1. Take your pre-trek acclimatisation seriously
Don't underestimate the toll that high altitude can have on the body!
How to avoid altitude sickness on the Inca Trail
Acclimatising to the high altitude before you trek. Taking altitude meds. Taking meds for the symptoms. Drinking plenty of water. Jumping into a hyperbaric chamber. Refraining from smoking, drinking or exercise.
Acclimatising to the high altitude before you trek
The very best thing you can do for yourself is to spend a couple of days acclimatising to the high altitude in Cusco and only then embark on the Inca Trail.
Taking altitude meds
Taking meds for the symptoms
Ibuprofen or paracetamol for headaches. Anti-nausea medicine, such as promethazine (like Phenergan) or ondansetron (think Zofran). Anti-diarrhoea medication like loperamide link (Imodium is a well-known brand) or bismuth subsalicylate link (think Pepto-Bismol or Kaopectate).
Drinking plenty of water
Jumping into a hyperbaric chamber
Refraining from smoking, drinking or exercise
2. Choose an experienced tour operator
The qualifications of the trek guides. The quality of the sleeping tents provided. The approach to food and water cleanliness. If a private chemical toilet is provided.
Qualifications of the trek guides
What qualifications do the lead and assistant guides have?* How experienced are the guides? What evacuation procedure do they have for ill or injured trekkers?
The sleeping tents provided
The approach to food and water cleanliness
The very last thing any trekker needs is to pick up a bug and have their adventure ruined!
If a private chemical toilet is provided
3. Communicate openly with your guides
A critical part of staying safe on the Inca Trail is communicating openly with your trek guides about how you're feeling.
4. Train for the right conditions to avoid injury
Consider packing a supplement or two if you know you're likely to battle muscle stiffness or joint pain on the trek.
5. Have the right gear to avoid slipping or falling
The value of proper trekking boots
The importance of trekking poles
6. Pack the necessary clothing to keep dry and warm