Cusco, Peru’s historic jewel, with its cobblestone streets and rich history, is an enchanting destination that has attracted tourists from all over the world. However, it is common for some visitors to suffer from soroche or altitude sickness upon arriving in this city, located 3,399 meters above sea level. In this article, we will delve into how to face this challenge and make the most of the beauty that Cusco has to offer.
Cusco is located on the eastern slope of the Andes Mountains, in the basin of the Huatanay River, a tributary of the Vilcanota. Its unique geographical location contributes to its fame as one of the 25 most beautiful cities in the world. The city is not only home to the iconic Machu Picchu Archaeological Complex, but also offers a rich combination of history, culture, gastronomy and breathtaking natural scenery.
Acclimatizing to the Altitude in Cusco
Upon arrival in Cusco, it is essential to acclimatize properly to prevent altitude sickness. The city has a variety of tourist attractions, from the Sacsayhuaman fortress to the Pisac Archaeological Complex. However, before embarking on any tour, it is recommended to spend at least 2 to 3 days acclimatizing to the altitude.
Climate in Cusco
Cusco’s climate is dry and temperate, with two distinct seasons. The dry season, from April to October, presents sunny days and cold nights, while the rainy season, from November to March, brings average temperatures of 12 °C. Knowing these climatic variations is essential for planning your visit.
Symptoms of Soroche or altitude sickness
Identifying the symptoms of soroche is essential. Common signs include nausea, vomiting, muscle aches, dizziness, shortness of breath and tachycardia. If you experience any of these, it is important to take action.
Tips for Overcoming Soroche
Tips to overcome the soroche in Cusco:
- Prior Acclimatization: Spend 2 to 3 days to acclimatize before embarking on any trek.
- Medical Check-up: Visitors with heart problems should have a medical check-up prior to the trip.
- Avoid Alcohol: Refrain from drinking alcohol on the first day to ensure effective acclimatization.
- Hydration: Drink plenty of water before and during the trip to counteract dehydration.
- Coca tea: Moderate consumption of coca leaf tea may alleviate symptoms.
- Rest: If you experience symptoms, rest and avoid unnecessary exertion.
- Food: Maintain an adequate diet and avoid excessive walking for the first few days.
Consumption for Altitude Sickness or Soroche
In addition to hydration, it is recommended to drink coca leaf tea, which can be found in local stores. The importance of a balanced diet is also emphasized, especially if you are traveling with an agency that includes food in their packages.
Benefits of Coca Leaf
The consumption of coca leaves not only helps with digestion, but also provides additional benefits:
- Stimulates Digestion: Consuming coca leaves after meals promotes digestion.
- Increased Oxygen: Chewing coca increases oxygen intake to the blood and brain.
- Natural Energy: On hikes and outdoor activities, coca acts as a natural stimulant.
Cusco, with its rich history and breathtaking scenery, is a unique destination. It is essential to overcome the soroche to fully enjoy this experience. Follow the tips, acclimatize properly and immerse yourself in the magic of Cusco, we are waiting for you to live an unforgettable adventure!