It may be thrilling to visit a mountain range, but being dizzy in the head and not able to breathe can put a dampner on the adventure. You can do two things here: take Diamox which stimulates breathing to allow more oxygen to enter the bloodstream (but then you’re left drowsy and confused – great holiday) or, you can sit down, chill out with a pot of coca leaf tea and enjoy the views – better holiday!
At 3,300 metres above sea-level, Cusco is breath-taking. Arequipa, Colca Canyon and dormant volcanoes abound and all before you get close to Machu Pichu. But take it easy. Go smoke 80 cigarettes now then run up to the top of the nearest tower block.... this is the equivalent of walking round the corner in Cusco.
Once you’ve arrived, let the locals take care of you, at their pace. All the guides, bag carriers and tea bringers are there for you. Not only that, but they are trustworthy – yes, a rarity among people whose annual salary you’ve just put over your eyes in the form of your new Oakleys. Getting there is no problem; international flights land at Lima's Jorge Chavez airport. British Airways, Varig, Iberia and Aerolineas Argentina are some of the airlines which fly to Peru from the UK. Land crossings are possible to and from Bolivia, Chile and Equador, and by river from Brazil and Colombia – just make sure you get home.