A new Ramp at Jaco Beach
Costa Rica is really stepping up its game lately with its environmental efforts, with its recent 100 percent use of clean electricity, its new goal for total decarbonization by the year 2050, and even in the smaller things like a recycled ramp for beach access at Playa Jaco.
This is a rather unique project and is first of its kind in Central America. It is all apart of a strategy of accessible tourism. Playa Jaco inaugurated this 63-meter long ramp, constructed with recycled plastic. It gives any wheelchair users direct access to the coastline.
The inauguration happened this past Friday on March first, also known as Zero Discrimination Day. The project is a direct challenge to other beaches destinations in the country to follow in their footsteps.
The ramp needed a collection of over 420,000 thousand plastic lids. That is about 800 kilograms of lids as well as 500 kilograms of plastic bags totaling 1,300 kilograms of recycled plastic. This sustainable example required many volunteers and participants from Costa Rica, for more than 7 months that this project ran.
Private and public institutions joined in the effort to make this project possible, including the Adapted Surf National Team, some of their members used the ramp for the first time.
For the Garabito Municipality, this marks a new commitment to helping make more areas accessible. This will enlarge the options the country offers through local infrastructure with a universal vision, which must be adapted for the use of people with disabilities. “We feel proud to begin the project Jacó Accessible in the sector of Playa Madrigales with the inclusion of all the elements and conditions to become the first accessible beach in Costa Rica and Central America”, commented Tobías Murillo, Mayor of Garabito.
The accessible beach also has reserved parking for those with disabilities, accessible public transportation, also access ramps connected to sidewalks that lead to the shore. This will also include trained personnel, accessible bathrooms, locker rooms, and showers, shaded sitting areas, wheelchairs, and crutches adapted for the beach. As well, flotation devices, buoys that locate the beach area adding additional security.
Stephanie Sheehy said “We work for the right of all people with some type of disability to enjoy being a tourist in full, and make use of the services and tourist options, from choosing the destination and lodging and transportation to visiting natural and cultural spaces” Stephanie Sheehy is one of the leaders of the program and president of the Costa Rican Accessible Tourism Network.
Data provided by this institution says up to, 15% of the world’s population has a type of disability, 22% are senior citizens. These numbers add to the need for more accessible areas in Costa Rica.