Head splitting headaches, dizziness, nausea, fatigue, loss of appetite. Most people don’t realize they have been feeling the symptoms of altitude sickness until it is already upon them. Throughout the world, trekking in higher altitude rewards you with stunning mountain views and unforgettable memories as you venture onward. With these rewards comes challenges such as correctly acclimating to the higher elevation. Destinations such as Mount Kilimanjaro or Machu Picchu are on every adventurer's bucket list, just keep in mind to prepare before being hit with altitude sickness while on the trail.
Our well traveled intern, Adrienne, has written another great blog for us about her VolunTourism trip to Peru. Read Adrienne's previous posts about the struggles and benefits of ecotourism and the return of the travel agent.
Cusco, one of the most popular destinations for adventure tourists in South America, will have a 30% increase in visitation (foreign and domestic) this December from the previous year, according to Peru’s National Chamber of Tourism. The Inca citadel of Machu Picchu, which is a World Heritage site, has attracted many more visitors recently than in past years. Although there’s always the controversy of an increase in visitors destroying the site by simple "wear and tear", this growth is estimated to bring in around $3.3 billion dollars. In a developing country like Peru, $3.3 billion can go a long way in sustaining the local economy and increasing wages for Peruvians. But why such a drastic increase in a mere 12 months? The global economy hasn’t seen THAT much of an improvement since last year, so what could be behind the driving force of people’s desires to see the ancient lost city?
For everyone I’m sure it’s different. Some may want to experience the new hype of Peruvian food, or maybe the big centennial celebrations of Machu Picchu have caught people’s eye, or it could just be a stop along the way while exploring the northern region. But my desire to travel to Peru in late spring is a bit more personal.
With the increasingly popularity of the Inca Trail Trek, obtaining permits, especially during peak season, can be particularly difficult. We offer two incredible alternative eco tours to Machu Picchu: the Weavers’ Way to Machu Picchu and the Inca Quarry Trail.
The Weavers' Way to Machu Picchu
Behind the Urubamba mountain range in southern Peru there is a region of high altitude valleys, where the Quechua people preserve an ancient way of life. They herd alpacas and llamas, farm the Andean slopes, and make and wear beautiful textiles.
Day 1 to Lares/Huacahuasi
The trek is rated moderate and day 1 will take you to Lares/Huachahuasi. Travelers leave from Cusco early in the morning and drive to the town of Calca in the Sacred Valley of the Incas, then climb north to a beautiful high pass before descending to the villages of Lares located on the east slope of the Andes. Enjoy a dip in the hot springs and a picnic lunch outside of town. This is followed by a relaxing half day hike up the valley of the rushing Rio Trapiche, which will lead to the highland village of Huacahuasi, where the first camp is located.