High Tea in Machu Picchu

My parents are currently on a 36 day cruise down to South America. Their cruise ship left out of Vancouver and they are currently in Peru. Their ship will continue south around Cape Horn and end up in Buenos Aires where they will eventually fly to the Iguazu Falls before heading back home to Canada.

My mum has been sending me emails almost every day. She seems to have acquired the unique skill of finding an Internet cafe anywhere in the world! Yesterday was my parents day trip to Machu Picchu and apparently they took so many photos that the battery in their camera died. I can’t wait to see those pictures!

Being over 2000 meters above sea level both of my parents experienced slight altitude sickness. Luckily for them it wasn’t worse as some other travelers had to be hospitalized. This is quite common when visiting the ancient ruins and the locals recommended that they drink coca tea to alleviate symptoms. Drinking coca tea can help with the symptoms of altitude sickness due to the presence of alkaloids which may help improve blood flow and oxygen intake.

This herbal tea is made from the leaves of the coca plant and mainly consumed in countries like Peru, Bolivia and Columbia. Apart from it's benefits of relieving altitude sickness it also can improve stomach function, digestive issues and boost the immune system. Most commonly the coca plant is used to chemically manufacture cocaine. For this reason the tea is banned in most countries including Canada and the USA.

Despite the presence of alkaloids used to create cocaine, drinking this tea is said to have less stimulating effects than a cup of coffee. I will have to wait to hear what it’s really like when my parents return.

This is what traveling is all about. Experiencing a new culture and sharing some of their traditions, or in this case, remedies.