Photo by: Ola Laurin (Stock Exchange)

Sunset in Bora Bora, part of French Polynesia
Photo by: Ola Laurin (Stock Exchange)

Wow! It sure is cold for this edition of the Disabled Travelers blog, even here in Florida, where some forecasts are suggesting snow in the Bay Area before it’s all over. So what’s the next stop for handicapped travelers who want to stay out of the snow? For today, let’s start with a smattering of wheelchair accessible destinations where you can stay warm and toasty. We’ll zoom in on a few of them in much greater detail as our disability travel adventures continue in future posts.

It’s a balmy 88 degrees right now in Papeete, the capital of Tahiti, so let’s start there. AbilityTrip has a good overview of the area, culture, and accessible transportation options on this charming French Polynesian island. Tahiti is a bit behind the times when it comes to mobility impaired access, but there are several resort hotels with suitable accommodations. They can also offer advice, and many hotel staff are multilingual, speaking French, Tahitian, and a good deal of English. Among the best picks for our purposes are Sofitel Tahiti and the Morea Pearl Beach Resort. The Radisson Plaza Resort also claims some useful features. Please note that public transportation is not universally accessible, so a private vehicle is your best bet. Need a new, accessible auto? Try Freedom Motors USA. For information on wheelchair or wheelchair van rentals around the world, check out this article from News Disability..

For most U.S. citizens, travel to Cuba is carefully restricted. However, if you have dual citizenship or meet certain other criteria, you can still take a holiday there. The tour operator Disabled Access Holidays has information for a wide variety of warm weather destinations, including Spain, Portugal, Italy, Egypt, and yes, Cuba – as you can see from this description of a holiday package in Varadero. Accommodations are also available right in Havana. Another favorite site, Global Access News, has a few highly informative pieces on Cuba – including this detailed account of a Cuban holiday, with a list of several wheelchair accessible hotels. Note that it’s not quite as warm as in Tahiti, but close!

It’s still a bit cool in Spain, so let’s push off a bit further than that: Australia. Yes, Australia! It’s still beach weather in parts of the mysterious island continent, and there are some handicapped travel resources available that are so great, I can’t wait to share them. E-bility is one amazing site, with an enormous amount of articles covering all aspects of living with disabilities, and community-driven services like a classified section and reviews. More to the point, though – you can practically plan an accessible trip to Australia using this website alone! It has accommodations, access guides, tour operators, and much, much more. Which is good, because Australia is a big place – almost three million square miles, including the legendary Outback!

I just learned that, as I wrote this, central Florida received its first snowfall in over thirty years! And all this after the hottest October and November I can remember. It just goes to show that wild weather can happen when you least expect it. No matter where you’re headed, learn as much as you can about the weather conditions before you go – it’s worth it! That’s it for now, and hopefully the snow will blow over before we talk again! Adventure on!


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