Mexico City Altitude Sickness: A Must-Read Guide And 6 Tips

Mexico City Altitude Sickness

Altitude sickness can affect visitors to Mexico City and surrounding areas. As a company that specialized in high altitudes, we'll give you the complete must-read guide about Mexico City altitude sickness and 6 tips how you can avoid it.

Mexico City Altitude

One of the highest major cities includes in the world, Mexico City altitude sits at 7,349 feet (2,240 meters) in elevation.

  • Mexico City altitude - 7,349 ft (2,240 m)

With over 9 million people, Mexico city it is the highest population high-altitude city in the world

Whether staying in Mexico City altitude or visiting surrounding destinations, pyramids, hikes, or tourist spots ─ including the popular spots of Puebla City and Teotihuacan Pyramids ─ these altitudes are all very high.²

  • Puebla City altitude - 7,005 ft (2,135 m)
  • Teotihuacan Pyramids altitude - 7,500 ft (2,300 m)
  • Xochimilco altitude - 7,461 ft (2,274 m)
  • Cholula or Great Pyramid of Cholula altitude - 7,050 ft (2,150 m)
  • Izta-Popo National Park altitude - 11,105 ft (3385 m) to 17,802 ft (5,426 m)³
  • Tula (Tula de Allende) altitude - 6683 ft 2037m

Mexico City altitude and the other local destinations have a very high risk for altitude sickness, which we'll cover in more detail below.

Mexico City Altitude vs Denver

If you're wondering what Mexico City altitude vs Denver is, you might be surprised. Being based out of Denver, we know there's a 2069 feet (630 meters) difference between Denver and Mexico.

  • Denver altitude - 5280 ft (1,609 m)
  • Mexico City altitude - 7,349 ft (2,240 m)

While altitude sickness is still a problem for Denver visitors, it only sits at 5280 feet in altitude. Mexico City altitude is at 7,349 feet, a significantly higher elevation.

Can You Get Altitude Sickness In Mexico City?

Yes, you can get altitude sickness in Mexico City.

University of Michigan reports that altitude sickness can start when "traveling to an altitude above 6,000 feet (1,829 meters)".⁴

Even in Denver at 5860 feet, some visitors can experience mild symptoms of altitude sickness. In Mexico City at 7,349 feet, this gives a high probability that you will feel some symptoms of altitude sickness, especially if you're coming from sea level.

Mexico City Altitude Sickness

With such a high altitude above sea level, it’s not surprising then that many visitors to this bustling metropolis will experience some form Mexico City altitude sickness.

Mexico City altitude sickness can give you symptoms with everything from headache and nausea to vomiting and fatigue. The severity of symptoms varies widely among people, and can easily turn your trip into a miserable experience.

Mexico city altitude effects include:

  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Shortness of breath or dyspnea
  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Insomnia or trouble sleeping
  • Loss of appetite
  • Swelling of face, hands or feet
  • Irritability

BetterHealth Channel says altitude sickness can happen after at least four hours.⁵ We'd recommend monitoring yourself for Mexico city altitude effects between 4-24 hours after arrival.

To prevent a bad travel experience, be well prepared for Mexico City altitude sickness by following our tips below.

What Causes Mexico City Altitude Sickness?

The main cause of Mexico City altitude sickness is lower oxygen levels. Mexico City will have nearly 5% less oxygen compared to sea level.

When you travel to Mexico City from a low-lying area such as New York City or Los Angeles, your body needs time to adjust to the lack of oxygen at higher altitudes. This process is known as acclimatization.

Acclimatization takes place over several days and involves physiological changes in your body that help you adapt to lower oxygen levels increased respiration. At heights like Mexico City, visitors aren't always able to adjust fast enough and therefore experience some forms of altitude sickness.

Is Mexico City At A High Altitude?

Mexico City map
Mexico City is located in the Valley of Mexico at 7,349 feet, an area of high plateaus in the center of Mexico surrounded by mountains and volcanoes.

According to Mountain Medicine, Mexico City is at high altitude because it falls in their category between 4,900–11,500 feet (1,500–3,500 meters) above sea level.⁸ At these heights, oxygen levels drop drastically and altitude sickness becomes a concern.

6 Tips To Avoid Mexico City Altitude Sickness

With over 3 million tourists a year, Mexico City altitude sickness is a common occurrence for travelers and especially those who are not accustomed to the high altitude.⁹

If you're visiting Mexico City and plan to spend some time exploring its surrounding areas ─ you'll need properly prepare yourself to avoid Mexico City altitude sickness and acclimate yourself.

How do you avoid Mexico City altitude sickness? As a company based in Colorado with high altitude experience, we'll reveal our top tips.

Here Are 6 Tips To Avoid Mexico City Altitude Sickness:

1. Acclimate Slowly

One of the best ways to deal with Mexico City altitude sickness is to acclimate slowly.

If you're going directly from sea level to Mexico City, your body is going to be in shock from the drastic increase in altitude. The problem is you fly into the Mexico City International Airport that's already 7,349 ft (2,240 m) high.

You should plan on spending several days in Mexico City before traveling any higher up into the mountains or other areas where there is less oxygen available.

This will give your body time to adjust gradually to the new environment and will prevent your body from struggling with low oxygen levels suddenly, which would lead to symptoms such as headaches and nausea from altitude sickness.

2. Get Proper Hydration

Dehydration is one of the main culprits of altitude sickness, so make sure to drink plenty of water while you're traveling in Mexico City. Dehydration can also make symptoms worse if you already have Mexico City altitude sickness.

In addition, the body reacts to high altitudes by increasing respiration which can further leads to fluid loss.

Experts recommend that adults drink about half their body weight in ounces of water. At the high altitudes of Mexico City you should drink even more if possible. The key is to drink enough fluid so that your urine is pale yellow or clear in color.

TIP: To maximize hydration, by taking Zaca Chewables you can increase water absorption and electrolyte intake.

3. Avoid Strenuous Activity

It is also important not to engage in strenuous activity during this adjustment or acclimatization period.

Those who engage in heavy exercise or physical labor may experience symptoms such as rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, or fatigue and weakness. This can possibly lead to even more serious Mexico City altitude sickness.

Avoid strenuous activity and exercise until you've acclimatized to the altitude. You should know within two days of arrival when you don't exhibit any symptoms of altitude sickness. Once acclimated, you can pick up your activity level.

4. Rest Adequately

Get plenty of rest before and during your trip. Resting adequately when you first arrive in Mexico City can help improve the chances of preventing altitude sickness from developing.

Sleep is essential to the body adjusting and recovering. OrthoCarolina reports that during deep sleep you "will see an increase in blood flow, which brings along oxygen and nutrients that that help recover and repair muscles and regenerate cells".¹⁰

They recommend an adult get 7-8 hours of sleep for adequate rest for recovery.

5. Limit Alcohol

Alcohol and high altitudes are a bad combo. The symptoms of a hangover and altitude sickness are strikingly similar ─ including headaches, nausea, and fatigue.

Limit your alcohol intake the first day or two. Alcohol can dehydrate you and also cause oxidative stress, making it harder for your body to adjust to high altitudes.

6. Supplement Glutathione

Herbal Remedy Altitude
A study out of India showed that high altitude hypoxia (low oxygen) depleted glutathione as much as 45%!¹¹

Glutathione is an amino acid, considered the body's master antioxidant, that helps protect your body from oxidative stress caused by factors such as high altitudes. We recommend supplementing glutathione to replenish your levels.

TIP: Our Zaca Chewables are loaded with glutathione and other supporting nutrients to help you rehydrate, replenish, and recovery. These fast-acting chewables for the perfect companion on any altitude trip, and can be taken on-the-go each day as needed to feel better.

In conclusion, follow these well researched tips to help avoid Mexico City altitude sickness ─ which includes acclimating slowly, getting proper hydration, avoiding strenuous activity, rest adequately, limiting alcohol consumption, and supplementing glutathione. 

 

 

 

 

 

SOURCES:

1. List of highest large cities
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_highest_large_cities
2. 15 Best Day Trips from Mexico City
https://www.roadaffair.com/best-day-trips-from-mexico-city/
3. How to Hike In Izta-Popo National Park And See Active Volcanoes
https://slightnorth.com/izta-popo-hike-in-mexico-city/
4. Altitude Sickness University Of Michigan Health Service
https://uhs.umich.edu/travel-altitude-sickness
5. Altitude Sickness Better Health
https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/altitude-sickness
6. Oxygen Levels at Altitude
https://wildsafe.org/resources/ask-the-experts/altitude-safety-101/oxygen-levels/
7. Mexico City Altitude Sickness: How to Prevent & Treat It 
https://travelmexicosolo.com/mexico-city-altitude-sickness
8. Effects of high altitude on humans
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Effects_of_high_altitude_on_humans#cite_note-10
9. Number of international tourist arrivals to hotels in Mexico City from 2010 to 2020
https://www.statista.com/statistics/806010/number-international-tourists-mexico-city/
10. Sleep: The Secret Ingredient of Injury Recovery
https://www.orthocarolina.com/media/sleep-the-secret-ingredient-of-injury-recovery
11. Effect of high altitude (7,620 m) exposure on glutathione
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11320641