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Health and Safety on the Inca Trail

Health and Safety are pretty important as one of the biggest risks to hiking the Inca Trail, and the Cusco area in general, is getting altitude sickness. This occurs when traveling higher than 2000m above sea level, and can be as mild as just feeling fatigued to a strong case with vomiting and difficulty breathing. To avoid difficulty on the Inca Trail be sure to arrive in Cusco with time to acclimatize to the altitude, at least two or three days. This gives your body time to adjust as well as time for you to visit this amazing city. Avoid alcohol and tobacco consumption for the days leading to your trek, as these just make the affects of the altitude worse. Many people find that taking prescription drugs such as Diamox before and a few days after their ascent help their adjustment period go smoother. Drinking plenty of water, one liter more per day than usual, at high altitudes is suggested as well as eating light, high carbohydrate meals. The local cure for altitude problems is chewing coca leaves or drinking coca tea. Normally, symptoms will subside in one to three days.


This occurs when traveling higher than 2000m above sea level, and can be as mild as just feeling fatigued to a strong case with vomiting and difficulty breathing. To avoid difficulty on the Inca Trail be sure to arrive in Cusco with time to acclimatize to the altitude, at least two or three days. This gives your body time to adjust as well as time for you to visit this amazing city. Avoid alcohol and tobacco consumption for the days leading to your trek, as these just make the affects of the altitude worse. Many people find that taking prescription drugs such as Diamox before and a few days after their ascent help their adjustment period go smoother. Drinking plenty of water, one liter more per day than usual, at high altitudes is suggested as well as eating light, high carbohydrate meals. The local cure for altitude problems is chewing coca leaves or drinking coca tea. Normally, symptoms will subside in one to three days.


To ensure your comfortability, you should be sure to bring well worn-in hiking boots with very good grip, as much of the trail can be slippery with the rain. It is also recommended to purchase or rent a walking stick, as this will help you with your balance and will making walking on the uneven path easier and more enjoyable.


Tap water is not recommended for drinking in Peru. To safely drink water, either purchase inexpensive bottled water or boil water for at least three minutes. On the trek, you will be provided with plenty of water at meal times. Along the trek, there will be springs to fill up your bottle as well, just be sure to use your water purifying tablets before drinking.

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