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2021-08-24 21:08:37 _____ Cusco

Altitude sickness: Tips for your trip to Cusco

Altitude sickness: Tips for your trip to Cusco

Few things are as frightening as getting sick while traveling abroad. It's not just the fear of ruining your dream vacation but the uncertainty of not having someone to take care of you in a foreign country.

You may have heard of altitude sickness (soroche), a usual cluster of symptoms that affect many tourists who travel to the Peruvian Andes. If you are aware before your trip, you have nothing to fear. In addition, you will always be in good hands, from your arrival to Peru until your departure flight if you choose to travel with Gotoperu.

Our local team of experts has prepared this short guide to help you deal with altitude sickness. Keep on reading, and learn more about it.

What is Altitude Sickness?

Altitude sickness is due to a lack of oxygen in the human body. Altitude sickness is generated by the atmospheric pressure, which is much higher as the altitude increases. If you come from a sea-level city, your body is accustomed to a high level of oxygen in the blood. However, when you arrive at a high-altitude destination, such as Cusco, you will feel the lack of oxygen in your blood. This difference causes the symptoms known as altitude sickness.

You may experience these symptoms during your first 12 hours in Cusco, and usually, you will start to feel better in one or two days as your body gradually adapts to the changes in altitude.

Before making your trip to Peru, we recommend you have a medical check-up with your doctor, especially if you have heart problems or live in a sea-level city. In some cases, your doctor may prescribe medication for altitude sickness. Make sure to bring enough for your trip to travel without worries.

Our team of specialists also recommends you have an acclimatization process days before your visit to the city of Cusco. Some travelers even skip Cusco (11,150 f.a.s.l.) and go straight to the Sacred Valley (9,500 f.a.s.l.) to avoid initial altitude sickness. Don't worry because it will only take a few days to adapt to the altitude. Once you are ready, don't miss the opportunity to explore Cusco, the ancient city of the Incas.

Symptoms of Altitude Sickness

You may start to feel the symptoms of altitude sickness within a few hours of your arrival in Cusco. Some common symptoms may include:

  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Increased heart rate
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Lack of appetite
  • Difficulty sleeping

Generally, these symptoms don't require medical assistance. However, if you continue to feel unwell or your symptoms worsen, please contact your Gotoperu agent to help you schedule a doctor appointment.

Dealing with Altitude Sickness symptoms

It is common to present very mild symptoms of altitude sickness despite having had previous acclimatization or taking medication as prevention. These tips will help you overcome the minor symptoms that may occur and enjoy your trip to the fullest.

  • Light movement. It is not recommended to perform activities requiring heavy physical effort during the first days in Cusco. Tours to Rainbow Mountain or Humantay Lake can wait until your last days in this beautiful destination.
  • Light meals. Due to the low oxygenation of the blood, our digestive system works at a slower speed. We recommend you eat food without much fat and hydrate constantly during the first days in Cusco. It does not sound good, but that tender alpaca steak will have to wait.
  • Stay hydrated. Keep in mind that your body dehydrates quickly at high altitudes. Therefore, try to always bring a bottle of water with you. Drink lots of water, even if you are not thirsty.
  • Take soroche pills. Pills against altitude sickness are sold without a prescription in most drugstores in Cusco. However, we recommend a medical check-up with your doctor before your trip before taking any medication.
  • Drink coca tea. Offering coca tea to travelers arriving in Cusco is a tradition in the capital of the Inca Empire. Coca tea is safe to drink, and a few cups a day will help alleviate the symptoms caused by altitude sickness.
  • Avoid alcohol and drugs. This tip even applies to the night before your flight to Cusco. The symptoms of altitude sickness will only get worse with a hangover. It will take you a few days to acclimatize to the altitude in Cusco, and once you are ready, you are invited to try our Pisco Sour in Cusco.

Dealing with the altitude in Cusco may feel frightening, even more so if you are coming from a sea-level city, but if you are traveling with a trustworthy travel agency like us, you have nothing to fear. When traveling with Gotoperu, our staff will be in contact with you 24/7, making sure that you only worry about enjoying your trip.


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