Machu Picchu oxygen

Old Jun 25th, 2021, 12:25 PM
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Machu Picchu oxygen

78 year oldr couple in good health going to Machu Picchu and Cusco for a week in Feb 2022. I have heard a lot of stories about difficulty breathing. Has anyone tried using a portable oxygen concentrator ? It is the size of binoculars and weigh about 4 pounds. It can be rented for less than $150 for a month.
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Old Jun 26th, 2021, 05:26 AM
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Sounds good but: --- How well will it work at altitude, where there is less oxygen to concentrate? Will you want to carry two, one for each of you?
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Old Jun 26th, 2021, 11:13 AM
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Donít waste your money! Most people visiting Cusco will experience little more than minor symptoms, a little breathless walking uphill or climbing stairs etc. Most studies show that the ability to acclimatise to the altitude actually improves with age and that has certainly been my experience.

By far the best way to deal with the altitude is to ascend gradually. In Cisco and the Sacred Valley, this is best achieved by planning your trip so that when you arrive at Cusco (altitude 3400m) from Lima you drive straight to Ollantaytambo (2800m) And spend a night or two there before heading to Machu Pichu which is actually lower at 2400m. Leave Cusco until last by
which time you will be well acclimatised and able to cope much better with the altitude.

If you are unable to plan your itinerary as above, then I would consult your GP re a prescription for Acetazolamide (aka Diamox) which will help you cope better with the altitude. Many hotels in Cusco will have oxygen tanks available for guests if needed. Most people will

For more info on altitude issues see https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/altitude-sickness/

also, here is a link to our time in Peru where we have spent many happy months either just travelling around or working on volunteer projects there - https://accidentalnomads.com/category/peru/

Basically , take it easy for the first day or two, avoid alcohol and heavy meals and stay hydrated and you should be fine. We spend a fair amount of time at altitude and a couple of tips I have picked up over the years is to take a saline nasal spray and eye drops as everything seems to get dried out at altitude but maybe thatís just me!
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Old Jun 26th, 2021, 11:33 AM
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AJPeabody-Great questions. I wish I knew the answers. Hopefully someone on this board has the experience and the answers. Thanks for your response.
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Old Jun 26th, 2021, 12:12 PM
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jeterray, I guess we were posting at the same time!
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Old Jun 26th, 2021, 12:50 PM
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crellston- Thanks for your reply. We were planning on going to MP a year ago, but ocviously those plans fell through. When we arrive in Cusco, we will go directly to Urabamba. The next day, we will tour the Sacred Valley. The following day we go to MP. Then we go to Cusco for a couple of days, before flying to Santiago. We planned based upon your (and others) posts. I've never used an oxygen concentrator before, and I don't plan to use one this time unless someone has specific knowledge about use at high altitudes.
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Old Jun 26th, 2021, 01:08 PM
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I did exactly as Crellston advises. Flew in to Cusco from Lima and immediately left for Sacred Valley where I stayed for three nights -- then visited Machu Picchu , then ended in Cusco for two nights before flying back to Lima/. First night in Sacred Valley I had a headache but by morning that was gone. Had a Diamox prescription 'just in case' but found I didn't need it. By the time I got back to Cusco I didn't feel the altitude too much more than I do at Lake Tahoe or Truckee which is barely 2000 meters. Noticed it most when walking up hill but never felt oxygen deprived.

Now - I'd definitely talk to your doctor if you have concerns
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Old Jun 26th, 2021, 06:16 PM
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Tend to agree with the aforementioned. We visited from 900 ft asl, acclimated in the sacred valley first before continuing. Take advantage of the coca leaf teas and candies.
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Old Jun 26th, 2021, 10:58 PM
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Re "Had a Diamox prescription 'just in case' " NB. Diamox is usually prescribed as prophylactic rather than a cure for altitude sickness. It needs to be taken 24 hours BEFORE ascending to altitude and then for a couple of days after reaching your highest altitude.

Given your planned itinerary, personally, I think diamox would be only be necessary if you were staying in Cusco on arrival. but do check with your GP. I have used it once when we went straight to Huaraz in Northern Peru which is at 3600m. For me at least, the effect was very good I barely noticed the thin air in the way tha5 I had flying straight into Cusco which is a little lower. I was certainly a lot less breathless and within a couple of days I was hiking at altitudes of up to 5000m
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Old Jun 27th, 2021, 06:29 AM
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Originally Posted by crellston View Post
Re "Had a Diamox prescription 'just in case' " NB. Diamox is usually prescribed as prophylactic rather than a cure for altitude sickness. It needs to be taken 24 hours BEFORE ascending to altitude and then for a couple of days after reaching your highest altitude.
You are correct -- My trip was three years ago and when I posted, the fine details were a bit 'foggy' (and I'm at close to sea level right now so its not the altitude ) Should have said I did take the Diamox starting before I left Lima, but never felt I needed oxygen.
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Old Jun 28th, 2021, 01:42 PM
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If you do decide to go Diamox, that precludes the prophylactic use of Pepto Bismol tabs for tummy trouble. I'd try to use just Advil on the first night, as soon as you feel any headache. Arrange for a driver to meet and greet at the Cusco airlport, walk slowly, and let them lift your bags.

When Inca Trail hikers have issues at altitude, they evacuate them to Ollantaytambo (which is few hundred feet lower than Urubamba or Pisac, and is my preferred location if you are only going to MP for a day trip.

Don't eat a heavy evening meal or drink the first few nights, consume about a liter or two liters of water daily, and you should be acclimated within a few days.
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Old Jul 20th, 2021, 08:19 AM
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Yes, agree with the previous posters. You should be ok without oxygen, just a few days of getting used to the altitude.
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Old Apr 14th, 2022, 04:06 PM
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Jeteray

Wondering how the trip went in February, if you were able to successfully complete the trip to MP without difficulty.
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Old Apr 15th, 2022, 05:25 AM
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kaitlinbell -Thanks for the inquiry. Covid has forced 3 postponements of this trip. Now scheduled for March, 2023. The trip is attached with a cruise back to the USA, so Holland America is driving the date. Otherwise, we likely would have planned for a month or two later. Following the great advice we got on here, we will fly into Cusco and immediately transfer to Urabamba. We will spend the day and night at this somewhat lower altitude. The next day we will visit MP before returning to Urabamba for a couple of days touring the sites. Then we return to Cusco for a couple of days. Hopefully we will be acclimated.
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