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altitude sickness

Altitude Sickness

Altitude sickness—also known as acute mountain sickness (AMS), altitude illness, hypobaropathy, or soroche—is a pathological effect of high altitude on humans, caused by acute exposure to low partial pressure of oxygen at high altitude. It commonly occurs above 2,400 meters (8,000 feet). It presents as a collection of nonspecific symptoms, acquired at high altitude or in low air pressure, resembling a case of "flu, carbon monoxide poisoning, or a hangover". It is hard to determine who will be affected by altitude sickness, as there are no specific factors that compare with this susceptibility to altitude sickness. However, most people can climb up to 2,400 meters (8,000 ft.) normally.

What is the altitude of each area we will visit?

Lima   Sea Level Arequipa   2300m, 7500 ft. Cusco  3400m, 11150 ft
Ica   406m, 1340 ft. Colca Canyon 3600m, 11900 ft. Sacred Valley  2900m, 9500 ft.
Nazca  600m, 2000 ft. Puno   3800m, 12500 ft. Machu Picchu  2000m, 6500 ft.

While altitude sickness affects everyone differently, the best way to try and prevent altitude sickness, or soroche, is by following the next steps:

  • Do not exercise too much on the first day in high altitude areas
  • Eat lightly during the first two days.
  • Drink plenty of water and high energy drinks even if you are not thirsty.
  • If you have any heart, respiratory or pulmonary problems, please consult your doctor.
  • We highly recommend drinking lots water and coca tea. The consumption of coca tea, as well as chewing the leaves, increases the absorption of oxygen in the blood.
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