Warnings and Dangers in Cusco: Altitude Sickness – Soroche
Cusco is a city in Peru that sits at an altitude of 11,152 feet above sea level. For most, altitude sickness (soroche) can be a problem at any elevation above 8,000 feet. There are a few things you can do to reduce the symptoms when visiting the city.
Use Medication for Altitude Sickness
Before traveling to Cusco, talk to your physician about medication for altitude sickness (soroche). There are several drugs you can take in advance to fight the symptoms. Start taking the medication a few days before you arrive to ensure you build up enough of the medication in your system.
Take Extra Time for Travel
When you aren’t used to the altitude it’s easy to get out of breath and feel weak with just the slightest exertion. Take extra time if you are sightseeing and rest often, especially when exploring places like the Ollantaytambo Ruins. Rent a car or use a car service even when traveling to and from the train station until you get acclimated to the climate.
Enjoy a Cup of Coca Tea
Coca tea is commonly used to treat asthma, colds and even stimulate the stomach. The leaves are the raw material for cocaine and are frequently chewed or made into a tea to help clear the head and help you breathe easy at high altitudes. Whenever you feel breathless, enjoy a cup of coca tea.
Another secret to ward off altitude sickness is to stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water during your entire trip. Avoid or limit your alcohol and meat intake, which can both cause dehydration. At higher altitudes, your body loses water, so carry clean water with you and drink often.
Keep Snacks By Your Bed
It’s a good idea to put a few snacks and bottled water by your bed at night. If you are feeling weak and under the weather from altitude sickness, getting up can be a challenge.
Editor’s note: The information contained on this page was compiled using real traveler reviews about Altitude Sickness in Cusco.