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Travelling around Peru

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Sale, Australia
posts: 3
Travelling around Peru

Hi everyone,

I'm looking for some advise about travelling in Peru.

My cousin (from Canada) and myself (from Australia) are planning to meet up somewhere for a holiday together Oct, Nov or Dec 2014 ( not sure which month would be best). I think it would be great to go to Peru, I would love to do the Inca Trail, Machu Picchu, Lake Titicaca and so much more. While my cousin loves the look of these places, she is getting extremely worried about Altitude sickness, her fear of it is putting her off going there altogether. I've been trying to find some figures on how many of the thousands of tourists that must go through these places actually end up sick with it....no luck with that so far.

Another thought I had was that if she just can't get comfortable with the fear of altitude sickness, then maybe I could see these places on my own then meet up somewhere else. I was thinking of the Inca Trail tour with a company called Intrepid but was wondering if it would be alright to travel on the buses to other destinations on my own or would that be a bit foolhardy?

I backpacked around a lot of the world when I was (much) younger but travelling might be a bit different these days. I should mention that I am 54 years old, which is why I'm asking about that idea being "foolhardy"???

I would really appreciate some thoughts as I would love to find a way to see these places while I still can.

6 replies to this topic
Chicago, Illinois
posts: 6,333
reviews: 75
1. Re: Travelling around Peru

First thought is if you want to do the Inca Trail buy the tickets now. Those are very limited and sell out months in advance. Summer tickets are already sold out.

The vast majority if people of course have no serious altitude issues but some do. No wY to know how any one person will react until you are there.

Peru is very tourist friendly. It's easy to get around either by bus or flying depending where you go and your budget.

Edited: 8:59 am, April 19, 2014
Lima, Peru
posts: 3,890
reviews: 109
2. Re: Travelling around Peru

You should go for it! Many people travel on their own without any problem, altitude can be a problem or not, relax the first day arriving Cusco, take a lot of water, rest, eat light, no alcohol (at least the first day)

54 is young!

Chicago, Illinois
posts: 3
reviews: 2
3. Re: Travelling around Peru

I'd try to talk your friend into going to the higher altitude areas. Most of the best sights in Peru (in my opinion) are high up.

I'd definitely recommend going to a travel doctor first. Mine got me diomox. My friend's father apparently urinated a lot while on it, but I didn't notice any side effects. It really helped with the symptoms. When we went over the Parapampa Pass from Arequipa to Colca Canyon (about 4900 meters / 16,000 feet), the one of us who didn't have it with her had a rough time at the summit while the other two were out of breath but fine.

We're in our mid 30s and not in the best of shape which might be relevant to you. I remember getting out of breath in the shower in Chivay. (our hotel at 3,600 meters / 12,000 feet) and laughing about that.

Titcaca is higher than Cusco (which itself is higher than Machu Picchu) but lower than the Colca Canyon so everything after the Colca Canyon was fine for us. The hotel in Cusco was "concerned" for us possibly having altitude sickness, not realizing we were actually higher up just that morning. Found that funny.

I wouldn't not go for fear of altitude. Peru's worth it. Just be prepared before hand with altitude sickness medication and organize the stops so you acclimitize gradually. We were in Arequipa first after Lima. I'd go there before Titicaca to acclimitize, and then go "down" to Cusco and Machu Picchu. Cusco will seem like it's full of oxygen after Titicaca. (I highly recommend the Colca Canyon as well, but that was really up there in elevation.)

We also used a tour group that did the itinerary for us, and I thought it was a wonderful way to get to see everything without having to worry about tickets, etc. They just tell you stuff like "be in the lobby" and even walked us to the entrance gates at the Lima and Cusco airports.

Sale, Australia
posts: 3
4. Re: Travelling around Peru

Thanks everyone for your advise and knowledge, very helpful! Sometimes my brain forgets that my body is 54 years old and mightn't be able to keep up with it, that is why I needed to get opinions from people that have actually done what I'd like to do.

wes032 & FalcoG , you've made me feel more confident about going ahead with my plans and I'll get on to the tickets before they sell out hopefully.

jaredrobert, I phoned my cousin and passed on all the info...fingers crossed.... she sounded a lot more positive!

We are both going to the Doctors to get something to take with us for altitude sickness,(just incase).

I was thinking about flying in to Lima and heading up a bit more gradually rather than straight to Cusco, does make more sense doesn't it.

Once again, thankyou all very much!

Katbriag

San Miguel de...
Destination Expert
for San Miguel de Allende, Central Mexico and Gulf Coast
posts: 3,964
reviews: 81
5. Re: Travelling around Peru

If you have the choice, I'd go in October rather than December. Better still is July/August: colder but drier. I wouldn't bother with the Inka Trail; just go for the day, or better stay overnight and visit twice. There are a lot of good (and less toursity) day hikes in the sacred valley.

I first went to Peru when I was in my 50s and have been several times since. Americans all seem to get hooked on diomox for altitude sickness. I just drink lots of liquids, inc coca tea, and chew the leaves when hiking, even though I think they taste horrible! I don't get soroche, so am lucky I guess, but do feel tired when hiking. It's nothing to do with age or fitness. I climbed Mt Fuji when I was in my mid 40s and felt fine, whilst the friend I was with threw up all the way, and was younger than me!

Sale, Australia
posts: 3
6. Re: Travelling around Peru

Thanks for the info Londinense.

We have been able to settle on November for our trip so I hope that will be alright weather wise. I will definitely be looking in to Sacred Valley. By what I've heard, it would be worthwhile setting a little extra time to spend in the area. Maybe the day trips are something to seriously look at too I'll mention all this to my cousin and see what she thinks. At least we're hearing a bit more positive things about the altitude problem, doesn't seem such an overwhelming problem at all.

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