Machu Picchu is one of the wonders of the world and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It ranks high on many travelers’ bucket lists, and millions of visitors make the trek to Peru each year to check it off.
But the high-altitude Incan citadel has never been known for its accessibility — until now. Accessible-travel company Wheel the World now offers the first wheelchair-accessible tours of Machu Picchu. Using a wheelchair will no longer exclude travelers from enjoying this incredible experience.
This Instagram post from Wheel the World shows how they helped one traveler finally achieve her dream of seeing Machu Picchu:
Two best friends, Alvaro Silberstein and Camilo Navarro, hatched the idea for the accessible-travel company. Silberstein uses a wheelchair due to injuries sustained in a car accident when he was 18, while Navarro does not.
The longtime friends wanted to find a way to explore Patagonia’s rugged Torres de Paine National Park together. Thanks to a crowdfunding campaign and a lightweight folding wheelchair, they made it a reality. On the heels (or wheels) of their success, they wanted to open up more destinations for people with disabilities around the world.
They studied business at University of California-Berkeley and worked on expanding Wheel the World. They now offer tours in Chile, Mexico, Tanzania, Peru and the U.S.
The key to exploring these sites on wheels is specially designed wheelchairs that can navigate the uneven terrain. These wheelchairs resemble wheelbarrows and are made of steel and aluminum, like bicycles. Their design requires an able-bodied companion to help propel and steer the chair along the trail.
In the past, such chairs have been prohibitively expensive. However, Wheel the World partners with companies to donate the wheelchairs and store them nearby so they’re ready for visitors and tours.
The Wheel the World Machu Picchu tours start at $895 for a single-day visit, but they offer a variety of options, up to multi-day tours with stays at four-star accommodations for $2,900.
Silberstein and Navarro have far-reaching aspirations to offer more unforgettable inclusive adventures, all while raising awareness of active people with disabilities and inspiring everyone to explore.
One chair at a time, they’re helping people wheel the world.