Mountains for all: wheelchair tourists conquered Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu

 

Image: blue sky, Machu Picchu, mountains, green grass

 

The ancient city of the Incas, Machu Picchu, hidden among the peaks of the longest mountain system of the planet, captivates the imagination of both scientists and travelers. From around the world, inquisitive researchers and equally interesting tourists flock to Peru to discover this mysterious cultural monument of South America. Shown to the world just 100 years ago, Machu Picchu is hardly accessible - the city seems to be floating among the clouds and pointed peaks of the Andes, at an altitude of 2430 meters above sea level.

But for those who dream of new discoveries and are committed to adventure, nothing is impossible - in November 2018, the way to Machu Picchu was paved for tourists with wheelchairs. Chilean travelers Alvaro Silberstein and Isabel Aguirre crossed the 11-km section of the Inca Trail, which leads to the ancient city of Machu Picchu. They were the first quadriplegic and paraplegic travelers to make the journey in wheelchairs.

Image: people sitting on the mountain peak, the sky
These activities were made possible by special adaptive equipment provided by Wheel the World (Source)

The one-day trip to Machu Picchu on the Inca Trail route was designed specifically to promote accessible tourism in Peru. Alvaro Silberstein and Isabel Aguirre traveled around this country as part of an organized tour and visited not only the lost city of the Incas but also Cusco and other sights of the Sacred Valley.
Alvaro Silberstein - founder of the Wheel the World project for tourists with disabilities. Specialists from the tour operator PEAK DMC helped him in organizing this trip. And besides climbing Machu Picchu, the trip was full of challenging and exciting adventures: tourists made 10 km cycling tour and a kayaking trip on Piuray Lake and explored the ruins of the Saksayuaman temple complex.

Image: group of people climbing Inca Trail
For Gary Cohen, Regional General Manager for PEAK DMC South America,
“In my ten years in the adventure travel industry I’ve never done anything as challenging or rewarding as this.” (Source)

 

Image: tourist driving a handbike, the road
The group also explored Cusco and the Sacred Valley -  including a 10 km cycling tour
and a kayaking trip on Piuray Lake (Source)

 

PEAK DMC South America partners with accessible travel company Wheel the World “To empower people with disabilities to explore the world without limits.”


“Completing the Inca Trail was both beautiful and hard – at many exhausted moments we wondered if we would make it but reaching the Sun Gate and seeing Machu Picchu from on high was probably the most beautiful moment in my life,” says Alvaro, co-founder of Wheel the World.

 

For tourists interested in traveling on a similar accessible itinerary in Peru, bookings are now available on a private group basis through the Wheel the World website. A documentary on the trip will also be made available early in 2019.