Several years ago I was rolling around the halls of my local community college when I saw an interesting advertisement for a school-sponsored adventure to Cancun, Mexico. The organizers had a very ambitious agenda and after speaking with them and discovering they really had no ideas how to accommodate someone in a wheelchair, I decided that the worst-case scenario would leave me stranded poolside for a week.  This in itself, not being a wholly-unattractive alternative, I decided to give it a go. I arranged to take the equipment and nursing care I needed along with me and off I went to sunny Mexico.  The first city we visited was called Merida.  It was a nice place with friendly people and their own beer brewery. I discovered the importance of preparation when I realized that even though they had an elevator, there were approximately six steps in order to get to the elevator.  Luckily, being in a manual wheelchair, I was able to get assistance lifting up and down the stairs.

For those of you considering traveling out of the country, make sure you find out what your accommodations consider wheelchair access. The people that I went on the tour with were really excellent and went beyond what I had expected. This was also the case with the tour guides and the civilians I met in Mexico. They lifted me on and off tour buses throughout the country. Our school trip was organized around a Native American studies course, part of which involved visiting several different areas of Mayan ruins.  Once again, the people I was with on the pyramid busting tour and the tour guides helped me all over the sites, up and down ancient stairways, and through Mayan ruins throughout the Yucatán Peninsula. Overall, my visit to Merida, Cancun, and the Yucatán was unforgettable and exciting and although the place isn’t really wheelchair accessible, if you can bring people willing to help you through some rough spots or if you’re willing to recruit from the native population, you can have some excellent experiences.

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