Travel: Machu Picchu Wheelchair Accessible Trip

Top Peruvian destination now has wheelchair-accessible trips. (Wheel of the World)

One of the top destinations for any tourist is the Machu Picchu. Looks like tourist rate would now be doubling in Peru. Machu Picchu has been wheelchair accessible for a few months now.

Wheel the World, a travel company, developed the first wheelchair accessible tour of the Peruvian tourist site, Machu Picchu. The site is included in the wonders of the world.

Wheel the World is the idea of two best friends — Alvaro Silberstein, and Camilo Navarro. Both of them come from Chile. Silberstein uses a wheelchair, and Navarro do not. They came up with this idea when they wanted to hike the Torres de Paine National Park in Patagonia together. Back then, they used a special foldable wheelchair for Silberstein

They made Wheel of the World their top priority when they emigrated in the US and studied at the University of California in Berkeley. They have grown their business in Latin America, with several tours in Chile, Mexico and Peru.

For Navarro, being accessible does not always mean inclusive. To him, there are a lot of disabled people in the world, but no travel company dedicated to them

But there are still issues that needs to be resolved before accessible tours are offered in Machu Picchu. One of these is the high cost of wheelchairs that are needed for the tour. There are challenging trails that needs a specialized wheelchair to be used. Fortunately, the travel company works with partners that can donate wheelchairs and have them stored at the region. This way, users don’t have to provide their own or shoulder the shipping cost.

Right now, the four-day wheelchair-accessible trip to Machu Picchu costs $1,500 — and it includes overnight accommodations.

Work in Progress

The partners also shared that they have received calls from national parks inviting them to visit and explore their place. But due to the limitations and other nature concerns, some of these sites cannot be changed or modified for special trips. They cannot just simply build a wheelchair ramp there.

The special wheelchair is designed with one wheel and two long sticks, sort of like a wheelbarrow. The wheelchair, a mixture of aluminum and steel, is light — like a bicycle. The only catch is that it cannot be self-propelled. Wheelchair users need a companion who would operate and navigate the chair for them along the trail.

The travel company still has a lot to work ahead. Because they want to provide trips for other people with disability such as deaf, blind, and those who have accessibility restrictions to experience this, too.

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