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Sacred Valley/Cusco options

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Wallingford, CT
posts: 9
Sacred Valley/Cusco options

Hi everyone,

I have a specific question regarding my plans for visiting the Cusco/Sacred Valley area this coming January. For whatever reason, I'm overly-concerned about altitude sickness/lack of oxygen, probably because I have no experience ever being at any significant altitude, and I have this innate fear of breathing difficulties (which might be somewhat irrational). :)

Anyway, my husband and I will be in the Cusco/SV/MP area for a week (Saturday-Friday) and I am considering a few different itineraries. I'm trying to determine which would be better for the easiest altitude adjustment. Here are the options:

Option 1:

2 nights in Sacred Valley (1.5 days, after arriving in Cusco early AM)

2 nights in Cusco

2-day Inca Trail hike (including 1 night in Aguas Calientes)

1 more night in Cusco

Option 2:

2 nights in Sacred Valley (1.5 days, after arriving in Cusco early AM)

2-day Inca Trail hike (including 1 night in AC)

3 nights in Cusco

**if we choose this option, where can we store our luggage while we do the hike, since we will not be returning to the same hotel?

Option 3:

3 nights in Sacred Valley (2.5 days, after arriving in Cusco early AM)

2-day Inca Trail hike (including 1 night in AC)

2 nights in Cusco (but this really only gives us 1 full day in Cusco)

**We would do this option if the consensus was that 1.5 days/2 nights in the SV wasn't really enough before embarking on the 2-day hike, but if you felt that we should do the hike before going to Cusco.

I can't figure out if it's a better idea to (a) try to get fully adjusted to the altitude before doing the Inca Trail hike, or (b) try to get fully adjusted to the altitude before spending time in Cusco. If we do the hike first, will we be winded and tired on the hike itself? Or if we go to Cusco first, will we be more at risk of suffering altitude effects because that is the highest point?

I would greatly appreciate any insigt, especially from xochitl, as he seems to be the resident expert. :) I hope this post wasn't to confusing!

Thanks in advance for your help!


Prescott, Arizona
posts: 349
reviews: 83
1. Re: Sacred Valley/Cusco options

The topic of altitude sickness has been discussed many times on this forum. Rather than restating what's been said, I suggest you do a search on "altitude sickness." I'm sure you'll find what you need to help make your decision. Needless to say, you're trying to fit a lot into a short amount of time.

Lima, Peru
Destination Expert
for Cusco, Lima, Arequipa, Peru
posts: 16,133
reviews: 306
2. Re: Sacred Valley/Cusco options

Read this for more info :


I would go with option 3 which gives you a longer aclimatization period at a lower altitude before doing the hike.

You should also consider taking Diamox starting 48 hrs before you go to the SV.

3. Re: Sacred Valley/Cusco options

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