The best way to Keep away from Altitude Illness in Peru & the Andes

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looking down at the ruined stone city of Machu Picchu surrounded by green mountains on a cloudy day in the Andes in Peru with a brown and white alpaca standing on the viewpoint to th left. how to avoid altitude sickness in peru and south america.

A couple of ideas that will help you keep away from altitude illness when you’re travelling in Peru – and the remainder of South America.

Lots of the hottest locations in Peru are at pretty excessive altitudes within the Andes mountain vary – like Cusco and Machu Picchu.

As well as, there are lots of trekking routes all through South America which contain mountains or volcanoes that may also take you 1000’s of ft above sea degree.

Visiting excessive altitudes might trigger altitude illness, which may have an effect on anybody not used to larger elevations. If you happen to’re travelling to Peru or planning a mountain trek within the Andes, it’s a good suggestion to organize for altitude illness…

What’s Altitude Illness?

rainbow mountain in peru, a man and woman in traditional dress walking up the ridge of the mountain which is striped in different shades of red brown and beige on a bright sunny day with blue sky overhead. the man is wearing a black jacket and black cowboy hat, the woman is carrying a large multicoloured sack over her shoulder and a colourful parasol with a yellow fringe.

Altitude illness happens when your physique doesn’t get sufficient oxygen from the air at excessive altitudes. It normally happens at 2,500m above sea degree or larger, however it will possibly have an effect on individuals otherwise.

Signs embrace complications, lack of urge for food, nausea and vomiting, dizziness, insomnia and never sleeping effectively, and exhaustion or weak point.

In my expertise in Cusco, individuals have been most affected by the ultimate symptom. I had little or no power whereas I used to be at altitude, and located easy issues like strolling upstairs or light hills extremely draining.

Curiously, your age, intercourse, and health ranges don’t have anything to do with whether or not or not you’ll get altitude illness. Some persons are utterly unaffected, others are hit tremendous exhausting. So it’s a good suggestion to be ready for those who’re not used to excessive altitudes.

Altitudes in Peru: Locations The place Illness Is likely to be a Drawback

looking across the city of cusco towards large brown mountains on a cloudy day - the city centre is densely populated with buildings with mostly reddish terracotta tiled roofs.
At 3,400m above sea degree, Cusco could be a dangerous spot for altitude

In response to the NHS, signs of altitude illness normally develop between 6 and 24 hours after reaching altitudes greater than 2,500m above sea degree.

In Peru, a number of the hottest locations are discovered at these altitudes:

  • Cusco – 3,400m (11,200ft) above sea degree
  • Machu Picchu – 2,430m (7,972 ft)
  • Inca Trek – the best level on the path is 4200m (13,776 ft)
  • Arequipa – 2,335m (7,660ft)
  • Colca Canyon – the trekking route from Arequipa to Colca Canyon reaches altitudes of 4,870 m (15,685 ft) at Mirador de los Andes.
  • Lake Titicaca – 3,812m (12,507ft)
  • Huaraz – 3,052m (10,013ft)

The best way to Put together for Altitude Illness in Peru

man with three small horses each carrying packs walking along a narrow stone path in the andes mountains with snowcapped mountains in the background and clear blue sky above. how to avoid altitude sickness in peru.
The Lares Trek in Peru reaches altitudes of 4550m

There’s no approach of understanding how badly you’ll be affected, and consultants say it has nothing to do along with your health degree. However, it’s secure to imagine that while you hit a metropolis like Cusco at 11,152ft above sea degree, you’ll be affected in a minimum of a small approach. 

Fortunately, there are some issues you are able to do to put together for altitude illness.

The best way to Keep away from Altitude Illness in Peru…

Enable time to acclimatise at an intermediate altitude earlier than going to the upper cities – it is going to be value it to keep away from shedding a couple of days to illness while you arrive at your final vacation spot.

If you happen to can, journey overland to Cusco (or whichever metropolis you’re headed to) and spend a few nights someplace halfway. If you happen to’re backpacking, I extremely advocate taking the Peru Hop bus from Lima to Cusco. It’s a extremely enjoyable expertise and an effective way to satisfy different travellers. Learn my evaluate of the Peru Hop expertise for more information.

Earlier than arriving at altitude, you also needs to drink loads of water and eat a lot of carbs, to organize your physique with loads of power.

Ideas for Dealing With Altitude Illness in Peru & South America

emily wearing a black raincoat on a bike cycling down a dirt path next to a stone wall with mountains  behind her and blue sky overhead on a sunny day

When you arrive at your ultimate vacation spot, spend a couple of days taking issues simple when you end acclimatising. Listed below are my prime ideas for coping with altitude illness in Peru – and anyplace else you could go to within the Andes.

Observe: I’m not a medical skilled, however this recommendation is backed up by the NHS and my very own experiences, and none of it would endanger you.

  • Take it simple. Stroll slowly and keep away from train.
  • Take deep breaths.
  • Keep away from alcohol. For a minimum of the primary few days, anyway!
  • Don’t smoke, take medication, or use sleeping tablets.
  • Keep hydrated.
  • Keep away from large meals and heavy meals at evening. Digestion happens at a a lot slower fee at altitude, so go for small parts, and eat your largest meal of the day at lunch as a substitute of dinner. Your intestine will thanks.
  • Drink coca tea. Yep, tea produced from the identical coca leaves that make cocaine. There’s a stimulant in them (non-dangerous) which provides you an power enhance and genuinely alleviates the signs of altitude illness.
  • Eat extra sugar! The NHS recommends consuming extra energy while at altitude, and sugar is a pleasant, fast approach to try this. I additionally discovered that sweets and sugary drinks gave a pleasant power enhance and made me really feel significantly better for a couple of hours.

Altitude Illness in Peru

Whereas altitude illness might be fairly disagreeable, it gained’t final perpetually. And there are a number of issues you are able to do to assist fight it!

No matter you do, don’t let it put you off travelling within the Andes when you’re in Peru. The Andean landscapes are among the many most stunning on the planet. Hopefully, you gained’t be affected all that badly by altitude illness.

Observe – extreme altitude illness is a medical emergency. In case your signs worsen, or don’t enhance after a couple of days, it’s best to descend to a decrease altitude and/or search medical assist. 

So, there you have got it: a couple of easy recommendations on tips on how to keep away from and address altitude illness in Peru. When you’ve got a query – or a tip of your personal – scroll down to go away a remark!

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