumpy. If you get car sick at all, definitely pop some Dramamine before the tour.
Upon arriving at Veragua, our group gathered in the open-air visitors’ center and split up into three smaller groups. You could choose the more strenuous route, which included a hike to see a waterfall, or the easy no-steps route. We started our tour on a winding paved path that took us past countless species of plants and colorful flowers, and we stopped at stunning overlooks for photos. We then stopped at fascinating exhibits housing dozens of species of both venomous and non-venomous frogs, snakes, and lizards that live in the Park. As we walked, our guide frequently stopped to point out interesting facts about the plants, and even clapped back and forth with a distant howler monkey. At one point during the tour, we stopped in a small classroom where we heard a fascinating 10-minute presentation about the Park’s conservation efforts, animal monitoring, and work towards mitigating the effects of climate change on the Veragua rain forest.
One of my favorite parts of the tour was visiting the butterfly habitat, which was a lovely enclosed garden filled with flowering plants and colorful butterflies everywhere. But the best part of the day was taking the accessible open-air tram over the rainforest canopy down to the riverbed! They have a ramp nearby that they used to easily get me into the tram car. At the bottom of the ride, we took a beautiful shaded stroll along a boardwalk that meandered under the canopy at the bottom of the rain forest. It was the middle of a warm day, so most of the animals were sleeping or hiding from the noisy tourists, but we did spot plenty of lizards and tiny frogs.
At the end of the tour, we were provided with a quick lunch break before boarding the bus. The café area has designated accessible toilet stalls and a small gift shop. All the paths throughout the entire park were either paved or wooden boardwalks, and the few inclines were very gradual. The live animal exhibits were all at a level where I could see inside without having to crane my neck. There was only one place where I had to take a short detour to go around some stairs to reach the butterfly habitat.
Bottom Line: If you have plans to stop at the Port of Limón in Costa Rica on a cruise, or will be visiting near the area during a land-based trip, I strongly recommend booking an accessible shore excursion or otherwise taking a day trip to the Veragua Rainforest Eco-Adventure Park. It’s an amazing way to experience the Costa Rican rain forest in a short period of time, and it’s definitely accessible and welcoming to wheelchair users.
Are you interested in booking a wheelchair accessible cruise with an itinerary that stops in Limon, Costa Rica? Contact me at Spin the Globe/Travel so we can get started!