Cusco is the main tourist center of Peru and one of the main destinations in South America. The attractions begin in the same city and extend along its valleys and snowy peaks, until reaching the very marvel of the world.
The moment you land in the city of Cusco, you can feel that you have reached a very special place. Located in the area of the Central Andes, the capital of the Inca Empire will welcome you among large meadows, brick-colored houses and smiling faces ready to show you everything that this magical place has to offer.
Among so many novelties, it is normal to perceive suddenly with a faster palpitation and a more intense breathing than usual. Yes, it can partly be due to the emotion of having landed in the area where a new civilization was created, but it can also be due to the height.
Therefore, travelers should be cautious upon arrival in Cusco, the gateway to Machu Picchu. The imperial city of Cusco has a height of 3,399 m.s., which is significantly higher than Machu Picchu. Upon your arrival in Cusco, especially if you have flown directly from Lima (at sea level), in a rapid ascent (1 hour), you should take the recommendations to acclimatize.
Newcomers usually want to move from Cusco to the villages of the Sacred Valley of the Incas. These cities are slightly at lower altitudes, so they offer a milder form of acclimatization, before returning to Cusco. Once you have acclimatized in Cusco or in the Sacred Valley, you should not have problems with the altitude of Machu Picchu. You may still feel out of breath as you travel the site, but the risk of altitude sickness will be reduced.
Machu Picchu is located at an altitude of 7,972 feet (2,430 meters) above sea level; In front of it rises Huayna Picchu, which gives the classic geography to the archaeological zone, its peak reaches 2,720 meters above sea level. At this point, no matter how fit you are, you may experience symptoms of altitude sickness. (Acute mountain sickness) (AMS), this evil can usually occur when you exceed a height of 2,500 masl, especially if you come from low altitude places, if we speak in terms of risk, only the cusps of The Machu Picchu and Huayna Picchu mountains would be the places where you would be really prone to acquire such evil. However, despite the situation, statistically very few visitors to the historic sanctuary of Machu Picchu, who come to suffer from this evil.
Many people who want to come to Peru and especially to Cusco, (Machu Picchu), have the fear of altitude sickness, but the truth is that not many give them this altitude sickness, Cusco is at 3,399 meters above sea level, and some can give an account if it is very high or not.
Acute mountain sickness is also known as mountain sickness, altitude sickness, soroche, yeyo or apunamiento and is about the body's lack of adaptation to heights and all the symptoms that this presents in the body. In general, those who are accustomed to the plain or more or less low heights, begin to feel it at 2,500 meters above sea level and, higher, more likely to be noticed and suffer.
It is that the more you ascend the more the atmospheric pressure and oxygen pressure decreases and, thus, the inspired oxygen is lower and that is when hypoxia or lack of oxygen in the blood occurs.
Travelers who want to know Machu Picchu without any inconvenience, have the option of moving from Cusco to other nearby cities of the Sacred Valley and stay in some of the towns such as Ollantaytambo, Pisaq or Urubamba which are at slightly lower altitudes than those of Cusco and Machu Picchu. Staying about 24 hours in these places provides visitors with a smoother form of acclimatization before returning to Cusco or continuing the great Machu Picchu tour package.
When in deep breathing, sleep is an important time for body adaptation, but avoid sleeping pills and alcohol both affect your breathing while you sleep.
Keep in mind other effects of height during Machu Picchu travel. Some people, especially women, experience swelling in the hands, face and ankles. For what is recommended, avoid wearing tight jewelry and contact lenses.
Coca leaves have been used in the Andes for thousands of years, and are an important part of the high Andean culture. It was one of the most important food sources for the population that has lived and lives in the Andes.
It should be noted that it is not a hallucinogenic drug, the coca leaf, it has proteins, vitamins and minerals, which make it an excellent nutritious option with medicinal properties, well recognized and proven. Therefore, its analgesic effect helps to diminish, the symptoms of height, such as headache and fatigue.
When one is at high altitudes, in general, above 2,400 m / 7,874 ft there is a reduction in atmospheric pressure and oxygen levels.
The problem of height, for the body, is the shortage of oxygen in Inca Trail Peru. As you go higher, the air becomes scarcer. The highest point on the Inca Trail 4 days is 4,200 m. at this altitude the atmospheric pressure is a little more than half the value at sea level, in the Salkantay tour which is 4,650 m., the problem is greater. The heart and the lungs have to work twice as much to supply oxygen to the tissues.
The best season is during the dry season, which covers the months April to the end of September. In October the rains begin and you can find Machu Picchu covered by clouds. If you travel in June, we recommend you to book the Inti Raymi 2020 Tour that takes place in June 24th, and also hike the Palcoyo Mountain Tour, which is an incredible Rainbow Mountain located in the Andes.
Many are the routes that take you to Machu Picchu, but none is like the Inca Trail Tours, the most famous pedestrian path in the Americas. After flying from the capital of Perú, Lima, you will arrive in Cusco to walk for four days along a path through forests and dense fog, millenary stone steps and discovering the ruins of ancient fortifications and Inca cities, and all the time enjoying majestic views.