Wednesday, September 21, 2016
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC IN A WHEELCHAIR: Riu Palace Punta Cana and Area Access Features
Here's how we found access in the Dominican Republic...
ON ARRIVAL: Punta Cana International Airport (PUJ) does not have jetways. All passengers board and deplane via stairs. Four men carried Tim down the stairs (and back up when we left) in the plane aisle chair. An airport chair awaited us at the bottom.
Wheelchair users are escorted though the entire arrival process, including through immigration and customs all the way through to your ground transportation. Our gate checked chair was provided to us at baggage claim.
The airport, other than the boarding stairs, is very accessible and nicely ramped throughout. The restrooms have handicapped stalls and there is also a family restroom available.
GROUND TRANSPORTATION: Since it was our first time, we decided to use a manual chair instead of the power chair.
We used Dominican Airport Transfers, where we were able to book a private van for the three of us, round trip, for less than $100. They were on time (actually a little early), safe, courteous, and comfortable. They do not have lift equipped vans but we did find this company...RD Shuttle...that provides wheelchair transportation services.
AT THE HOTEL:We picked the Riu Palace Punta Cana because it was the only hotel we could find that would block an accessible room for us. Several resorts in the area purport to have accessible rooms and facilities, but we could not find any other that would guarantee it.
Watch the Video!
See the video above for a tour of the accessible features of the hotel. There are step-free rooms with roll-in showers which are very nice junior suites but they are not located in the prime area of the hotel. They are very close to the ramp which leads to the restaurants, pools, and beach. Other step-free rooms with bathtubs are available closer to the beach.
There are six lifts...two on each side of the lobby and one in each wing closer to the pool and beach...four ramps, located at the bottom level of each lift, that will provide access to the plaza, restaurants, shops, pool, and beach.
The grounds are very nicely ramped throughout. A paved path runs along the beach starting at the Colonial Street shopping area adjacent to the pool. About 200 yards south on the path, it jogs pretty close to the water where you can transfer to lounge chairs on the sand.
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