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Altitude sickness and Peru Itinerary

California City...
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Altitude sickness and Peru Itinerary

I know most advice is to start at a lower elevation like Lima, and then work up to higher elevations. but we are starting in Puno, and then heading west to Lima by train over a few weeks.

If we start in Puno and just take it easy...like relaxing for a few days on the lake without physical activity, does anyone recommend if that will help acclimate us? I hate to start at the highest elevation because everyone is saying not to, but that is how our itinerary is. So if we're stuck at the highest elevation first, any advice? thanks

Chicago, Illinois
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1. Re: Altitude sickness and Peru Itinerary

Altitude affects everyone differently. If you take it easy that helps but there's no way to know. By going straight to high altitude, you're putting yourself right in the CDC's highest risk category for altitude issues.

You should definitely see a travel doctor for advice. There are prescription medications like Diamox that help the body acclimate, but they're not for everyone.

…cdc.gov/travel/…altitude-illness

Michigan
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2. Re: Altitude sickness and Peru Itinerary

Are you traveling by land from Bolivia or arriving by plane? If it's the latter, you are most likely flying into Peru through Lima, and like wes states above, you should talk to a doctor for advice. Staying in Lima does not help at all since it is at sea level. There isn't much to do in Puno unless you are doing a home stay in one of the islands. If you don't take precaution, you may end up developing full blown AMS (tripadvisor.com/Travel-g294311-c15318/Peru:A…) and would need to be moved somewhere lower in altitude.

Good luck.

Umeå
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3. Re: Altitude sickness and Peru Itinerary

Coming from California you have the option of pre-acclimatizing before the the trip : a weekend just before flying in would be ideal , somewhere higher than Lake Tahoe ( and obviously lower than Mt Whitney ) .

You should definitely see a doc re medicating with Diamox if your plans are set in stone . Side effects and risks are in the same class as antibiotics : of course you should see a doc as with any other prescription medicine , but there are very few who actually can't take Diamox.

Yorktown, Virginia
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4. Re: Altitude sickness and Peru Itinerary

I don't think there is a train between Puno and Lima. Even taking it easy in Puno, you could have AMS. That's why so many people recommend gradually ascending in altitude instead of starting out in some high altitude place like Puno. A teenager in our Puno hotel needed emergency treatment & oxygen in the middle of the night - and this was after spending several days in Cusco!

Cherry Hill, New...
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5. Re: Altitude sickness and Peru Itinerary

Is the rainforest low altitude? We are planning to fly into Lima and take an early morning flight the next day to Puerto Maldonado for 3 days. Any idea if that will be helpful?

Umeå
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6. Re: Altitude sickness and Peru Itinerary

Everything below 2000 meters is low altitude : no acclimatization below 2000 , and really slow until 2500+.

Alameda, California
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7. Re: Altitude sickness and Peru Itinerary

Hello,

I'm trying to get some opinions regarding altitude acclimatization from people who've visited high-elevation areas in Perú (+2,000m). I realize everyone is affected differently by these conditions, and I've an appointment scheduled with a travel doctor, so I would really appreciate hearing some details of your trip (places you went, and in what order) and how it affected you.

To give you an idea of our itinerary:

Flying into Lima, staying there 2 days (about sea level)

Going to Nazca, staying there 1 day (about +520m)

Going to Arequipa, staying there 2 days (about +2,300m)

Going to Puno, staying there 2 days (about + 3,800m)

Going to Cuzco/AC, staying for 3 days (about +3,400m)

From here, we will descend to Ayacucho, Huánuco, Yurimaguas, etc.

Has anyone had a similar itinerary, and if so, what was your experience with acclimating to the altitude? I'm simply trying to get a feel for whether we will have acclimated enough prior to arriving in Puno and Cusco. Still haven't decided on Colca Canyon, should probably stay in Arequipa for 3 days to acclimate more? Or maybe go there after Puno and Cusco? Is there any lodging near Colca Canyon that is higher than Arequipa to possibly acclimate for a 3rd day?

Thanks in advance!

Edited: 11 April 2015, 19:49
Chicago, Illinois
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8. Re: Altitude sickness and Peru Itinerary

Colca canon is significantly higher than Arequipa. It's about as high as Cusco. Arequpia is still pretty low and staying there to acclimate is of minimal value.

The easier way to do this from an Acclimitazion standpoint is to,reverse the trip. After the lowland stuff like Nazca and Lima, go to the Sacred Valley near Cusco, then Machu Picchu. Then stay in Cusco. Then Puno. Then after that Colca Canyon and Arequipa.

Edited: 11 April 2015, 20:18
Umeå
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9. Re: Altitude sickness and Peru Itinerary

". Arequpia is still pretty low and staying there to acclimate is of minimal value."

I wouldn't agree on this once you are willing to spend several nights there. Both from personal experience from the Himalayas , and hard data : every extra night in Xining ( alt. 2263 ) for example makes a dent in the number of people who get AMS going to to Lhasa , two hundred meters higher than Cusco.

10. Re: Altitude sickness and Peru Itinerary

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