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Acclimatising for the Inca Trail

I have some clients whom would like to do the Inca trail as well as visit Chile and Ecuador. Is there somewhere that they can aclimatise to the altitude before going to Cuzco?


  • edited September 2008
    Hi Salli

    The Andes, wherein we find Cusco and the Inca Trail, have heights ranging from 2000 to 4200m above sea level. A traveller flying in to the Andes will likely suffer from Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) within the first 48 hours of arriving at a height above 2000m.

    Cusco, at 3360m above sea level, is the lowest point into which one can fly in the Cusco Region but many guides recommend a descent from Cusco to Macchu Picchu (2400m, though this would be a spoiler as it forms part of the hiking trail) or Urubamba Valley (2850m), to avoid AMS.

    The best way to prevent AMS and acclimatise is gradual ascent. The height at which one sleeps is critical to adjusting and a good idea would be to rest in the Valley for a day or two before heading up to Cusco. Guided tours and hikes, specially tailored for acclimatisation to the Inca Trail are on offer from several agencies in Cusco.

    Two to three daily pills of Acetazolamide (250mg), starting 48 hours before the ascension and continued for 5 days at the higher altitude helps with acclimatising and reduces the frequency of AMS by between 30 to 50 percent.
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