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Totally wheelchair accessible options in Vallarta

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Okay, so this post will have a lot of edits at time goes by. I want to talk about places that are totally wheelchair accessible for the clients of Beach Crossers Mobility Rentals in Puerto Vallarta and Nuevo Vallarta. I’ve asked a lot of people and there isn’t anything out there. Please comment if you have something to add. This may seem like I’m rambling and disorganized, but perhaps in the future when I have these scribbles to look at I will put together something more organized. Hopefully, even in this rough form this will be helpful to locals and visitors of Vallarta who are using a wheelchair to get around. I’m also going to mention places that we’ve found that are NOT accessible. When I have a good compilation, I’ll figure out some sort of organization.

Nuevo Vallarta/Bucerias and North

Resorts
I’ll start with Paradise Village because I am most familiar with that resort. They have some beautiful, fully accessible rooms. You can roll up to the sink in the kitchen and bathrooms, there is a roll in shower, the microwave is lowered, etc. It’s the most accessible room I’ve seen in Vallarta and I’ve seen several of the resorts. They are actually up to ADA standards which you don’t find in Mexico very often. To add to this description, I’ll mention that I have not seen another resort that has a ramp into the swimming pool. This is great, especially if you rent the Hippocampe or Sand Rider that can go into the water. There are definitely some things that could be better (like people park on the sidewalks or in front of the ramps, but … what can you do?)

The Rio Vallarta (according to our clients) has doors that are less than standard size. They had to take the wheels off of the Debug beach wheelchair in order to get it into the room. The rest of the resort seemed accessible though. If you have a narrow chair this might be a good place.

The Rio Jalisco has very small and very slow elevators, but we have rented a variety of chairs to clients at this resort. No one has ever complained about a lack of accessibility, so one could assume …  From our observation there are ramps and wide hallways and a very helpful staff (although the wait to get help can be lengthy).

Shopping
Paradise Plaza is mostly wheelchair accessible. Not much handicapped parking, but there is a parking garage with an elevator. There are some nice restaurants fast food, and a grocery store. The grocery store isn’t perfect because you have to enter through the exit, but it has wide isles once you get inside. Some of the boutiques are too stocked to allow a wheelchair access, but they are happy to bring items out for you to see. Again, not ideal, but pretty all around accessible.

Restaurants

I’ll have to work on this section. There are some accessible restaurants in 3.14, but I’m not sure about the restrooms. There are some restrooms in the center section of the building that are shared by all of the establishments. I believe these are accessible, but will need to go take a peek. La Dolce Vita and Mr. Cream’s are both accessible as is the Vallarta Salads and the Sushi place.

Sonora grill has some accessibility, but you will not be able to order your own food because the first step of the process requires just that, a big step of it’s own.

Outdoors
There is a fantastic path that is mostly finished that goes throughout the resort area. It is in the middle of the tree lined median with nice ramps to transition from each area. You could walk or roll the path for a few miles.

Also definitely worth mentioning is the free tourist shuttle. It looks like a trolley car and has a wheelchair lift. It takes you from Paradise Plaza, past the Mayan properties where there are many restaurants and shopping (we’ll have to explore, but there is at least a good attempt at accessibility). It goes past 3.14 and along Paseo de los Cocoteros, the street with all of the resorts on it’s way back to Paradise Plaza. It’s about a 40 minute route and they will let you off and pick you up most places along the way. It’s a fun, accessible, free tour of the neighborhood.

Marina/Hotel zone

The Mayan Palace in the Marina is pretty accessible. The room doors are narrow and some areas have walkways that are also narrow that make turning around a challenge. And, the elevators are equally narrow. That being said, the grounds are pretty good and the room we were in, although not ADA was far more accessible than some other resorts.

We had a client (para) stay at the Westin without any complaints. The grounds were definitely accessible.

Casa Magna Marriott seems accessible. We pushed a chair around and found ramps everywhere we went. We talked to some people who were using a wheelchair and they said they were not in an accessible room, but that the rooms were spacious so using a chair was not difficult. I’m not sure what the bath or kitchen are like. I know they have accessible rooms because this pair had stayed in the accessible room the year before and opted for a standard room this year.

We have a client at Villa Del Palmar that says the room is NOT very accessible. She is a para and has had some real challenges at that resort. In addition, they told the resort multiple times that they would need a wheelchair accessible van to go on the timeshare presentation and they showed up with a suburban expecting to lift her and her into a seat and her custom chair into the back. They didn’t go on the tour. They did pass along the Beach Crossers information so maybe they would use our accessible van in the future. Who knows?

Canto del Sol is NOT accessible. A great staff and they certainly try to help, but the rooms are small and not accessible. The grounds are pretty accessible and again, the staff is wonderful, but probably not the place if you are using a wheelchair.

Pelicanos has beautiful grounds that are accessible. We did not see the wheelchair accessible rooms, but the room we saw had plenty of space. The hallways and doors were a good size. The elevator was kind of small, but we have certainly seen smaller. We would need further information before recommending this resort, but our friends that stayed her loved the small size and when we visited we didn’t seen any major challenges for someone in a wheelchair.

El Centro

To the North of the River Cuale there are some restaurants that have sidewalk level outdoor seating. The restaurants are not accessible, but there is accessible seating. There is a place called Day Off that has music and drinks. Unfortunately, the restrooms are not accessible.

The Malecon
This is pretty funny, because if you ask people they will tell you that the Malecon is completely accessible, but it is NOT. The 12 block beach walk is beautifully accessible, but very few of the businesses could you get into with a wheelchair. Where there are ramps, they are steep and sometimes have a 90 degree turn somewhere along the way. There are ramps down to the beach and to the restrooms, but they are for both coming and going and if someone is walking down or up, there is no way to get a chair through. People are good about waiting at the top or bottom so the chair can pass, but …

Being a Starbucks fan I’ll say there we took Mom in her wheelchair to the Starbucks near the main plaza many times. It appears to be inaccessible, but through the entrance to the East of the store is a side entrance with a ramp. In addition, there is a restroom in that same area that, although difficult to get into, is open enough inside for a wheelchair to maneuver. I don’t believe there are any hand rails however.

Romantic Zone and South
My best experience with an accessible place in downtown is V 399. It’s a long story how we ended up staying in this very upscale condo complex, but we did. The room was accessible, the building accessible, and the rooftop terrace accessible. In addition, the neighborhood right around this building has mostly improved sidewalks with realistic ramps and wide sidewalks. You know sometimes in Vallarta there is a ramp that has a pole right in the middle of it? I should take some pictures LOL.

Andale’s Dance and Dinner
Our clients started at the North end of the Malecon looking for somewhere to have a drink and listen to music. They ended up all the way south in the romantic zone at Andele’s before they found someplace where she could get her chair inside. They wanted to do some dancing. There are some other places along the way that maybe they missed.

We had a client in a power chair go to Daiquiri Dicks. I don’t know about the restrooms, but the restaurant itself is accessible.

Villas Mediterraneos has to be mentioned because we stayed there. There is NOTHING about this place that is accessible. Stairs up, stairs down, stairs up again. It’s beautiful, but if stairs are an obstacle then this place is an obstacle course.

Garza Blanca.  We had some clients stay there and there were definite challenges. The room they had reserved was on the upside of the road. There is a shuttle that runs, but the shuttle is not wheelchair accessible. Fine if you can transfer, but impossible if not. The part of the resort that is on the ocean side of the road. is mostly accessible, with the exception of some small single steps here and there. They have a ramp that they built for our clients that is now available if you ask. They worked very hard to accommodate.

Other areas

One of my favorite restaurants is very accessible. It is a bit out of the way, but worth the drive. Just about 15 minutes East of Las Juntas in El Colorado. It is owned by a Martha who uses all of her mother and grandmother’s recipes, uses natural ingredients and is bilingual. The restaurant has a flat parking area, wide areas between tables, and accessible restrooms. Well worth the drive.


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