Thanks to Wheel the World, a revolutionary tour company, Peru’s Machu Picchu is now wheelchair accessible for the first time since tourists began arriving. Machu Picchu has been on the UNESCO World Heritage list since 1983, many people seeing it as one of the true wonders of the world. That is why it is great news to hear that, at last, people with physical disabilities will have the chance to see this wonder and witness its magic firsthand.
Not all wheelchairs can successfully traverse the difficult terrain at Machu Picchu, and the special ones that can are extremely expensive for an average traveler. But thanks to Wheel the World, one doesn’t need to purchase a special wheelchair just for this trip. The company is providing disabled travelers with these wheelchairs at the foot of Machu Picchu. Their services include assistance from your hotel or train station to the entrance of the citadel, a guided tour, return assistance to train station or hotel.
The special wheelchair is light, maneuverable and sturdy enough to navigate the sometimes rough trails inside the site. It has one wheel and two handles – much like a rickshaw - and has to be pulled by someone. That means that a disabled hiker must be accompanied by someone who can do the pulling.
How Wheel the World Started
This brilliant idea was born from the efforts of Alvaro Silberstein, a Chilean disabled traveling enthusiast who needed to use a wheelchair to hike Patagonia's Torres de Paine National Park, and his friend Camilo Navarro. Navarro isn’t disabled but he needed to hike alongside his friend, his physical abilities notwithstanding. After several attempts, they were able to develop a foldable, hiking wheelchair for Alvaro. Now the duo owns Wheel the World and has been working diligently to make hiking accessible to the millions of disabled people from across the world.
Camilo and Alvaro’s efforts haven’t gone unnoticed. Individuals and non-profits from around the world have been supporting Wheel the World financially, enabling the company to purchase additional special wheelchairs for Machu Picchu and other hiking trails. Besides Peru, the company has been setting up wheelchair accessible trails in Mexico and Chile within the last year.
Wheelchair Machu Picchu Tours
Wheel the World offers incredible deals for physically disabled people. The company ensures that their customers have all the necessary amenities for a disabled person and that there are highly-trained attendants at your service at all times. The company operates with the understanding that physical disability should never be a stumbling block for anyone with the desire to see the world and its wonders.
Why is it worth it to visit Machu Picchu?
The spectacular setting: mountains enshrouded in fog, the surrounding waterfalls and trails, a ruined city perched high on a mountaintop, the unique flora and fauna, all make this special place a must-see. It is believed Machu Picchu was constructed in the 15th-century.
The citadel of Machu Picchu is said to have served as an altar for human sacrifice in the past. Although these claims have never been substantiated, most tour guides in the region hold on to this claim as a matter of fact. But does it really matter if human sacrifices were done here or not? The most important thing is the impeccable view of the high Andes that this place offers you and the unbelievably enticing ruins that you will experience firsthand.
If you have time, you can always start by exploring the Sacred Valley, particularly from the nearby towns of Urubamba and Ollantaytambo. From there, you can ride the comfortable Vistadome Train to Machu Picchu Station in the small village of Aguas Calients, about a 2-hour journey. Along the way you will be treated to magnificent views through panoramic windows of the surrounding mountain peaks, rivers and waterfalls, from the comfort of your train seat.
What to know before visiting Machu Picchu:
- Entrance tickets are required and must be purchased in advance. Only 2,500 tickets are issued per day, not including the 500 Inca Trail Permits per day.
- Machu Picchu can be visited in a single day, but many visitors opt to spend the night at one of the hotels in Aguas Calientes, or at the Belmond Sanctuary Lodge located adjacent to the entrance.
- New regulations have been put in place to help reduce the impact of tourism. Visitors are scheduled in advance to enter on one of shifts: 6:00am-9:00am, 9:00am-12:00pm, 12:00pm-3:00pm. Visitors are allowed a maximum of 4 hours inside the site.
- It is possible to hike to the Sun Gate during your visit.
- Before entering Machu Picchu, it is worth visiting The Museo de Sitio Manuel Chávez Ballón which is located near the entrance to the ruins.
We can help arrange your accessible trip to Machu Picchu.
Lost World Adventures works with Wheel the World and can make all the necessary arrangements for your assisted visit to Machu Picchu as part of a seamless trip to Peru. Speak with one of our consultants.