Tag Archives: sun

An adventure into South America

Written by Mark; part of the Tripility team.

Next year, we are becoming a bit brave here at Tripility, as two of us are off on our travels. To all you nomadic people out there, our trip is pretty tame, but someone has wafted the word hostel about, so I am classing this as travelling! The reason we have decided to do this (apart from the obvious), is that, apart from the odd holiday here and there, we have both never really explored anywhere before. The thought of a full backpacking adventure has Debs quaking in her flip flops, so we are going to do our own version of travelling (one that mainly involves hot showers and proper beds…for the most part). We are both quite nervous about the trip, mainly as we have the added factor of our access needs. However, this is the reason we started Tripility, so people can find out access information about destinations that may have been written off before. So, (luckily for you), we plan on reviewing and blogging our way around our chosen destinations!

The first part of our trip has us landing in Brazil and staying with our extended family in Porto Alegre, after a few days there, our accessible adventure (as it will now be known as) begins! Our first leg has us heading down the coast into Uruguay, so far we don’t know much about access here, a few guides have listed it as being non existent so this could be a challenge! Lucky for us, we will be traveling with family around these parts, so if we find ourselves in inaccessible places, there is someone else to do the piggybacking…! We’ll be passing through into Argentina and heading to Buenos Aires, which again is said to be difficult with a wheelchair, but doable! After starting to plan this trip at the start of the year we decided to visit Iguassu Falls, which borders both Argentina and Brazil. Now, visiting a waterfall in two countries that aren’t world renowned for access may seem a bit of a push, but here a lot of money has been ploughed into making the area as accessible as possible, so much so that this part of the trip should be relatively pain free (compared to the rest of our South American trip). We finish this part of the journey in Rio de Janeiro, where we’ll spend a few days, before flying into the West Coast of America.

Our plans for North America as of yet, havent been fully decided, but we know we would like to visit; Los Angeles, San Francisco, Yosemite’s and Las Vegas. We will most likely hire a car for this part of the trip and stay in hotels, hostels and even airbnb. Debs has requested a stop in Nashville, so the plan is to either hire a camper-van or fly into Nashville and spend a few days there. After this we are heading towards New York with a few other destinations in mind, such as; Chicago, Toronto, Niagra Falls, Maine and a few more in between. We plan on being away for 11 weeks, arriving home just in time to de-sand in time for my sister’s wedding. We are just at the start of organising this trip and the helpful folks at Flight Centre are putting an itinerary together for us. Before we can go, I have to finish my PhD (no pressure) and we both have a bit more saving to do. We’ll keep you posted about the trip, from the organising of it through to when we are actually there. If any of you have done something similar or even have useful information, please share!

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Cala Llonga; the verdict…

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Written by Debs; part of the Tripility team.

So, the holiday is over (why does time only whip by when you are on holiday?!) and it was brilliant. I would highly recommend anyone to visit Cala Llonga if they are after a relaxing beach holiday, it is a beautiful place. Anyway, enough of that general holiday review stuff, what you clearly want to know about (don’t deny it), is how accessible is this place? Luckily for you, over the next few weeks, you not only get to read my generalised waffle about the holiday but, here at Tripility, we are going to be bringing you a completely in depth guide to Cala Llonga (and a little bit about Santa Eulalia too), including a cheeky bit of wheelchair cam footage…contain yourselves!

From a wheelchair access point of view, my verdict on our accommodation was not good, however, I must point out that the apartments where we stayed do specifically say that they are not suitable for wheelchair users. As I previously mentioned, this holiday was booked by my Mum, by the time she had been taken in by the beautiful views and the reasonable priced apartments, disabled access had pretty much gone out of the window…However, the whole point of Tripility is to be able to bring you the information on access, regardless of what the brochures say. I, like many other people, am not a permanent wheelchair user, so sometimes what is written in the official blurb, is not applicable to me. Where there’s  a will, there’s a way! Having said that, after reaching the resort at 11am, having only had three hours sleep and arriving in a torrential downpour (which I am happy to report was only momentary), I SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESwas not feeling too positive about how we would find a way around this lack of easy access!

The hotel itself was up a relatively steep hill, even though the hotel was right on the beach, there was around 10 steps (or the steep hill) to access this.  Our apartments were based across a small road from the main hotel, so to access the pool, it was down a ramp, across the road, down around 15 steps or alternatively; through the hotel, down two floors in the lift and then another small walk through to the pool area. It is also worth mentioning that the ramp to the entrance of the apartments was steep; short, but very steep! Depending on who was pushing me, the majority of the times I had to get out of the wheelchair and climb up the ramp. As for going down the ramp in the chair, we attempted this once (stupidly when the ramp was wet) and never again. I nearly ended up at the bottom of the ramp in a heap…not a great start!

walk
The board walk to the water taxi.

Once down at the pool however, everything was relatively easy. There was an easy ramp from the hotel, an accessible (and very clean) WC and drinks could be bought from the bar near the toilets; meaning we didn’t have to navigate back to the room for the essentials. Another great thing about the area was that there was a boardwalk onto the beach, at the entrance to this was an accessible WC and disabled parking (although there were issues with this…). The boardwalk enabled you to get most of the way to the sea, although not quite there and had a handy sheltered area near the sunbeds. So, you could either transfer to a bed and leave you wheelchair in the shade, or stay in your wheelchair in a reasonably sheltered area. Most of the restaurants had ramps, or alternative step free access into them and the staff were always very helpful and offered to move tables and chairs so the wheelchair could get though and I could transfer to a chair.

The inaccessible parts of the holiday were a little overwhelming when we first arrived, however, we soon got into our stride and found a way around things. Luckily Mark is exceptionally strong (might be a slight exaggeration…) and never once had a problem pushing me up the steep hill to the apartments, which was a relief! We spent our week measuring the steepness of hills (because who doesn’t have an angle-o-meter on their phone?!) and filming the area, so that we can bring you all the information (instead of just my banter) about the Cala Llonga. We will be posting this in the next week, so if you are looking at visiting this beautiful part of the world, this should bring you all the access information that you need!

The water taxi, not the best option if you are unable to walk at all, but manageable if you can.
The water taxi, not the best option if you are unable to walk at all, but manageable if you can.

One thing that I would avoid, is using Ibiza Tours for any transfers you book. Initially they tried to charge us extra just for having a wheelchair with us, then, they forgot to pick us up on our return journey to the airport. Luckily my sister speaks fluent Spanish, so she was able to ring up and sort this, but by the time we got to the airport, we were rushed through security so we could board the plane. Not an ideal end to the holiday. Anyone that has ever boarded a plane using an ambilift will know that the usual protocol is to board people needing assistance first, thus giving them the time to get to their seat without a plane full of passengers; this was not the case at Ibiza airport. Having been rushed through security (and told I didn’t even have time to go to the toilet), we then sat in the ambilift on the tarmac for an hour (not great when you are busting for a wee…!) whilst they took the bags off the plane from the previous flight. We then watched them load all 250 passengers, before we were taken up to the plane, meaning we had to struggle down a busy plane to get to our seats. This was a bit of a letdown at the end of the holiday, especially as the assistance at Leeds airport on the way out had been excellent. So, if you are heading to Ibiza airport and you use assistance, be prepared that things run far from smoothly.

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Javea- an ideal spot for an accessible beach holiday

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Written by Mark. Part of the tripility team.

Javea is a popular tourist spot in the Costa Blanca, we visited last year on our holidays and we were impressed by its accessibility but also as a holiday destination. Here we will give you the low down with what we found.

This review is being done from the point of view of a companion, I was pushing Debs who was using manual wheelchair.

Xàbia/Jávea

Xàbia/Jávea is located in the Costa Blanca in the Alicante region of Spain. Javea is made up of the old town, the picturesque port and the sandy El Arenal beach. It is approximately 40 miles away from Benidorm which means transport links are pretty good. It is in easy reach from Valencia or Alicante airports. To travel to Javea from the airport car hire is recommended, although travelling by coach and bus is also a possibility. Javea is mostly serviced by apartments and villas rather than hotels, the largest hotel being Hotel Parador situated at the northern end of the promenade at El Arenal beach.

El Arenal

El Arinal prominade
El Arenal prominade

We stayed in the El Arenal area at the Golden Beach apartments which were 5 minutes walk away from the beach. The El Arenal area was well suited to wheelchair users due to the wide and flat promenade which gives great access to bars and restaurants. Playa El Arenal is a long sandy beach with wheelchair access via a boardwalk. In the summer months wheelchair accessible toilets are available on the beach.  

Accessible beach boardwalk and disabled toilets on the beach
Accessible beach boardwalk and disabled toilets on the beach

El Arenal was well serviced with a great variety of bars and restaurants which we used throughout the holidays; the majority of these had ramps into the facilities and the hosts were always helpful. Access to seating was quite straight forward but we had the flexibility of Debs being able to walk small distances if necessary, there was seating directly off the promenade so powered wheelchairs should manage. It was noted on a few occasions how many wheelchair users there were so it wasn’t only us who had heard good things about the place! There were plenty of bars and restaurants at night to keep us entertained and there was always a lively and friendly atmosphere, even visitors not looking for good access would find this a good holiday destination. Those requiring a gluten free diet may struggle, Hotel Parador offers gluten free food on the menu but we didn’t see other restaurants displaying this information. Often restaurants can be quite helpful in this respect so it is always a good idea to take a gluten free travel card to inform them of your requirements.

The easy access in this location makes Javea a great location for anyone looking for a hassle free holiday without worrying too much about access to the facilities.  Walking away from the the beach we found that in most parts footpaths were in good order although some of the dropped kerbs could be improved.

We headed on to the beach on a couple of occasions to sun ourselves (the vampires from Twilight have nothing on our white pasty skin), there was always plenty of space and the boardwalk made it easier to get to the parasols when required. The accessible toilets were generally in good order and pretty clean. The sea was shallow and steadily increased in depth so bathing was never difficult.

Debs enjoying Arinal beach
Debs enjoying Arenal beach

Port

We visited the port on a couple of nights which had a more relaxed atmosphere, it did get slightly more crowded on the promenade here as it was narrower. There was a good choice of bars and restaurants here too, we only stayed for drinks but access was again very easy and we had plenty of room for maneuver with the wheelchair.  Powered wheelchair users may have more difficulty here, so if you have been here please give us your feedback.

Old Town

Javea also has an Old Town, now I have to say, we didn’t actually visit the Old Town mainly down to the fear of cobbles and narrow and most likely crowded streets. This may not actually be the case so please tell us about your experiences via the community pages or with a review when the site is up and running.

Apartment

Golden Beach apartments garden and pool
Golden Beach apartments garden and pool

We stayed at the Golden Beach apartments, this was a relatively modern block set approximately 5 minutes walk from the beach. We organised the trip via holidaylettings.co.uk and collected the keys from a lettings agent close to Arenal beach. Underground parking was provided and there was a lift up to the apartment, lighting wasn’t especially good in the car park and those with poor sight may struggle to see. The lift up to the apartment was also quite small and would not allow a wheelchair turn to be completed in it, there was a mirror to aid with reversing out.

Underground car park
Underground car park

Inside the apartment were two bedrooms, one with an on-suite bathroom and a second with a shared bathroom.  There was a living/dining area and a separate kitchen, outside to the rear was a patio area and to the front a set of five steps led from the kitchen into a small garden which joined onto the communal pool area.  The apartment we stayed in did not have ramped access to the garden and pool but apartments to the opposite side did. The apartment was not adapted for wheelchairs so it was mainly suited for those who can walk small distances without use of a chair. One note of caution was the pedestrian entrance to the complex, there was a steep slope from the gated entrance that required some effort being pushed up, other people may struggle unless there is a companion to help.

Steep slope from the gated entrance into the complex
Steep slope from the gated entrance into the complex
Five steps from the kitchen to the garden and pool
Steps from the kitchen

We’d love to hear your experiences from here or any other holiday destination so please get involved with the community or write a review of the destination and accommodation you stayed in when the site is up and running!

Thanks,

Mark

Tripility team

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