Cusco Weather,

Health & Safety

Cusco Weather

The Region of Cusco has a privileged location in the Peruvian Andes, from the highest peaks in the Andean Mountain Range to the Amazon plains, ranging from 15,748 feet above sea level (4,801 m.a.s.l.) in the Suykutambo District, Province of Espinar, to 2,132 feet above sea level (650 m.a.s.l.) in the Quellouno District, Province of La Convencion.

The central and southern areas of the region are dry and very cold from mid­ April to mid-September and semi-dry and coldduring the rest of the year,with heavy rainfrom Novemberto March. Inthese areas, temperaturesat night can be as low as OºC in June and July and as high as 7°C from November to March and during the doy as low as l9ºC and as high as 22ºC throughout the year. This weather is common in areas located between 9,840 and 1 1,480 feet above sea level (3,000 and 3,500 m.a.s.I.) such as Cusco City. As altitude is gained, temperatures drop at night, and for every l00 meters gained,temperatures decrease about  lºC.

In towns such as Urubamba and Ollantaytambo, located in the Urubamba Valley and between 8,200 and 9,840 feet above sea level (2,500 and 3,000, weather conditions are similar to those in Cusco City except that temperatures are slightly higher. For instance,temperatures at night can be as low as 4ºC in June and July and as high as 9ºC from November to March and during the doy as low as 21ºC and as high as 24ºC throughout the year.

In towns such as Machu Picchu (aka Aguas Calientes) in the Province of Urubamba or Santa Teresa inthe Province of La Convencion,whichare located between 4,920 and9,840 feet above sea level ( 1,500 and 2,500 m.a.s.I.),weather is semi-dry and semi-warm with sorne rain from May to August and humid,and semi-warmwithheavyrainfrom Decemberto April. Inthese areas, temperatures at night can be as low as 8ºC in June and July and as high as l2ºC from September to April andduring the doy as low as l9ºC andas highas 21ºC from December to March and as low as 21ºC and 24ºC the rest of the year.

In areas below 4,920 feet above sea level ( 1,500 m.a.s.I.) such as Qosñipata in the Province of  Paucartambo or Echarate in the Province La Convencion located in the Amazon plains, the weather is humid and temperate to warm with constant  precipitation allyear long.

A weather forecast for Cusco can be viewed at the Weather Channel Site

Cusco Healthcare

Food & Restaurants in Cusco - My Peru Guide

When traveling to aforeigncountry for the first time,it is important to know that an iliness can ruin a vacation if precautions are not token. In Peru, the main health issues for travelers are related to stomach infections due to the ingestion of contaminated food or liquids and altitude sickness inhigh-altitude cities such as Cusco City or the Urubamba Valley (especially if performing outdoor activities) . In the first case,the bodies of foreign travelers are not familiar with the bacteria infood andwater,making it easy to get aninfection if precautions are not token. In the second case,it is hard to know how a body is going to react in high altitude with less oxygen to breathe than usual,but the ili effects can be minimized or prevented entirely.

Below are sorne suggestions to reduce the risk of getting a stomach infection:

  • Eat in a clean restaurant and recommended place. (Read reviews from fellow travelers about the restaurant intrustworthy sites) . Don't eat instreet food kiosks (unless the place is highly recommended by many fellow travelers) .
  • When drinking a fruit juice, ask if water used is from a bottle or purified. (¿Agua en botella en el jugo? or ¿Agua purificada en el jugo?)
  • Wash fruit andutensils to peelyour fruit withwater from a bottle (no faucet unless it has a reliable filter) and then peel it.
  • Vegetables shouldalways be cookedbefore eaten.Avoidraw vegetables. (If you must eat vegetables, purchase a pre-washed bag of veggies and then wash it yourself with l liter of water from a bottle and a big glass of vinegar as a disinfectant.)
  • Use water from a bottle at all times to brush your teeth.
  • Don't drinkwater from a faucet unless it has a reliable filter

If symptoms of an infection are noted (constant diarrhea and/or vomiting), it is better to see a doctor immediately to get an antibiotic to kili the bacteria (bacteria should be confirmed through proper analysis) and makesure the body recovers as soon as possible to continue with the journey. Plenty of liquids should be drunk to keep the body hydrated. In two or three days a ter the ingestion of the first pili, the body wili be recovered, but the stomach wili stili be sensitive.

In the case of altitude sickness, the Region of Cusco is a risk for travelers who are coming from Lima by plane since there is no time to adjust to the altitude gradually when they land in the City of Cusco, which is 1 1,150 feet above sea level (3,399 m.a.s.I.). All travelers arriving in Cusco for the first time wili experience shortness of breath, but not every body wili be affected by altitude sickness. In order to reduce the risk of getting altitude sickness, the following tips can be observed (although please note that this doesn't guarantee that a person won't be affected by altitude sickness) :

  • Ask a doctor for medicine to prevent altitude sickness and take it as advised. (If a condition such as high blood pressure,overweight, anemia, or heart condition is present, the traveler must see a doctor.)
  • If you forget to ask a doctor,buy altitude sickness medicine ina pharmacy in Lima (prescription is not needed) and start taking it as suggested in the pharmacy at least 48 hours before going to an altitude city and continue for two or three days once there.
  • Take it easy the first doy;on the first and second days avoid the ingestion of alcohol and heavy (fatty) meals, and drink plenty of liquids (water preferably).
  • Hot Coca lealtea should be drunk constantly. It helps to prevent altitude sickness, and it helps with the symptoms if the traveler does succumb to altitude sickness. The leal doesn't hove the property of making people high, and it is safe to drink the tea; however, if a drug test needs to be passed in four days, don't drink it. The locals drink Coca leal tea to relieve stomachaches and altitude sickness.
  • The ingestion of a lemon soda can help with the vomiting symptoms.
  • Before visiting the City of Cusco, the traveler can head to the Urubamba Valley or Machu Picchu immediately after landing in Cusco. The Urubamba Valley and Machu Picchu town are located at a lower elevation, where there is less risk of being affected by altitude sickness. This wili also prepare the traveler to spend quality time in Cusco City.

If the symptoms of altitude sickness are felt (headache, nausea, stomachache, extreme tiredness, and shortness of breath), it is better to just rest, avoid food, and drink plenty of liquids (coca mate lealtea) . If food is needed, a light soup with vegetables and potatoes is recommended. Usually, the next doy the symptoms aregoneor almost gone. Another solution is to goto alower elevation. Clinics in Peru are privately managed while hospitals are run by the Peruvian government. Prices in a clinic are considerably higher than in a hospital. Below is a list of hospitals, clinics, and pharmacies in the Region of Cusco:

  • Medical Network, Phone +5184-221213, Calle Puputi 148, Cusco District and Province. Phone +5184-245099, Calle Nueva Baja 424, Cusco District and Province
  • Pardo Clinic, Phone +5184-240387, Ave. de la Cultura 71O, Wanchaq District, Cusco
  • Medical Network, Phone +51 974-791813, Av. Ventidero s/n, Ollantaytambo District, Urubamba Province
  • Arcangel Pharmacy: Av. El Sol 319, Cusco District and Province
  • Inkafarma Pharmacy: Av. El Sol 210, Cusco District and Province. Av. San Martin 457, Santa Teresa District, La Convencion Province
  • Mifarma Pharmacy: Av. El Sol  130, Cusco District and Province

Cusco Safety

When in Cusco, the traveler needs to take the sorne precautions token when in a big and crowded city. Robbery is common in Cusco, but if precautions are token, travelers should not hove to deal with this. Below are sorne recommendations to avoid being the victim of a robbery.

  • When walking in the street, always hold your belongings andwalk with a purpose,showing people you are not distracted.
  • Never leave yourbelongings unattended.This applies to restaurants, clubs, buses, taxis, and in general any public location.
  • Never take a taxi from the streets (even if they look professional). Always call a taxi company and make arrangements by phone or hove your hotel staff get a cab for you.
  • In downtown Cusco, you should not walk alone at night. During the doy, downtown Cusco is pretty sa e,allowing you to walk aroundalone or with a knowledgeable guide.
  • Donot drinkalcoholwithstrangers nomatter howcompellingtheinvitation.
  • Do not exchange foreign money in the streets. Exchange money in an establishment where you can count your money and look at the bilis you are receiving. You can also ask for a receipt in these places.

Stolen credit cards or numbers is another issue for travelers. Below are sorne recommendations to avoid having your credit card or number stolen:

  • Contact your credit card company and let them know that a trip to Peru wili be made and provide dates. Ask themto request a phone authorization for expenses over a specific amount.
  • When paying a biliwith your credit card, do not let the store clerk take the card away from you. (Remember that your bank wili charge a foreign transactionlee - check with your bank concerning how much per transaction.)
  • When getting money from an ATM (even if the ATM is part of the bank facing the street), always verify that the card holder doesn't hove a device attached to retain your card. With your hand, try to pull the card holder of the ATIVI. Use ATIVIs inside of banks whe never possible.
  • Never let a person approach you while at an ATM ("No se acerque"). When cards are token by the ATM, sorne people approach the traveler to "help" and in a moment of distraction,cards can be stolen.

If you hove been robbed and you need to file a report, information on local police stations is provided below:

  • Cusco  Police  Station, Saphi 51O,  Cusco  District  and  Province.  Phone +5184-249659
  • Urubamba Police Station, Jr. Palacios 21O, Urubamba District and Province. Phone +5184-20 l092
  • Aguas Calientes Police Station, Av. Imperio de los Incas 40 l, MachuPicchu District, Urubamba Province. Phone +5184-221 1 178

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