The best way to prevent altitude sickness while hiking the Inca Trail is to give yourself the time to acclimatise. Arriving in Cusco a few days before you start the Inca Trail is very important. Your body needs the time to adjust and altitude sickness - if you end up suffering from it – can ruin your trip. Not being prepared for the altitude, is one of the biggest mistakes of travellers in Peru.
We recommend you read about altitude sickness before arrival to Peru, so you know how to avoid it and what to do what you feel unwell. Unfortunately, it is not possible to predict who will suffer from altitude sickness. Being an experienced hiker, being young and healthy or not have suffered from it ever before, does not prevent you from suffering it this time.
What are the symptoms of altitude sickness?
The symptoms of ‘soroche’ (as it’s called in Spanish) can range from a throbbing headache, loss of appetite and nausea (you may even vomit) to a feeling of tiredness, altered sleep patterns and dizziness. Those that have experienced it frequently compare it to a bad hangover (and we know all about those).
What to do during the first days in Cusco? Here are more tips to deal with altitude sicknes or soroche.