When traveling to Peru, we have many guests ask us about altitude acclimatization for when they arrive in Cusco, the Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu, Lake Titicaca, the Colca Canyon and/or Arequipa.
Here is a quick list of tips to remember and take into account when arriving in a high altitude destination in Peru (or elsewhere).
– Altitude effects everyone differently (it is a genetic predisposition). Someone in your group may be effected while others may not feel anything at all.
– Each experience with altitude is different. Sometimes, someone can go somewhere at high altitude and not have any effects and then, return to high altitude a second time and all of sudden find that this time they are effected.
– The best way to help prevent altitude sickness is making sure that you stay well-hydrated (drink LOTS of water). Try to avoid caffeine and alcohol the first few days you are at altitude as they dehydrate you. In Peru, many people drink coca tea which is said to help altitude sickness. Every hotel offers it in the lobby. (It has not been scientifically proven to make any difference but who knows!)
– There is a medication you can ask your doctor for to take with you in case you are suffering from altitude sickness. It is called Diamox.
– All hotels have oxygen tanks in the lobby should you feel short of breath (this is not usually necessary but good to know just in case). Some higher end hotels even pump oxygen straight into their rooms.
– Remember, take it slow the first days. Don’t push your self too hard (ie maybe don’t go work out in the hotel gym the first day in Cusco 😉 ). Remember that it is normal to be slightly winded when going up stairs, hills, etc. You can absolutely do these things just take it easy and slow 🙂
– If your are traveling with us and you, or anyone in your group is feeling extremely sick, while traveling, please call our emergency number right away and they will assist you in getting the care and attention you need.
Want help planning your next adventure to Peru? Contact us!
Your friendly Peru expert,