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Altitude sickness and itinerary

San Francisco...
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Altitude sickness and itinerary

We are considering the following itinerary from a tour operator: Lima - Arequipa (elevation 2400m) - Colca (3500m) via Patamampa (4900m) - Titicaca (3800m) - Cuzco (3300m) - Sacred Valley - Machu Michu - Cuzco - some jungle trips.

My concern here is how would we acclimatize for the altitude ? Is a short stop at Patamampa (almost 5km !) important in terms of altitude sickness ?

Lima, Peru
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for Cusco, Lima, Arequipa, Peru
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1. Re: Altitude sickness and itinerary

It will be fine as long as you stay at least two days in Arequipa before you go to Colca.

If not, do it the other way around, starting with the jungle.

Chicago, Illinois
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2. Re: Altitude sickness and itinerary

A lot of people have posted on this forum that they started in Arequipa and then felt quite sick on the bus ride to Colca going over the pass. Some felt better once they descended into Colca but some took a day or two until they felt better. It's definitely more severe a change than doing this trip in the other direction.

San Francisco...
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3. Re: Altitude sickness and itinerary

I think my tour operator goes only in this direction (Lima - Arequipa - Patapampa - Colca). Could you please suggest some other reputable local companies, so I can check their itineraries ?

4. Re: Altitude sickness and itinerary

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Mi Wuk Village...
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5. Re: Altitude sickness and itinerary

Acclimating for altitude is somewhat dependant on individual phisiology. Some are better at it than others. Not always linked to age or conditioning. On one trip the person in our group who had the most problems was a young guy who worked construction. That said...adapting to extreme altitude takes longer than you have. Mountain climbers have been studied. Full adaptation takes the height in km. multiplied by 11.4 days. This is how long it takes to produce new red blood cells. Partial adaptation can be quicker. Short term the body has other means. The heart beats faster. Eat several small meals a day instead of big ones. Your body directs blood flow away from the stomach so with big meals digestive problems can occur. Drink lots of fluids. Not alcohol or coffee as these are diuretics. If you find yourself breathing rapidly, rest. Shallow rapid breathing can cause changes to blood ph which can result in muscle fatigue and cramps.

Peru is an easy country to travel in without a tour company. Cheaper usually. Plus it gives you flexibility in case you have to pause. Yeh...you need a tour for the Colca canyon and if going to MP on the trail. Most jungle trips need some kind of tour.

That said, most only have minor issues. Headache is usually the first. Do you have any pre existing conditions?

Chicago, Illinois
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6. Re: Altitude sickness and itinerary

Like the previous poster, as long as you don't mind taking time to do the research, I'd suggest doing it on your own. Peru is very tourist friendly. It's quite easy to do without a group tour. Then you can go exactly where you want, when you want, without worrying about the group. And it's almost certainly less expensive this way, too.

Duncan, Canada
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7. Re: Altitude sickness and itinerary

suggestions:1. acclimatize in Arequipa at least 2 days 2. check out if the condors are even flying when you go (they dont fly in the winter...in late Jan nobody on our trip saw any condors and everyone had at least some altitude sickness..my partner ended up needing oxygen and spent the day in a hopital clinic ...very basic.

3. if you do take that route take prescription atlitude sickness medication 4. make sure you read up about altitude sickness prevention and how to take the meds properly. Its not fun! My partner was find in Cuzco and macchu Pichuu but had trouble again in Puno.

San Francisco...
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8. Re: Altitude sickness and itinerary

Thanks for your suggestions ! But, instead of doing it on our own, we feel we would prefer a single tour company to organize it, I don't think it will be much more expensive (probaby even cheaper), and much easier for us. Any suggestions for a tour operator are welcomed.

Mi Wuk Village...
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9. Re: Altitude sickness and itinerary

Guarantee it won't be cheaper. But lots of we cut your meat for you tour companies in Peru. At least try and use a local company. A quick search on this forum will bring up lots of names and reviews.

Umeå
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for Leh
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10. Re: Altitude sickness and itinerary

Caffeine has a number of good effects , and it´s not a good idea to stop just before going high , since caffeine abstinence can be in the same league as early AMS.

It´s also not a diuretic under doses of 600 mg per day for those who already are coffee drinkers. A study at Everest Base Camp in 2004 showed no difference in fluid balance with or without caffeine , the only difference was that the climbers were more grumpy without...

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14872247