Let’s start by looking at what high altitude means. High altitude starts to have an effect on our bodies from between 1,500m – 2,000m (4921ft – 6561ft) when our bodies start to react differently to make up for the changes in oxygen levels.
So, as you go higher the air pressure gets lower (the air gets ‘thinner’) so that for every breath there will be less oxygen for your body. Your body gradually adapts to getting less oxygen – you breathe faster and deeper and the body produces more red blood cells to carry oxygen molecules. This takes time, so this is why if you go from low to high altitude too quickly, you may feel symptoms of altitude sickness until your body acclimatizes.
Cusco is located at an altitude of 3,400 meters (11,200ft) and it is common for many visitors to experience some mild symptoms of altitude sickness or ‘soroche’ as it is known locally. It’s hard to tell if you will be affected by altitude sickness as some people can be more susceptible than others regardless of age, sex or physical condition.
How might altitude sickness affect my trip?
Mild altitude sickness should not interfere too much with your normal activity. Symptoms are usually felt within 12 – 24 hours of arrival and tend to subside within 3 days. It is recommended to give yourself 2 to 3 days to adjust to the altitude before doing a trek!
Symptoms of Altitude Sickness
Common mild symptoms of altitude sickness may include:
Eight tips to avoid altitude sickness in Cusco
Relax and take it easy! Take a few days at the start of your trip to acclimatize to the altitude before attempting any treks or strenuous activity. This is the best advice we can share! Take it easy for the first few days and your body will thank you later.
Get lots of sleep. Sleep is the best remedy of all! Do not be afraid to just sleep it off as your body adjusts.
Avoid alcohol & drugs. This includes sleeping tablets and tranquilizers as these can all make the symptoms worse.
Drink lots of water. Staying hydrated prior to and throughout your trip is crucial to avoiding unpleasant altitude sickness symptoms.
Drink coca tea. Nearly every hotel in Cusco and the Sacred Valley offers fresh coca tea to guests and for a good reason too! Coca tea is completely safe to drink and a cup or two each day can ease altitude symptoms.
Go lower to acclimatize. Head straight to the lower altitude of the Sacred Valley or Machu Picchu. Believe it or not, Cusco is at an altitude of 3400m (11,154ft) so heading to Ollantaytambo at 2,900m (9,514ft) or Machu Picchu at 2,400m (7,874ft) can make a huge difference
Get an Oxishot. Oxishot is a small dischargeable can that contains 8 litres of oxygen that you can take when you arrive in Cusco and anytime you need a boost. It can help reduce headaches and fatigue associated with altitude sickness.
Visit your doctor. If you are still worried before you to travel, head to your doctor and ask for an acetazolamide prescription (also known as brand name Diamox) which can be taken to help avoid altitude sickness symptoms. Regardless of altitude worries, you should always visit your doctor or a travel clinic prior to travel to Peru.
Medical practitioners and hospitals in Cusco are quite used to treating altitude sickness, so if something does go wrong there are medical facilities available here. There are several private clinics who offer doctors fluent in English.
Our Last reviews the Inca Trail
10/10 Amazing experience
If you’re thinking about which agency to use, look no further- Ray and Jimmy went well above and beyond and made this a memorable, safe, fun, and professional experience.Ray is the most knowledgeable guide I’ve ever had in any country for any excursion - during both the Short Inka Trail and the actual tour of Machu Picchu, Ray’s expertise shined through in his ability to give us a detailed background on every aspect of the history, climate, nature, flora, animals.. anything! Likewise, Ray and Jimmy were truly the friendliest, kindest hosts that I could have imagined our group having. Thank you both so much and I will definitely book with you again if (when) I come back!
Did the 2 day Inca trail with Ray and Jimmy they were great and knowledgeable. Ray not only guided us along trail to Machu Picchu but also was an excellent photographer and taught us the history. It was a group of 10 and we had a great time. Even everything going on in Peru, we always felt in good hands.
Short Inca Trial (2-Day)
This tour was the perfect experience for our (group of 10) short trip to Peru. The trail was sometimes challenging, but the views and history made it all worth it. Ray and Jimmy were our guides and imparted sooo much knowledge about the history of Peru, Inca, and beyond. I would definitely recommend!
2 Day Inca Trail and Machu Picchu
Our guides Ray and Jimmy were very helpful during our 2 day trip to the Inca Trail and Machu Picchu. They were very knowledgeable and made sure we were safe the whole time despite the protests. Would definitely recommend.
Machu Picchu and Inca Trail Hike
My favorite part of the tour was certainly hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu with Ray and Jimmy. We learned about the culture, the history, and shared some laughs along the way. I would definitely recommend bringing snacks and lots of water — it will slow to easily get through the trail.
Amazing trip in seeing History
The Inka trail was very enjoyable and we had two of the best guides in Ray and Jimmy that helped take us throughout. I would highly recommend them to anyone interested in traveling to see Machu Picchu.
2 Day Inca Tour
Booked the 2 Day Inca Tour and had Ray and Jimmy as my tour guide. Had an amazing experience, hiking and exploring Machu Picchu. They were so nice and knowledgeable. Would definitely recommend!
Great 2-day Inca trail experience
We had a great 2-day Inca Trail with Miguel, our guide, and Orange Nation. The team was flexible and advised us on the best way to get to do the trip despite some political difficulties at the time. They went over and above to get us on the best schedule, help with the luggage and making everything go smoothly. We were lucky with the weather but also the design of the trip was really good as we got to see Machu Picchu both without people and in full sun :) Our guide Miguel was very knowledgeable, great storyteller, fun, and very calm, we didn’t stress with anything, we were always on time and knew exactly what to do. Overall, we had a great experience and enjoyed a glimpse into the world of the Inca :)
Awesome 10-Day Cusco, Inca Trail, Rainbow Mountain, and Lake Titicaca Tour.
Very special experience with our guide Ray, our cook Fortunato, and head porter Vasillio. Wonderful, insightful dialog; incredible food; and 5-star service all around. Would recommend to friends as the tour is also a great value. Thank you!
Servicio rápido y amable
No llegamos a concretizar el servicio debido a la coyuntura política del país sin embargo la empresa rápidamente y atentamente procedió con la devolución. Muy bien servicio y cuando la situación se calme retomaremos el servicio con ellos.