We know how important having your independence is. That's why we've put together an itinerary featuring museums, bars, restaurants, sporting activities and main tourist attractions in Rio de Janeiro that are ready to welcome people with special needs. Enjoy accessible Rio!
Many of the traditional Rio de Janeiro tourist attractions are also on the accessible tourism and strolls list.
The cable car boarding stations leading to the top of Pão de Açúcar have mobile platforms that facilitate wheelchair access. There are also ramps and lifts that lead to the two viewing points that allow everyone to enjoy the beautiful views of Baia de Guanabara, Niteroi and Rio de Janeiro. There is audio content available in the Bondinho app, available to download from Google Play and the Apple Store, in three languages.
On the Virtual Tour, narrated by the Tiê-Sangue character, visitors will learn historical and interesting facts about Morro da Urca, Pão de Açúcar and several other Rio de Janeiro tourist spots.
The Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon is a traditional spot for paddle boat rides. The motorised boats allow access to all visitors.
When visiting the sensorial garden at the Rio de Janeiro Botanical Gardens, you will be blindfolded to heighten your other senses. Enjoy feeling the different textures and smelling the scents from the plants, an unmissable attraction to anyone with visual limitations.
Besides the tourist attractions, many Rio de Janeiro restaurants have been adapted for accessible tourism. The Palaphita Kitch restaurant in Lagoa has accessible restrooms and a lift to access the second floor. The Italian restaurant Quadrucci in Leblon has the menu available in braille. Another option is the themed TV Bar in Copacabana, its decor inspired by soap operas and TV shows. The space has access ramps and accessible restrooms for wheelchair users.
The Rio de Janeiro public transport system is equipped with visual and motor accessibility. The Rio de Janeiro Subway and BRT have lifts and a tactile floor for visually impaired users. The buses have retractable lifts and preferred seating, as well as places reserved for wheelchair users. There are also private transportation companies who guarantee accessibility; Especial Coop is a fleet of cabs attending to people with mobility special needs, just book an hour in advance. The company also offers tours around the main Rio de Janeiro tourist attractions.
Since 2007, the Adaptsurf NGO has fought for the development of accessibility in Carioca beaches and promoted the inclusion of disabled or reduced-mobility persons. One of their projects is Adapted Surf, a programme which offers free surf lessons on adapted boards and amphibious chairs for less-abled persons. They have also built a special track for wheelchair users which allows them to move easily in the sand between Posts 2 and 11 at the beaches in the southern area of Rio de Janeiro. The Caminho Dom Pedro Augusto path and hike, at Parque Nacional da Tijuca, is adapted for wheelchair users and fitted with plaques to help those with visual limitation.
Most Rio de Janeiro museums offer adapted access and guides for people with special needs or mobility limitations. The Museu de Arte do Rio, in Praça Mauá, is one of the most accessible with guides prepared to receive people with any kind of disability, offering texts in braille, subtitled videos, free rental of the audio-guide and more. There is even a tactile model of the museum on the fifth floor. The recently opened Museu do Amanhã, proposing a reflection on the present to prepare the future, caters to all accessibility requirements: tactile floors, access ramps, adapted restrooms and universal signage. To the right of the Museum you'll find the Gallery of Shapes displaying tactile models from the main exhibition and texts in braille.
The Instituto Moreira Salles offers free rental of the audio-guide and a free tablet to help you wander the photographic, literary and art collections.
Another option is the Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil, where the monthly guide can be found in braille and screenings of national films with subtitles and audio description. It also offers ramp access and lifts to facilitate access to the exhibition floors.
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