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Altitude Sickness

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Orange Park, Florida
posts: 57
reviews: 16
Altitude Sickness

As we live near sea-level (Florida) we have been warned, by people I trust, to not take altitude sickness lightly. It has been recommended that upon our morning arrival in Cusco we immediately make arrangements to get to Ollantaytambo and sit back and enjoy the local tea. It appears (although no money has yet changed hands) we will need to be back in Cusco the second night in Peru, to be picked up the next morning to go on a Manu Tour. Is it necessary to go all the way to Ollantaytambo to reach lower altitude? (Our friend has some kind of connection to El Alberque Hotel)

What should the cab fare for two people be for this far of a ride? (Our friend also recommends paying the $65.00 fee to be picked up by their reliable driver rather than chancing our Spanish to haggle with a local cabbie)

Is there an overnight option that is lower in altitude without traveling that far?

Will altitude sickness affect us immediately upon arrival?

Would we be safe to "tour" our way over to Ollantaytambo and then "tour" our way back to Cusco the next day? Or is this too much, too soon?

Cusco, Peru
posts: 2,183
reviews: 45
1. Re: Altitude Sickness

Severe Acute Mountain Sickness is definitely something to be aware of, unfortunately everyone is different and nobody can tell you how you will react. My opinion is to do your own research to decide how you want to manage the risks; Google 'Acute Mountain Sickness', here is one good article specifically about Cusco.

…wiley.com/doi/…full

If you are worried about it I would check into Diamox, as for going to the Sacred Valley first, I would stay in Pisac, according to the risk charts I have looked at, going straight to Cusco would create a medium risk of suffering AMS, also in the medium risk category is an increase in sleeping elevation of more than 500 meters in one day. If you check altitudes you will find that Pisac is the only place in the Sacred Valley that is less than 500 meters lower than Cusco. This may be splitting hairs, but it doesn’t make sense to me to expose yourself to a medium risk twice in one trip.

New York City, New...
posts: 425
reviews: 13
2. Re: Altitude Sickness

Local cab ride is 42 soles or 15 per person if you share. But from airport you'll have to negotiate. $65 seems very high in my opinion.

Lyle is correct about AMS. Everybody is different. My sister didn't feel well for two days. I think she pushed it on arrival instead of listening to our host and just relax and take a nap. I on the other hand was in better shape. Another thing about cusco is that it's very poluted by engine smog. Basically there is less oxygen and you are compensating by breathing harder.Which mean you are sucking that polution. Some people are fine with that. Also, you can buy oxygen canister at the airport. Seems scary but I would not over think about it.

We stayed in cusco first since we didn't get our tickets for HP until the end of our trip. This dictated our plans and worked out fine

Pisaq is a great suggestion. It's 32km from Cusco vs Olly which over 72km. When heading to Pisaq, you are climbing to 3700m before you head to 2950m of Pisaq. You will feel it. Olly is a straight shot down.

What ever you choose, you'll have a great time.

Orange Park, Florida
posts: 57
reviews: 16
3. Re: Altitude Sickness

Lyle, as an old fart, after reading the medical study you referenced, I better go ahead and get "Trip" insurance LOL. Dang I thought this was an excuse to drink cocoa tea and they recommend anyone over 60 shouldn't. What a gyp! I was in a Rock and Roll Band in the '60s. Does that give me special dispensation? And My Sweet Baboo has heart problems. Oh the humanity. LOL You've got to die from something. Thank you for taking the time to give us advice. The study does say that most people don't even know to consult with their Dr. about acetazolamide. I sure didn't, and now shall do so! Is it covered under Obamacare?

Orange Park, Florida
posts: 57
reviews: 16
4. Re: Altitude Sickness

kcheung, His point was that upon just arriving maybe paying extra was worth no hassles?!?!? But yeah it seems very high to me.

I shall check into accommodations in Pisaq.

What does an oxygen canister cost? Is it rented? I'm not too proud to pee away a little money to not ruin a trip!

Thank you.

This was a quickly set up trip as the airfares suddenly dropped. I didn't do much homework as the airfares were going away. But I am getting really excited!

california
Destination Expert
for Los Angeles, Palm Desert
posts: 11,656
reviews: 171
5. Re: Altitude Sickness

You're still going to feel it at Pisaq. but chances are you will not have the headache as you might in Cusco. It is a bit closer to Cusco than is Ollantaytambo but also a bit higher in elevation

I stayed at Royal Inka Pisac, it was okay, athough El Albergue is nicer it may not be worth going there for just one night.

6. Re: Altitude Sickness

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Edited: 7:05 pm, February 04, 2013
Cusco, Peru
posts: 571
reviews: 14
7. Re: Altitude Sickness

That was whether! not weather!

Cusco, Peru
posts: 2,183
reviews: 45
8. Re: Altitude Sickness

While I have a problem with some of the statistics they give, there is some useful information there.

The O2 canisters available at the airport are for sale and about the size of a water bottle, I would check with the hotel you choose and is they have O2 available, I wouldn’t bother with buying one.

Jacksonville...
posts: 1,494
reviews: 199
9. Re: Altitude Sickness

I'm from Florida too. I went to Cusco with my dad. One of us had extreme altitude sickness (myself), while my dad wasn't touched. It only lasted a day, but it consisted of nausea and headaches. Chew the leaves, drink the tea, don't leave the hotel room. You should be fine by dinner.

10. Re: Altitude Sickness

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Removed on: 2:05 pm, February 04, 2013