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Where to Go Before and After Machu Picchu to Prevent Altitude Sickness

After Machu Picchu

Before you plan your trip to Peru, you need to know the different altitude levels you will be facing. And by not adjusting to the altitude before heading to Machu Picchu you can spoil your journey.

There is a vast difference in elevation between Machu Picchu and its surrounding cities like the Sacred Valley, and its capital city Lima.

Cusco city has the highest elevation in Peru at 11,000 feet, Sacred Valley at about 8,000 feet. On the other hand, Lima is about 500 feet.

Heading straight to Machu Picchu from Lima or Cusco may cause serious altitude sickness. Therefore travellers are recommended to spend some time to adjust and acclimatize to Machu Picchu.

You must consider these places for adjusting to the altitude and soaking up into the local culture of Peru.


Lima is at sea level and requires no acclimation. You are recommended to spend a few days here to settle in and prepare for Machu Picchu. It is one of the best food cities in the world. It’s filled with great restaurants. You can head towards the Westin Lima to experience Peruvian gastronomy at Maras.

Where to Go Before and After Machu Picchu to Prevent Altitude

Sacred Valley

You can spend time in Sacred Valley to acclimatize to the altitude. Here, you can take a bike ride and enjoy the beauty of the Valley. You can also grab a drink at Sacred Valley Brewing, You can also visit a chicheria establishment that serves chicha. The chicha is a fermented drink made from maize.

Where to Go Before and After Machu Picchu to Prevent Altitude


The city of Cusco is located at an altitude of about 11,000 feet and most of the visitors experience certain symptoms of altitude sickness. But after your trip to Machu Picchu and adjusting to the higher altitude, you can head back up to Cusco.

The place is full of ancient history, vibrant colours, and excellent markets. You must visit the 500-year-old Palacio Del Inka hotel with an original Inca wall. It also has several pieces of art from the pre-Inca, Inca, Colonial, and Republican periods on display.

Where to Go Before and After Machu Picchu to Prevent Altitude

Basic Principles to be Followed before Heading to Machu Picchu

  • You should acclimatise for at least 2 days in Cusco
  • Stay well-hydrated throughout the day
  • Avoid smoking, alcohol and other stimulants
  • Take preventative medication such as Acetazolamide (Diamox)

Travellers are recommended to give time to their body to acclimatize and get lots of rest.  There is nothing to worry in case of mild altitude sickness like dizziness and headache, but serious symptoms should be treated immediately.

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