Machu Picchu for the Disabled

by Freddy November 8, 2022
tours machu picchu

It is now possible to visit Machu Picchu, even with a physical disability. That is because the ministry of tourism in Peru has been working hard for a number of years to create an adapted circuit for people with disabilities. This circuit ensures that tourists from all corners of the world are accommodated inside the Inca citadel, assisting people in wheelchairs, with blindness or sensory impairment, or physical abilities.

Although this circuit has access ramps and is more accommodating to visitors who suffer with a disability, you will still need to ensure that you have a little help from a friend or family member, who can accompany you around the complex. This is because not all of the geography inside the citadel offers available access, and some of the paths can be narrow and unforgiving. Wheelchair users will therefore require at least one, or even two helpers to assist them in navigating the circuit.

Visitors of this circuit are also obligated to have an authorized guide to enter the citadel with them, someone who can direct you along the route and provide additional assistance when needed. 

Entrance tickets for disabled visitors

People with a disability that wish to visit Machu Picchu are welcome to reserve any entrance ticket for any circuit, except those that include either Huayna Picchu Mountain or Machu Picchu Mountain. This is because the pass between the two mountains is built on slopes and cliffs, which can be dangerous for disabled tourists.

If you are a wheelchair user, you are required to obtain a special entrance permit along with your entrance ticket and enter the citadel with at least one support person. Permits for wheelchair users can be obtained or requested from the Ministry of Culture office, which is located in Aguas Calientes town.

Getting to Machu Picchu from Cusco

Those with a disability will only have one option for travel between Cusco and Machu Picchu. This option involves taking the train from either the city of Cusco or from Ollantaytambo in the Sacred Valley. If you choose to take the train from Ollantaytambo, then you will need to take the appropriate mobility transportation by road, for 2 hours through the Sacred Valley to the train station in Ollantaytambo, ready to board the train to Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu town).

Discounts on tickets for disabled people

The Ministry of Culture of Peru gives a 50% discount on Machu Picchu entrance tickets for foreign visitors who have written proof of their respected disability by way of a ‘disability card’, or a certificate of disability granted by the origin country. To take advantage of this, people who are registered disabled will need to attach a scanned copy of their paperwork when purchasing their entrance ticket.

machu picchu para discapacitados

What is a CONADIS card?

In Peru, the official identity card for people with registered disabilities is known as a ‘CONADIS card’. It is an important document that officially certifies a person’s disability status in Peru, and serves as a means of accessing a series of benefits and rights that Peruvian law guarantees to improve their inclusion and quality of life.

The card gives special access to a number of social programs, services, and benefits offered by the Peruvian government to people with disabilities. These include a free pass on the public transport system for those with a severe disability, preferences in certain care services, possibilities of accessing preferential credits in government programs and put and obligation on public entities to hire no less than 5% of their staff on the payroll with people with disabilities, contributing to promoting labor inclusion and economic independence.

Depending on the degree of disability, there are 3 types of CONADIS that can be obtained which are classified as mild, moderate, and severe. Each card will enable access to different benefits according to the severity of the disability.

Certificate of disability

This document is granted to people who are registered with a disability, which accredits them when applying for a CONADIS card. The certificate can be requested at health posts, medical centers, hospitals of MINSA, Regional and Local Governments, Health of the Armed Forces, Health of the National Police of Peru, EsSalud, National Penitentiary Institute (INPE). Having a disability certificate is necessary to comply with the regulations established by the Ministry of Health in Peru.

Health establishments of private clinics can also grant the certificate, but they must be registered in the National Registry of Institutions Providers of Health Services-REINPRESS-SUSALUD.

Best time to travel to Machu Picchu

It is no secret that the weather in Machu Picchu can be unpredictable, so choosing the best time to visit Machu Picchu is paramount, especially if you are a person with a disability. Throughout the year, the sanctuary of Machu Picchu experiences two main climatic seasons:

The rainy season 

The rainy season in Machu Picchu Runs from December till April. Throughout this period there is a lot of precipitation, so the experience is very different to that of the dry season. Although Machu Picchu and the surrounding archaeological sites are open all year round, it is likely that they may be shrouded in mist. Daytime temperatures during the rainy season can reach a maximum of 20°C and drop to 10°C after dusk, but with 12 hours of high-altitude sunshine a day, you will only tend to feel the cold throughout the night.

If you suffer with a disability and plan to Travel to Machu Picchu during the rainy season, we recommend that you prepare for your visit with clothing suitable for wind and rain, come with a trusted friend or family member, and take great care when navigating the trails.

It is prudent to consider however, that although the rainy season experiences more challenging weather conditions, visitors can take advantage of fewer tourists and less crowds (which could be a breath of fresh air if you are a wheelchair user). Naturally, this provides you with an opportunity to share the beautiful green scenery with less people and perhaps even that famous view accompanied by a colourful rainbow.

The dry season 

The dry season in Machu Picchu is from April to December. Throughout this period, there can be significant temperature differences throughout the day and night. The mornings tend to be warm with an average temperature between 17 – 19 ° C. But the nights can be very frigid, with temperatures often falling below 0°C, especially in the winter in June and July.

What makes this season so attractive though is the consistent good weather due to the lack of rainfall. This is why the drier months bring with them many tourists, with the high season for tourism falling between May and July.

Consequently, we recommend that visitors favour the dry season, with the best months for exploring Machu Picchu being between May and October. Not only are the conditions during the dry season more preferable, but your souvenir photo of Machu Picchu is almost certain to be much more glorious throughout the drier months.

Preparing for your trip to Machu Picchu

Essential tips that will help people with disabilities when planning their trip to Machu Picchu:

  • When travelling to Machu Picchu in the dry season, reserve your entrance tickets to the citadel and necessary wheelchair permits well in advance, due to the high volume of tourists visiting the area.
  • Book train tickets well in advance, especially if you require disability access and special seating.
  • Book your hotel in Cusco and Aguas Calientes well in advance to ensure priority access rooms.
  • Book your hotel near to the bus and train station in Cusco and Aguas Calientes.
  • Bring appropriate clothing including warm but breathable shirts and pants, sweaters, and raincoats.
  • High SPF sunscreen, wide brimmed sun hat, and good quality insect repellent are also essential.

If you have any questions, please ask one of our travel advisors! We are always here to assist you with anything you need to know to ensure you don’t experience any complications on your way to Machu Picchu.

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