3 Ways To Avoid Inca Trail Altitude Sickness

3 Ways To Avoid Inca Trail Altitude Sickness

Many visitors to the Inca Trail in Peru experience altitude sickness. There are many different strategies people employ in order to avoid altitude sickness while hiking the Inca Trail. Here are three simple ways to avoid Inca Trail altitude sickness and more info about Inca Trail elevations.

Inca Trail Altitude

Inca Trail Altitude
The Inca Trail is a trekking trail in Peru that was built by the ancient Inca civilization with altitudes exceeding 8000 feet. It's one of the most popular destinations for backpackers and hikers, with some parts of the trail reaching altitudes of 13,780 feet high.

  • Inca Trail altitude (lowest) - 8,438 ft (4,200 m)
  • Inca Trail altitude (highest) - 13,780 ft (4200 m)

The hardest part is on day 2 which starts at 9,800 feet (3000 meters) and ascends to the highest point at Dead Woman’s Pass. Each of the 4 day trek averages between 8000 and 13000 feet high, and ends at Machu Picchu which sits at 7972 feet in altitude (2,430 meters).

These high heights at the Inca Trail lead to severe risk of altitude sickness, which we cover below.

Inca Trail Altitude Sickness

Inca Trail altitude sickness is a common problem that can affect hikers and other people who are visiting the Inca Trail. The severity of these symptoms depends on how quickly you ascend, how much experience you have with climbing at high altitudes, and your general health.

It is caused by the high elevations with less oxygen levels, which can make you feel tired, dizzy and nauseous.

Inca Trail altitude sickness may include

  • Headache
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Shortness of breath 
  • Fatigue or weakness
  • Excessive sleepiness 
  • Loss of appetite
  • Feeling ill
  • Difficulty sleeping or insomnia

You should keep an eye out for symptoms of Inca Trail altitude sickness and prevent it from happening by following our tips below.

The Inca Trail

Inca Trail Map
The Inca Trail is a hiking trail in Peru, and one of the most popular hikes in South America that attracts thousands of tourists every year. With a distance of 26 miles, it takes 4-5 days to hike at up to 10 hours a day.

The Inca Trail is one of the most famous treks in the world. Its popularity has increased over the years and it’s not hard to understand why. The stunning scenery, beautiful ruins and ancient culture are just some of the reasons why so many people want to hike this trail every year.

This ancient trail was built by the Incas and it passes through the Andes mountains. The hike starts near Cusco at Chillca, also called Kilometer 82, and ends at at the base of Machu Picchu.

With altitude over 13000 feet, read further to discover how to avoid Inca Trail altitude sickness.

3 Ways To Avoid Inca Trail Altitude Sickness

With a hike that reaches an altitude of 13780 feet, and you need to be well prepared for the Inca Trail.

Altitude sickness is common among hikers who have not acclimatized properly before they start their trek, which is especially hard to do when climbing to elevations this high.

We'll reveal how to prevent altitude sickness naturally, including acclimatization techniques, hydration tablets, and supplements to prevent altitude sickness.

 Here are three ways to avoid Inca Trail altitude sickness:

1. Hydrate Yourself Very Well

As the Inca Tail is located in Andes Mountains range with dry air and high altitude conditions increasing respiration, this combination leads major dehydration problems. If you want to know how to prevent altitude sickness dehydration, drinking water is the first step.

At first glance, this might seem like an obvious step. You probably know that when you're thirsty, it's time to drink water. But did you know that if you wait until you feel thirsty before taking a drink, it may already be too late? It's best to start drinking water before your body becomes dehydrated so that you can avoid the symptoms of dehydration which include headaches and nausea.

Drink plenty of water throughout the day, at least half you body weight in ounces of water, if not more especially with the intensively and length of the Inca Trail.

TIP: To increase your hydration, adding sea salt to your foods and water can replenish much needed electrolytes in your body. Or taking Zaca's chewable hydration tablets to help increase water absorption and electrolyte intake.

2. Rest & Acclimate

Adjusting to high altitudes takes time, especially if you're coming from sea level or another lower elevation. If you're planning on trekking the full 4-5 days on the Inca Trail, try to get some rest before you arrive. This will help your body adjust to the lower oxygen levels more easily to prevent altitude sickness.

If possible, spend at least two to three days in Cusco before starting the strenuous Inca Trail. At 11152 feet, Cusco will give your body some time to adapt to the higher altitudes.

While altitude sickness can cause sleep disruption, sleep is also critical to prevent altitude sickness and recover. Get ample sleep just before your trip and the first few days to allow you body time to adjust.

3. Take Supplements To Prevent Altitude Sickness

Taking natural supplements for altitude sickness are sometimes an unknown option, while being one of the best options. Altitude supplements come in various forms such as high altitude pills and altitude sickness tablets.

You typically want to take these supplements at least 24 hours before traveling to a high elevation location and continued for each day of your visit. For the Inca Trail, it's even better to start a week before your trip to best prepare your body.
In our research, two ingredients have shown promising studies and results to combat altitude sickness. Here are the top two ingredients for altitude adjustment:

  • Glutathione - Glutathione is shown in research to be depleted in the body as you go higher in altitude.¹ As the body's master antioxidant, this nutrient is vital to take so that you can replenish lost Glutathione and fight free radical damage from lower oxygen levels.
  • Dihydromyricetin (DHM) - As an Hovenia Dulcis extract, DHM is a flavonoid proven to enhance high altitude performance. It also improved mitochondrial respiration activity.² Whether travelers or athletes, DHM shows evidence to be a vital supplement for altitude sickness.
These two herbs for altitude adjustment, Glutathione and Dihydromyricetin, in combination have synergistic benefits to help prevent Salt Lake City altitude sickness and better your vacation experience.

Top Altitude Supplements

Altitude Supplements Inca Trail
Zaca chewables are great for high altitude journeys as a natural and safe way to feel better faster. Formulated with both Glutathione and DHM, these chewable tablets can help increase recovery, improve endurance, and lower fatigue. Founded out of Colorado and increasing in popularity throughout United States, Zaca is a top choice among altitude supplements. Try Zaca chewable tablets today and enjoy your travels without worry.



1. Effect of high altitude (7,620 m) exposure on glutathione
2. Dihydromyricetin Improves Physical Performance under Simulated High Altitude
3. Inca Trail Elevation