I'm flying in from the Uk to Lima then I start an orgainsed tour which will take me to Pisco, Nazca, Cuzco, Ollantaytambo then the Inca trail.
My question is would I be ok to fly into Lima the day before my trip starts or should I take a few more days to get accilmatised or will I only know if I'll get affected by the altitude when I get to Cuzco?
I would appreciate any advice you can give me as just about to book my flights
Hi there well you do not need to get any special preparation to get to Lima, but cusco could be a little bit complicated since it is 3500 meter over the sea level. As long as you go up during your trip, you will have the preparation you need to be in Cusco... I do not think CUsco altitude will be a big problem once u are here.
You need at least 3 days in Cusco before doing the Inca Trail to acclimatise to the altitude. We had 4 days before we did the Inca Trail and didn't realise how tough being at altitude would be on our bodies...you also don't know how you are going to react to the altitude - it may make you feel really sick and you don't want to feel like you have to be 'up and about' hiking when you should be taking it easy just getting used to breathing! I'd say to do this even if you are gradually getting to altitude - we are pretty fit and even had difficulty walking and talking at the same time in Cusco!
You'll be fine for Lima, as it's not high up!
[ Edit: Edited on 25-Jan-2010, at 08:25 by loubylou ]
Lima is at sea level, so the only acclimatization that you need is catch up some sleep to cope with the jet lag. Peru is 5 to 6 hours behind UK depending on the season, summer or winter.
Regarding the altitude in Cuzco, I agree with the previous posts that you need at least two to three days there before even thinking to hike the Inca Trail. It is impossible to predict how hard it will affect you, but the truth is that very few people suffer of severe altitude sickness. Everybody experiences light headaches, some dizziness, and light sleep, but the longer you stay there, the better you will feel. My advice, drink a lot of liquids, specially coca-tea, avoid alcohol the first day, and try to have light dinners to sleep better (digestion is slower at high altitudes).
Have a safe and fun trip,