So, you’ve decided to do an unforgettable trek with Andean Lodges. But you’re a bit concerned about how you’ll feel at high altitude? We have some important recommendations for you about altitude sickness and key tips on how to avoid it.
Proper acclimatization is essential before beginning your trek through the Andes. With proper preparation and acclimatization, you can enjoy your entire trek, while minimizing the risk of being affected by higher altitude and thus avoiding becoming ill from altitude sickness.
What exactly is altitude sickness, or soroche?
Altitude sickness can occur from 2,500 m. above sea level and above. As barometric pressure drops at higher altitude, there is less oxygen in the air you breathe. Symptoms usually come on within 12 to 14 hours of reaching a higher elevation. The body tries to compensate for the lack of oxygen with a higher respiration rate and an increased resting heart rate. Also, the number of red blood cells increases, which does provide more oxygen supply, but also increases the risks of thrombosis, circulatory disorders or edema. The main trigger for altitude sickness is an excessively rapid climb to higher altitude. Additionally, overexertion, alcohol consumption or lack of minerals could trigger altitude sickness.
What are the symptoms of altitude sickness?
Headache, dizziness and nausea are symptoms of altitude sickness. Also, insomnia and loss of appetite could be initial signs of altitude sickness. If you begin to feel such discomforts, you should give your body more time to adapt to the altitude. If the symptoms do not subside, a descent to lower altitude should take place.
How can you prevent altitude sickness?
Upon arriving at higher altitude, it’s very important to drink a lot of water, and/or coca tea during the day. We also recommend eating only light food, especially at night. Alcohol or tobacco consumption during the initial days could also provoke discomfort, so we recommend avoiding these. On the first day, it’s better to avoid a lot of physical effort, but easy walks might be helpful for preventing dizziness. If you feel such initial symptoms or become indisposed, we recommend resting and giving your body time to adapt to the altitude.
Our recommendations for PROPER ACCLIMATIZATION before you begin your trek to Ausangate:
A key pointer for good acclimatization is to stay in Cusco, or at similar altitude, for at least 3 days prior to your trek. That way, your body will have enough time to adapt to higher altitude. Easy walks around Cusco or in the city center are recommended. Cusco offers a lot of activities that you can enjoy while you acclimatize. As mentioned, the most important point is to drink plenty of water and avoid alcohol during the first few days.
Altitude sickness can affect anyone. It doesn’t matter whether you’re physically fit or less trained. Being a smoker is generally not a risk factor. Young people and young adults are not at any less risk than older people, and only children are affected more frequently.
We hope this information is helpful to you in understanding altitude sickness, and for your acclimatization process before trekking to Ausangate, so you’ll be able to enjoy the entire trip in full health.
For more information about our acclimatization program you can visit our webpage at:
Subscribe to our newsletter
Find out the latest news
Operation team made up of community members trained as guides, kitchen staff, housekeeping, guardianship and maintenance.