Soroche or altitude sickness affects many people during their first few days in Cusco. Cusco is located at 3400 meters above sea level, so your body needs to adjust. Symptoms of altitude sickness include headaches, fatigue, nausea, loss of appetite, insomnia and shortness of breath.
Stomach issues are a common problem that travellers face while visiting Peru. Symptoms include nausea, diarrhoea and vomiting. Avoid drinking tap water or eating uncooked vegetable to prevent this condition. However despite precautions many travellers, at a certain point, get an upset stomach. If symptoms last more than a couple of days, we would recommend visiting a doctor in one of the private clinics in Cusco, e.g. MacSalud or Medical network O2.
Keep in mind that the sun is stronger at higher altitudes such as in Cusco. Cusco is at 3,400 meters which makes it very easy to get a sunburn, even when it is cloudy. Take extra precautions to avoid harmful sunrays: wear a hat and use sunscreen, and try not to spend too much time under direct sunlight.
Like every major tourist city, Cusco has several pickpockets. Cusco is relatively safe, but do take certain precautions and be aware of things going on around you. If something strange happens (e.g. a type of distraction such as something wet on your face or food on you, or a group of strange people greeting you like a long lost friend) secure your belongings first!
It’better not to carry purses, backpacks or large amounts of money. Some people prefer to carry a photocopy of their passport and leave the original in a safe at their accommodation. When possible, walk around with a couple of other people.
It is not recommended to walk around in some parts of the city after dark. Instead, take registered taxis, or call 222222 to have them pick you up at your accommodation or wherever you may be.
There are many tourists that come to Cusco and don’t speak a word of Spanish. Usually Peruvians speak some English, especially in the tourist sector. However, it is always better to know some basic Spanish sentences that will help you survive, especially if you like to interact with the local people, read menu cards in restaurants etc.
There are many Spanish Schools in Cusco that offer basic Spanish courses for beginners. They will help you to improve your Spanish really fast! A good example of this is AMAUTA Spanish School.