Soroche or altitude sickness is due to hypoxia, or lack of oxygen. In high places, above 7,000 feet, the air is “thinner,” due to lower levels of barometric pressure. This means that the air is less dense, though the percentage of oxygen in the air remains the same. The result of the thinner air is that each breath contains lowers levels of oxygen than what you may be used to at lower elevations. To cope with the thinner air at high altitudes, the body goes through a series of changes known as acclimatization. Without taking the time to properly acclimatize, you risk experiencing altitude sickness.
Machu Picchu. It is on most people’s list, and for good reason. It is one of the most amazing and transcendental places in the Americas. But many folks wonder how you get to the Peruvian Andes, and what do you do to make the trip easy, comfortable, and memorable?
It’s Not the Attitude, But the Altitude
Cusco, the gateway to Machu Picchu, is 11,152 feet, a height that can cause altitude sickness, especially for travelers coming from sea level. Machu Picchu is at 7,972 feet, so the best plan to mitigate altitude sickness is to arrive in Cusco in the morning and then take the first train immediately to Machu Picchu....