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UNESCO World Heritage site Machu Picchu has a new company aiding in making it even more wheelchair accessible. The destination, which is roughly 600 years old, is essentially a must-see when visiting Peru, however, the options for visiting for those in a wheelchair have been limited in the past to just two companies: Accessible Travel Peru and Inka Wheelchair Tours.
The company behind the latest accessibility undertaking at Machu Picchu is Wheel the World, which was founded by two Chilean friends. Alvaro Silberstein, who uses a wheelchair, and Camilo Navarro, who doesn’t, were dedicated to creating an experience for travelers that goes beyond accessibility when they started the company.
“Accessible does not mean inclusive,” Navarro said in an interview with CNN Travel. “There are one billion people [in the world] with disabilities. But there’s not one main travel company dedicated to these users.”
People who use wheelchairs can tour the Incan empire with Wheel the World starting at $990 per day. Transportation from travelers’ hotels to Machu Picchu is included and organized by the company.
Beyond its Peruvian tours, Wheel the World also offers tours in Mexico and Chile. They offer six tours just on Easter Island. With Wheel the World, travelers in wheelchairs can dive, hand-bike, zip-line and dine.
The company doesn’t just place an emphasis on its tours, though. It acknowledged a barrier that many travelers have to consider before embarking on their trip of a lifetime: Expensive equipment specific to the terrain of a region. To fully accommodate tour-takers, Wheel the World works with local partners who donate and store wheelchairs that are equipped for the tour trails so that customers don’t have to spend a fortune to experience the wonders of the world.
TPG reached out to world traveler and triple amputee John Morris of WheelchairTravel.org for comment. “I am pleased to see entrepreneurs taking an interest in the development of accessible travel tours,” said Morris.
Although it’s not always easy to navigate travel with a disability — in fact, it’s often not easy to do so — many major attractions have come around to make experiences more inclusive. Commonly visited destinations like the London Eye, Versailles Palace and the Chacchoben Ruins all are accessible to wheelchair users.
“People with disabilities are eager to explore the world, including sites like Machu Picchu,” shared Morris. “As more touristic destinations and activities become accessible, the number of travelers with disabilities will increase.”
If you’re interested in finding out more about the accessibility of a destination or how you might be able to navigate a destination in a wheelchair, we recommend visiting John Morris’ compilation of wheelchair accessible destinations, which encompasses dozens of cities across the world.
This story originally stated that Wheel the World was the first company to provide wheelchair-accessible tours of Machu Picchu. It has been corrected to show that Accessible Travel Peru was actually the first.
H/T: CNN Travel
Featured image by Wheel the World
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