Altitude Sickness In Bogota: 5 Tips How To Avoid

Altitude Sickness Bogota

With the altitudes as high as Bogota Columbia, altitude sickness becomes a real threat to your visit. We'll reveal everything you need to know about Bogota altitude with tips how to avoid altitude sickness Bogota.

Bogota Altitude

As the third highest capital in South America, Bogota altitude sits at 8,660 feet (2,640 meters) in elevation.¹ Many people who travel to Colombia are surprised to discover that the altitude of Bogota is more than most metropolitan cities in the world.

  • Bogota altitude - 8,660 ft (2,640 m)

Bogota is known as the "Athens of South America", located on a high altitude plateau in the Andes Mountains. Based in Columbia, Bogotá's elevation has caused it to be a bit cooler than other cities in the country.

From La Candelaria to Mount Monserrate, activities in Bogota are all going to be at high altitudes. Not to mention all the surrounding mountains, hikes, and trails to visit.

Bogota altitude surrounding spots:

  • Mount Monserrate altitude - 10,341 ft (3,152 m)
  • Pionono Park altitude - 10,500 ft (3200 m)
  • Cerro de Guadalupe altitude - 11,024 ft (3,360 m)7874 ft (2,400 m)
  • La Chorrera Waterfall altitude - 7874 ft (2,400 m)
  • Chicaque National Park altitude - 6,560 ft to 8860 ft (2,000 m to 2,700 m)
  • Chuchilla Cerro El Tablazo altitude - 11,328 ft (3,453m)
  • Farallones de Sutatausa altitude - 8,202 ft to (2,500 m) 

Being that Bogota is in the Andes, this metropolitan city and surrounding areas are very high and among the other highest capitals in South America including Quito and La Paz.

Will I Get Altitude Sickness In Bogota?

Yes, at 8,660 feet (2,640 m) in elevation, you have a high chance of getting altitude sickness in Bogota.

Altitude sickness in Bogota will not only effect climbers and mountain explorers, but also visitors just to the city due to such high heights.

Reported by the University Of Michigan, altitude sickness can occur at altitudes over 6,000 feet (1,828 m). Bogota far exceeds that altitude, making the risk of altitude sickness very high.

Bogotá Altitude vs Denver

To give some context to the actual height of Bogotá altitude, we compare it to our home city of Denver Colorado.

Denver, known as the mile high city, is 5280 feet high. While Bogotá is 8,660 ft high (2,640), there's a massive difference.

Bogotá Altitude vs Denver:

  • Denver altitude - 5280 ft (1,609 m)
  • Bogotá altitude - 8,660 ft (2,640)

Being based in Colorado we know that Denver visitors often get altitude sickness, which would make Bogota altitude sickness significantly worse with exceeding elevation.

Altitude Sickness Bogota

Altitude sickness in Bogota, also called Soroche in the Andes, is caused by the less oxygen in the air which happens the higher you go. This means that your body will not be able to get as much oxygen as its used to.

In addition, altitude sickness Bogota is further worsened by increased respiration and fluid loss in the high elevations.  All of this can cause many visitors to experience altitude sickness ranging moderate to mild, and typically the worse for visitors coming from sea level.

Symptoms usually occur within 6 to 24 hours after arrival, and can be similar to having a bad hangover including headache, nausea, and fatigue.

Altitude Sickness Bogota Symptoms:

  • headache
  • nausea and vomiting
  • feeling malaise
  • dizziness
  • fatigue or tiredness
  • loss of appetite
  • trouble sleeping or insomnia
  • shortness of breath
  • Irritability

It's important to be well prepared Altitude sickness in Bogota or your visit could be a terrible experience. Follow our tips below to educate and prepare yourself properly.

5 Tips How To Avoid Bogota Altitude Sickness

Bogota is a high-altitude city, and it's important to take precautions when visiting the capital of Colombia.
Altitude sickness is a common problem for visitors to Bogota, but there are ways to avoid it. With all our experience living in the high-altitude state of Colorado, we've done years of research and will share what you need to do.
Here's 5 Tips How To Avoid Bogota Altitude Sickness:

1. Hydrate Properly

The increased respiration at the altitude of Bogota can speed up fluid loss. When you first arrive in Bogota, drink plenty of water to help your body adjust.
While headaches, nausea, and fatigue can be caused by altitude sickness, it's similar to dehydration symptoms too. And most people in high altitudes don't realize they're dehydrated.
Experts recommend to drink at least half your body weight in ounces of water. So if you weigh 160 pounds, drink 80 ounces of water minimum. Drink this every day before and throughout your Bogota trip ─ and if hiking or increasing activity, increase the amount of water.
TIP: Use Zaca chewable tablets to help maximize hydration with increased water absorption and electrolyte intake.


2. Slowly Acclimate

If possible, avoid flying directly into Bogota, the El Dorado International Airport (BOG). Instead, fly into Medellin (4,905 ft, 1,495 m) or Cali (3,340 ft, 1,018 m) to stay a night or two, and then take a bus or plane up to Bogota.
If coming from sea level straight to 8,660 feet (2,640), you body will be shocked and increase chances of altitude sickness.
Medellin or Cali are about 8-9 hours away by car or bus, and a short airplane flight away. The added travel time may seem like a hassle, but it will help your body acclimate slowly and prevent altitude sickness.
If not possible acclimate slowly, we'd recommending taking it easy and resting a lot when you first arrive. The next tip covers this topic.


3. Sleep & Rest Often

Bogota altitude sickness, or acute mountain sickness, usually gets worse when people exert themselves too without giving their bodies time to acclimate.
The best way to avoid this is to sleep well and rest often during your trip — especially in the first few days when you arrive in Bogota. Don't do any strenuous exercise or activities until you know you're free of altitude sickness symptoms.
OrthoCarolina states that sleep helps increase blood flow to help oxygen and nutrients to cells, and also helps inflammation.⁵ 7-9 hours of sleep is recommended for adequate rest, as these factors certainly can help your body recover and adjust to high altitudes.
If you've not had the ability  to gradually acclimate as mentioned in the last tip, you may need to sleep and rest more. Less may be necessary though if you've already slowly acclimated and adjusted.


4. Limit Alcohol

Alcohol is a diuretic that can cause dehydration, and therefore possibly increase the likelihood of Bogota altitude sickness symptoms occurring.
The symptoms of a hangover and altitude sickness are strikingly similar, both which include headache, tiredness, and nausea. The combination of having both could make your Bogota experience miserable.
If you want to drink alcohol while in Bogota, limit your consumption during the first few days or until you don't experience altitude sickness symptoms.


5. Take Glutathione

Research has found that glutathione is depleted by high altitudes. It can be reduced by up to 45%!⁶
High altitudes such as Bogota will increase oxidative damage in the body. Glutathione is key amino acid considered one of the body's most powerful antioxidants, and also play a role in your immune system. 
Taking glutathione is an effective way to increase your glutathione levels and help fight free radical damage.
This concludes our well researched tips to avoid Bogota altitude sickness — including proper hydration, slowly acclimating, sleeping and resting often, limiting alcohol, and taking glutathione.

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1. Bogotá Wikipedia
2. 20 Things To See And Do In Bogota
3. 15 Spectacular Day Hikes Near Bogotá, Colombia
4. Altitude Sickness University Of Michigan Health Service
5. Sleep: The Secret Ingredient of Injury Recovery
6. Effect of high altitude (7,620 m) exposure on glutathione