Inca Trail Altitude Sickness Busting Tips

[:en]The Inca Trail, known in Quechua as Qhapag Ñam, is a truly magical journey crossing beautiful landscapes, pristine rivers and breath-taking valleys, boarding edge of the Peruvian Jungle, this is a once in a lifetime adventure to Machu Picchu unlike any other.

However, crossing high in the Andean Mountains this path reaches a peak of more than 4000 meters, which can unfortunately cause some trekkers to experience the unpleasant effects of altitude sickness (known as soroche in Peru). A traveler may experience dizziness, shortness of breath, vomiting, headaches or physical exhaustion due to the lack of oxygen. Understandably, this can lead to a very uncomfortable journey! Luckily, there are some steps to reduce the likelihood of suffering from altitude sickness and we have some great tips below on how to avoid it.


Visit Your Doctor

Seeing your doctor well in advance of embarking on the Inca Trail is highly recommended. You can discuss your travel plans, locations you will be visiting and have a thorough check up. Your doctor can examine your physical condition and prescribe some medication if necessary to ease the altitude sickness without risking your health. This is very important if you suffer from allergies, any breathing difficulties or are at risk of heart disease.


Eat Lightly

As soon as you arrive to Cusco, or any high altitude city, start to cut back on the amount of food you normally eat and avoid foods difficult to digest, such as heavy animal proteins.

The day you begin the Inca Trail, and during your hike, opt for eat light and easy digestible foods, such as bread, bananas, rice and even dry cookies!


Coca Leaf Your Life

Do like the Incans and avoid altitude sickness with Coca Leaf. This ancient medicinal herbal leaf has some powerful properties that can ease altitude sickness: notably globulin, a natural alkaloid that assists the body in controlling more oxygen levels in the blood.

Help yourself by drinking the tea before commencing the Inca Trail and then, on route, continue to drink the coca tea during your breaks or just chew on the coca leaf as you hike!


Stay Hydrated & Drink Up

Drinking lots of water is an essential element to avoiding a dose the soroche! It’s so easy to get dehydrated when travelling, and especially on the Inca Trail as altitude dehydrates and you may be sweating out extra water. Remember as well, oxygen is part of water’s composition, so do yourself a big favor and keep chugging down the H2O.


Take It Easy & Have Fun

Avoid unnecessary effortful activity and preserve the oxygen you have! Resist running or climbing, as the physical exertion will quickly leave you completely out of breath. We advise all trekkers to take it easy along the Inca Trail, opt for smiles and high-fives, and when offered the opportunity to rest, do so every time – don’t take your energy levels for granted!


If you wish to embark upon the beautiful journey of the Inca Trail, Explorandes has the perfect tour for you. To speak with one of our friendly Travel Specialists, contact us today!


El Camino Inca, llamado en quechua Qhapag Ñam, es el mágico sendero que conduce a Machu Picchu y que atraviesa hermosos paisajes, ríos y valles hasta ceja de selva. Sin embargo, la ruta requiere subir hasta más de 4000 metros de altura, lo que puede causar en muchas personas el mal de altura o soroche. Las personas que lo sufren pueden sentir mareos, vómitos, dolor de cabeza o agotamiento físico por la falta de oxígeno. Por supuesto, esto puede llegar a incomodar mucho el viaje. Por suerte, existen algunas formas de reducir las posibilidades de sufrir el mal de altura. A continuación, brindamos algunos consejos para combatirlo.


1. Visita a un médico

Se recomienda visitar un médico días antes de hacer el recorrido. Este evaluará tu condición física y recetará algunos medicamentos para combatir el mal de altura sin poner en riesgo tu salud. Esto es importante si sufres de alergias o de enfermedades respiratorias y cardiacas.

2. Alimentación adecuada

El mismo día del viaje y durante este evita comer alimentos pesados y en abundancia. En su lugar, consume alimentos ligeros y fáciles de digerir, como galletas y pan.

3. Hoja de coca

Un método ancestral. Poco antes de partir, puedes tomar un mate de coca e incluso puedes masticar la hoja de coca. Esta hoja tiene propiedades para aliviar el soroche, puesto que contiene globulina, un alcaloide natural que regula la carencia de oxígeno en el ambiente.


4. Hidratación

Beber abundante agua es fundamental: recuerda que el oxígeno es parte de su composición. Lleva mucho líquido durante el trayecto, ya que la altura deshidrata. Se recomienda beber entre cuatro a cinco litros al día.

5. Esfuerzo adecuado

Evita hacer esfuerzo físico innecesario, como correr o escalar, ya que la falta de oxígeno hará que te agites más rápido. Descansa cada vez que lo necesites. En general, tómate el viaje con calma.

Puedes recorrer el Camino Inca o Inka Trail a Machu Picchu con Explorandes. Si tienes alguna consulta, comunícate con nosotros.


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