The high altitude at Machu Picchu

Old Jun 18th, 2003, 09:28 PM
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The high altitude at Machu Picchu

Can anyone give me any advice regarding the high altitudes at Machu Picchu? I'm very healthy but not in the best shape (don't exercise everyday). Will this be a problem? I understand they hand out individual oxygen tanks up there? Is there anything else I should bring?
Old Jun 19th, 2003, 02:21 AM
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They do not hand out individual oxygen tanks. That only happens in the flashest hotels. There is not a lot you can do other than take it easy during the first few days and drink lots of tea. Avoid flying to Cuzco from sea level (ie Lima) if possible. In actual fact Machu Pichu is not so high as Cuzco. It is Cuzco where you will get altitude sickness if you do get it. One other thing, if you haven't seen a dentist for a while, go and see one before you go up that high. The altitude can give your teeth problems if they are not in good shape.
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Old Jun 19th, 2003, 04:50 AM
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I returned from Machu Picchu a few months ago. I was like you, healthy but not much of an excerciser. The altitude there didn't bother me at all and I certainly didn't feel like I needed additional oxygen. In Cuzco I had slight headaches on the first day, but other than that, no problems.
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Old Jun 24th, 2003, 04:41 AM
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We just got back from Peru yesterday. Four out of 16 of us were hit with altitude sickness shortly after landing in Cusco-two kids ages 11 and 17 who are very active in sports, one out-of-shape lady, and me, healthy but not an exerciser. Drinking Coke (caffeine) and putting cold rags on the forehead got me through the first few hours of transistion. It didn't take long for the 11 yr old to adjust; the 17 yr old felt better the next day; the lady had effects on and off for several days. I had Diamox with me in case I couldn't shake it. No one was ill at Machu Picchu.
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Old Jun 25th, 2003, 10:32 AM
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Generally speaking, you're more likely to feel altitude sickness when you arrive in Cuzco. The first day I arrived in Cuzco, I only experienced a slight headache. Just order "te de coca" aka "coca tea" when you do not feel well. This will help alleviate some of the altitude sickness symptoms if you experience any. Don't stress yourself about it. My parents who were both 56-years-old, at the time, had no problems when they went to Cuzco/Machu Picchu. They weren't even in the best physical shape.
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Old Jun 25th, 2003, 02:52 PM
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One additional bit of information: Being in good physical shape, exercising regularly, etc, is not necessarily a good predictor of whether or not you will be affected by the altitude. In our group, the woman who worked out regularly at the gym and was in the best condition actually had the most problems from the altitude (in Cuzco, not MP).

FYI Cuzco is about 12,000 ft, MP is only about 8. We considered it a great relief to get to MP!
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Old Mar 15th, 2004, 10:48 AM
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I am planning to go to Cusco this July for about 4 -5 days and as part of the package, I have to choose between the Picaoga Hotel and the Novotel Hotel...not sure what the difference is between them... My main concern is cleanliness, safety, comfort and good food.... so any advice would be greatly appreciated.

If you have any recommendations on restaurants, sights and scenery not to miss? I know that in July it is their winter, so what's your advice on the dress code? layers? how cold does it really get? and how rainy? and what feet wear are appropriate? hiking boots or sneakers?

I am hearing different things about the altitude sickness ...and I'm getting worried... what type of medication works and what should be the usual protocol? I actually went to Lima last December and was sick for many days due to stomach issues.. and I dont want a repeat session....esp. not to ruin a trip to MP and Cusco.

Well, I thank you in advance for all of your help!
Best Regards,

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Old Mar 16th, 2004, 04:39 AM
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Wendy, the altitude sickness is unpredictable. I was in a group of folks over age 50. None of us experienced any difficulties at MP. In Cuzco, two members of the party did but it was relieved with the cocoa tea. I highly recommend getting into a regular excercise program before you go. I think it was an advantage to me to be fit and able to do all the walking around MP.
If you decide to stay overnight near MP I highly recommend the Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel in Aguas Calientes. The extremely expensive hotel right at the ruins has only one asset and that is access after the hoards leave and in the early am. Frankly we got up early and took the first bus up and the last bus down and felt we had the benefits of solitude and ended up in a great hotel with good food (the food at the hotel at MP is not good) and plenty of things to do.
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Old Mar 16th, 2004, 07:27 AM
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Glad to hear they are still passing out coca From Cuzco down to Machu Picchu my husband had a terrible headache... one cup of the tea and he was hanging out the train doors to take ah yes.. coca tea.. Just don't try to take some home.. Notice that the natives give leaves to their children to chew to quiet them..
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Old Mar 30th, 2004, 03:59 PM
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MP is about 9500', Cusco is about 12000. I didn't get any of the "sorrorche", or whatever it was they called it, until we arrived at Titicaca (14,ooo'). Not a big deal, just headaches, especially while hiking. I drank lots of "mate de coca" and tried to breath extra heavy. We had a prescip for Diamox, but it made me feel like throwing up. I'd rather have a headache. If youre going to take Diamox, pop a few pills at home and see if it makes you queezy.
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Old Apr 3rd, 2004, 08:33 AM
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there is really no way to predict, I have traveled to a lot of high altitude places, and sometimes it happens, sometimes not...key helpers are: keep hydrated!!! lay off alcohol and acclimatize at a slower pace if poss. it does pass.
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Old Jun 7th, 2004, 05:42 AM
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Diamox should be started a few days before reaching altitude, to be effective. On a recent trip, my sisiter and I had mild altittude problems in Cusco-shortness of breath, tingling fingers, etc. It was a relief to go to MP and Pisac. It's best to stay well hydrated and avoid caffeine and alcohol.Enjoy you trip, Peru is fabulous.
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