Micha, slow and steady is the best way to acclimatise, but given that most people fly straight into high altitude destinations it's more a case of what NOT to do while the biody catches up.
Don't drink alcohol or take any drugs until you're sure you're acclimatised... try to arrive 'clean' too, to speed up the process.
Drink lots of water, and continue to do so while you remain at altitude.
As World Nomads roving medical expert Dr Erik McLaughlin suggests (read his article here: http://journals.worldnomads.com/safetyhub/story/53978/Worldwide/Getting-high-when-you-travel-safely )
avoid strenuous exercise on the day you arrive, but try a little gentle exercise, a walk, to ease the body into it.
Phil about 7 years ago
Ditto on Phils answer. I was there in January, flew directly to Cusco. Felt the altitude within a few hours and it forced us to just go slow. Couldn't resist a beer with lunch that same day, but apart from that, lots of water and a daily morning pot of Coca tea which many hostels make freely available or you can buy in the markets. We preferred the leaves vs tea bags. Make sure to get good nights sleep and and don't be surprised if you have odd dreams! about 7 years ago
Agree with everything said so far. Altitude is a strange beast as a lot of it just depends on the person. (See Martina Nav - tennis player - and Mt Kilomanjaro) I found sucking on coca leaves to help, esp while hiking the Inca Trail. I cannot say definitively say that the leaves helped, but I made a pretty good go of the trail and never felt sick while using them continuously. Try it out, just get a sack of leaves, roll a few up and put in your cheek. See how it makes u feel. Just dont take any back with u to the states because as I remember it is very illegal. about 7 years ago
I agree. I succumb to chills and shakes on what I think was my 3rd day in Cusco. I was provided oxygen and felt fine after a little while. I was otherwise healthy and handled the climbs well. So, caution is best because it can sneak. The coca leaves are available in a candy, also. almost 7 years ago