Traveling with a Handicap to Playa Del Carmen

What is traveling in Mexico like?

Handicap Beach access Playa Del Carmen
Handicap beach access in Playa Del Carmen

Handicap Playa Del Carmen Guide

We here at want everyone to enjoy their vacation here. So, if you have a permanent handicap or just broke your leg before vacation, here is a handicap Playa Del Carmen guide to help you access your vacation.

Here are our top tips for making your trip to Playa Del Carmen work for your disability. 

Traveling to Playa del Carmen, Mexico, with a disability or mobility challenge requires some extra planning to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable experience. Here are some tips to make your trip more accessible and enjoyable:

  1. Research Accommodations: Look for hotels and vacation rentals that offer accessible rooms or accommodations on the ground floor. Contact the property in advance to discuss your specific needs and confirm the availability of accessible features like ramps, wide doorways, and grab bars in the bathroom. Not all hotels that say they have an elevator mean that they are working. Smaller hotels often have more accessibility issues. Almost all of the all-inclusive hotels will have handicap accessibility. 
  2. Transportation: Ensure that your transportation from the airport to your accommodation is accessible. Book a shuttle with wheelchair access or the necessary space for mobility devices. One of the best liked airport transportation services of our readers offers handicap accessible transportation. The reserve now button will take you to their official webpage to book your transportation. 
  3. Accessible Beaches: While many beaches in Playa del Carmen have a beautiful coastline, they may not be wheelchair-friendly due to uneven terrain and lack of ramps. Research and find beaches with accessible entrances, like Mamitas Beach, and consider renting beach wheelchairs if available. Tip: beach clubs have beds and loungers available for rental and most have bathrooms for use as well. 
  4. Wheelchair Rentals: In case you don’t want to bring your own mobility equipment, you can rent wheelchairs and mobility scooters in Playa del Carmen. Make arrangements in advance to ensure availability. Here is a link to one reputable company that rents scooters and wheelchairs is Playa Mobility.
  5. Adapted Tours and Activities: Look for accessible tours and activities, as some may be better equipped to accommodate wheelchair users or individuals with mobility challenges. The Xcaret and Xel-Há eco-parks, for instance, provide accessible paths and attractions.
  6. Accessible Restrooms: Familiarize yourself with the locations of accessible public restrooms in the city, as not all establishments may have them. Malls, restaurants, and major tourist sites are more likely to offer accessible facilities. Here is our guide and map to public bathrooms in Playa Del Carmen
  7. Local Transportation: Public transportation, such as buses, may not be as accessible. Consider private transfers, taxis, or arranging for accessible transportation in advance to get around the area. Most colectivos and local buses within Playa Del Carmen are no handicap accessible. Staying in the downtown area is a good idea since it is easy to get around without the use of transportation. 
  8. Medical Supplies: Bring an ample supply of any necessary medications and medical supplies, as you may not find the same brands or supplies readily available in Playa del Carmen.
  9. Language: While many locals in Playa del Carmen may understand some English, it’s helpful to learn some basic Spanish phrases or carry a translation app to communicate your needs more effectively. This can come in especially handy if you have dietary restrictions. Because every place you go to you will have to communicate that information. 
  10. Travel Insurance: Consider purchasing travel insurance that covers medical emergencies and trip cancellations. Make sure the policy includes provisions for pre-existing medical conditions if necessary. Healthcare in Mexico is for profit. Which means you need to show proof of payment before services. Anything more thana scrap and fall can be costly in Mexico. 
  11. Advance Planning: Plan your itinerary in advance, including accessible restaurants, attractions, and transportation options. Make reservations where possible to ensure that your accessibility needs are met. Most restaurants in Playa Del Carmen do not have dedicated handicap seating. 
  12. Inform Airlines: When booking your flight, notify the airline of your specific needs, such as wheelchair assistance or in-flight seating preferences. Airlines are generally well-equipped to assist passengers with disabilities. Plus, you usually get on the airplane first! 
  13. Local Laws and Regulations: Familiarize yourself with Mexican disability laws and regulations, as they may differ from those in your home country. Understanding your rights can be useful if you encounter any accessibility issues. For example, Mexico does not have ADA Standards like the United States. Really only construction after 2015, and if it was a larger project, will it likely have more handicap accessibility. 

Remember that Playa del Carmen has made efforts to become more accessible to visitors with disabilities, but challenges do still exist. With careful planning and communication, you can have an enjoyable and comfortable trip to Playa Del Carmen.

Rentals and Transportation for those with Handicap

You will be happy to know that there are companies here that provide special transportation, tours and even rent all kinds of equipment you might need for mobility issues. These services are specialized and should be contacted to reserve services or equipment before coming. Here is a link to one reputable company that rents scooters and wheelchairs is Playa Mobility.

If you also want a private transfer in a van from the Cancun Airport to your hotel, you can book here with a reputable company. These vans are not fully handicap accessible but better options then a taxi and large enough to make for a comfortable transfer.

Hotels and Handicap Access

Larger all-inclusive hotels will have accessibility with ramps, elevators and wide sidewalks. Check with them via email or phone to confirm availability. When we review hotels, we try to keep an eye out for how the hotel is equipped and try to comment on it in the review.

Smaller boutique hotels are going to be limited in their availability to provide for your needs. Be sure to call before you come to get up-to-date information on elevators and accessibility even if their website says they have such things. Mexico does not have strong codes for accommodating those with disabilities and you really notice the lack of such things when you need it.

We can think of one small hotel in Playa Del Carmen that has an elevator, but it has not worked in years, another hotel starts one level up from the street and has no elevator, and another hotel actually built the hotel with the elevator not going to the top floor to access the roof top pool! So, standards can be different here.

Handicap Beach Access in Playa Del Carmen

Playa Del Carmen has recently launched two public beaches with access for handicap individuals. It is a nice initiative and shows the growing attention to those with different needs. One beach is at the south end of town near the Cozumel Ferry Pier (in front of Park Fundadores).  It has a boardwalk that goes out onto the beach and special chairs available with beach wheels for use. There are even showers marked as handicapped, although they are just showers. The other beach is on the far north end of Playa Del Carmen. It is not known too much by tourist and has always been a local’s beach. You do need a car to get to this beach. Once you arrive at this beach there are a couple of special chairs with large wheels that can go into the water. You can read more about where this beach is and how to get there in this article. If you do need to decide between these two options, the first one is a much better option.

Alternatively, there are many beach clubs with beach beds for use. This is a great way to relax on a bed and enjoy the sea breeze.

Handicap beach access Playa Del Carmen
A view of the handicap beach in front of Park Fundadores

  Sidewalks and Streets in Playa Del Carmen

If you are trying to navigate the downtown area it is best to stay near 5th Avenue and 10th Avenue. The good news is that this area is where most tourist attractions are like shopping and restaurants. Quinta or 5th Avenue as it is called in English, is a pedestrian street that parallels the beach. It is totally flat with no steps and only a few places with a slope. Fifth Avenue goes on for about 20 blocks, so you are going to be able to cover a lot of ground with easy rolling. Tenth Avenue has a bike path that runs from just south of Avenue Juarez and continues to Constituyentes Avenue. This is a smooth place to use if you are with a wheelchair. Sidewalks on most 1oth Avenue are not adequate due to narrow passage and alternating levels. This is true of most of Playa Del Carmen.

Sidewalk in Playa Del Carmen
Not a handicap sidewalk


Taxis and those with disabilities

If you are able to take a taxi but maybe need time getting in, you might want to use one of the taxi stands. These are places where taxis line up to take customers. They charge a little extra since they pay for the place to pick up customers, but it will give you more time and you can choose your taxi. A lot of taxis are Nissan Tida cars. These have rather large back seats and will make it easier to get into. If you are traveling with an easy folding chair, you may want to bring your own bungee strap to hold trunks down in taxis. Taxi stands can be found next to the ADO bus station on 5th, 5th Avenue at 10th St, 10th Avenue and 12th St.  and 5th Avenue and Constituyentes Avenue just to name the more popular ones.

Taxi Playa Del Carmen
Large back seat in the Nissan Tida

Shopping in Playa Del Carmen

Since most tourist shopping is on 5th Avenue it is going to be easy to get around. Paseo Del Carmen shopping plaza at the south end of 5th near the ferry pier is all flat. They do have handicap bathrooms but there is a small step into the area. There are guards near there that should be able to assist getting into the bathrooms. Quinta Alegria shopping plaza is three floors and has an elevator to access it. Bathrooms are on the top floor and are handicap accessible. Quinta Alegria is located on 5th Avenue where Constituyentes Avenue intersects with it.

Grocery Store shopping with disabilities

If you want to go shopping but would like to use an electric cart, it is best to go to Centro Maya shopping plaza. The Soriana Grocery Store has carts for use. You can also go to Plaza Las Americas to the Chedraui store. These stores have electric carts. Grocery Stores in the downtown area either do not have electric carts or are very limited.

If you don’t want to go shopping, then there is a great delivery service in Playa Del Carmen. They will do your shopping and bring it to your home.

Activities for people with disabilities

Don’t think you cannot enjoy some amazing sites while here. Some of the eco parks like Xel-ha and Xcaret provide rentals of wheelchairs and even will make sure you can go swimming. If you want to see some fascinating Mayan ruins, we suggest Coba ruins. They have bicycle taxis that can provide this unique taxi service. (Although it is not totally smooth, so if bumps bother you, you might not go for this mean of transport.) It does however afford you to see the ruins without walking. You would only have to enter the park and then get on the bike taxis.

A special handicap tour to Chichen Itza

Here is one tour that specializes in taking people in wheelchairs or disabled individuals to see one of the marvels of the area. Click here to see more about this handicap tour to Chichen Itza.

Handicap tour Chichen Itza
This is what everyone wants to see at Chichen Itza.

Have you traveled with a handicap in Playa Del Carmen? Do you have some tips you would like to share? We would love to hear from you in the comment box below.

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  1. Not handicapped, but no longer so young. I am looking for a folding cart to haul home groceries and water. Any tips?
    Also, we are writing a blog post about traveling when over 50 and some suggestions here might help.thanks!

    • We don’t see those cart around too often. You might find them on 30th Avenue on around 50th Street. There are a lot of stores on 30th Avenue that might sell that kind of thing. We will have to keep an outlook for them. As far as traveling while 50 plus, can we get back to you in a while(year) haha. The best tip might be medicines. Be prepared and know generic equivalent and carry a prescription. If you need to buy some while traveling buy drugs at air conditioned pharmacies. The heat lowers the power of drugs. There are discounts for older people here but that is for residents.

    • Thanks for passing that tip along. It is hard to know what hotels are accessible because the laws were not that strict and older places tend to have more issues.

  2. My husband and I have stayed at the Viva Wyndham Maya several times. My husband is a paraplegic and has been in the chair for over 30 years. This hotel is amazing! We just can’t say enough about the generosity of the staff. There’s an accessible area on the beach, they have a chair with large sand tires and they aid him in getting in and out of the water, onto the catamarans,etc. The hotel is extremely accessible and they have several ADA compliant rooms that are perfect! My husband was quite skeptical of traveling there at first, but because of his wonderful experiences, we plan to go every year!

    • Thank you very much on your personal experience with this hotel. This is good to know that you found it so accommodating. We will be sure to recommend this to people when asked about accessible hotels. Glad you will be coming back to the area too!

  3. I am glad you include articles like thins on your site. So many handicap people want to travel but it is hard especially in Latin America.

  4. mi esposo esta en silla de ruedas. el año pasado visitanos playa del carmen y queremos ver otras opciones de hoteles que cuenten con el servicio de habitaciones para discapacitados. serian tan amables de darme sugerencias agradesco su atencion.

    • Hola. ¿Qué tipo de hotel está buscando? Esto hará que la lista sea más corta. ¿Quieres un resort todo incluido? ¿Pequeño hotel? ¿Hotel frente a la playa? Algo tranquilo? Gracias.

  5. Staying at Playa car in February I have a wheelchair but thinking of renting a scooter while out there. Is it worth it or will I be ok with my manual wheelchair please??

    • Hello Gwen

      Will you just be at the resort or are you thinking of going into Playa? It is along way to go into Playa and you don’t want to run out of battery. Most transport also will not be able to handle a scooter so the wheelchair should be better on most counts.

  6. Im looking for a snorkeling place that has the paddle board with the view finders. I used these in Hawaii and i was perfectly ably to do it with my paralysis. Does anyone know where one is in plays

    • We have not seen these here. The best place we can recommend is Xel Ha. They have services to assist people in the water. None of the other off shore locations that people go snorkeling at have any provisions for people with needs.

  7. We are looking for a hotel/b & B that might have a handicap accessible pool–or at least one where you can walk into the pool as opposed to climbing down in to it–it would be great if the pool had no deep end!

    • Most pools here do not have ladders down into the pools. Most have concrete steps but we don’t know which is the best. Here is one hotel we have stayed at that has a pool that is not too hard to get in and most of the first level is flat or with small ramps. You would need to ask for a first level room. You might also look at Aventura Mexicana Hotel. It is probably better not to look at hotels with roof pools. That often means getting to the roof for the pool and steps into the pool.

  8. Chichen Itza terrain looks flat with grass and dirt in photos. Are there gravel paths too? We are wondering if we could get by using our portable wheelchair with 8″ wheels.

    • You should be able to get by. The overall area of Chichen Itza is very large and takes at least an hour to hour and a half to walk it. So bring an umbrella for shade. There are tours there that cater to wheelchairs but if you want to fo it by yourself this is possible. We hope you have a good trip there. If you have any tips for readers after you go, please share with us.

    • Most tours include several stops or areas so we have to think about that. Coba ruins is in the jungle and fairly easy to do because they have bike taxis that take people around and you don’t have to walk. Most other jungle tours include zip lines or activities. We will have to continue to think about this question.

  9. Hi , I’m looking for a hotel in Playa del Carmen to stay with my brother who is tetraplegic and needs nurse assistance (which I’ve already organized, but they need to be able to access the hotel without paying). We want to stay close to the 5th avenue (so we don’t need to look for special transportation) and it’s walking distance to move around. Please advice if you know any good place to look for. Thank you so much

    • Hello Linda

      Most all inclusive are a little harder to get non guest into but with a talk with reception it should not be an issue. The Royal is the biggest all inclusive in the center of Playa. The Reef 28 is a new hotel and offers a good price. We have been to a lot of hotels but it is surprising how many times elevators have not been working. Anywhere you think about be sure to put commments in the special booking section. This hotel is a more budget option and still in the center. They have a few ground floor rooms.

  10. thinking of taking my mother to playa Del Carmen Resort I was thinking in Sandos Caracol Resort, can anybody tell me if this resort is wheel hair accessible and if they have the big wheels wheelchair to access the beach.

    • Hello

      The all inclusive resorts do have handicap accessible rooms, ramps and access to facilities. It is good to make sure when you book to make sure you put your request. Some resorts limit rooms to first floor for handicap access. It would be good to contact them direct to ask all the details for their hotel.

  11. Does anyone know if I will be able to use my handicapped placard from Texas in Playa del Carmen?

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