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2021-08-24 21:08:37 _____ Cusco

Altitude sickness: Tips for your trip to Cusco

Altitude sickness: Tips for your trip to Cusco

Few things are as frightening as getting sick while traveling abroad.  And it's not just the fear of ruining your dream vacations, but also the uncertainty of not having someone to take care of you in a foreign country. 

You may have heard of altitude sickness (soroche), a fairly common set of symptoms that affect many tourists that travel to the Peruvian Andes. But if you are prepared before your trip, you have nothing to fear! And if you choose to travel with GotoPeru, you will always be cared for, since the moment you arrive to Peru intil your last departure flight. 

Our local team of experts have prepared this short guide to help you deal with the altitude sickness. Keep reading and learn more about it!

What is Altitude Sickness?

Due to atmospheric pressure, as altitude increases, there is less oxygen in the air. If you come from a city near sea level, your body is used to having plenty of oxygen. However, when you arrive at a high altitude destination such as Cusco, you will feel the lack of oxygen in the air. This difference causes the symptoms known as altitude sickness. 

You may experience these symptoms in your first 12 hours in Cusco, and usually you will start to feel better in a day or two, as your body gradually adapts to the changes in altitude.

Before your trip to Peru, it's a good idea to check with your doctor, specially if you live in a place close to sea level, or if you have cardiac problems. In some cases, you may be prescripted some medicines for the altitude sickness. Make sure to bring enough for your trip in order to travel without worries!

An experienced travel agent will also advise that you acclimatize for a few days before your trip to Cusco. Some travelers even choose to skip Cusco (11,150 ft) and go straight to the Sacred Valley (9,500 ft) in order to avoid altitude sickness. But don't worry, it will only take you a few days to adapt to the altitude! Once you are ready, don't miss the opportunity of exploring Cusco, the ancient city of the Incas.


You may start to feel the symptoms of altitude sickness within a few hours of your arrival to Cusco. Some common symptoms may include:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Increased heart rate
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Lack of appetite
  • Difficulty sleeping

Generally, these symptoms are light and don't require medical assistance. However, if you continue to feel unwell or your symptoms worsen, please contact your 24/7 GotoPeru agent to help you schedule a doctor appointment. 

Tips for dealing with the symptoms

Even if you take all measures to acclimatize to the altitude, you may start feeling symptoms of altitude sickness at your arrival in Cusco. These tips will help you feel better and enjoy your adventure:

  1. Take it easy. You may be eager to see the natural wonders of Cusco, such as Humantay Lake or the Rainbow Mountain, but it's better to leave these activities for your last days in Cusco. If you are feeling well, a good way to use your time in Cusco is exploring its magical stone-paved streets. See more about our City Tour in Cusco here.
  2. Eat light meals. It's also a good idea to take it easy with the food, as your stomach will take longer to digest your food. Choose light meals and try to eat reduced portions on your first days in Cusco. Sounds sad, but that tender alpaca steak will have to wait.
  3. Stay hydrated. Keep in mind that your body dehydrates quickly in high altitudes. Therefore, try to always bring a bottle of water with you. Drink lots of water, even if you are not thirsty!
  4. Take soroche pills. You can also choose to take over-the-counter medication for altitude sickness. However, it's better that you check with your doctor before your take any medication.
  5. Drink coca tea. Traditionally, you will be offered coca tea as soon as you arrive to your hotel in Cusco. Don't worry, it's safe to drink, and a few cups a day will certainly help with the symptoms of altitude sickness.
  6. Avoid alcohol and drugs. This tip even applies to the night before your flight to Cusco! The symptoms of altitude sickness will only feel worse with a hangover. It will take you a few days to acclimatize to the altitude in Cusco, and once you are ready, you are invited to try our Pisco Sour experience in Cusco!

Dealing with the altitude in Cusco may feel frightening, even more if you are traveling from a place close to the sea. But if you are traveling with a trustworthy travel agency, you have nothing to fear! When traveling with GotoPeru, our staff will be in contact with you 24/7, making sure that you only worry about enjoying your trip.

In GotoPeru, we are enthusiasts of our amazing culture and heritage, and can’t wait to share with you! We are a 100% local tour operator, specialized on designing the vacations of a lifetime. Contact us now! Our local experts will be happy to help you plan your dream trip to Peru.

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