Monday, 1 January 2018

Acclimatizing for Machu Picchu

Altitude sickness is probably the biggest obstacle for treking in Peru especially if you live at sea level.
In Peru most cities like Cusco are considered high altitude and the oxygen levels drop by around 5-6 percent. Symptoms range from SOB (shortness of breath) & tiredness to vomitting and dizziness.
In extreme cases, altitude sickness can cause death. Always seek medical advice if you are suffering from severe altitude sickness.

Altitude by City in Peru
  • Cusco – 3,200 meters (10,500 ft)
  • Sacred Valley* – 2,700 meters (8,850 ft)
  • Machu Picchu – 2,430 meters (7,970 ft)
  • Arequipa – 2,300 meters (7,500 ft)
  • Colca Canyon** – 3,633 meters (11,800 ft)
  • Puno / Lake Titicaca – 3,830 meters (12,560 ft)
Lima is not a good place to acclimatize for your Andean hikes as it is only 154m above sea level.
Before heading out to Cusco, I spent some time in Arequipa and visited a few of the surrounding volcanoes to help adjust.

The locals also advised me to chew Coca leaves. They make a decent tea.
Yes, coca leaves are the raw material for cocaine, but chewing the leaves or drinking coca tea when you're in Cusco (altitude 3,400 metres) clears your throbbing head and lets you breath again.

Altitude 4885m

 Our bus group at 5000m. Lack of O2 took its toll on everyone (except the bus driver).

Peruvian Pizza helps too.

 Inca Terraces

The bird is a Andean Condor.

Back in Arequipa. Peruvian hot dogs. I can think of no better way to round off a great few days in the mountains.
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