I had planned my travel in Peru according to elevations of the places I wanted to visit. I have never been at an altitude of above 1,800 m (5,900 ft) before, and had no idea how my body would behave in intermediate altitudes. High Altitude Sickness (AMS – Acute Mountain Sickness) commonly occurs above 2,400 meters (8,000 feet) after a rapid move from lower altitudes to higher altitudes. Statistically, 28% travelers to moderate altitudes get sick having at least three of the following symptoms: headache, dyspnea, anorexia, fatigue, insomnia, dizziness, or vomiting. That’s almost every third person (!) At least one symptom was reported by 73% travelers, which is 3 of 4 persons (!) In extreme cases, AMS can be fatal. So my concerns about high altitude sickness were very high. Of cause, nosemaphobia couldn’t stop me from trekking Inca Trail to Machu Picchu and exploring Inca Empire. However, I had to make some changes to the initial plan – canceled a stay in Cusco in the beginning of the trip and added two nights at lower altitude town of Ollantaytambo, a small town in Sacred Valley built by Incas, giving my body more time for acclimatization before going up to the highest point of the trip – Puno, Lake Titicaca. For those who are going to Peru, I highly recommend to do the same. Here is a list of elevations above sea level of the cities in order they were visited. Note, the highest Cusco and Puno were visited the last.
Lima – 1,548 m (5,079 ft)
Ollantaytambo – 2,792 m (9,160 ft)
Machu Picchu – 2,430 m (7,972 ft)
Aguas Calientes – 2,040 m (6,693 ft)
Ollantaytambo – 2,792 m (9,160 ft)
Cusco – 3,399 m (11,152 ft)
Juliaca – 3,825 m (12,549 ft)
Puno – 3,830 m (12,566 ft)
Taquile Island village, Lake Titicaca – 3,950 m (12,959 ft)
This plan worked out perfectly for me. I didn’t have any of the high altitude sickness symptoms during the entire trip.
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Love the photo of the 2 dogs together! And so happy that you didn’t get altitude sickness…! That would not have been fun!
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I call the photo of two dogs “Friends Forever” :)
There are so many street dogs in Peru. But, Santiago de Chile is the world’s champion! There is a dog or a few in every block of downtown Santiago.
That was a good idea to gain altitude slowly and give your body time to acclimate. I went to Peru with my mom and sisters, and all of them suffered from altitude sickness (as in they needed oxygen masks!). There were also people who just fainted during the middle of our tour. I just kept drinking my coca tea and didn’t feel a thing.
Oxygen masks! that’s not fun!
Coca tea is good! I was drinking non-stop water and coca-cola. It doesn’t really matter what you drink. You just have to drink and pee a lot :) That’s the natural way of acclimatization vs meds. Also, no alcohol. No meat. Pasta is good.
Such wonderful photos!
I’d love to go there one day! :)
You should. Peru is such a beautiful country!
Such beautiful pictures of Peru. Peru is in the works for me to travel to in 2014. Your pictures gives me such wonderful insight.
Glad you like the pics, Jo Ann! Definitely, Peru is a must-go country. Always think about high-altitudes and plan your trip accordingly. A couple from my “Inca Trail team” didn’t come trekking b/c they got very seek. They started their trip at Lake Titicaca – 3,830 m (12,556 ft), it’s too high.
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