Altitude Sickness, known as soroche in Peru, can occur for many people at heights starting at 2,500 m (8,000 ft) above sea level. Altitude sickness is caused by insufficient oxygen in the blood and can cause dizziness, nausea, and shortness of breath. Fortunately, we have multiple recommendations to help prevent the symptoms.
Firstly, altitude sickness affects all travellers differently. Secondly, altitude sickness should not deter you from visiting one the world’s most beautiful places. Follow our simple recommendations and prepare yourself for the most wonderful, memorable trip of your life!
- Upon arrival to Cusco, try to eat lightly and not do anything too strenuous. Have a light walk and relax in your hotel room with a movie. While this is probably not what you had in mind, relaxing is the best option for your first day in Cusco.
- Avoid smoking as it may affect your breathing.
- Drink plenty of water (some travellers recommend at least 4 to 6L a day!). Altitude dehydrates giving travellers headaches.
- Enjoy coca leaves and coca tea. If you are arriving in Cusco by plane, free coca leaves are available as you disembark the aircraft and most hotels offer free coca tea as you check in.
- Avoid trekking as soon as you arrive. Our tours are frequent (operated almost daily), so plan to stay in Cusco and explore other local attractions before commencing your Machu Picchu adventure.
- Have some extra time? Allow for your body to slowly acclimate by taking the bus from Lima to Cusco instead of flying. This does require some extra time and many travellers do not feel like it makes a true difference. However, this may not be the case for you, just like altitude sickness, this may vary from person to person.
- Opt to ask for some extra oxygen if need be once in Cusco.. Most 3, 4, and 5-star hotels provide free oxygen for guests that request this service at no extra charge.
- Do not fret if you feel like floating when you disembark from the plane, should you choose to fly into Cusco. This is completely normal! Acclimating may take 24-48 hrs (on average) and probably just as long to feel back to “normal.”
- If you are prone to altitude sickness (know this from previous trips), consider taking a visit to your travel doctor before the trip, as altitude sickness medication can be prescribed. Also, Sorojchi Pills http://www.sorojchipills.com/ are a great remedy for altitude sickness symptoms and are available in many of the pharmacies here in Cusco. These are easily accessible should you require and should be bought and used with caution.
Taking preventive measures in avoiding altitude sickness can go a long way. Above all, it is very important to be mindful of your body at all times and choosing the recommendation(s) that best fit(s) YOU!