Coming down to the coast from the Peruvian highlands is in a way a relief. Don’t get me wrong, the Peruvian Andes and its hidden valleys and cities are beautiful and worth all efforts visiting. The height is, however, something hard to get used to and simply made life different and slower for us.
When the height affects you, you may first feel a bit short of breath, low on energy. Any physical activity may feel as if you are completely out of shape. A five minutes walk uphill, can feel as if you just ran for an hour.
These are only light symptoms of altitude sickness though. Headaches, nausea, stomach problems and sleepless nights make things worse and will soon leave you in a state that you are actually not up to doing anything anymore.
But don’t get scared now. Not everyone is that sensitive to the height. There are people living below sea level – like us – who had not the slightest idea of what we were talking about, when we asked them how they dealt with the height.
Also, your body is said to get somewhat used to the height after a couple of days. That is to say if you stay at the same height, which for us was not that often the case, usually moving onwards after a couple of days.
And of course there are different medicines that may help you dealing with the height. The best remedy of all is to go to lower altitudes.
Once we were back at lower altitudes, I was still surprised to notice the big difference in energy and breath. Walking up to the sand dunes in the little oasis Huacachina was suddenly a piece of cake. But to be honest, running would have been even easier probably ..