Brazil is becoming increasingly known for being accessible, thanks to its wide paths, wheelchair ramps and several parking bays for elderly and disabled people. There are many cities around the country which are improving its infra-structure to be able to receive tourists from all over the world.

Get adventurous in Bonito

Bonito is a town in southern Brazil’s Mato Grosso do Sul state and is renowned for its stunning, crystal-clear rivers and picturesque waterfalls. In 2013, the city was awarded a destination for responsible tourists. This prize, announced at WTM, in London, applies for those destinations which use tourism to make better places for people to live in and better places for people to visit. With this mind-set, the city is well known for its accessible structure. There is a number of activities to embark such as Abismo Anhumas that offers abseiling and floatation activities for people with disabilities. The main message is: venture out!

In the Abismo, for instance, you are welcome and have the necessary support to enjoy the biggest adventure of Brazil, with 72 meters of abseiling, floating and diving. The people security is a priority as all the equipment used follows international safety specifications (UIAA and CE) and are inspected before and after each operation with visitors with or without reduced mobility or disability. Any signs of wear or irregularity are grounds for the equipment to be replaced.

Another great accessible option is the floating at The Natural Aquarium. This is an excellent suggestion because of the easy access and training that is offered before the activity, making people with all kinds of disabilities feel safe and comfortable.

Although the city can be visited during the whole year, the ideal period is between the months of December and March, rainy season, when the flora and fauna proliferate, the levels of the rivers increase and the waterfalls have abundant waters.

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Accessible Uberlândia

Have you ever thought of visiting an accessible city, where everything is thinking to make your life easier? That is Uberlândia, the first all accessible city of Brazil, considered one of the top 100 cities for accessibility in 2010.

In the state of Minas Gerais, the city stands out in business tourism, ranking ninth as one of the most internationally organized Brazilian cities by the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA), the city has more than 500 access ramps that can be found on the sidewalks and the entire public transport fleet is adapted for people with disabilities. In addition to this, new laws also require that all work carried out for public use, is to be inspected by the Accessibility Center.

Besides that, Uberlândia have 100% accessible public transport, with a number of buses being equipped with lifts and ramps. It introduced 300 parking spaces for the elderly and disabled, which saw more than 70,000 people benefit from the adaptations and created a number of options in education and leisure, by adapting schools and culture spaces.

Brotas: the land of streams and springs

Known as a destination for adventure lovers, the city of Brotas, in the interior of São Paulo State is very rich in water resources and has many rivers, streams and springs, which is a factor that may have contributed to the choice of the city’s name. Also, it is a pioneer in the professional practice of adventure activities such as abseiling, canyoning and rafting, being a stronghold for the most experienced sportsmen and attracting families and groups of friends interested in experiencing these activities. Besides that, the city is one of the places that extends all the practices of adventure for people with disabilities.

Trained professionals provide monitoring to better serve and lead tourists with disabilities. Each of the activities allows access to all, such as rafting, tree climbing and ziplining. Among the activities that can be done is the trail to the springs Singing Sand. The name is justified: when rubbed, the grains of sand emit a sound like the cuíca (musical instrument widely used in Brazilian music, especially in samba schools). There is also tree climbing and zipline, in various adventures centers of the city, as well as rafting on the Jacaré-Pepira River, passing through the Saltos Parks.

Socorro – Brazil’s model city

Talking about accessibility, it is a must to visit the city of Socorro, in the State of São Paulo, Brazil’s reference in accessible tourism. Among the more than 20 adventure activities offered today, 10 have already been adapted and can be practiced even by wheelchair users. The adaptation effort made the city one of the 10 Reference Destinations in Tourist Segments of the Brazilian Ministry of Tourism.

The population of Socorro is totally focused on the accessibility of people with disabilities or reduced mobility, including with the elderly, children and pregnant women. All points and tourist facilities in the city have been or are being adapted to allow access by people who usually could not participate in the activities or visit the attractions.

A good example of accessible adventure is the rafting, which everyone can do, without exception. And there are many more possibilities that shall make tourists of all kinds feel special and well taken care of. Socorro is definitely a must-do experience!

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The Brazilian Tourism Board (Embratur) is the specialist agency of the Brazilian Ministry of Tourism responsible for implementing National Tourism Policy in the areas of promotion, marketing, and marketing support for Brazilian tourist destinations, services and products in the international market. Embratur helps to generate social and economic development for the country by increasing the flow of international tourists to national destinations. For this purpose, it has the ‘Aquarela Plan – International Tourism Marketing of Brazil’ as the guideline for its action programmes.

ABLE Magazine’s travel section is sponsored by Post Office Travel Insurance.