Relax and take it easy!. Take a few days at the start of your trip to acclimatise to the altitude before attempting any treks or strenuous activity. This is the easiest advice we can share, take it easy for the first few days and your body will thank you later…
Avoid alcohol & drugs. This includes sleeping tablets and tranquilisers as these can all make symptoms worse. Trust us, we’ve been there! Even one Pisco Sour cocktail could tip you over the edge to a raging headache and nausea which is quite unpleasant.
Drink lots of water. Staying hydrated prior to and throughout your trip is crucial to avoiding unpleasant altitude sickness symtpoms.
Go lower and acclimatise. Head straight to the lower altitude of the Sacred Valley or Machu Picchu. Believe it or not, Cusco is at an altitude of 3400m (11,154ft) so heading to Pisac or Urubamba at 2,900m (9,514ft) or Machu Picchu at 2,400m (7,874ft) can make a huge difference. After a few days you can then make your way back up to Cusco and will feel a lot better. (The general rule of thumb is “walk high, sleep low” so if you are at over 3,000m (9,842ft) sleep at no more than 300m (984ft) higher at the end of each day.)
Drink coca tea. Nearly every hotel in Cusco and the Sacred Valley offers fresh coca tea to guests and for a good reason too! Coca tea is completely safe to drink and a cup or two each day can ease altitude symptoms. Just remember coca is a mild stimulant so don’t go over the top and drink cup loads. 2 -3 cups for the first few days will be just fine.
Get an Oxishot! Oxishot is a small dischargeable can that contains 8 litres of oxygen that you can take when you arrive in Cusco and anytime you need a boost. It can help reduce headaches and fayigue associated with altitude sickness. They are on sale everywhere in Cusco & Machu Picchu and cost approximately S/.45 (Approx. US$16).
Visit your doctor. If you are still worried before you to travel, head to your doctor and ask for an acetazolamide prescription (also known as brand name Diamox) which can be taken to help avoid altitude sickness symptoms. Some people can experience side effets from this medication including tingling of the hands, feet and face, so check with your doctor before use.