When clients fly to Cuzco (3,300 Metres), a suggestion is for a transfer to Sacred Valley at (2,600 metres), where clients can spend 2 or 3 nights undertaking touring. Then a trip to Machu Picchu with an overnight stay (2400 Mts), so by the time clients reach Cuzco, they have had 3 or 4 days acclimatising – this is a far better way to acclimatise and by having a few days at Lower altitude, the step up to Cuzco is only minor and unlikely to suffer issues with the Altitude.
- Slow down speed of any physical activity walking etc
- Drink more water than normal -2 Litres a day
- Altitude dries out Skin, hair, Lips etc – Moisturiser, lip balm
- Sun is stronger and you get sunburnt quicker – Sun Block
- Strong sun on head – Wear a hat always during day at altitude
- Try and eat main meal during day and lighter meal at night – slower digestion
- Coca tea
- If taking tablets for altitude try one before you leave, just to make sure no side effects
- Hotels, Tourist buses, trains in Peru all have oxygen if needed
Staying well at high altitude
High places -altitudes of 2500m and above – demand special respect and preparation. With proper planning and the right training, though, almost anyone can experience the exhilaration of rarefied air.
Here are some ideas to help you to get high, stay well and reach altitudes you would never have believed possible in the tallest mountain ranges of the world:
Train, train, train
It’s often not practical to prepare for altitude by spending time at altitude, but you can train your heart and lungs for altitude, even at sea level. Do at least four hour-long sessions a week of full-effort aerobic exercise: running, biking, and swimming. In between – walk. If you’ll be carrying a load, practise carrying that. Find steep hills to climb wherever you can.
If you’ll be flying or driving to altitude, first, rest. Spend two or three days doing little and drinking plenty (4-6 litres per day). Dehydration worsens altitude problems: so does drinking alcohol.
You may lose your appetite when first at altitude, but it’s important to keep eating. High up in the alpine cold, you burn more calories even at rest: eat plenty of high-carb, slow-burning energy foods.
Climb high, sleep low
Above 3000m, if the geography allows, don’t ascend more than 300m a day. If you do, plan to sleep no more than 300m higher than you did the previous night until you are well acclimatised. Acclimatisation takes 1-3 days for any given altitude.
Tough days, rough nights
Nights may be tough at first. Breathing rate slows when you sleep and you may wake frequently feeling out of air. Propping yourself up with your backpack to sleep half-sitting may help.
Know the danger signs
It’s normal to have some headaches when you’re first above 2500m. Rest, drink and medicate as you would at sea level. Breathlessness is normal on exertion at altitude – but above 3000m, watch for breathlessness when resting; a cough; a severe, persistent headache; nausea; loss of coordination or disorientation – all are signs of Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS). This potentially fatal condition demands rapid descent.
Have a plan
AMS symptoms often improve with a descent of 300-600m. Make sure your walking party has a plan of action for descent: and that’s not in the morning, it’s right now.
Try the folk (and high-tech) remedies
Andeans have chewed coca leaves for thousands of years – the alkaloids released relieve altitude symptoms. In the Himalayas, dried yak cheese (chhurpi) is said to alleviate some altitude woes. A red steak or two before arriving at altitude may increase iron levels and help produce blood cells to transport oxygen. Or take the pharmaceutical route: Acetazolamide (Diamox) began before ascent helps acclimatisation.