Written By: Curro Martínez Moreno
Cusco is a wonderful city where travelers can dive into the Inca culture, Peruvian cuisine and admire the wonderful landscape of the Sacred Valley. However, it is best to take some precautions when you arrive.
You probably already know that Cusco is 3.400 meters above sea level and as this isn´t something everybody is used to we want to provide you with some recommendations before you head from the airport to Jack´s Café for our “all day long breakfasts”.
But first we want to ask you a question: Have you heard about altitude sickness? Altitude sickness means the body’s failure to adapt to the low amounts of oxygen at altitude. Usually people who are not used to the height suffer from it. But don´t worry – it is only temporary and your body will adjust to the climate in Cusco.
The main symptoms of altitude sickness are dizziness, lightheadedness, headaches, nausea, vomiting and difficulty in breathing.
Pay attention – we´ll give you some tips to overcome high altitude sickness:
Coca is a shrub native to South America, where it has been cultivated since ancient times. Formerly it was used as medicine in addition to some sacred rites. Today, next to the muña, the best remedy to avoid altitude sick
- First things first: When you arrive in Cusco avoid physical effort. Try to not carry luggage, climb stairs or walk a lot when first getting into Cusco. It is important to head quickly to your hotel and to get help with your luggage.
- When you get to your accomadation ask for a coca tea. Many are surprised that cocaine is made from the same leaves as this tea. But there is no reason to get nervous, the amount of cocaine in the coca leaves is between 0.5 and 1%. The quantity is so low that is has nothing to do with the devastating effects as the processed drug produces. The coca plant is originally from South America and has been cultivated here since ancient times. Back then it was used as medicine in combination with some sacred rites. Today it is, next to Andean Mint, the best remedy to avoid altitude sickness.
- The third step to get used to the altitude in Cusco is to rest. Probably you are tried from your trip, but being tired at home is not the same as at a high altitude. So it would be best to lay down for a bit and to recover from the trip.
- Last but not least, you should avoid alcoholic beverages and large meals until you have gotten used to the height. We know that you must be anxious to go to Jack´s Café to try our big “all day long breakfast”, but we recommend not to have a whole portion on your own yet. Why don´t you share a meal with a friend and have an orange juice for the moment and then the beer once you have adjusted.
And that´s it! Drink lots of water, breathe deeply and take it easy. Don´t overdo it by trying the rich Peruvian cuisine and discovering the town right away. Altitude sickness is easy to avoid, but if it gets to you – it might ruin your trip or at least the first few days. And of course we don´t want that. Everybody is different, but it is best to take those tips into account.
Many people only get to go to Cusco once in their life and that is why it is so important to be able to enjoy this wonderful city, capital of the Inca Empire, Navel of the World.