Learn how 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 suggestions that can assist you keep away from altitude illness when you’re travelling in Peru – and the remainder of South America.

Most 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 hundreds of toes above sea degree.

Visiting excessive altitudes could trigger altitude illness, which might have an effect on anybody not used to increased elevations. For those who’re travelling to Peru or planning a mountain trek within the Andes, it’s a good suggestion to arrange 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 often happens at 2,500m above sea degree or increased, however it could actually have an effect on folks otherwise.

Signs embody complications, lack of urge for food, nausea and vomiting, dizziness, insomnia and never sleeping nicely, and exhaustion or weak spot.

In my expertise in Cusco, folks had been most affected by the ultimate symptom. I had little or no vitality whereas I used to be at altitude, and located easy issues like strolling upstairs or mild 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 laborious. So it’s a good suggestion to be ready in the event you’re not used to excessive altitudes.

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

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 generally is a unhealthy spot for altitude

In keeping with the NHS, signs of altitude illness often 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)

Learn how 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 means of figuring out how badly you’ll be affected, and consultants say it has nothing to do together 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 at the very least a small means. 

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

Learn how to Keep away from Altitude Illness in Peru…

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

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

Earlier than arriving at altitude, you must also drink loads of water and eat plenty of carbs, to arrange your physique with loads of vitality.

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 remaining vacation spot, spend a couple of days taking issues simple when you end acclimatising. Listed here are my high suggestions for coping with altitude illness in Peru – and anyplace else you could go to within the Andes.

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

  • Take it simple. Stroll slowly and keep away from train.
  • Take deep breaths.
  • Keep away from alcohol. For at the very least the primary few days, anyway!
  • Don’t smoke, take medicine, or use sleeping capsules.
  • Keep hydrated.
  • Keep away from large meals and heavy meals at evening. Digestion happens at a a lot slower charge at altitude, so go for small parts, and eat your greatest 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 supplies you an vitality 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 means to try this. I additionally discovered that sweets and sugary drinks gave a pleasant vitality 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 received’t final ceaselessly. 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 received’t be affected all that badly by altitude illness.

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

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

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