Machu Pichu

Old Mar 28th, 2008, 04:09 AM
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Machu Pichu

My husband and I are planning the 4 day trek to Machu Pichu, in September. How much of a factor is the altitude? what type of strategies work?
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Old Mar 29th, 2008, 02:08 PM
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topping for dsouza.
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Old Mar 29th, 2008, 06:40 PM
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I would suggest you spend one or two days in Ollantaytambo to adjust. Take a taxi directly there when you arrive in Cusco. Don't forget to reserve your rail tickets.
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Old Apr 4th, 2008, 08:02 AM
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I visited Peru and was in MP last June. I didn't do the trek, however would say that altitude is DEFINITELY something you need to allow for. Machu Picchu is around 8K ... to be more precise, I think it's 7,800 feet. That's at an level when some folks may be impacted by the altitude. If you live at sea level (I do) and have not much experience w/ being at higher altitudes (I wasn't), then it's strongly suggested you allow yourself a day or two to adjust to the elevation.

As above poster suggested, staying a day in Ollanta or one of the other towns in the Sacred Valley is a good idea before starting your trek. Additionally, you'll probably read to keep well hydrated, avoid alcohol, drink coca tea (or can chew leaves).

FYI, I'm not a queen of fitness, have asthma and am 40-plus years old. I was walking a bit slower when in Cusco (higher altitude than MP), however didn't have any difficulties when in MP. When I got to Lake Titicaca (12k), then I really saw a few folks who were grappling w/ altitude issues.


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Old Apr 4th, 2008, 09:18 AM
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Having just returned from Machu Picchu, altitude sickness is a problem. A lot of people stay in Cusco for a day or two to help get acclimated. There is an over-the-counter drug in Peru that has aspirin and other ingrediants that may help a bit. But here's the advice everyone gives: Take it easy, don't drink (realy don't drink for the first couple of days), drink plenty of fluids,try cocoa tea and, if you are really worried, talk to your doctor.

I went to both Machu Picchu and Lake Titicaca and experienced some shortness of breath for two nights (one after I had two glasses of wine)but despite the discomfort, it was a great, great trip.
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Old Apr 4th, 2008, 10:32 AM
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dsouza,
The altitude is certainly a factor for some but it affects everyone differently - some people not at all. I'm among the latter. I spent a total of 6 days in Cusco and MP and had no trouble at all.

I don't think there's any way of determining how it might affect you but, as other posters have said, drinking coca tea and keeping well hydrated are recommended.
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Old Apr 4th, 2008, 10:37 AM
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There's a very big difference between visiting Cusco and Machu Picchu and hiking the 4-day Inca trail.

I hiked did the 1-day trek and found it difficult. I acclimated for several days but didn't get in shape prior to hiking it.

Make sure you get into shape before going to Peru by hiking at least 5 miles a day for a few weeks. You can also get Diamox from your doctor to prevent altitude sickness. However, I found that coca tea worked at least as well as Diamox. You can buy it everywhere and likely your guides will provide it.
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Old Apr 4th, 2008, 11:28 AM
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If I recall correctly Cuzco is actually higher than than MP. My worst moment was at Sacsahuman. But I was someone who worked out 3 - 5 times a week.

There were overweight elderly people who had no issues with altitude. It varies person to person.

Have Inca tea and sniff plenty of Inca mint
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Old Apr 4th, 2008, 11:46 AM
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As I mentioned in my post, I have asthma and therefore, consulted with my doctor prior to my trip to Peru .... and as well, when I went to Ecuador in 2006 (Quito is at 9600 ft).

Asked about the drug "Diamox" and decided I wasn't willing to risk the side effects that sometimes accompany this medication >>> http://www.basecampmd.com/expguide/diamox.shtml

Fortunately, I am one of those people who didn't have much trouble w/ high elevation. Doctor said, it's unpredictable as to who will (or won't) experience altitude sickness. It's not related to age or fitness or gender. You won't know until you're there if it'll be a problem or not.

Many of hotels at higher altitudes offer oxygen .... my first night in Puno (Lake Titicaca), I did have 15-minute oxygen treatment; after that I was good to go. Obviously, MP is much lower than Lake T, but perhaps the guides bring along oxygen for anyone who may be challenged with altitude?

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Old Apr 4th, 2008, 12:13 PM
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I agree with the no alcohol and drink plenty of water. I arrived in Cusco and felt the altitude almost immediately. I was 38 years old at the time and in good shape. I experienced constant headache and mild nausea the entire 3 days there. I drank lots of mate de coca but it didn't seem to help. I didn't have any alcohol either. I still had a great time though. I do suggest that you take the train or hire a driver as soon as you arrive and go to Ollantaytambo for a night or two to adjust. I stayed at a fabulous hotel there called Pakaritampu Hotel. The town is very quiet with not much to do but see the ruins, relax and shop a little. Great bargains in this little town. Relax for a couple of days and maybe go to Macchu Picchu from here and then head to Cusco. Don't miss Cusco. It's a wonderful place with friendly people. Great walking and bargains to be had. If you are any kind of photographer, make sure you take candies from home to give to the kids when you take their picture. Do not take pictures of the traditional locals without asking and give them a few coins atleast. I can't wait to go back!
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Old Apr 4th, 2008, 01:41 PM
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Note the question regarded the 4-day Inca trek which begins at kilometer 82. Nearly all the tours pick up trekkers in Cusco and then travel by bus to the beginning of the trail. If you are staying somewhere else besides Cusco you will have to arrange this with your guide. Also, spots for the trek are rationed to limit damage to the environment. You have to book the trek months in advance.

http://www.andeantravelweb.com/peru/...itinerary.html
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Old Apr 4th, 2008, 02:20 PM
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I've been researching this hike myself. Everything I've read indicates that for doing the trek (and it IS a trek), which goes over a pass at 13,780 feet, you should/must acclimate in Cuzco for at least 2 nights. Cuzco at 11,500 feet is higher than the Sacred Valley. I have often had trouble at altitude (lived in Colorado for 4 years so plenty of experience when we hiked in the mountains - feet felt like lead, headache, nausea, insomnia), but here's how I'm hoping to cope: I'd like to do 2 nights in the SV to ease in, then 2 nights in Cuzco. Unfortunately I cannot tolerate Diamox.
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Old Apr 27th, 2008, 06:20 PM
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We just got back from this area and had no problems with the altitude. Some people in our group did. I got a bag of coca leaves and chewed them regularly and drank tea made from them. The coca leaves are legal and safe and have been used by the indigenous people for maybe a thousand years. I paid a street vendor thirty cents for a bag. I think it worked. I had no problems at all with the altitude.
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