Cusco's High Altitude - Avoiding Altitude Sickness
The city of Cusco is at 11,152 feet (3,399 meters) and most visitors are impacted by varying degrees to altitude sickness, also know as accute mountain sickness (AMS), or "soroche", from the Inca's Quechua language, is the word used throughout the Andes.
The common symptoms of altitude sickness according to the Mayo Clinic are:
Whole body: inability to exercise, fatigue, loss of appetite, or low oxygen in the body
Sleep: sleepiness or sleeping difficulty
Gastrointestinal: nausea or vomiting
Respiratory: rapid breathing or shortness of breath
Also common: fast heart rate, headache, insufficient urine production, or respiratory distress syndrome
Altitude sickness may affect anyone regardless of age or level of fitness. The best way to avoid altitude sickness is to gradually go higher altitudes and take into consideration previous experience at similar altitudes. The only guaranteed way to alleviate AMS is to go to a lower altitude, and luckily, on visits to Cusco, this is a relatively easy to organize your itinerary so that you gradually increase the altitude where you travel.
If you get severe headaches, have vomiting or a wet cough, contact your tour leader or hotel concierge immediately as these are potentially dangerous symptoms.