Peru's lofty heights present you with both majesty and menace. The Andes, the country's signature geographic feature, provide a glorious backdrop. The 6,768-meter (22,204-feet) Huascarán tops Peru's peaks, and much of the center north-south band of the country sits at 3,000-4,000 meters (9,800-13,000 feet) altitude.
Treat that altitude with respect. Its consequences, locally known as soroche, affect many visitors. For most, it's little more than a shortness of breath, which can be minimized by taking it easy the first couple of days and a good intake of nonalcoholic liquids. It occasionally requires immediate descent to lower altitudes. Peruvians swear by tea brewed from coca leaves, a completely legal way (in Peru, at least) to prevent symptoms. We recommend a pre-trip check with your doctor to see if any underlying conditions (hypertension, heart problems, pregnancy) might preclude travel here.
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