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wheelchair accessibility

Fallbrook
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wheelchair accessibility

I'll be traveling in March with a friend who is wheelchair bound. He's very athletic and independent (care wise) but is limited when it comes to steps and narrow doorways. We are on a budget and need a place to stay in San Jose when we arrive and leave. I've contacted a number of hostels and B&Bs, but they all have steps to the entry, or no private two-bed room with private bath on the ground floor. I'd appriciate any budget suggestions.

Tampa, FL
Destination Expert
for San Jose, Costa Rica
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2,235 posts
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1. Re: wheelchair accessibility

San Jose is NOT exactly what I'd call wheelchair friendly. The sidewalks tend to be uneven and the curbs can sometimes be treacherous even for those on foot let alone in wheelchairs. Forget about finding many corner curbs with those mini wheelchair ramp thingies. They do have some handicap building code requirements but those don't seem to be enforced in most cases. Are you really sure you want to stay downtown? You and your friend might feel more comfortable outside the urban center somewhere closer to the airport. Its not like you'd be missing much by not staying in downtown SJ.

I've stayed at 9 different hotels in the SJ area snd been in a number of others. The moderately priced or upscale places tend to be a lot better in complying with wheelchair access but even many of them don't have rooms on the ground floor.

Out of the few budget places I've tried downtown, I only know of one for certain that doesn't have any steps to get inside (the Doral www.hoteldoralcr.com/ing/htm/home.htm $46/dbl/nt & actually a much better deal for single travelers like me at only $32/nt). However, their rooms are all on upper floors so he'll still have to take the elevator to get to the room. The hotel itself has 2 (wide) doors to get into the lobby (which the doorman who buzzes you in can open for your friend). After that you're out on the new Pedestrian Mall of Avenida 4 so rolling around the area should be a lot easier. BTW, that $46 rate is for a private 2-3 bed room with private bathroom(actually w/shower not bathtub) and includes breakfast and taxes.

Fallbrook
14 posts
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2. Re: wheelchair accessibility

Dear Prolijo,

Thank you so much for responding!! I was beginning to think that I'd never get an answer. I appreciate your taking the time to think about this different type of travel question.

Curbs are not a problem. My friend can bounce down or push up one curb. And if it's a high curb, I can help with the push up. We don't care about being downtown. We're just going to stay in SJ for a day or two to recover from long flights and adjust to the time diferences. And then we're off.

I mentioned hostels because they are inexpensive, and sometimes they work for us. But I don't have any idea where in the city they are. We don't care where we stay as long as it's accessible and inexpensive. So near the airport is fine, too. Elevators to floors above the ground floor are great. But staircases to upper floors are not. And often small, modest hotels or hostels don't have elevators. That's why I mentioned having a room on the ground floor. I checked out the web site for the hotel you mentioned and the photos of the two bed room look great - enought space to get around. And either tub or shower would be ok. If you have any other accomodation ideas for us, please let me know. I'll send the info onward to my friend. Thanks again for the help!! I'll keep you posted if you're interested.

Tampa, FL
Destination Expert
for San Jose, Costa Rica
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2,235 posts
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3. Re: wheelchair accessibility

I only wish I could have been more help. Hotels that have several steps stand out naturally in one's memory. But, to be honest, I don't think most people normally really take notice of a step or two at their hotels. In my case, even though I've stayed at a lot of places, for some of them its been years, further clouding my memory. You really need answers from people that have been to particular places more recently. Another factor that may have limited your responses was that reference to hostels. I don't think the membership here is that geared to hostels or even the lower budget end of accomodations in that price range. Some members are, a small few, but I think you might get more of a response about that on LP's Thorntree Forum (if TA allows me to say that). Don't get me wrong, this forum is perfect for many travellers, but you have a very specialized question and a more budget oriented forum might serve you better.

Since curbs are no problem, then presumably a step or two shouldn't stop you either as long as there is not more than one together. That opens up what you are looking for beyond what it sounded like in your initial question.

I haven't stayed at any of the hostels in SJ. I can tell you that the most popular one is Costa Rica Backpackers (www.costaricabackpackers.com) which is located on the other side of downtown about 4 blocks past the National Museum. Their double room features a double bed (scratch that) and their twin room features a bunk bed which looks like many of the bunk beds I've seen at other hostels (cheap and flimsy metal tube construction). No mention of private baths, so I'd assume no. And no mention of any stairs, so your guess is as good as mine. Price for the twin $28 w/o breakfast, so only ~$15 cheaper than the hotel I mentioned. Across the street they also have a guesthouse, which DOES specify a double room with a private bath, BUT those only have a single king-sized bed and they cost $42 plus $2/pp for breakfast, which is the same price as the place I suggested which I KNOW has multiple beds in the rooms.

The Pangea is another often cited hostel downtown but it does not offer private rooms at all and besides that is located on the northside of town going towards the river, which means it is downhill from the rest of town to the south. A number of other hostels are located in that same area. I dunno that could make for good workout for your friend.

Some other well-rated hostels around town; Hostel 1110, south side of town, private dbl w/bath but just 1 bed $32/nt, scratch that; Pension de la Cuesta, great location, dbl rate w/shared bath $28/nt, fully pvt rate $45/nt, huge set of stairs up to the pension, scratch that; Hostel Casa Del Parque, good location on NE corner of National Park, dbl rm w.pvt bath $50/nt w/o bkfst, don't know if that has 2 beds or any steps.

One last hostel that I'll talk about because of its popularity and frequent mention is the Bekuo (www.hostelbekuo.com) it is located in a much nicer neighborhood then either other place I mentioned but is much further east. They have double rooms with private bathroom starting at $35/nt including tax and breakfast. Like other hostels I've been the beds appear to be that pieced together metal tube bunkbed I described earlier only with a double wide bed on the bottom and a single on the top. Not much cheaper than the Doral and uncertain as to wheelchair accessibility, but you might want to contact them.

Basically, the cheapest rooms at any hostel will be the group dorms, which are out for you guys. When they do offer private rooms with their own bathrooms, they may or may not include seperate beds, but the rooms will probably be small and cramped, the (bunk) beds cheaply made and, most likely, you'll have to contact them directly to find out about accessibility. For those hostel rooms, the rates will probably start in the mid-30's, which, of course, is still very cheap, though not that much less than some regular hotels such as the Doral. Still, you might want to check with some of them such as the Bekuo.

Outside of SJ, the hostel situation is probably similar. I have stayed at one place (on my very first trip) which I KNOW has no steps to get inside and has ground floor rooms but it is the US chain hotel, Best Western Irazu, ugh, and their dbl rates are now $86/nt plus tax, probably a lot more than you wanted to pay.

Tampa, FL
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for San Jose, Costa Rica
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4. Re: wheelchair accessibility

Oops, I meant it is UPhill from that hostel area near the Pangea to everywhere else in town. No big deal for backpacker types, or maybe wheelchair athletes, but thought it was something you should know that is not usually considered by others.

5. Re: wheelchair accessibility

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