Machu Picchu is Finally Wheelchair Accessible Thanks to This Tour Company
Machu Picchu is finally accessible for everyone.
Despite being a mega tourist attraction, Machu Picchu was essentially cut off to people living in wheelchairs until 2019. But, in January, the travel company Wheel the World introduced the first-ever wheelchair-accessible tour of the ancient historical site in Peru. And now, it wants to bring its tours to the masses.
According to Insider, the company was founded by friends Alvaro Silberstein and Camilo Navarro. Silberstein uses a wheelchair and Navarro does not, but that didn’t stop them from traveling the world together. Now, their company offers tours to destinations around the globe for “people with disabilities, their friends, and family.”
"There are one billion people [in the world] with disabilities," Navarro told CNN. "But there's not one main travel company dedicated to these users."
The company provides such tours with the help of specially designed foldable wheelchairs, CNN reported. Those wheelchairs, Navarro explained, are crafted with “only one wheel and two long sticks that make it look like a wheelbarrow. It is a mix of steel and aluminum, like a bicycle, so it's light.”
However, the only drawback, Navarro noted, is that this new wheelchair cannot be self-propelled. This means it does require the assistance of a travel companion to help operate and navigate through the ancient Incan site.
To help keep the high costs of these wheelchairs down, Wheel the World partners with people and organizations who can donate the wheelchairs and store them in different regions around the world. That way travelers don’t have to supply their own or incur the cost to ship them.
According to Wheel the World’s website, a multi-day trip to Machu Picchu starts at $1,490. That trip includes accommodations, meals, transportation and equipment, but does not include flights. This price, CNN reported, is comparable with what it would cost an able-bodied person to do a similar tour to the site.
The company’s first full tours of Machu Picchu are expected to begin in March. And, if Machu Picchu doesn’t strike your fancy, Wheel The World also offers tours throughout Chile and Mexico, with more expansion plans expected soon.