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Accessible tourism in Costa Rica: Panama Beach

Panama Beach in Guanacaste inaugurated an inclusive changing room, a 60-meter folding and retractable plastic wooden walkway for wheelchairs to access the sea, and a pair of modern amphibious chairs manufactured by experts.

Tiffany Contreras and Jacqueline Cortes were the first to use these new amenities, which allowed them to enjoy a wonderful day at the beach.

“We are delighted about this inauguration. My daughter loves the sea, and now she will be able to enjoy it,” said Ashley Contreras, mother of one of the young girls who inaugurated the walkway.

Panama Beach is now the country’s thirteenth accessible beach, reaffirming the country’s commitment to inclusion.

This state-of-the-art inclusive changing table was manufactured under the guidelines of Changing Places of England, certified by Inclusive Changing Places of Spain, and complies with all European standards of universal accessibility.

This initiative was possible thanks to the cooperation between the Costa Rican Network of Accessible Tourism with its project Dona Tapa and the Costa Rican Tourism Institute (ICT).

“Costa Rica’s tourism model is inclusive, sustainable, and innovative. This is the thirteenth accessible beach in the country and the fourth in Guanacaste. Undoubtedly, this places us before the world as a destination that opens its doors to people with disabilities so they can enjoy the country’s natural wealth,” said Alberto Lopez, General Manager of the ICT.

Lopez added that this will allow tourists to enjoy the country’s natural beauties and create awareness “on sustainability and inclusivity issues.”

Stephanie Sheehy, director of the Costa Rican Network of Accessible Tourism, explained that these spaces are created so that people have a dignified, comfortable, and adequate space for their needs.

The spaces feature an entrance ramp with a handrail, a wide door with accessible locks and bars, non-slip floors, a transfer crane, a toilet of adequate height and folding bars on the sides, mirrors, an accessible sink with bars, electric changing bed, bath chair, shower, telephone, emergency button, lighting, and ventilation. In addition, an external shower was installed outside.

The company AIRBNB donated the inclusive changing table installed and will operate daily from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm.

“We are confident that these accommodations will promote tourism to locals and foreigners with disabilities,” noted Carlos Muñoz, Director of Public Affairs at Airbnb.

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