Travel tips for 10th World Potato Congress in Cusco, Peru
The city of Lima is at sea level so altitude will not be a factor in this city. The airport in Lima does have a Scotia Bank ATM where you can get both Peruvian cash and US dollars. Taxis, shops and restaurants all over Peru like US dollars.
The altitude in the city of Cusco is 3399 meters or 11,152 feet. This high altitude can cause altitude sickness in some individuals which can include headache, tiredness, nausea, dizziness and shortness of breath. The air is very dry and you may suffer from nose bleeds. As well, you can become quickly dehydrated and your skin can easily sunburn even on cloudy days.
The altitude in Cusco is higher than Machu Picchu which is at 2430 meters or 7,972 feet.
Peruvians drink coca tea to help with altitude sickness. This tea and other coca leaf products including candy are widely available and legal in Peru. Most hotels will offer coca tea to their guests. Remember this is a prohibitive substance in most countries therefore do not take coca products home.
Most hotels provide bottled water in their guest rooms. As well, some hotels may offer, for a fee, offer oxygen for those who may struggle with the effects of the high altitude.
Taxis are not expensive. In February 2018 it cost $2.00 US for a 15 minute taxi ride from the Cusco airport to a nearby hotel.
If you are visiting Machu Picchu while in Peru, please be aware that the site often experiences fog and rain showers. Keep this in mind when planning clothing for your excursion. There are three levels to climb at Machu Picchu therefore, good footwear such as sneakers or hiking boots are recommended. There are washrooms at the entrance but none on the site itself. Remember your hat, sunscreen and especially your cameras. It’s a wonderful experience!
FYI – In 2015, you could stamp your passport with an official Machu Picchu stamp on site.
- Prior to departure, consider visiting a travel clinic to obtain medication such as Acetazolamide to help with altitude sickness and Azithromycin for bacterial infection
- Bring Imodium/Loperamide and your prescription medications
- Don’t forget your sunscreen and a hat
- Only drink bottled water and keep hydrated (Cusco/Machu Picchu especially)
- Nasal gel can help with a dry nose
- When you arrive in Cusco, take things easy and rest when needed until you become acclimatised to the altitude – usually a couple of days
- Pisco Sour, famous Peruvian alcoholic drink is very tasty but is made with raw egg white