Cusco Cathedral

Interesting Facts:

  • 11,200 feet above sea level in the Andes Mountains
  • One of the most visited city in South America.
  • Cusco was once the capital of the Inca empire.
  • Guinea pigs can be found on menus in restaurants and considered a delicacy.
  • You don’t flush toilet paper but throw it in the trash bins in many places.
  • Streets and side walks are cobble stoned so wear comfortable shoes as you will need them.
  • Inca Festival of the Sun – Inti Raymi is celebrated on June 24 the winter solstice in the South Hemisphere.
  • You’ll often see women dressed in traditional Quechuan garb, either carrying a baby lamb in their arms or walking an alpaca. If you take their picture they will want you to donate some money to them so keep that in mind.
Women dressed traditional Quechuan garb with lamb dressed as well.

Altitude sickness can happen at this elevation. Any elevation higher than 8,000 feet can cause altitude sickness. There are 3 types of altitude sickness.

Acute Mountain sickness which you get a headache, muscle aches, nausea and dizziness.

High Altitude Pulmonary Edema you have a buildup of fluid in the lungs which can be life threatening and is very dangerous.

High Altitude Cerebral Edema- you get fluid in the brain and is the most severe. You need to seek medical attention right away.

When we went to Sacsayhuaman which is outside the city of Cusco and at 13,000 feet I had a headache from the elevation.

Most of the hotels had coca leaves and tea for you to drink. Yes, these are the leaves that cocaine are made from but in this form, the leaves it does not produce the same effects as cocaine. The natives use it as a stimulant like we use coffee. The leaves are illegal outside of South America. It actually does help with subsiding altitude sickness as I ate coca leaves and drank the tea the whole time I was in Cusco and not once got altitude sickness while in Cusco.

Coca Tea

Hotels did have oxygen on hand if you were having trouble breathing you could buy as well. We were also told to eat small meals and not ones high in carbs to help with the altitude sickness as we did not feel like eating due to it.