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Reminiscing: A Wheelchair Accessible Machu Picchu Vacation

Machu Picchu is known as a wonder of the world. The city of Cusco welcomes well over a million travelers yearly to marvel at Peru’s Sacred Valley and the famous Incan ruins. One thing you might not know is that with the right team and support, Machu Picchu can be a wheelchair accessible destination! Cusco’s cobblestone streets, sometimes with a steep incline, and the ancient ruins hardly scream accessibility, but we’re here to tell you that various travelers have explored and enjoyed wheelchair accessible Peru!

We caught up with husband and wife travelers David and Valerie, who traveled with Wheel the World to Cusco and Machu Picchu in March of 2019. We reminisced on their trip and they shared some of their favorite memories with us. 

David, who is quadriplegic and has used a wheelchair for 30 years, and his wife Val are experienced travelers. They are an energetic, active couple who enjoy activities like cycling and diving. They shared with us that Machu Picchu was a bucket list destination for them – one they wouldn’t have been able to check off without the assistance of Wheel the World. 

Here are their main takeaways from their wheelchair accessible Machu Picchu trip:

Personalized attention to detail

David and Val were looking for a few things out of this vacation. First, they wanted to check off that bucket list item, Machu Picchu. Second, they wanted to be able to do the recreational activities that they enjoy. And third, they were looking for a relaxing vacation, where they were able to get away. 

They made it to Machu Picchu and explored the wonder of the world. Hand cycling – one of David’s hobbies – was worked into the itinerary and the two of them took an adaptive bike tour through the sacred valley. 

“We got what we wanted, which was that downtime. It was very consciously arranged, the trip was tailored enough to our preferences”

Professional, adaptable guides

When traveling, it’s a known fact that things don’t always go as planned. In David and Valerie’s case, there happened to be a labor strike starting as they arrived. Valerie explained,

“The rumors were going around, he was working around the expectations about how the strike would impact the trip from day one, in the end they modified two of the days so that we weren’t impacted by the strike.” 

Our partners at Peak DMC made sure David and Valerie were able to make the most of their trip. A quick change in schedule allowed the couple to experience everything they were expecting and not have to worry about missing out on some activities.

Safe and stress-free

“We are experienced travelers with disabilities, and the stress, fear, and frustration can be terrifying. But from the moment we were with them we were safe, comfortable, and didn’t have any problems”

A memorable experience

Kayaking, biking, eating, visiting Machu Picchu – all of these activities left a lasting impression on David and Valerie. The day they kayaked and went to lunch at a woman’s house on Piuray Lake was one of their favorite memories. They recalled the amazing food, the purple potatoes, and the only quinoa Valerie has ever liked! 

“It would be easy for me to say being at the top of Machu Picchu, but it was the unexpected parts of the trip that were most memorable, handcycling, kayaking, the unexpected. You go to Machu Picchu and you’re expecting a lot. Machu Picchu was everything I expected it to be, but the most memorable parts were the parts you didn’t expect, eating in that woman’s kitchen, the delicious meals, kayaking.”

David and Valerie go adaptive cycling through Peru’s Sacred Valley

Wheelchair accessible Machu Picchu is not just a possibility, it’s an experience of a lifetime! Valerie and David summed it up as “A positive way to experience travel when you’re traveling with disabilities for the first time or if you’ve had a bad experience, or if you’re experienced but so both travelers or the whole family can enjoy it because they’re all taken care of.”

To experience Cusco and Machu Picchu with Wheel the World, check out the accessible tour packages offered here.

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