Machu Picchu Altitude Sickness

Machu Picchu altitude sickness can be an uncomfortable experience that may even ruin your lifetime trip, and hence, it is important to acclimatize or reduce the risks of altitude sickness through appropriate methods. Read our guide for more facts and information…

The route to Machu Picchu involves an impressive range of altitudes, ecosystems and climates. Ascending from the Andean plains to the high cloud-forests involves wide altitude variations. The Inca Trail is among the oldest treks in the world and for many, walking in the footsteps of the ancient Incas is a valuable experience. Altitude sickness or Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) can complicate the whole trip and even ruin one of the important experiences in one’s lifetime. Hence, it is important to have an idea about this problem and understand the ways to prevent or overcome the problem.

Machu Picchu Altitude Problems

‘Soroche’ is Spanish for altitude sickness and is commonly used to refer to Machu Picchu altitude problems. It usually hits at a height of about 7, 000 feet above sea level, and the possibility increases with increasing altitude. The common symptoms of the problem are strong headache, nausea, light-headedness, stomach discomfort and bleeding in the nose. The main cause for the problem is low atmospheric pressure at higher altitudes. The dry and thin air causes shortness of breath and dehydration, which in turn leads to headaches. Good physical health may not reduce the risk of the problem, but people who already live in high-altitude cities are not likely to suffer from altitude sickness. There are several ways to reduce the risk andmake the trip fruitful.

Machu Picchu Altitude Sickness

Medication Altitude sickness can be prevented by taking over-the-counter medicines, chewing coca leaves or through acclimatization. Acclimatizing about 600 meters per day can be favorable. Visitors may arrive at Cusco three days before their scheduled Inca Trail trek, as this will help them get used to the altitude. As dehydration is the main cause of altitude sickness, it is important to consume adequate quantities of fluids. Fatty foods, caffeine, alcohol, smoking and overeating must be avoided. Diamox or acetazolamide is a helpful medication for acclimatization, but side-effects, such as anorexia, frequent urination, nausea, and taste alteration must be considered. A concoction of coca leaves called Mate de coca is a legal drink in Peru, and can help prevent altitude sickness.

Machu Picchu Altitude Cuzco

It is important to gather information about the approximate altitudesof the places that may be involved in the trip. Machu Picchu altitude Cuzco of 10,800 feet is an inevitable part of the journey and prolonging the stay at this point will be helpful for acclimatization. Ollantaytambo located at 9,150 feet in the Sacred Valley is an important departure station for Machu Picchu trains. Puno is at 12,840 feet. The path to the Machu Picchu elevation level at 8,040 feet passes through several altitudes, including the high-altitude pass of Warmiwanuska. The trek culminates in the majestic entrance called Intipunko, viz. the Gateway of the Sun.

The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu altitude is a thrilling high-mountain experience through glacial peaks, descending towards lush forests in the clouds. There are well-preserved Inca ruins along the path and the Trail trek is a valuable experience for pilgrims and spiritual-minded people.

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