Acclimation in Sucre
Replies: 10 - Last Post: Oct 10, 2012 6:47 AM Last Post By: vistet
Oct 6, 2012 10:14 AM
Acclimation in SucreHello,
Planning a 11 day trip in Bolivia and looking at whether it would make sense to acclimate in Sucre vs La Paz. The thought was to fly to Sucre upon arriving in La Paz and spend a couple days in Sucre. Sucre is a little lower altitude it appears and would then save time for La Paz at end of trip after spending time in Southwest/Uyuni. Am familiar with traveling at that altitude (Cusco)
Welcome any thoughts
Oct 6, 2012 1:37 PM
1Sucre is certainly a prettier place to adjust to the altitude! Though by that same token you may face a steeper adjustment curve in going up to the altiplano--some parts of the SW Circuit go well over 15,000 ft.
I would base my decision on how well you adjusted to your time in Cuzco, which is closer to La Paz's tourist district in elevation than it is to Sucre. I would also take into consideration the things you plan on doing immediately after your Salar/SW tour. The SW is very rough and the tour is exhausting (but rewarding!), so I recommend you plan on giving yourself some relaxing "oasis" time afterwards. My wife and I went to Sucre right after our Salar trip and found it extraordinarily restful, though we might have felt the same way about, say, Coroico if we'd headed straight to the Yungas.
Hope that's helpful.
Oct 6, 2012 3:52 PM
Oct 7, 2012 10:29 AM
Oct 7, 2012 10:02 PM
4"...in parts over 5000m..."
i.e. max altitude , not sleeping altitude . With OP´s planned several nights at Sucre first max altitude is an opportunity to acclimatize better , not a crisis.
Going too fast to sleeping elevations above 4000 is worse than higher max elevations since
a) oxygen content in the blood dips at night , from the horizontal position
b) it means low O2 content for a lot longer period than crossing passes
c) on road trips the cure for max elevations symptoms is included : descent.
See for example the safety regs for Chajnantor Observatory : astronomers travel on a regular basis from below Sucre´s altitude up to 5000+ in a single day , which works out ok when being put on continous O2 after arriving .
Oct 7, 2012 10:13 PM
5Sleeping altitude at Laguna Colorada, which is part of every multi-day Salar tour I know of, is 4,278 meters. Uyuni itself is at ~4000 meters. Which is just to say that the OP will be dealing with a rapid ascent and sleeping at altitude either way.
Oct 7, 2012 11:39 PM
Oct 8, 2012 3:38 PM
8Sucre is very pleasant, and if you can arrange your itinerary to stay there first, I would do that. I started in La Paz and was OK unless I was trying to walk uphill :)
Oct 10, 2012 6:36 AM
9We did just that, coming from sea level (S.Cruz, 400 mts I think).
We stayed 2 nights in Sucre, 1 in Potosì, 1 in Tupiza before starting the SW circuit tour.
Not ideal, but we had time and other constraints which didn't allow us to do things much differently (we were of course careful and open to the possibility of just changing our tour alltogether once there, if necessary).
We were all (4 of us) hit by altitude sickness (in various degrees) in Sucre, which we actually did not expect (we were anticipating problems in Potosì, thought Sucre would be a slight headhache at most).
We spent most of the 2 days there resting and did very little, but felt fine after that, apart from the occasional headhache when going over a pass during the circuit and not being able to do much physical activity in general
(apart from our youngest son, who was the least affected and spent the whole afternoon in Potosì playing football with other kids ;-)
Oct 10, 2012 6:47 AM
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