Altitude and acclimatisation

Altitude and acclimatisation

Altitude and acclimatisation

Altitude is a consideration at Machu Picchu, Cusco, and Lake Titicaca - learn all about it here

The effects of being at altitude vary from person to person. Altitudes on our Peru trips are significant but not extreme. You will almost certainly notice shortness of breath when you arrive, particularly when walking uphill – there’s simply less oxygen! Other typical effects are:

• Sleep disruption – strange dreams, insomnia

• Headache

• Light-headedness

• Stomach disruption (caused by slower digestion)

• Dehydration

These symptoms almost invariably disappear after a couple of days, so we recommend getting here a couple of days before the trip if you can, so you’re acclimatised by the time you start exercising.

The best things you can do to acclimatise are:

• Keep hydrated

• Avoid alcohol (it dehydrates you)

• Eat lightly (digestion slows down at altitude)

• Don’t push yourself physically too soon

About one percent of people experience severe headaches and nausea. Again, this generally fades within a few days.

If you have, or have recently had, a respiratory complaint (even a cough) when you arrive, please let us know so we can keep an extra eye on you. The biggest danger with altitude is that it is possible to push a struggling respiratory system too hard and end up with pulmonary oedema, a serious condition that requires evacuation to sea level. We’ve never had to evacuate anyone from a trip.

If you’d like to do more background reading internet about altitude and acclimatisation, there’s plenty of information on the internet, or feel free to ask us any questions.

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