Just north of Jaco town, Playa Herradura has become the 13th beach in Costa Rica that is handicap-accessible. A 48-meter-long retractable walkway was added to the beach to enable those in wheelchairs to reach the shoreline, and two amphibious chairs were installed as well.
The initiative was put into place by Donatapa, an environmental and social responsibility project that is part of the Costa Rican Accessible Tourism Network. Improving accessibility of beaches around the country is the organization’s flagship project. With the aid of the Garabito Municipality and the Boston Scientific Company as well as the Tourism Institute, Donatapa built the walkway at Playa Herradura.
The beach gets its name from the “horseshoe” shape of the shoreline. The beautiful black sand shores are surrounded by quality shopping and activities in town. Tourists frequently visit Playa Herradura after taking a sportfishing trip in nearby Los Sueños Marina, touring the exotic Carara National Park, or spending an exciting weekend in Jaco, Costa Rica.
Surfing is an invigorating and fun pastime that should be available to anyone who loves the ocean. Organizations like the Adapted Surfing Sports Association are seeking to make it easier for people with physical handicaps to learn how to take part in water sports.
Now that the ocean is accessible in Playa Herradura, handicapped visitors will be able to take surfing lessons and participate in surfing tournaments. This addition will bolster Jaco, Costa Rica’s already-thriving reputation of being a go-to surf city!
When the announcement was made that Playa Herradura would add features to make it accessible to more handicapped patrons, Tobías Murillo, the mayor of Garabito, made a call for other beaches around the country to put forth dedicated efforts toward improving the services and resources for handicapped visitors in similar fashions. As a tourist destination, this is one way they can truly do their part to enhance and bolster the nation’s reputation and industry.
Indeed, there is precedent for encouraging the expansion of such efforts. Costa Rica has legislation in place to regulate tourism throughout the nation, which includes making sure that tourist locations like museums, national parks, lodgings, and theatres are handicap-accessible.
In time, we hope to see more and more beaches with features to improve accessibility, such as improving ease of access to the water, more handicap parking, and user-friendly showers and bathrooms.
Donatapa collects plastic caps to raise funds for their accessibility projects. The Costa Rican Tourism Institute has donated over 100 kilograms of these caps to put toward the creation of more accessible beach walkways in the future.
Twelve other beaches preceded Playa Herradura in becoming accessible to Costa Rica’s locals and visitors. A few of these public spaces are:
Efforts like these continue to improve the sustainability and care that Jaco, Cost Rica is becoming well-known for. Book a stay in Jaco today to take advantage of the beautiful beaches and hundreds of things to do!